by Dale Reeves
I don’t know what your story is, but I’m guessing that for many of you, you may have come to Jesus because of the positive influence and many sleepless nights spent in prayer by your mom or a godly grandma on your behalf. I can’t tell you how many times someone has told me, “I don’t know where I’d be today if it had not been for the prayers of my mom (or grandma).”
That is definitely true for me. Since my dad died when I was very young, my mom was my main supporter, prayer warrior, and discipler. In my growing-up years we spent many hours talking about Jesus, what it meant to turn everything over to God, and what kind of “testimony” I had to share with others during my teenage years. As a four-year-old, when someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’m told that I would tell people I wanted to be a mom! She was obviously my hero at the time. A few years later when I discovered that was a physical impossibility, the next best thing I figured was to follow in my dad’s footsteps and become a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
You may have hit the jackpot with the mom God gave you (either biologically, or through adoption), or you may not have been so fortunate. If the latter is true for you, I just want to say how sorry I am. Hopefully God brought some other godly influences into your life to help get you to where you are today.
This Sunday is the day we set aside to celebrate our moms! Mother’s Day celebrations have been happening since it officially became a national holiday in 1914. And, I think it’s awesome that Mother’s Day always falls on a Sunday because it’s a great excuse for moms and grandmas to get their nonchurchgoing kids (or grandkids) back in church for at least that Sunday—and maybe Christmas and Easter too!
Nurturing and Feeding
In 1 Thessalonians 2:7, the apostle Paul, Silas, and Timothy described their conduct among the believers in Thessalonica (located in northern Greece today) with these words: “As apostles of Christ we certainly had a right to make some demands of you, but instead we were like children among you. Or we were like a mother feeding and caring for her own children” (NLT).
That seems like an odd statement from Paul and his cohorts, comparing themselves to a nurturing mother. But it speaks to the love and compassion they had for the church in Thessalonica, and how they were concerned with taking care of the spiritual feeding for the church. A mom begins with feeding a baby only milk, eventually she moves on to some bland cereal, and then adds some nutritious vegetables (Have you ever tried baby food vegetables? Yech!). And, then, as the child grows up, he or she can handle more solid food. Thank God for the scrumptious feasts our moms and grandmas prepare for us! Our spiritual feeding should also progress from drinking just milk to being able to consume solid food (Hebrews 5:12-14).
In the words of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, God says, “I will comfort you . . . as a mother comforts her child” (Isaiah 66:13, NLT). In chapter 49 of Isaiah’s prophecy, we find these words: “Yet Jerusalem says, ‘The Lord has deserted us; the Lord has forgotten us.” And God responds to them, “Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:14-16, NLT).
Moms of newborns comfort, rock, and cuddle; sing babies to sleep; whisper “baby talk”; and proudly display photos of their beautiful babies to anyone who asks to see them (and many who don’t even ask!). That is the picture Isaiah paints for us regarding our God’s extravagant love for us. He has engraved the names of his children in the palms of his hands (and he would have their pictures in his wallet, if he had one—that’d be a pretty big wallet, wouldn’t it?)
The very first promise of a future Redeemer said that he would be born of a woman (Genesis 3:15). And God’s miraculous intervention meant that this baby would be carried by a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). Mary, the mother of Jesus, had the daunting task of nurturing, supporting, and praying for him as he grew up, became a man, and ministered to multitudes. And, then, she stood watch at the foot of the Roman cross as her Son gave the ultimate sacrifice in laying down his life as an atonement for all of our sins!
The Bible is filled with all kinds of stories of real mothers . . . mothers who had to wait many, many years to have a child (Sarah, who bore a child at the ripe old age of 90); mothers for whom Jesus performed a miracle (the widow of Nain); brave mothers who had a plan (Jochebed, the mother of Moses); mothers who dedicated their children to God (Hannah and her son Samuel the prophet); and so many others. There are ample lessons to be learned from these moms in the Bible.
Today, we are thankful for the examples of godly nurturing mothers that are recorded in God’s powerful Word. And, we collectively celebrate our moms who have cared for us, prayed for us, put up with us, and nurtured us in the fear of the Lord. Today is the day set aside for all of us children (whether young or old) to “arise and call [mom] blessed” (Proverbs 31:28, NIV).
Thank you, moms and grandmas! Where would we be without you?