Thursday, November 1, 2012


Mother’s Day is not in the Bible, but we often celebrate this holiday within the context of the church.  What is it that makes a good mother?  Is it how their kids turn out?  You know a good cook by the way turns out.  Is it the same?  Well, there was one perfect parent – and His kids didn’t fare all that well.  In fact, by the second generation there was a murder.  So, what’s the mark of a good mother? 

Certainly there are God-given attributes built into a mother’s heart.  She nurtures, protects and sacrifices for her child(ren).  It’s an amazing transformation that takes place – the forming of a “mother’s heart.”  I remember a particular moment when my child was about two weeks old.  The experts have a lot to say about “bonding” but I can tell you without reservation that I was bonded to my adopted child before her birth.  When she finally born, it was love at first sight.  One midnight feeding found me in a rocking chair out in our kitchen (it was the only room heated by a wood stove).  It had been two solid weeks of barely sleeping, diaper changes, crying and feeding, and the inevitable worries that a new mother carries.  As I tried to comfort my fussy infant and fed her a bottle, she burped up a bit.  Then her diaper started to leak, and there we are all a mess with sour milk and a wet nightgown thinking, “I love this baby, I love this baby, I would do anything in the world for this baby, I would even die for this baby.”  There is nothing quite like a mother’s love.   

So what has God given mothers that fills a unique place in the world – something that is worthy of honor?  Actually, it’s the same attributes that God gives to all women.  The fact that most women have children simply enhances these good attributes.  In Shepherding the Heart of Women, Beverly White Hislop tells us, “The female temperament “lends itself to nurturance, caring, sensitivity, tenderness and compassion.”  In a nutshell, women are life-bearers and nurtures.  These attributes compliment the great masculine qualities God has given to the men in our lives and together in God’s good plan, we are designed to be a team to parent children.

I came from a family of six children.  Yes, I was the baby (and yes, I act like it).  My mother usually won the “most children award” on Mother’s Day in our little church.  We always gave her breakfast in bed.  Mother’s Day was happy. 

However, I have three aunts with motherhood stories that are more painful in nature.  One aunt gave her first born up for adoption at age two.  The next aunt had one child, a baby boy.  He was still born.  She never had another child.  The third aunt and her husband had one son – their joy and delight, Jerry.  In 1959 in the small Texas town where they lived, this teenager went to the local A & W Rootbeer drive in with his car, of which he was proud.  A guy, in the parking lot hit his car.  Jerry jumped out and said, “you are going to have to pay for that!” And the man took out a gun and shot him and killed him.  Just like that. 

Now did these women, who had their mother’s hearts completely broken continue to be “life bearers and nurtures”?  Well, in the physical sense, two of them did not give birth to anymore children – but they continued to help bear life for others.  One of these aunts would pick up my mother, brother and I every Tuesday evening and deliver day-old bakery goods from her husband’s catering truck to some relatives who were barely making ends meet.  This aunt continued to help other mother’s bear life and nurture their children.   

The aunt that gave up her child for adoption did that loving act – allowing her child to be raised by a wonderful couple who could shower the child with love and attention that the birth mother could not give.  This same aunt was the one who took me to Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa when I was a teenager so I could hear preaching from Chuck Smith and Greg Laurie, among others.  This aunt helped breathe spiritual life into me and nurtured my young faith. 

The third aunt who lost her only son continued to help nurture other children and make life more bearable for them and their parents.  She took in a college age girl when things were tense in the young woman’s home and loved and affirmed her through a difficult year.  Life bearers and nurtures 

So on Mother’s Day, first we honor God who created this beautiful diversity in making men and women very different – but very complete in each other.  We recognize that God ordained marriage and created the precious gift of motherhood.  We honor mothers, especially Christian mothers who work hard to raise their children to be good responsible adults.  We honor the torch bearers of Christ to the next generation.  And, we honor womanhood and the special attributes God has given women to be life-bearers and nurtures.   

And what makes a good mother?  Proverbs 31:30-31 says it so well: “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.”            



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