Mother’s Day Blues

For many mothers Mother’s Days is tinged with tragedy or sadness. A child’s death or teen suicide, having a child who is a deployed soldier fighting overseas, or one struggling with an illness in the hospital, or one incarcerated can make Mother’s Day a difficult day to get through.

Likewise, not every daughter (or son) looks forward to Mother’s Day. If your relationship with your mother is complicated, or you’re estranged from her, or if she’s no longer with you because of death or she no longer even knows your name because she has Alzheimer, waking up to a day called “Mother’s Day” can be painful.

Such reality was driven home to me recently on a listserv I belong to where one of the members on the list wrote honestly about not looking forward to church this Sunday. As you can see, her complaint was not about Mother’s Day only. It’s about the way the black church celebrates mothers and motherhood on that day.

Others on the listserv weighed in prompting me to ask permission to post for Something Within readers the provocative conversation about motherhood, Mother’s Day, and the church’s clumsy way of talking about motherhood that ensued.

With Mom gone 7 years, mothers day is a mixed bag for me. I’ve got some incredibly wonderful memories of the day but find that since Mom has died, i often avoid church (black or otherwise) on Mothers Day now. I thought i’d send a shout out to you all to see what you think of the ways black churches celebrate Mothers Day.


mother daughterLike many of the people weighing in, I’ve gotten to where I wince during Mother’s Day. My own mother died just before Mother’s Day weekend, 2002. I preached her funeral the Saturday before Mother’s Day. And she was my greatest theological inspiration and most quoted person. When I had to preach Mother’s Day in youth church 3 years later, I started the sermon out with “I don’t like Mother’s Day celebrations.” I talk about the joy and pain of being a mother, the joy and pain of being a daughter, the fact that not everyone in the room had “warm, fuzzies” about their moms, some didn’t know their moms, some moms were strung out, etc. The altar filled up with young people wanting to pour out their pain around “mother loss” and “mother grief” and “mother struggles.” It lasted longer than the sermon as they prayed, cried, repented, went to find their moms and beg forgiveness, accepted the notion that God had provided many mothers and aunts and cousins and sisters and friends to help shepherd them into womanhood and manhood. Upstairs, of course, the service was sugary sweet about mothers.

I don’t know what that says, but there it is. I will be with a friend on a beach of Mother’s Day. I don’t expect to hear from my younger son and grandchild because he doesn’t celebrate anything anymore. I will hear from my older son. I will feel loss and joy.


I think also for me such celebrations tend to be insensitive to women
who have lost mothers, lost children, or who are not biological
mothers. And this is just symbolic of how they are looked upon beyond
the mother’s day celebration. Also while we emphasize that every
father is not a dad or vice versa, we do not emphasize that mothering
is about more than giving birth, more than being an incubator. Maybe
I’ve become too cynical. I am planning to become a foster or adoptive
mother soon– it’s a scary thing as I get closer to the reality of my
promise. Maybe mother’s day celebrations should intentionally
celebrate acts of mothering in the village and should be a platform
for extending our mothering impact on the global village.


My mother has been dead for over twenty-five years, but I can’t say that’s the reason church Mother’s Day celebrations don’t get under my skin the way others describe. I have fond memories of my mother for sure, but not a lot. But I’ve learned not to resent other women’s Hallmark Card rhapsodies about their moms nor gag when the church goes off on one of its paeans to motherhood. I went to church on Mother’s Day when I wasn’t someone’s mother and still show up now that I am someone’s mother. I go, in part because I’m a woman who goes to church, but also because church is where lots and lots and lots of black mothers/black women are on Sundays. And as a womanist I relish the presence of black women and believe that despite my mother’s flaws there’s something healing and comforting about losing myself on Mother’s Day in a sea of black mothers asking God’s help to mother from a place of healing.


What do you think Something Within readers? What do you think about “Mother’s Day”?

Let’s be honest:  “Mother’s Day” has strayed from is original anti-war movement origins. Today’s celebration has nothing to do with appealing to the justice loving nature of women in general and mothers in particular. Maybe it should. Perhaps we need to go back to the roots of the celebration.

What do you think? What does “Mother Day” mean to you? How is the day celebrated at the churches you attend?

36 Responses to “Mother’s Day Blues”

  1. Rev. Gail Says:

    Dr. Weems,
    I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who has issues, not only with Mother’s Day and how it’s celebrated in the Black Church but even with my relationship with my mother AND myself as a mother.

    Year after year, I find myself standing in the card section reading sugary accounts of mother/daughter relationships and they don’t fit. I never know what to buy. I am conflicted and it makes me feel guilty.

    So, I sit in church year after year, and I wear my red flower but I don’t have those warm and fuzzy feelings. Then I hear a sermon about Christian motherhood and I feel even worse when I leave ’cause I certainly don’t have that type of a track record as a mother.

    I am grateful for my mother and love her dearly but…and when I try to articulate it to others I’m made to feel as though I am a horrible person because after all, that’s my mother and I should be ashamed of myself.

    Even as I write (and tears are falling), I feel a bit more free because I realize I’m not alone in the conflicting emotions I feel.


  2. Janet Says:

    ….Finally, with tears and a heavy heart, this post for me is about the many years of conflicted feelings toward my Mom & myself as a Mom. I love my mother, but resent her for so many things that shaped my womanhood & motherhood. I already knew weeks before Mother’s Day that I would not be attending church on this coming Mother’s Day. The worst part is that my family who knows my history wants/ expects me to participate in Mother’s Day activities as if everything is “warm & fuzzy” in our family. I have a 1st born son who is partially estrange from me & a very loving daughter, who trys very hard to understand my pain. It is very difficult for me to share with her a lot of my conflicts, because I do not want to taint the genuine love that she has for my mother, her grandmother. Lastly, I’m Not bitter, just being honest. At the same time I’m very thankful & blessed to have my mom still living & in fairly good health.

  3. Kesha Says:

    Dr. Weems,

    It is so important that you share this perspective about Mother’s Day for the very reasons you articulated. Some children have grown up most of their lives not knowing their mother because of issues like incarceration or the imprisonment that comes from life led by the needle…Growing up, Mother’s day was always one of the big days at church..a part of the CME trinity - Christmas, Mother’s Day and Easter. It’s still a big day at our church now - red and white carnations at all. But as much as we like to Show Mary (no pun intended :-) and talk about the Proverbs 31, we need to preach more about the mothers that are in pain, the women that are in pain because they can’t conceive, the mothers who didn’t get it right and are still beating themselves up about it..To me Mother’s Day means a day when I can encourage other s to think about motherhood holistically.

  4. Leslie Callahan Says:

    I’ve never liked Mother’s Day. When my mom was living, I felt pressure -the right card, the right gift, the competition with my sister. I felt pressure to make the day mean more than it or I (or I suspect my mother) could bear. As her health failed, I felt anxiety. As I was approaching the first Mother’s Day after her passing, I gave myself permission simply to dislike the day. My reasons have already been stated by other people, but the bottom line is that I don’t like Mother’s Day (and by this I largely mean church expressions of it) because it rarely acknowledges how unbelievably complicated and painful the day is for MOST people. On this my first Mother’s Day as a pastor, I will both celebrate the good of mothering and acknowledge the pain of the day. But I won’t be preaching about vaunted motherhood. Oh and by the way, can people who are making church announcements please just say “Happy Mother’s Day” without adding “to those of you who are mothers”?

  5. Fal Says:

    To be honest Mother’s Day is always a stressful day for me because I do not have an intimate relationship with my mother. Of course, I am a dutiful daughter and makes sure I find a gift to send, but the day makes me remember how emotionally absent my mother is. And given the many things that have happened this week involving my little sister and her, I feel intense anger about her ability to be emotionally available for her daughters. Mind you, I can analyze how class, gender, and race shape my mother’s personality and the choices she has made. But, it still hurt on occasion especially on Mother’ Day when all my girlfriends recount their memories and shared experiences with their moms or when I think about my friends relationships with their mothers.
    I think in some ways as a society I think we are more forgiving and understanding of women whose mothers have passed away, but are not as understanding about women’s mothers who are alive, but emotionally absent or physically not present. We expect for these women to be thankful that they have a living mother irrespective if she is emotionally available or not.
    Don’t get me wrong I think the original and current meaning Mother’s Day is important, but I feel at times “palpable” pain from not having an intimate relationship with my biological mom. Mind you, I have learned to see Mother’s Day as a time to honor “all” the women in your life that mother you including your godmothers and other mothers, but to deny that there is a small part of me that hurts would be a lie.

  6. Hope Crigger Says:

    I just happened on this website while looking for quotes about Mothers. I am not understanding all this anger.
    I think people like to think of Mothers with a positive
    attitude. God tells us in His Word to honor our Fathers
    and Mothers, but no where does He say ‘if they deserve it.
    I have had a lot of issues with my Mother and my Father.
    God healed all of that within me, and has forgiven me for my mistakes as a Mother. So you can’t celebrate for yourself, be glad for others, maybe they have an ax to grind about something you didn’t have to face as a child.
    Things happen to us all through life, it is all under the blood of Jesus. God tells us to keep the sabbath day holy by being in his house, but not to go on Mother’s Day because I have a problem, wow, . How many lives have been changed because someone went to honor a Mother or Daughter or sister on Mother’s day, and that day was appointed to them to receive Jesus Christ and were never more the same, but changed. Get on your knees ladies, let God work this out and quit mully grubbing about “poor me”

  7. valda Says:

    As I prepare to preach this Sunday, I am very thankful to know I am on the right track. In the end, I will preach what I preach every Sunday: hope in Christ. Hope that broken hearts can mend; hope that ruptured relationships can be healed; hope that we can forgive ourselves for the things we said (or didn’t say) and did (or didn’t do); hope that we can stop expecting an apology from a Mother who just didn’t get it right, and get on with our lives. My Mother has been dead for 10 years, but I miss her every day, not just on Mother’s Day. I still rejoice in each day God sends. That’s what my Mama taught me. Happy Mother’s Day, sisters.

  8. snb Says:

    I think this maybe the first Mother’s Day since becoming an adult where I don’t feel bad about being 35, single, with no kids. I’m enjoying life and maternal in other ways. [I’ve also come to realize that maternal and nurturing are not synonymous.] I need to look up the historical purpose of Mother’s Day. I’ve only known it with the red/white carnations, gifts, and special dinner. I don’t like that my current church seems to have somehow made it a fundraising day too. Most people give financial gifts when they say something about their mothers.

  9. revmamaafrika Says:

    Whew! I was thinking some of the same things here; yep, my mom and I didn’t get along at all and Mother’s Day has been “complicated” all my life. Thanks to all of you here for putting into words some of what I’ve been feeling AND thinking all these years.

    But I do pray for those mothers (and grandmothers and aunties) who struggle — mothers in substance abuse recovery, mothers in jail/prison, on probation or parole; in a mental institution, in a battered women’s shelter, a homeless shelter, homeless on the streets, teen mothers, HIV + mothers; mothers who for whatever reason “work” in the sex trade; mothers who are unemployed and the benefits just ran out (dam those politicians who voted for such!), etc.

    Me thinks I’m gonna go to brunch on Sunday . . . . . and I’m gonna have TWO mimosas! :)

  10. iniva Says:

    my feelings about mothers’ day has become more and more ambiguous in the past fifteen years. i love my mother and in so many ways i am my mother’s daughter. yet, in other ways i am my other-mothers’ daughter.

    mothers’ day usually brings back many memories both good and bad of my experiences of being mothered. it also makes me sad for the children who have a parent in prison with whom i have worked over the years. this year would mark the first year that i will not be able to hear my favorite aunt’s voice on that day as she past away this last september.

    i know i will celebrate the mothers that continue to be in my life on that day. however, i will probably be tearful. i will also be frustrated with the narrow definition of motherhood i often see as i have among my mothers not only women who are not heterosexual, but also women who have never carried a child. and yes they all love me including my birth mother, although they do not always like me… i do not always like them either.

  11. Mz.P Says:

    As a woman who was not raised by her mother and badly treated by her primary caretaker, I don’t have fond memories of being “mothered”. So, as a child and young adult Mother’s Day and church celebrations were confusing and quite painful for me. As an adult I, too, go to church because that’s what I do, and because I know there are little girls and sister-friends there who are waiting to be mothered … to be healed.

  12. Sylvia Says:

    My mother died suddenly the day before Mother’s Day and for the next decade and more, I was completely oblivious to the celebration of that day until I would walk into church and see the red and white flowers that others wore to acknowledge their “joy” or loss. It was uncomfortable for me, but I never felt that it was a tradition that should not be celebrated because it was not a joy for me. I still cherish motherhood and believe that the good mother should have her day where she is celebrated for her sacrifice.

    However, when it became a responsibility for me to “oversee” such days, I chose to do it differently. A couple of years ago, I chose to give flowers to women who had lost their children, to honor their pain and their love and to remind them that they were still mothers. Last Saturday, I celebrated that day a week early and chose to honor Dr. Dorothy Height, a woman with no biological children, but a woman who had birthed and fostered the hope in so many. I spoke to those who had no children and to the men gathered and encouraged all to recognize the ability that they had to birth dreams and ideas and movements that can change the world. For as a “child-free woman” myself, I believe that as a teacher, mentor and minister, that I have done and am doing just that.

  13. sad mother Says:

    I have three boys that I love with all my heart..In 2001 my parental rights were taken away because of a very stupied situation..I have no contact with them..My mother had a choice to take the kids for me but she decided not to..I have no family other than my married family and my two stepchildren..I never get calls wishing me a happy mothers day from family or my stepchildren and it really is a depressing day for me..

  14. Danielle Says:


    It is such a conflicting time most years but becoming more joyful for me as mother, not so much as a daughter. It is also better because my current church does not make the huge production out of it like most I have attended over the years. It is a day, and flowers are given to every woman, and the service pretty much goes on as usual.

    My own mother worked hard at preserving her “pre-Mother” self throughout my childhood. She was a young mother and I think that it played into her ways. I went through my anger and frustration for her inability to foster a relationship with her children. However, I made a choice one day to live a life without resentment and bitterness. I don’t buy the cards because there is nothing that can adequately express our relationship.

    At this point in my life I am just trying to meet her where she is and I have let go of every expectation. I cherish the good moments and let go of the dysfunctional past one tear at a time.

  15. Donna Olivia Says:

    In the midst of preparing my message for tomorrow–Mother’s Day–I had a feeling that the sermon I was preparing was not the one I was supposed to be preaching. So, I took a nap and woke up with the following on my heart:

    I also want to honor the mothers who have suffered from postpartum depression, whose sadness overtakes them in a time of great joy. I want to honor the mothers who have miscarried and who have had still-born children. I want to honor the mothers whose wombs are not capable of bearing children who have been made to feel outcast and ashamed. I want to honor the mothers whose children are deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in this very moment. I want to honor the mothers who have a son or daughter behind bars in this very moment. I want to honor the mothers who have had to witness their children experience profound pain. I want to honor the mothers who have lost children to addictions, sickness and disease. I want to honor the mothers who have lost children to senseless accidents and violence. I want to honor the mothers who for whom Mother’s Day is traditionally a time of sadness instead of a day to celebrate. Can we give God thanks for these mothers too?

    And so, with these mothers in mind, I will preach from Psalm 42. It is my prayer to acknowledge their pain and perhaps, even, speak a word of hope in the midst of their disquieted souls…

  16. tamecia Says:

    I had a brief conversation about this today. One, like myself, has already lost her mother and actually buried her Mother’s Day weekend. She said it was more about having a mother than being a mother for her. I don’t know if anybody was going to church. It’s a tough weekend for many, the children and mothers. Some of us don’t know what to do with our mothers, and when they die there will be a whole new confusion. For the past few years, I have stayed home and written beautiful things in reflection of my blessing of having and burden of losing a mother.

    I had developed an ambivalence about this holiday because I can’t participate in the commercialism of it and I know some of those who did were not doing so with honesty. They are doing so because of a socially constructed routine. But I recall the pressure to make sure I remember and be creative because I wanted to impress her and I never had any money. Now, I remember more and better (painfully) than I did before. Sometimes I go to church and listen to songs only played once a year that make everybody cry, but I cry throughout the year because she won’t answer the phone anyday. I planned to go to church tomorrow because I THINK I can support somebody else and the men have a special choir, and if I don’t feel like getting out from under the bed in the morning I won’t feel bad and I’ll leave early if I want. She knows I love her, and I know she loves me. Church and cards ain’t go change that one bit. I say honor where you are in the moment, but be honest and compassionate. (I will not be listening to Shirley Caesar and waiting in a line at a restaurant. Me and my mama will go to the movies.) Mother’s Day coming back next year…(un)fortunately.

  17. Ruby Says:

    I think that mother’s day is a capitalist dream. The cards, the dinners, the dresses and other expressions that we are told document our love for our mothers. I must admit something about this lock step process leaves me cold especially at this period in my life walking this journey with my aging mother where mother and daughter love is tested and reaffirmed continually. It is a process where old business can explode between the two of us like wildfire and both of us explode, retreat and then regret. Or she tells you in the middle of the night that she does not feel well and you rouse yourself from the bed taking a moment to move from a moment of resentment to a state of compassion, concern and yes, love. Or she looks at you and wonder whose child are you because her daughter should dress a certain way and present herself to the world in ways that please men and a certain segment of society. In many ways dress is an area where I think I feel her displeasure the most. It certainly is a place where I feel our differences and judgments the most. Yet out of this dangerous and explosive territory, we make peace by accepting that we are ourselves not each other. Then there comes the moment that I think about her death and tears come from unannounced and unexpected places. For my mother the thought of losing her daughters to death fill her up with unexplored grief.
    The capitalist and unimaginative expressions of mother’s day fail to capture this love that requires a major readjustment of attitudes constantly and every day. This love cannot not be represented by the programmed rituals of mother’s day.

    Having said this, let me say Happy Mother’s day!

  18. SG Says:

    I was feeling conflicted today on so many levels. I am not a mother, and my mother is up in age and has some health challenges. As a primary caretaker it has been daunting and so I struggle with this day called Mother’s Day today, not because I don’t love my mother I do. I struggle because I don’t know how many more Mother’s Day holidays I will have and when that time comes what will I do when there’s no one for me to celebrate and no one to celebrate me. A sobering thought. To everyone who honestly shared their feelings, thank you.

  19. valerie bridgeman Says:

    It was a joy to attend church today where Mother’s Day was celebrated with the gospel, and with the complicated realities of mothering. It was great to hear that it is the human condition to need help, and that help is not limited to the people who gave us birth or who provided semen for us to be born. It wasn’t an “it takes a village” lite. It was with depth, and assurance, that we need one another as humans, that help can and most often does come from unexpected people and places. It made Mother’s Day a gift.

  20. valerie bridgeman Says:

    I suppose I should have said I was at the historic St. Paul Baptist Church in Philadelphia, PA, where the Reverend Dr. Leslie D. Callahan is the chief prophet and under shepherd. What a word. What a worship experience.

  21. Janine Says:

    Dr. Weems, as I wipe the tears from my face, I have to tell you that once again you have articulated something for me that I could not. My mother has been dead for two and a half years, and while I miss her every day, yesterday was different. I tried not to dwell on the loss and be thankful for the blessing that she was (and continues to be in my sisters, nieces, nephews and others) but I knew I would avoid church (using the excuse that it was too crowded on Mother’s Day) and going to the cemetery was completely out of the question. I spent the day with my aunt and tried to be loving and show gratitude to a woman who mothers me, but I felt like I was borrowing her. There are so many others that I realize deserve my appreciation, and still others who feel pain, loss or even alienation. I really thought it was just me, because yesterday, in addition to missing my mother, I missed my boys. They are not my biological children, but after caring for them…I can’t even explain it, but I think you understand. Now that I’ve shed my tears and see that I am not alone in my struggle, I feel like I can spend less time pretending and more time moving forward.

  22. Renita Says:

    There’s a book in this post. I can feel it.

    Thanks everyone for such thoughtful reflections. Sitting here right now preparing for a “Mothers in the Bible” bible study tonight. You all have given me a lot to think about.

  23. mia's-journey Says:

    I saw this post when you, Rev. Renita, first posted it. After I read it, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to respond or not…days later, looks like my decision cost me dialogue with women whose stories are similar to mine.
    @Fal, I, too, recognize the social ills associated with my mother’s, sometimes, inability to be present. But it hurts, like hell it does. I think it’s pretty bad that I’m not moved by mother’s day, not even to capitalize the terms. My mother is a young mother. 39. I’m graduating from college next weekend and she can’t make the graduation b/c she’s pregnant. Giving birth is beautiful and there’s no way she could have known she would be dialating days before I graduated, but I resent her a bit because for years she’s been missing out on big moments in my life! For YEARS! I love her, deeply, but I also am sad that she can’t celebrate my accomplishment as first generation college grad. In the meantime though, happy mother’s day to everyone!

  24. DrSmith Says:

    My biggest issue with Mother’s Day church celebrations is that the same women in the Bible are lifted up year after year. If I didnt know any better I would think Mary and the virtuous woman were the only women in the Bible. I have a good relationship with my mom but I have been exposed to people who have had terrible relationships with their moms. and it seems like it hurts more. when dad does wrong, its bearable but when mom doesnt do her part, the pain seems greater. thats just my observation from people who’ve struggled with their mothers. that says something about the power of women on their children. with all this talk in society about how men need to take care of their children (which is correct), the bridge over troubled water seems to always be mommy.

  25. revmamaafrika Says:

    and it’s sad to think we just lost Mother Lena Horne . . . on Mother’s Day.
    :( :( :(

  26. Rev. Kima Says:

    Just read this post and thought a while before I crafted a response. Ambivalent feelings as I hugged my mom on Sunday and walked back to the pulpit where I saw Mike (my husband and the church’s minister of music) playing the organ in tears. He lost his mom almost a year ago. And I found nothing inside of me to comfort him. He kept playing and he kept crying. And I cried because he was crying. I cried because I too miss my mom-in-law. Then as the congregation went around for offering, my 20 year old stepson passed me a note. It read, ” I may not always say it…or show it, but I love you and appreciate you and God for putting you in my life. Happy Mother’s Day” And so I cried some more. Tears of longing, tears of sorrow, tears of joy. The church really needs to allow for all of this.

  27. Kesha B. Says:

    Sorry I missed this dicussion, busy week last week. I did not visit with my mother on Mother’s Day because I went to comfort a mourning friend who lost her father that week before. She lost her mother a few years earlier and planned to keep her father’s tradition of laying flowers on her mother’s grave for Mother’s Day–only this time, he wouldn’t be there with her and she would be visiting her father’s fresh grave site as well. I thought it was the ministry God was calling me to this Mother’s Day, but still I felt guilty for not being with my own mother. While visiting with my friend in the Midwest, the regular Mother’s Day traditions of the black church were in full effect, however the pastor did note that many were mourning on Mother’s Day and said a prayer for them too. I thought that was important. Me, I was mourning my fertility, (delayed fertility if God answers my prayers affirmatively). Yes, Mother’s Day is complicated…
    Dr. Weems, I am not sure if you heard about the events at St. Sabina in Chicago on Mother’s Day? It was covered by local media. Mother’s of many of the slain children in Chicago gathered to make a statement of their loss on Mother’s Day. It made me think of your sermon there during the Seven Last Words service on Good Friday. Their tears were put to good use to highlight the impact of violence in Chicago.

  28. Wynter Says:

    I realize I’m late to this discussion, but I’d like to add my two cents. I can relate to some of you who stay away from church on Mother’s Day because I did the same for many years on Father’s Day. My dad died when I was a child, and I felt so sad when fathers were honored that I chose to stay at home. However, I never resented the fact that fathers were celebrated that day at church as some of you whose mothers weren’t as nurturing as you’d like seem to do. I don’t understand that. I feel that it’s appropriate to honor our parents at all times. That’s Biblical. I spent Mother’s Day with my mom this year for the first time since 2005. I have a job out-of-state that usually prevents me from coming to visit her that weekend, but I was so proud to do so this year. Her pastor spoke from the topic, Grandmother’s Plans in Mama’s Hands from 2 Timothy 1:5. He talked about the importance of good, Christian mothers who pray for their children and teach them about God at an early age. Even if your mom wasn’t like that, weren’t there some women who stepped up to the plate and played that role for you? Why not celebrate them? Also, I’m not married and don’t have children myself, but I don’t feel jealous that moms have a special day and I don’t. That’s another attitude I don’t get.

  29. Marjorie Says:

    I’m a little late, but wanted to have my say. Mother’s Day is bittersweet for me. I lost my mom 5 years ago. I am a mother of 2 daughters. I absolutely love motherhood. I had a great relationship with my mother and I miss her dearly. I cherish the memories of her wit, wisdom, and charm. I appreciate those who are like mother’s to me–though I have lost some of them too–just this year. To my surprise, to a few others I have become “like” a mother. So I celebrate that also. This was my first year as Senior Pastor, and I had to bring the message on this day, not an easy task. It was much more emotional than I thought it would be, nevertheless, God’s grace was sufficient.
    I cherish memories of my mother, and I celebrate the gift of motherhood.

  30. Angelwdimples Says:

    I am the daughter of a retired Pastor. My mother, a “vitreous” women, made certain her daughters would walk right, talk right, stand right, etc… you know, all of the things that Pastor’s children had to do in the eyes of the Parishioners. Mother’s day was always a “formal” day for my family and I (especially in the life of the church), the poems, the flowers the dinner after church….. I am 44 years old now, I am no longer a member of the church where my parents served, and I kind of have my “own” identity now. My worse mother’s day was May 2005. December 2004 I received an email from a woman claiming to be my biological mother… WHAT!!!??? This disturbed me to a level of denial and disbelief. May 2005, I just sat there and stared at my mother (the only mother I knew)…wanting to ask her all of the facts that I’d found out since my December 2004 email. Well, here we are five years later; I’ve never said anything to my “mother” about anything that transpired over the last five years. I am a mother, single, and sheltered…yes; I still have those traits that my mother poured into me as a youth…

    By the way, the email was true…. My “mother” did not birth me and until this day, she’s never uttered a word about it….neither have I.

  31. AnotherChild Says:


    I heard you at the SCUPE conference, “Peacemaking in a Culture of Violence.” As a young woman answering a call to theological study and ministry (sent my seminary applications last week!), your words inspired, encouraged and empowered me. Your essence exuded love, nurture and generosity. I am just beginning to put myself at the feet of women who have gone before, and who have and articulate a strong sense of identity as I am discovering what it is to be Woman. And it’s complicated as a euro-am woman coming up thinking I have two choices: be a perpetual virginal and dependent child OR rejecting that to be What? Seems the dichotomy leaves me with a power-seeking “masculine” something. I am beginning to believe and to understand that my being defines Woman, not my societal “limitations”. Thank you for speaking directly to women and directly to me. I feel a voice emerging as I uncover my identity as Woman as pastor as theologian as human as child of God. Thank you for giving me a voice, for loving and raising me up, for mothering me.

    Maggie Chandler

    (I realize the last entries here are almost a year old and that my comment only sort of relates to your post…I just wished to share my heart with you. Blessings!)

  32. Joyce Dugger Says:

    Wow, I am so thankful for this blog. I hate mother’s day with a passion. I remember I had to preach every mother’s day for the past four years. However, I learned to reflect on me being a mother and my relationships with other women who God has placed in my life. My mother is alive, however she never liked me as a child and hates me even more as a adults. Thanks for sharing. I know I am not alone.

  33. Joyce Dugger Says:

    After reading this blog. I learned that it’s important for us to speak about our mother’s issues and concerns. Thank you!

  34. don'tlikemothersdayeither Says:

    It is hard to deal with Mother’s Day. I used to be out there, strung out real bad, for many years. Lost children to the “system” and they didn’t grow up well.

    I go to church now, and someone anoints and appoints themselves to run over there and HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY me. They know a bit… but don’t seem to “get it” “leave that sister alone, she ain’t botherin’ anyone”. They don’t comfort me. I end up feeling badly the whole day.

    My relationship with my mom, “it’s complicated” sometimes a very pain-filled relationship.

    Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, I take no joy in either one.

    It is, what it is. I wish I could stay home on those days but? God ain’t havin’ me ditchin’ church on Mother’s Day.

    And He proved it to me, last year….

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  36. John Griffin Says:

    Dr. Weems, I am probably the only man on this post (but I am indeed a fan of yours since your writing days with Essence; reunited with you in your writings, I ASKED FOR INTIMACY), and certainly not the only preacher, but I concur that Mother’s Day has been rather difficult to deal with.
    My mom passed about five years ago — just two weeks after Mother’s Day in 2007, having lived with brain cancer. Until finally God decided that she did not have to live with it anymore….
    Not only that, but I have struggled that just like honoring Father’s on Father’s day when most are negligent if not blatantly absent, honoring mother’s day ain’t so sweet anymore either because there are just as many mothers who have some deep seated issues that have impacted their roles as mothers and their children bear the marks…
    With that said, I will struggle again for tomorrow, but prayerfully come to some resolve that even though not all mothers are like Mary or Eve, I can still encourage people with the idea of motherhood (and fatherhood) as model representations of God’s selflessness and unconditional love. And whereas, we may not see ourselves as such representation, maybe we can see the possibility of what we can be come if we only allow God to make the changes in us. Who knows — although we may not be a Mary or an Eve — maybe we can be a better version of what God intends for us to be… Thank you.
    Still missing my momma, but thanking God for her just the same!

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