If you were to look up the word “mother” in the dictionary, you may be quite disappointed to find this blasé definition: “A female parent.” That’s sort of like defining the sun as “a big light.” Both are true, but neither gets close to what the real thing is. Besides, everyone knows that being a mother is not easy; if it were, fathers would do it.
I was watching some home videos and came across a family reunion back in 1990. My then eight-year-old niece Mary was asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” She thought for just a moment and then with a beaming smile said, “A mommy!” My son, Matt (who was three), on the other hand, said he wanted to be Peter Pan. I’m pleased to report that, thus far, only one of them has achieved their goal.
There is no debating the enormous influence “being a mommy” has on children. Abraham Lincoln said, “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” This is especially remarkable because Lincoln’s mom died when he was just nine years old.
For most, it is through our mothers that we first have a taste of God’s unconditional love for us. Mothers see all our imperfections and shortcomings and love us anyway. Their patience seems to have no limit and they are always ready and willing to forgive and let us start over again (see note below).
Some years ago, a cartoon made its way across America picturing two farmers standing in field as snow fell softly. As one farmer turned to the other, their conversation went something like this:
“Anything exciting happen today?” asked the first farmer.
“Nah,” answered the other, “nothing ever exciting happens around here.” They stood and watched the snow fall and then one said, “The Lincolns just had a baby.”
It’s interesting how seldom we hear about those “unexciting” parents of people we admire; even those whose lives changed the course of history. And then when we do hear, it’s usually because of something negative.
But then we read the incredible story of a Hebrew girl who gave birth to a boy and named him Moses. If you haven’t read that story in a while, turn to Exodus chapter two and be amazed once again. Moses’ Mom was simply incredible, and we don’t even know her name. Likewise, we really don’t know anything about the mother of a shepherd boy named David, who was really good with a sling-shot. But the more you learn about her son and of his personality and character, you can’t help but consider the type of person she must have been.
I’m a dad, of course, and so very grateful for the close relationship I have with my three children. But I also fully recognize that when the phone rings, the first words I usually hear are, “Is Mom there?” It is usually with a hint of a smile and knowing nod that I turn the phone over so that Mom can lovingly and wisely give her counsel.
History leaves no doubt, there is just something extraordinary about moms. They are God’s special gift to mankind. How desperately needed in our world today are godly mothers training up their children in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). And how truly beautiful is a mom who understands that, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised” (Proverbs 31:30).
NOTE: There are those whose mother or father (or both) were absent, negligent, or even abusive. The scars and pain carried throughout lives as a result are devastating. To those who carry such burdens we cry out to our Heavenly Father as the Psalmist pleaded, “You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them and you listen to their cry” (Psalm 10:17). May you find peace and comfort in His loving arms.
Ed Thompson is President of LOGOI Ministries and a frequent contributor to this newspaper. Follow his blog at www.edthompsonlive.wordpress.com