“While the soldiers were looking after themselves, Jesus’ mother, his aunt, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene stood at the foot of the cross. Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her. He said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that moment the disciple accepted her as his own mother.“ -John 19:25-27 MSG
Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms, Grandmas, Aunts, Godmothers, like-a-moms, Spiritual Mothers, Foster Mothers, Adoptive Moms, Single-Dads-that-have-to-be-both-parents, and even to the Doggie Moms (like me)! Today we honor you and celebrate the gift and blessing of your presence in our lives collectively and individually.
Personally, I am blessed to have a wonderful Mother. (Hi Mom!) She instilled confidence in me, and called out gifts such as hospitality, honor, manners, the importance of education, volunteering and serving the community, hard work, standing up for what is right, sacrifice, the ability to “do it on my own,” creativity, the Hallmark ministry of sending cards, decorating the house for every holiday, the joy of celebrating life for every occasion, a gift for baking, crafts, and the beauty of “being unique.” My Mom always taught me that who I am on the inside is much more important that what is on my outside.
Most recently, however, with the combing through of boxes of memories after my Dad moved on to Heaven, I was blessed with the revelation of the most priceless gift anyone could ever give: My Mom infused in me the gift of FAITH. I was looking through hundreds of cards that Mom sent during college, academies, and times I needed encouragement. The cards were laced with words like, “Praying for you!” “Remember to let go and let God.” There were books on prayer, all sorts of different children’s Bibles, videos, and story-books. The most shocking were my homework assignments as a child. I went to public school, yet I wrote poems and prayers about God and Jesus all the way up through high school! I wrote about creating inventions to help people and my goal to “do something great for God,” or “live a life pleasing to God.” My greatest role model was a neighbor of ours, for being a praying woman of faith! These are not things a child comes up with on their own. These were learned behaviors. Thank you, Mom.
“Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.” -Proverbs 22:6 ESV
As tears ran down my face, I couldn’t thank my Mom enough or put into words the flood of gratitude and emotions that I was feeling. I thought God had found me later in life, yet He was there all along. Many times, our “response” to God’s call is due to the prayers of a praying Mom, or someone else’s faith. It’s not because we are great. Someone else sowed those seeds of faith.
As Christians, many of us feel a burden for a family member or loved one to come to Christ. We pray for them. Often times, years go by and we feel like nothing is happening. Let me encourage you, friend: God is working behind the scenes. He is partnering with what you do in the natural with His SUPERnatural powers. And it’s more than faith. It’s even more than the typical definition of “Mother…”
In the spiritual family, many of you are “mothering” someone without even realizing it. You are a role model. Someone is watching you. Someone is watching how you worship, how you dress, how you pray, how you speak to and about people. They are listening to the way you talk about yourself- and they are learning.
My precious nieces have taught me that insecurity is a learned behavior. They believe they are the smartest and the best. They know they are beautiful and the most talented dancers for Jesus in the world! Stand with a little girl in front of a mirror, and she will excitedly tell you, “Look how beautiful we are!” And she will believe it with every ounce of her being. But instead, we mother that young girl by example, saying “Nah. Look at those thighs. My hair is a mess. I’m ugly. I’m too fat. I’m too thin. No-one will ever want to marry me. If only my boobs were perkier.” Have we thought about what we are teaching others?!
Think about the people and children in your life, and how you act around them. They are watching you. They are learning from your example. I dare you: embrace your curls and stop straightening your hair so that your curly-haired-niece will embrace the way God made her. Stop criticizing your body and intellect so your neighbor will have confidence and love herself. Stop gossiping so the younger generation will grow to honor other women. Pray and worship with abandon so your neighbor will want to love Jesus like you do. Wear knee-stains in the carpet by your bed so your son will remember how you handled problems as he grows old. Show kindness to an unsuspecting stranger, so they will pay it forward. Prioritize healthy eating and exercise so your family will learn the importance of treating their body like a gift: God’s Holy Temple. Lastly, show honor to your Mom and the Spiritual Mothers around you. You can learn from their example, no matter how old you are.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” –Ephesians 6:1-3 NIV
God has placed these folks in your life for a reason. Treasure the gift. Here’s to you, Mom! …and here’s to you, Mothers. Let’s join forces. Together we can shift the atmosphere. Together our future looks brighter!
Here’s to your health!