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God Our Mother by Carroll Makemson

Flowers, gifts, cards, and eating out. Is that Mother’s Day or is that only the pressure-filled message from “retail America?” For many, Mother’s Day isn’t brightened by this sheen. Yes, I had a wonderful mother, and I am blessed to be a mother, and still, I struggle with this day. So, I work to put on my happy face as I long for our children who are over 800 miles away and smile as I still miss the woman who loved and raised me and physically left me thirteen years ago. Then, I stop and realize that any self-pity I conjure up is absolutely petty. 
Today is truly hard, really hard, for women suffering authentic grief and sadness on this day. We cannot forget the pain of women who never knew their mothers, women who suffer fractured relationships with their mothers or with their children, women who continually struggle with a mother’s physical or mental health care, or women who grieve for the child who might have been or who left the womb or this earth too soon.

When I realized that this blog would publish on the Friday before Mother’s Day, I began to think, reminisce, and study resources. I was seeking ideas and words that would have meaning and bring comfort to all.  Nothing spoke to me as strongly as this poem by Allison Woodard giving us an image of our loving God drawing from the maternal images in life and in our Bible. May you feel truly cherished and supported as you contemplate these words.  

To be a Mother is to suffer;
To travail in the dark,
stretched and torn,
exposed in half-naked humiliation,
subjected to indignities
for the sake of new life.

To be a Mother is to say,
“This is my body, broken for you,”
And, in the next instant, in response to the created’s primal hunger,
“This is my body, take and eat.”

To be a Mother is to self-empty,
To neither slumber nor sleep,
so attuned You are to cries in the night—
Offering the comfort of Yourself,
and assurances of “I’m here.”

To be a Mother is to weep
over the fighting and exclusions and wounds
your children inflict on one another;
To long for reconciliation and brotherly love
and—when all is said and done—
To gather all parties, the offender and the offended,
into the folds of your embrace
and to whisper in their ears
that they are Beloved.

To be a mother is to be vulnerable—
To be misunderstood,
Railed against,

For the heartaches of the bewildered children
who don’t know where else to cast
the angst they feel
over their own existence
in this perplexing universe

To be a mother is to hoist onto your hips those on whom your image is imprinted,
bearing the burden of their weight,
rejoicing in their returned affection,
delighting in their wonder,
bleeding in the presence of their pain.

To be a mother is to be accused of sentimentality one moment,
And injustice the next.
To be the Receiver of endless demands,
Absorber of perpetual complaints,
Reckoner of bottomless needs.

To be a mother is to be an artist;
A keeper of memories past,
Weaver of stories untold,
Visionary of lives looming ahead.

To be a mother is to be the first voice listened to,
And the first disregarded;
To be a Mender of broken creations,
And Comforter of the distraught children
whose hands wrought them.

To be a mother is to be a Touchstone
and the Source,
Bestower of names,
Influencer of identities;
Life shaper,
Original Love.


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