Mothers: A tribute To Our Modern Day Super-Heroes
And the post continues!
5. The instruction of a Christian Mothers embodies the instruction God gives His children
This is one of my favorite quotes from this entire post:
“Mothers write on the hearts of their children what the rough hand of the world cannot erase.” -Unknown
I know a lot of mothers probably think that what they say has no impact on the lives of their children, but I can tell you that the older I get, the more acutely aware I am of all the things my parents have taught me throughout the years. Sometimes I'll even make a comment and someone will say "That's something your mom says" to which I reply "I don't think so. That's a completely original Ian-quote all the way". But they gently inform me that they've heard my mom saying that far before I was even born, so it's likely that she hold the rights to it. The things our mothers teach us stay with us far longer than we realize.
George Washington himself said:
“All I am I owe to my mother” -George Washington
Think about all of the incredibly valuable things that our mothers teach us as throughout our lives:
• Mothers teach us medicine: "If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they’re going to freeze that way."
• Mothers teach us humor: "When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me."
• Mothers teach us about my roots: "Do you think you were born in a barn?"
• Mothers teach us about anticipation: "Just wait until your father gets home."
• Mothers teach us about maturity: "Eat your vegetables or you’ll never grow up."
• Mothers teach us about religion: "You better pray that comes out of the carpet."
• Mothers teach us about time travel: "If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to knock you into the middle of next week!"
• Mothers teach us about contradictions: "Shut your mouth and eat your dinner!"
• Mothers teach us about contortionism: "Will you look at the dirt on the back of your neck?"
• Mothers teach us about genetics: "You’re just like your father."
• Mothers teach us about the weather: "It looks like a tornado swept through your room."
• Mothers teach us about the circle of life: "I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."
• And the all time favorite thing mothers teach us, justice: "One day you will have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you.”
Again, this idea of teaching and instructing is not simply something a mother does because it's a good discipline, it's deeply rooted in scriptural mandate.
Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it –Proverbs 22:6
The word "train" here literally means "to prepare for a contest", which I find interesting because anyone who has ever had kids knows how true a statement that is. Every child is constantly being pulled by friends, family, media, and literature to follow their creeds. A mother's responsibility isn't simply to provide her child with good morals, some words of wisdom, but to literally train him or her up to be able to fully engage in the world around them, and to do so with wisdom and maturity. What an incredible responsibility that is!
As the Mother is so is the daughter. -Ezekiel 16:44
I enjoy this short passage a lot, because for parents, your children have not only seen you at you best, but they've also seen you at your worst. I know for me, it was so powerful to realize that my parents aren't ineffable -they make mistakes, they get frustrated, they can be wrong and yet that doesn't change who they are in the eyes of God. They painted for me a picture of Christianity that isn't afraid of imperfections or shortcomings, and only furthered my fascination with elusive and mysterious qualities of grace and mercy. I have learned so much about authenticity from my parents, and I know that to model that for your children can be a terrifying but rewarding endeavor. Training is important, but the call to model and live the truth of your faith is even greater.
6. The persistence of a Christian Mother embodies the persistence of God toward His children
In Matthew 20, the mother of James and John makes a bold move in asking Jesus if her sons can sit at his right and left in heaven. Most of the time, Mrs. Zebedee here gets a bum wrap for her pretentiousness, but I think that maybe she can be commended for her boldness as well.
Think about it, this woman so deeply wants for her sons to be radical participants in the ushering of God's kingdom, that she approaches Jesus himself and make what we would classify as a pompous. And even though her request may ultimately be out of line, I think there is a character here to be admired as well.
How often in the church do we simply accept mediocrity because it is what's most readily accessible, socially appropriate, or easily attainable? This woman is visibly passionate for her boys, that they may be rooted and involved in the movement of the Christ. She is bold, courageous, and persistent.
But they're are probably a lot of mothers who are frankly tired of persisting. Tired of the struggle, the effort, and the exhaustion, and there is stunning passage in Isaiah that has always encouraged me:
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. -Is 40:29-31
Our strength comes form Him first and foremost, before anything else. When your family drives you nuts, or you feel as if you efforts are in vain, remember the source of your strength.
Now, I know some of us may think this is all fine and dandy, but we need tangible ways to live out these truths in appreciation of our mothers. Have no fear! I've compiled a fairly cheesy, and remarkably un-trendy list of 7 ways you can love your moms and wives! Write them down, ignore them all together, I'm okay with any of it!
1. Love her verbally
Men are particularly bad at this. "I don't need to tell her, I SHOW her with my actions" is what I hear most often. Or "I've already told you I love you once, If I change my mind I'll let you know." That just oozes appreciation and affection, right? Take the time to love her verbally. No mother has ever had a son, daughter, husband, father, or relative say with sincerity "I love you" and thought to herself "You know, I could've done without that". It's so worth it. There's a "Dear Abby" letter that I found that I think is pretty interesting:
DEAR ABBY: I enlisted shortly after Pearl Harbor. Thirty-six days later, I was on my way to the Philippines. En route, the Philippines fell to the Japanese, and we were routed to Australia. Eleven days after we landed, I met the most beautiful girl in the world.
On our first date, I told her I was going to marry her. I did, 18 months later, while on a 10-day R-and-R leave from New Guinea.
After more than 57 years of marriage and two children, my beloved "Mary" died five days before Christmas. Although we agreed that our ashes were to be scattered over the mountains, I found I could not part with hers.
While Mary was alive, she would frequently say, "You don’t know how much I love you." I’d reply, "Likewise." I never said, "I love you." Now her ashes are on my dresser, where I tell her several times a day how much I love her, but it’s too late. Although I wrote poetry to her, I could not bring myself to say the three words I knew she wanted most to hear.
As my dearest was dying and we thought she was comatose, I told her, "There aren’t enough words to tell you how much I love you." A few hours later, she whispered, "Not enough words" and died.
The reason I’m writing is to urge men to express their feelings while their loved ones are alive. I don’t know why, but many men are reluctant to express the depth of their feelings. -- MISSING MARY IN COLORADO
Be intentional enough to make sure she hears it from you how much you love her You'll be glad you did.
2. Love her physically
Your mother was the first person to ever hold you. She cuddled you, gave you a finger to grasp, changed your dirty diapers, held tissue up to your nose while you blew gallons of snot into her hand. Give her a hug. A real hug. Make it a bear hug if you have to. She deserves at least that. Or a kiss on the cheek. Or a back rub.
Go ahead. Go do it now if you have to.
3. Love her patiently
As far as I know, mom do what they do for free. In most cases, I suppose. When she picks you up from school because you don't like taking the bus, please don't yell at her for being five minutes late. Don't freak out when your clothes are still dirty or the house isn't as clean as you'd like it to be. Love her patiently.
To All My Children,
I suppose my upcoming birthday started my thoughts along these lines...This is a good time to tell you that what I truly want are things I can never get enough of, yet they are free. I want the intangibles.
I would like for you to come and sit with me, and for you to be relaxed. We can talk, or we can be silent. I would just like for us to be together.
I need your patience when I don’t hear what you say the first time. I know how tiresome it is to always be repeating, but sometimes I must ask you to repeat. I need your patience when I think too much about the past, with my slowness and my set ways. I want you to be tolerant with what the years have done to me physically.
Please be understanding about my personal care habits. I spill things. I lose things. I get unduly excited when I try to figure out my bank statements. I can’t remember what time to take my medication, or if I took it already. I take too many naps. Sometimes sleep helps to pass the day.
Well, there you have it: Time, Patience, and Understanding. Those are priceless gifts that I want. Finally, in his letter, the Apostle Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” I know I can, too! It’s a wonderful feeling to know His eye is on the sparrow and I know He cares for me. I guess being old isn’t so bad after all!
4. Love her attentively
She always sees the best in you, sticks up for you, and goes to bat for you, even when you don't deserve it. Don't be heedless in your affection, love her attentively.
5. Love her gratefully
There was an elementary class that was doing a crossword puzzle together and they came across one that read "A six letter word that starts with "M" and picks up things". Well, the word of course was "magnet", but you can guess what over half of the classroom responded with.
A son was going through old wedding photos with his dad one day, pointed at one picture and asked "Is this the day Mommy came to work for us?"
There are few things more insulting than false gratitude or affection. Be sincerely grateful for not only all that your mother has done, but that she continues to do as well.
6. Love her generously
There is nothing too good for her. Be okay with going the extra mile or two. Splurge once in awhile. Think of all the times she helped buy you new clothes even though she hadn't bought new once in years, or how frequently she cleared her schedule to drive you around to the things that mattered most to you. Love her generously with your life and actions.
7. Love her honorably
Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you. - Exodus 20:12
The word "honor" here means "to make heavy". So we're called not to simply obey or parents or abide by their rules, but to have the depth of our responsibility towards them weigh heavily on our hearts in how we live.
May we never forget that we're called to more than just adherence, but a heaviness for the things that weigh on God's heart, and may we see His grace and love in the lives of the mothers around us every day.
God, help us to never be too busy for mom. May we intentional live to honor her through our lives.