My mom passed away in August 2012. I’ve experienced many hard days since then. Some may think my mom’s birthday or the anniversary of her death are my hardest days, but to be completely transparent, Mother’s Day is the one that’s often the toughest. Though I’m a mom myself, and I love celebrating my motherhood and the other women who have a “mother” role in my life, Mother’s Day is a strong reminder to me that my mom is no longer here. The fact that Mother’s Day has the potential of being a painful day for some never occurred to me until my mom’s passing. The truth is, there are probably several girls within our student ministries who experience pain on Mother’s Day. Maybe their mom has passed, they’re in a blended family, or they have a strained relationship with their mom. The reasons may vary, but as ministry leaders, it’s good for us to acknowledge the potential difficulties and help our girls honor their moms.
Plan a Girls Day.
For girls that have lost their moms or have a strained relationship with them, it’s likely they long for the mother/daughter connection that comes with pedicures, shopping, or lunch. Though we can never replace someone’s mom, we can plan a time to intentionally love on and serve these girls. For girls who have lost their mom, we could ask them about memories they have of times like this with their mom.
Honestly, I easily focus on my lack in losing my mom, thinking about all she’s missed in my life. While there’s a time and place for this, completely focusing on this can grow in me a heart of bitterness. Instead, it’s good for me to pause and think about all my mom was here for. By using these “Thanks, Mom” printables, we can help our girls focus on abundance instead of lack, along with following the command to honor our parents (Ex. 20:12). This activity can reorient girls’ hearts to gratefulness, instead of being wrapped up in constant loss. Though some girls may have difficult relationships with their mom, this command still applies to them, so a simple activity like this could help grow their hearts in love toward their moms.
Honor Spiritual Mothers.
Like I said, I too easily focus on my lack. What I need to realize, though, is the Lord’s continued provision in my life. Though I lost my mom, He constantly puts other women in my life who are like mothers to me. Have your girls think about these women in their life—those who pour into them, encourage them, or who are examples to them. Help them see that the Lord understands their loss, so He puts other women in their paths to minister to them and disciple them. Your girls can write notes to these women, thanking and honoring them for their ministry. Even if girls have a strong relationship with their mom, this activity is a great way for them to realize the other women the Lord has put in their life and express gratefulness to them.
Acknowledge the difficulty of the day.
Though activities are great ways to minister to girls who are hurting, simply acknowledging the day’s difficulty also means so much. This could be through a text, conversation, or note, but personally, knowing I’m seen on a tough day means the world. Sometimes, we don’t reach out on these difficult days, because we fear acknowledging its difficulty might make it worse. From experience, I’m already thinking about my mom and grieving on these days. Someone else acknowledging it doesn’t make it worse. Instead, I’m encouraged to know another person sees the pain I’m experiencing.
Remind Girls of Gospel Truth.
The very best thing we can do for all our girls on any given day is speak the gospel to them. We can do all the fun activities to make Mother’s Day special, but we’d be remiss if we failed to point them to Christ. On a day when girls are missing their moms, point them to the hope we have because of Christ’s resurrection. Remind girls they’re seen by God (Ps. 33:18), and he’s able to sympathize with them in their weakness (Heb. 4:15). Encourage them with God’s sufficiency, that though they may feel as if they have lack without their moms, they actually have all they need in Christ (2 Cor. 12:9). Last but not least, remind them of the Father’s deep love for them (Rom. 8:37-39) and their identities as daughters of the King (Gal 4:6-7).
To be completely transparent, the approaching of Mother’s Day stirs up all sorts of tough emotions for me. Intentionally pray for girls who may face difficulty on this day as it approaches. Romans 12:15b commands us, “Weep with those who weep”. Before my mom passed, I never even considered that Mother’s Day would be a day of weeping. It’s God’s kindness that He’s shown me this, so that I may serve others well on this difficult day too. Weep with your girls who weep on Mother’s Day, but rejoice with those who will be celebrating a more typical Mother’s Day too. Encourage them to celebrate and honor their moms, though the mother-daughter relationship can be a difficult one throughout the teen years. Whether we and our girls are rejoicing or weeping on Mother’s Day (or maybe a mix of both), let’s be the body of Christ and surround one another in love and fellowship. Praise God that He gives us one another, on difficult days, joyful ones, and every day in between!
Cassie Pattillo is a wife to Jack, and mama to Hunter (5), Isaac (3), and is in the process of adopting from India. Jack is a student pastor, so she loves serving alongside him and investing in teens’ lives. She is passionate about biblical literacy along with writing and teaching about Scripture. She is also a big fan of slow mornings with a cup of coffee, a good book on the beach, and Gamecock football. Connect with Cassie: Blog // Facebook // Instagram