God gave the world a clear glimpse of His tender, unending love for each one of us in our mother’s love. A mother’s devotion to the needs of her deeply dependent little ones creates coding in little hearts. Her affection and her welcoming arms when her toddler comes crying from a scraped knee teach each one that this love, my mother, can be trusted. And in His plan that invisible love-coding introduces children to Himself.
But we moms are fallible, so God declares, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget [and some mothers do forget through their own brokenness] I will not forget you!” (Isaiah 49:15, NIV)
God cannot lie. It is impossible for Him to do so (Hebrews 6:18); therefore this declaration of His devotion to you is true!
One of my faith heroes, a beautiful woman in the great crowd of witnesses cheering us on who are still running our race (Hebrews 12:1), is Lilias Trotter. I wrote about her last fall. Missionary to the Arab people of north Africa from the late 1800s to her death in 1928, Lilias wrote a devotional for the Arab women whom she loved. Heavenly Light on the Daily Path, illustrated with her beautiful artwork, reveals heart lessons she herself learned and then passed on to the women who were bravely imitating her faith.
Can you not remember, my sister, as if it were yesterday, the hour your first born child lay in your arms and how your heart glowed with such love and joy that all you suffered in bearing it to life was forgotten? And as it lay there, weak and helpless, its very need called to you all the time, so that you could not forget it for a moment because of the great fountain of loving care that had sprung up in your heart. Even in the night you would wake at its faintest cry, and put your arms round and care for its needs.
God created in you, my sister, that wonderful Mother heart, and He loves you with the same tender love that He has given you for your little ones, only far more tender and deep … you have a place of refuge in God as safe and warm and beautiful as you have ready for your child. Come and hide your head there when you are afraid of what may happen and if you are troubled bring your troubles there as your children come to you.*
This year on Mother’s Day, ask God to help you focus on all those good things your mother did for you because of her love. He gave you little tastes of Himself through her love and life. Ask Him to help you recognize those and be grateful. Then find a way to express your thankfulness to her. This year more than ever we know the value of the older generations in their greater susceptibility to the Coronavirus.
And if you are a mother now, may you see your place with your own little ones of all ages as a place of sharing the deep unending love of God. Your children will never outgrow the need for their mother’s love. God will fill the gaps and empty places in them and in you in His perfect timing.
Happy Mother’s Day!
*Quotation taken from “Images of Faith, Reflections Inspired by Lilias Trotter,” Miriam Huffman Rockness, Oxvision Press. Painting from Lilias’ diary, 1899.
Painting from Lilias Trotter’s diary, 1899.
Photos from my family.