I wish I could say that my seven children always got along with each other in their growing up years. But, that would not explain a set of rules I came across years after they left home, which read in part: “No tickling, poking, picking on, blowing at, pinching, biting, spitting, pulling hair or laying on people – do not bug each other. No hitting or slapping. Get along with each other.” Mothers’ teach us how to live our lives and how to be decent human beings. They teach us to respect and care for each other. Mothers, who are Christ followers, nurture the spiritual life of their children.
Timothy’s mother taught him about faith. The apostle Paul writes to the young Timothy saying, “I’m reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you.” II Timothy 1:5 This was a faith passed on from a mother to her daughter and then to her son. It was a faith rich and powerful, genuine and real.
Our church secretary, in the small rural church I served, would often talk about her grandma. The grandma’s faith was deep and so real, that every incident in life was seen from the perspective of faith. As a person who lived close to the earth, dependent upon both sun and rain in season, she looked at the world through eyes of providence. The grandmother recognized God’s love and concern for her and her family. She told her granddaughter that at the beginning of each day, she would ask God to be with her. When darkness came, she gave thanks for God’s care. The grandmother passed on to her granddaughter this same kind of vital, living faith. It is a precious gift to pass on such an example of Christian love, that faith takes root in a child.
Not everyone is blessed with a loving mother or a mother at all. Mother’s Day, for many, can be a painful reminder of what is not or has never been. Yet most of us have had a person in our lives who has mothered us . . . One who was like a mother to us, when ours could not be. They came in the form of an aunt, sister, neighbor, teacher, grandma, coach or counselor . . . Sometimes, in the form of a dad.
In those moments of life, when we are estranged from people who should care about us, or who are unable to be there for us, God tells us that we are not alone. We are not forgotten. I find strength in the knowledge that God will never forget us. I find comfort in God’s motherlike compassion.
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you! Isaiah 49:15