West Point Grey United Church
May 12, 2024

Mothering God.

John 17:6-19

Reflections on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day (Lillian Linying Hu) 

Today, as we celebrate Mother’s Day, I feel deeply blessed to stand here sharing  some experiences of being a mother. For the past few years, I’ve been conducting a  research about postpartum depression among Chinese women. This research  helped me understand, regardless of where we are in the world—East or West, no  matter how loudly the world praises mothers for their unconditional love, selfless  sacrifice, and profound strength—the challenges, pressures, anxiety and loneliness  of motherhood are very common and real.  

In nowadays China, to provide a better environment for their children’s growth,  more and more women give up their careers, leave behind their families, husbands,  and friends, and come to a completely new society, shouldering the burdens of  child-rearing alone. This is where many of us find ourselves. Of course, mothers are  brave, resilient, and courageous, but it also means we are inevitably facing physical  exhaustion, inner anxiety, and emotional loneliness. 

As one of you, I’ve been there, and I am still there. Yet, we deserve happiness, not  only happy Mother’s Day, but happy everyday. As we are blessed with the ability to  draw strength, peace, joy, and happiness from God’s words and our faith in Him.  Isaiah 40:11 writes, “He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his  heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young”. Dear sisters, God  loves us, and He loves the young lambs beside us. When I am physically and  emotionally exhausted, when my children test my patience, and when I feel lonely  and helpless, I know whom I can lean on. It is God who equips us with the courage  to face sleepless nights, the wisdom for difficult relationships, and the patience for  daily challenges. 

So today, at such a special day for mothers, I urge us to reclaim our power. Let us  pray for our children, and let our unwavering strength and happiness testify to  God’s incredible love and highest power in our lives.  

God blesses all mothers! 

Thank you.

A Mother, A treasure! (Dietrich Kapufi) 

My name is Dietrich Kapufi. Kapufi is a Fipa name which means a small cloud, it is a cloud that appears  before a heavy rain. Therefore, Kapufi is not any cloud from a Fipa tribe context. 

My tribe is Matrilineal and currently under the rule of Mwene Maria of Mpuyi. She rules all the Ufipa  land and wherever the Fipas are. 

Talking about a Fipa Mother, My father once told me, “I can know and be told that you are my son  but the one who can speak proudly that you are his son is your Mother because she is sure about it.  There is no doubt because you were born right under our roof and not in the hospital.” 

He said that to express to me the importance and how special a Mother is. He even changed His  name to Herman Imakulata Clement Kapufi saying, “His name is Herman born of Imakulata, his  mother, and introduced that his father is Clement of the Kapufi clan in the Ufipa land.” 

When someone in my tribe, a Fipa tribe, happens to be having a troubling life and traumas everytime  in his or her life is always said to be under “his or her mother’s curse”

In a Fipa tradition you don’t get to make your Mother sad, unhappy or angry because her curse or  even the words of lamentations can destroy your life and thus live miserably. 

A Mother is the one we go to and ask for anything without any fear of not being given. She knows  how to get the father to give in to the demands presented. She lights up the path. A Mother predicts the future and thus you have to be keen to what she tells you. A Mother is the one who shows compassion and empathy to her children. 

A Mother is a doctor when you get sick from anything. She is troubled when the children are troubled. A Mother knows everything and is right all the time and even if she gets it wrong it is not her but you  who did not get it. 

A Mother is the pillar of the family because she is the one who connects all of the family together.

In a Fipa tradition fathers have neglected their children but the Mothers have always persevered with  their children to the end. 

The Ufipa tribe is the most famous tribe for witchcraft in Tanzania. And there is a saying in the Fipa  tribe that, “A feared witch or Wizard is not anyone but a mother who is a witch because he can change  and create a generation of witches”.  

When I studied theology I truly said to myself all the qualities of God reside within a Mother and I  have not experienced most of them from the fathers like how I enjoy them from the Mothers

In a Fipa tradition and most of the African tribes we can surely begin the “Our Father” with “Our  Mother” because with a Mother, all Godly qualities dwell. 

In conclusion, A Mother in a Fipa tribe is the decision maker even though the father gets all the glory.  A Mother is all we can run to for protection and a Mother is proud of having children and every  woman who is not a mother in the Ufipa tradition goes through a very traumatic life because to be a  Mother is such a great honor. 

Becoming a Soft and Strong Mother (Stellar Ouyang) 

There is a saying in Eastern culture, “To be a mother is to be strong.” It means the  toughness and rigidity that a mother shows in front of her children. 

For as long as I can remember, my mother has always been busy, busy with work,  busy with housework, without stopping; my mother is always strong, she will carry all  the stress and exhaustion for the family. Behind the toughness, there was also her  anxiety and worry. 

I remember during the summer vacation when I was 12 years old, I accepted an  invitation from a young friend to help her family harvest rice. It was my first time to  participate in this kind of labor, and I was very happy to work with several children.  When I returned home in the afternoon, my mother stared at my sunburned face and  said, “What if you get heatstroke? You’re not afraid of it, I’m afraid of it. Don’t ever go  there again!” When I heard that, my mood immediately dropped and I felt that my body  really started to feel uncomfortable like a heat stroke. 

And when I also became a mother, I slowly understood my mother. 

When we lived in Beijing, I was always worried that my son wouldn’t be able to excel  in a competitive environment, and I tried to find him various learning institutions and  different trainings and activities, hoping that this would bring him more confidence; In his first year in Canada, I was worried that his GPA would be insufficient and affect  his university application, so I kept asking him if he wanted to find an extracurricular  tutor. 

One day, my son said to me: 

Mom, I have my own rhythm, you have to believe that I can handle it by myself. 

At that moment, I suddenly realized that I was carrying my mother’s worry, and I was  unconsciously passing it on to my son. We all love our children so deeply, but so much  of that love comes in the form of worry. But worry, in fact, is the worst gift you can give  your child. 

From that moment on I resolved that I would fully trust and respect his own rhythms  and support him to explore and grow in his own way. 

That’s when I realized what the book Positive Parenting says: “When I am able to  choose kindness over rudeness, understanding over judgment, and acceptance over  rejection, my children are nourished and strengthened, no matter how old they are.” 

I think we can grow to be soft and also strong mothers when we trust our children  completely, when we are able to grow up without worrying about them, when we are  able to send unconditional love and acceptance.