Written by Stephen Cox
Today is a very special day, for today we celebrate mothers everywhere. It is wonderful that this day is set aside each year to honour mothers. Indeed, Mother’s Day started a hundred years ago in a church. It is a celebration commenced by Christians. We give thanks to God for the love and care they have shown us, for the joy they have brought us, and for the support and encouragement they have given us. I hope you are able to say thanks to your mum sometime today, and to tell her how much you love her.
It is important for us to remember that for some, of course, Mothers Day is not a time of joy, but a reminder of sadness. There are many who have recently lost their mother, or for whom biological motherhood isn’t possible. Maybe the mother who raised you was a mother in name only. Others have deeply strained family relationships to the point where some feel ignored, as if they don’t exist. On top of this, even under ideal conditions, motherhood is still not exactly a “bed of roses”. For those experiencing painful births, sleepless nights, constant nappy changes, or recalcitrant teenagers, motherhood can seem like more of a chore than a joy.
Among the festivities of the day, please a spare a thought for some of those who do struggle on this day. For some, today can be a very difficult day.
No one knows the pain of parenthood and loss more than God himself, of course. From the time He “gave birth” to his people Israel, they constantly caused Him grief. Even though He “longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, you were not willing” (Lk 13:34). At times He had to “chastise” them & even place them in “the naughty corner”, but His love for them never wavered.
His love for them was so great, in fact, that he was even prepared to send his only Son, to sacrifice Himself on their behalf. Greater love has no mother than this, that they lay down their life for their children. And yet this is exactly what God has done for His. Gal 3:26 reminds us that “in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith”. He is the ideal parent on whom all mothers and fathers should model themselves.
For those of us who have grown up in a Christian household, the most important gift a mother can give is the passing on of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus has come from heaven to die on the Cross, and rise from the dead. He did it so that everyone can have the opportunity to be forgiven, and accordingly receive the Holy Spirit and the promise of eternal life. Can you think of anything more important that a mother could pass on? Part of the reason that God has structured humanity into families is so that his grace can be made known in this powerful way.
With all the emotions that Mothers Day brings, maybe this could be a prayer you could pray today:
Heavenly Father, on a day like Mother’s Day there are so many different emotions that we bring to you.
Some of us bring emotions of deep gratitude and joy for the mothers you have blessed us with, mothers who have loved us, cared for us, walked with us and taught us how to live well.
We praise you for such love shown to us through our mums and we pray for all those who are mums, that you would give them strength where they are weak, wisdom where they are unsure, patience with the many demands placed upon them, faith in your care for them and their families, and love—deep love—for those whom you have given them to nurture.
Others of us bring emotions of sadness and pain. Some of us are saddened because our relationship with our mum is not easy, or was not easy, or perhaps never existed at all.
Please meet us in our pain, heal our hearts where they are wounded, soften our hearts where they are hardened, and enable us to forgive and to love even those who have hurt us.
Others of us are saddened because we long to be mums, long to have children, and yet are not able to do so. Father of mercies, give us comfort in our sadness, trust in you despite unfulfilled longings, and joy in knowing that you never stop loving us or having our best in mind.
We pray these things to you as our Father, who loved us before the world began, and will love us forevermore. In Jesus’ name, amen!