My first memories of Mother’s Day are sitting in church as a child while the minister recognized all the mothers. I remember them standing in recognition of their day, each mother wearing a corsage. It was a tradition in that generation and somehow the men knew it was part of their jobs to provide the corsages for Mother’s Day Sunday.
By the time I became a mother, corsages had vanished, but recognition in church on Sunday morning remained. In my early mom years, I felt funny standing in church … as if that role still belonged only to my mother and not to me. After God had given us three or four kids, I was firmly convinced of my new identity!
It’s an interesting metamorphosis, the rapid changes that make a woman a mother. As my daughter Ashley said during her fourth pregnancy, “I don’t know what happened to the old Ashley. She got lost somewhere along the way.” I bet you can relate too. “Mother” was who I’d become and now who my daughter had become. The vestiges of the former were now to be found only in photo albums.
Mother’s Day was usually a disappointment to me.
The inherent promise and expectation in a day set aside to honor mothers was never met. It’s not that my husband didn’t try. He bought me something, usually a rose bush or another plant for the yard, which he knew I liked. And my kids made me sweet cards or crayoned pictures in Sunday school. They all said, “Happy Mother’s Day” and showered me with kisses and hugs. Until they needed their lunch cut up and afternoon naps. Squabbles to resolve and needs to be met did not stop on Mother’s Day.
The kind of honor I longed for and needed in those harried years of selfless, endless labor was not to be found on the second Sunday in May. Not that I’m against a day to honor mothers. Hardly. But being truly appreciated for the enormity of service to your children is not possible from children.
What I longed for was a day free from sibling rivalry and a simple, genuine, “Thanks, Mom” that was unprompted by my husband or the Sunday school teacher. In hindsight, I now understand what I longed for is only possible when your children become adults and finally parents. Then they begin to get it! And my dream of a day free from conflict was a wish for heaven.
Mothering is a ministry to the future.
It’s a very private ministry, often unseen except by God. Like a long-term 20-year investment in which you cannot withdraw any of your money until those 20 years are up, you teach and pray and give of yourself endlessly not knowing if the work is taking root firmly until many years in the future. And the results aren’t always evident at 18 or 20 years.
Interestingly, it’s only now, when my children are grown, that I really appreciate my own mother. And even so, I really have no idea what sacrifices and worries and suffering she endured for me and my brothers. And now that she has gone to her forever home in heaven I miss asking her questions about so many topics, especially about her life and her faith.
But God knows all my mom suffered raising me and He knows all the pain and hardship of every mom everywhere. And one day … He will give all moms, in spite of our mistakes, ultimate honor when He says one day, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Until that day …
Happy Mother’s Day!!!
to all who are in the trenches of that holy and often thankless job. I celebrate and honor you knowing well the price you pay, the sacrifices you make, the prayers you offer in secret, and the loneliness you so often feel.
May your focus be on the honor you will receive on His day and may you raise your children to walk closely with Jesus all of their days.
And remember, as I so often forgot in the daily-ness of life, that:
A mother’s job is laborious not because it is small and insignificant, but because it is gigantic and eternally important.
Mothering is the most important calling of a woman’s life if He’s given you the privilege of being a mom. And if you don’t have children God still wants to use the mothering gifts He has given you as you nurture other children through your life: teaching or coaching them at school, church, in lessons of all kinds; or in relationships as their aunt or big sister; or through your gift of writing or painting or creating which can in turn touch the lives of the next generation.
ALL mothers can indeed change the world!
Sending my love to all you dear moms!