A Conversational Ode to Christian Mothers


Last year, I broke an unwritten rule for preachers: on Mother’s Day, I did not preach a sermon that had anything to do with motherhood. For sure, there are worse crimes, but because it was my first Mother’s Day at a new church, I felt I needed to atone for my breach of etiquette. Therefore, I wrote the poem below and shared it at the beginning of my sermon. For your enjoyment, I’ve also included a few of the comments that I used to introduce and conclude the poem. Happy Mother’s Day, mothers. Thanks for all you do.

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In honor of the women at church this morning, I have written a poem. I have no illusions that it will stand the test of time and become one of the great literary works of the century. It will not. However, I hope it blesses you. I’ve given it the ridiculously long title, “A Conversational Ode to Christian Mothers, Especially Mothers with Young Children.”

Mom, what are we doing tomorrow?
And then after nap?
And after dinner?
And after church?
And after Thanksgiving and Christmas?
Sweetie, we’re only in the month of May.
It should come more often, this Mother’s Day
Especially for how little the pay.

Mom, can I play at the park?
Can I come out of my room?
Can I go to Gretchen’s house?
Can I have a snack?
No, buddy, no. We just ate.
You’re going to have to wait.

Mom, my shoe’s untied?
My hair is tangled.
I think the little one has pooped.
Okay, okay. One thing at a time.

Hard to remember, I suppose.
When all there is are dirty clothes.
But there are rewards, are there not?
To see your children raised and taught.
To show them Christ, as he’s loved you.
To be there for all they go through.

Hard to remember, I suppose.
When baby has a snotty nose.
Remember this, when they are small
You are mother, but that’s not all.
Your children will help to shape you,
But your children do not make you.

The Target checkout lady knows your name
And so does God, and he even knows your shame.
And your pain, and he loves you all the same.
Because Christ has taken all of your blame.

That was my slightly humorous, and slightly serious, way to say this: Motherhood is a good thing, but it is not an ultimate thing; motherhood is important, but it is not everything. The best Christian mothers are the mothers who know that their children do not define them, but Christ does.

Maybe being a mom has worked out great for you and you will Skype with your children today. That’s good. But maybe being a mom hasn’t worked out so well—maybe you had miscarriages, or abortions, or children that got divorced, or maybe you never had any children. That’s hard, very hard.

I guess I would just say to all women here (especially to young mothers), that, in the Gospel, God loves you and “Christ has taken all of your blame.”