A Note from Chris Adams: Mom tears can be an invitation to minister to moms. But often when we see tears we become paralyzed or do not want to interfere. What if we saw tears as an invitation (even a divine appointment from God) to reach out. Read this post by Dr. Deb Douglas, First Baptist Church, Bossier City, LA to see how we can respond in a positive way to moms who cry.
Today at an event, I saw moms in 3 stages of motherhood fall into tears at different moments. We were not at a funeral but rather at a happy, celebratory event!
There was the mom of a newborn exhausted from lack of sleep who just wanted one minute of precious rest. The mom of busy, school-age kiddos was fighting a wide range of emotions with no time to contemplate her life circumstances. And then there was the grandmother/mom who was overwhelmed by the conflicting needs of the generations and the busyness of life. As a mom myself, I was feeling responsible for helping all the other moms but was clueless how to do so. All three were in tears, and all three were in need of encouragement.
What’s a women’s ministry leader to do? Here are some basics to understand and remember when ministering to a mom in tears:
- Tears are healing. A good cry is healing. God gave us tears, and yes, hormones, for our use as we process life.
- Recognize when tears are more than tears. If a mom is exhausted to tears, there is a problem. Is she crying on every occasion she’s in public? Does she seem disconnected? Depressed? Be bold, but lovingly suggest she seek medical help. Offer to help her find childcare or go with her.
- Sometimes a mom needs a hug and a listening ear. Take time to listen; much of life gets solved over a cup of coffee.
- Hormones. It seems these pesky things have a tendency to rage. Knowing the differences between a hormonal good cry and a desperate, heart broken cry is essential to effective ministry. Knowing the women in your church will help in this, but so will the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Pray for discernment.
- Tears may be an invitation. Instead of being embarrassed by seeing a mom in tears, see the tears as an opportunity to inquire if help is needed. Stop and pray with the mom. Set up a time to talk more later.
- Avoid the oversimplification of life. Giving cliché answers to life’s difficult situations and challenges harms rather than heals. In fact, it is insulting. Seek out resources such as free counseling for real help.
- Be realistic. As women’s ministry leaders, we cannot stop all the tears or heal all the hurts, but we know Who can! Praying with moms in tears is the best and most effective help we can give.
Being a mom is hard. Tears will always be a part of motherhood. As women’s ministry leaders, we need to see the tears as a point of intervention. Whether we are sharing in tears of joy or rescuing a mom on the brink of being overwhelmed, we need to be preparing in prayer to minister to moms. Praying for discernment in how to intervene and for comforting words to soothe a hurting mom’s heart are daily essentials for any women’s ministry leader.
So, pack some tissues and get out there and minister to moms in tears!
Dr. Deb Douglas has served in women’s ministry for over 37 years. Now she spends her time working with Purchased Ministry, a ministry to women in the sex trade industry. Deb is also the Director of Biblical Counseling at First Baptist Church, Bossier City, LA. She was the first to graduate from New Orleans Baptist Theological seminary with a Masters degree focusing on women’s ministry and has earned a Doctor of Education in Ministry degree from NOBTS. She is “Pearl” to 3 sweet grand babies, “Mom” to Jared Douglas and Katie Chavis, and wife/sweetheart to Paul Douglas.