Happy Mother’s Day


“No one is poor who has had a godly mother.”

–Abraham Lincoln


The modern-day celebration of Mother’s Day began over one hundred years ago at a small church in West Virginia. Anna Jarvis wanted to honor her mother since she firmly believed a mother is “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world.” My personal experience in having a godly mother affirms this declaration.

I am told my mother carried me in her womb for ten months as opposed to the standard nine. Apparently, doctors were not quick to induce labor in 1970 and were unaware of my inclination to be warm and cozy. Since that cold day in December nearly fifty years ago when I reluctantly made my grand entrance into the world, Mom has consistently loved, worked, and prayed on my behalf. I cannot imagine a better mother or a dearer friend. While my momma would be the first to admit she hasn’t done the job perfectly, it is clear as I scour scripture for mothering tips that Mom used these matriarchs as a sort of template by which to pattern her own childrearing. I want to take a look at a few of these mothers to see how I am measuring up.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was willing to do whatever God asked of her. Even as a young girl, Mary was prepared to endure the scrutiny of others to carry the Son of God. Being the mother of the only perfect human to have ever lived must have been a monumental task. Mary knew her son was the Messiah because she knew he was virgin-born. This knowledge would surely carry some anxiety for the unknown, yet she was resolute. The Magnificat in Luke 1:46-55 is Mary’s beautiful song of praise. Not only was Mary willing; she praised God for the opportunity.

When I look at Mary’s heart for serving God, I have to ask myself, am I willing to do anything God asks of me regarding my child or do I have my limits? Do I praise Him even when He wants me to step into a hard place? Do I spend time in personal worship? Does my child observe her mom living a lifestyle of worship?

Although Jesus was without fault, we know his mother, Mary, was not. Scripture portrays a few documented occasions when Mary was frustrated with Jesus. When Jesus was twelve years old, he stayed behind in Jerusalem without his parent’s knowledge. Upon finding him, Mary said, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching in great distress.” Later, when Jesus was just beginning his ministry, he was hesitant to turn the water into wine at a wedding feast despite his mother’s prompting. Another time, Mary and Jesus’s brothers were standing outside the place he was teaching, beckoning him. Jesus responded, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” While neither of these latter passages indicates Mary’s verbal annoyance, as a mother I can imagine she felt at best, confused, and at worst, offended.

No, Mary was not perfect, but she was still a good mother. Am I living in bondage due to my shortcomings? Do I compare myself to other moms? Do I give myself grace when I fall short?

The Canaanite woman in Matthew 15 pled for Jesus to heal her daughter who was being tormented by a demon. The disciples were dismissive of this Gentile mother but she persisted. Jesus healed her daughter and declared, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” This woman of great faith was the determined champion for her child and Jesus graciously commended her faith and healed her girl.

Like the Canaanite woman, am I being persistent in praying for my child? Am I consistently her advocate?

Elijah asked the widow at Zarephath to share what little she had. Knowing her food supply was nearly depleted and she needed to provide one more meal for herself and her son, she obeyed the prophet, trusting God would supply their need. This mother’s trust and obedience resulted in an abundance of necessities. I wonder what went through her mind as she prepared the loaf of bread for Elijah. It couldn’t have been easy.

Do I trust God to supply my needs in every situation like this widow at Zarephath? Am I open-handed with what I have?

Hannah cried out in desperation to God for a son, vowing to give him back for the Lord’s service. God answered her prayer and Hannah faithfully kept her promise. Many moms struggle in offering up sons and daughters for God’s plan. We are thankful for our children but it’s hard to let go. We may even find ourselves bargaining with God or giving Him suggestions regarding our child’s future as if He needs our help in that department. Hannah knew her son was not her own; Samuel belonged to God. Certainly, Hannah must have struggled to leave her precious child to serve the Lord in the Tabernacle in Shiloh but she honored her promise.

Am I willing to give my child back to the One who gave her to me or am I hindering God’s plan in her life? It is a sobering question, to be sure.

Sarah laughed to herself when the Lord promised to give her a son in her old age. I don’t imagine God was particularly amused at her laughter at the time; but when God fulfilled His promise and Sarah gave birth to Isaac, Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.” We don’t often think of folks in the Bible as having a sense of humor but it seems Sarah did. I love that!

Can I laugh at myself or do I take myself too seriously? Does my family walk on pins and needles around me or does my quick smile and laughter make them feel at ease? God made laughter for me, perhaps I should relax and enjoy it.

Another quick glance at Mary and it is apparent her time with Jesus was cut short in comparison to her other children. I feel confident Mary was glad she had “treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart,” as Luke 2:19 describes. She knew the time would go by quickly and she did not want to miss a thing. Mary set a good example.

Have I thoughtfully taken mental and emotional snapshots of my time with my child or am I overfilling life with endless activity, neglecting being present, and missing out on life’s most precious moments?

God’s Word is alive and active. He includes people in the Bible for our good. We can get to know them; take their lives as examples of right or wrong living. I believe these mothers were included in scripture for a purpose. Will we follow their lead? I am blessed to know my mother has done just that and I am determined to try my best.

Much love to you and your mother this Mother’s Day!

Molly Forrest