A Thanks to Mothers

May 11, 2015

in Uncategorized

Yesterday was Mother’s Day in the USofA. If you have children, I hope the kids and their dad appreciated you in a loving way. 

Mom and baby  © Alena Ozerova | dollarphotoclub.com

Lori and I spent our Sunday morning in the nursery. She is there often, and I fill in when someone doesn’t show. Doing it together on Mother’s Day meant none of the mothers had to sit in the nursery. Seems like the least we could do.

The sad truth is our society is increasingly child unfriendly. While kids are safer now than at any time in the past, a growing number of people don’t like the “bother” caused by children. Even sadder, the church is not immune to this. It is increasingly common to find meetings that do not provide childcare, and gatherings that are unwilling to “put up with” the interruptions associated with having children attend. I agree there need to be times and gatherings for adults only, but they seem to have become the norm rather than the exception.

This change hits mothers hard. I see mothers who can’t attend a meeting because they have to take their kids across the street to a park or try to keep them quiet in a room down the hall. Good fathers do their best to take on some of this, but it tends to fall on mothers for a variety of reasons. 

In some ways, it’s the best time in history to be a mother, but it’s also a very lonely time to be raising children. I’m sorry about this, and I’m doing what I can to combat it. Please know there are people who value your being a mother as much as God does.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and Lori has been a fantastic mother!

Links may be monetised
Image Credit: © Alena Ozerova | dollarphotoclub.com

Shop AmazonShop to give links page
We’re donation supported Thanks for your help!

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

shil0h May 11, 2015 at 4:39 am

Acknowledgement that many wives would love to be moms but infertility (on the part of the husband or wife or both) prevents would be appreciated.

Not all childless wives are selfishly refraining from motherhood due to inconvenience as mentioned above.

There’s not much more deflating to a wife battling infertility than the usual church “motherhood is a high calling” message. True that, I totally agree, but the message comes across condescending to wives who for various reasons want kids but are unable to realize that dream.


Kay May 11, 2015 at 6:17 am

Shiloh, I am so sorry to hear you are going through this battle with infertility. It is devastatingly hard, isn’t it?

Paul seems to be saying here that the church in general often views children as an inconvenience, not the mothers (or hope-to-be mothers). He is right. We get scowls all the time because my three children aren’t always quiet, and we have even had people move across the sanctuary to get away from us. Children are a distraction from worship, apparently. I think the point of Paul’s post is to apologize for the way moms and their children have been ostracized in the church community and to express his desire to turn that around. This is a good thing!!


Paul Byerly May 11, 2015 at 10:45 am

Of course they are a distraction – which is why the disciples tried to keep kids away from Jesus. As I recall He was having nothing of it. Maybe we need to ask WWJD with the children!
Paul Byerly recently posted…Women are Like Computers, Not Trucks.My Profile


Paul Byerly May 11, 2015 at 10:43 am

Sorry, it crossed my mind but did not make the article.
Would a mention of this from the front on Mother’s Day help, or would it just make the pain all the worse? (I ask because I have no idea.)
Paul Byerly recently posted…Women are Like Computers, Not Trucks.My Profile


Jenny May 11, 2015 at 5:47 am

hee, hee. I’ve learned to just bring my children with me everywhere, when someone comments, I say “they’re attached” and shake my head like there’s nothing I can do about it.


Kay May 11, 2015 at 6:04 am

THANK YOU for “seeing” us, Paul. I am there right now. I have an exclusively breastfed baby and I feel like a leper. All meetings are at 7:00pm, which is terrible timing due to bedtimes for our three girls, especially the baby who nurses down for the night, so I have not attended our women’s group or prayer meetings since my daughter was born a year ago. We rent a small building for our services that doesn’t have a lot of options to breastfeed, but it was made very clear to me that I am not welcome to do that in the sanctuary during the service, so I talked with the pastor to arrange a place, and he suggested I pump instead. I get it, but we are at church for three hours; I would have to pump at church in that case or I would be in pain, so I would still need a private place to pump. The pastor has tried to be accommodating, but one of the elders told the entire session that I need to just go to the bathroom to nurse or pump. My husband is an elder too and stood up for me, thankfully, saying that was inappropriate and disgusting, and that it is called a NURSEry for a reason. (He’s never been sexier than that moment. ;-) ) Still, I currently spend most of the service in my car because there is no quiet place for me now that the baby gets distracted by the other kids in the nursery.
It shouldn’t be this way. I am welcome to nurse publicly basically anywhere I want to go, but not my church. Shouldn’t it be precisely the opposite?? I feel the church (at least around where I live) has sexualized breastfeeding more than our culture. With this over-the-top modesty culture in my church, sometimes I feel like any reminder that I am a WOMAN will not be tolerated. It really bothers me. I feel more objectified by my church than anywhere else. Not acceptable. (Sorry, I got a little off topic. I’m just really hurting right now.)


Kay May 11, 2015 at 6:26 am

(For the record, I choose not to nurse openly in public, but that’s not my point. It just feels backward that I am free to breastfeed anywhere I want, except for at church.)


Paul Byerly May 11, 2015 at 10:54 am

And it’s not always been that way, which is especially of concern.
Paul Byerly recently posted…Women are Like Computers, Not Trucks.My Profile


Paul Byerly May 11, 2015 at 10:53 am

I don’t think most men have any comprehension of the pain associated with breasts full of milk. Of course I’ve never felt it, but I listen and believe what I hear from women about it.

Breastfeeding is a contentious issue in the church. Part of the problem is the huge lust issue many men have. In the world such men are more than happy to have a woman nurse in public; in church the men are trying not to lust. Yes, women need to do their part, HOWEVER we need to do far more to deal with the men who have the lust problem. It’s sin, and it should be dealt with, IMHO.
I have seen plenty of women nurse without showing anything. Sure everyone knows what they are doing, but oh well.

Bottom line the church is still scared of sex, and anything it sees as sexual.
Paul Byerly recently posted…Women are Like Computers, Not Trucks.My Profile


libl May 11, 2015 at 5:34 pm

Yes, breasts full of milk can be excrutiating. I almost crashed my car once when my overly full milk machines suddenly let down. The pain was so intense I couldn’t move my arms to use the steering wheel!

Besides, not every can or should pump. I couldn’t get one drop out with a pump for my last baby. My babies were premature and struggled with feedings, often needing rounds of cluster feedings.

My church offers an enclosed area of the nursery, but I nursed in service.

Here’s the thing with breasts, though. I understand that they are both functional and sexual. I certainly don’t want to see or my hubby to see other women’s breasts. And I had no intention of showing my breasts off when I breast fed. That being said, the function of feeding an infant is an exception and I expect both mom and potential observer to be respectful. If there is a nip slip, be mature! It isn’t anything to feel shame or be shamed over and if you are a man who lusts over an innocent baby suckling, you have major problems. A woman is more than breasts and breasts are more than lust magnets.


Paul Byerly May 13, 2015 at 7:50 am

The church has developed a bad habit of seeing lust as all about the one “causing” the lust, while giving the man who’s lusting a pass. I never gave men a pass, but in the past I was far too vocal about a woman’s responsibility to be modest. This came from two things:
1) My own struggle with lust – both when it was an issue and when I was clear but felt too much identification with men still lusting.
2) Seeing a huge lack of modesty in churches. This was largely due to where I lived. Until I learned to look away before something was shown I regularly saw parts of women I should not in church, and with no baby involved.

Both lust and immodesty are wrong, and we need to lovingly deal with both. When either one is excluded or downplayed, things get weird or ugly.

The other part of this is blaming the lust object makes men feel less wrong or even justified in their sin.
Paul Byerly recently posted…Do You Know Your Empty Places?My Profile


IntimacySeeker May 19, 2015 at 1:10 pm

I just have to say, Paul, the more I read from you, the more I respect you. Thank you!


Paul Byerly May 20, 2015 at 5:56 pm

@IntimacySeeker Thanks for that!

I doubt you would have felt the same about who I was 30 years ago. Just proves people can grow and change, and God still gives wisdom to those who ask!
Paul Byerly recently posted…Is This My Battle?My Profile


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: