By Lynette Johnson
She was five months into her pregnancy when she was warned that she was at a high risk of losing her baby. On the doctor’s advice this young and brave mother, agreed to spend 24 hours a day in a hospital on a tilted bed with her feet above her head. For the next 90 days, she ate, read, and watched television, only to leave her bed to visit the rest room. After three months in this uncomfortable position, this ecstatic mother delivered a baby girl. Motherhood is a feeling of mixed emotions. It is an exquisite tapestry of art depicting an array of colours – the ebony areas of sacrifice, the greys of anxiety, the lucent colour of tears shed in silence and a burst of joy. All this lovingly watched over by the Master Tapestri-er.
A girl child is not born into motherhood, instead it is motherhood that is born in her when she conceives her first child. A mother’s 24 x 7 job description is extensive, demanding and often proves overwhelming. She is a wife, a chef, a home decorator, an event planner, a teacher, a counsellor, a health care provider, a finance manager, a conflict resolver, a dietician, an activities director and these are just some of her diverse responsibilities. She is tough yet tender, wise yet patient and she must be all things to everyone in her family. And it comes not as a surprise that a survey (1) conducted with 1300 mothers threw up an interesting fact– when asked the question what she wanted for mothers’ day – the majority of the mothers responded they wanted 1 to 3 hours of time alone!
Despite her contribution, often she could be taken for granted. Blinded by the loads she carries and instead of appreciating and acknowledging her worth, a mother at times could be looked down upon and derided for her shortcomings. In the Indian movie, ‘English Vinglish’, actor Sridevi portrays the character of a housewife and mother who is mocked by her family for her poor English skills. But unfazed by the criticism, she takes up an English-Speaking course to rise above her situation and in that process gains her self-respect.
A Godly mother’s influence has a lasting impact on her children. Behind every giant of the Faith, there is an unassuming mother of Faith. Billy Graham in his Daily Devotion writes of his mother’s influence. “Only God Himself fully appreciates the influence of a Christian mother in the moulding of character in her children. Most of the noble characters and fine leaders of history have had good, God-fearing mothers. The influence of a mother upon the lives of her children cannot be measured. They know and absorb her example and attitudes when it comes to questions of honesty, temperance, kindness, and industry”. Billy Graham gives credit to his mother, Morrow Franklin, for influencing him. He once said, “Of all the people I have ever known, my mother had the greatest influence on me”. (2)
Charles Spurgeon writes about his mother, Eliza Spurgeon, “Never could it be possible for any man to estimate what he owes to a godly mother. Certainly I have not the powers of speech with which to set forth my valuation of the choice blessing which the Lord bestowed on me in making me the son of one who prayed for me, and prayed with me. How can I ever forget her tearful eye when she warned me to escape from the wrath to come? I thought her lips right eloquent; others might not think so, but they certainly were eloquent to me. How can I ever forget when she bowed her knee, and with her arms about my neck, prayed, “Oh, that my son might live before Thee!” Nor can her frown be effaced from my memory, — that solemn, loving frown, when she rebuked my budding iniquities; and her smiles have never faded from my recollection, — the beaming of her countenance when she rejoiced to see some good thing in me towards the Lord God of Israel.” (3)
It is no wonder that the Bible describes such women, those that fear the Lord, as far more valuable than jewels (4).
The Bible acknowledges the role of a mother and her contribution. Proverbs 31, the wisdom poem, is an Alphabet that speaks of Womanly Excellence. It is an example of a woman possessing virtue and wisdom. Interestingly, each successive verse begins with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet. One commentator mentions that the probable intention of putting this in the acrostic pattern is to show that this woman’s character runs the whole range of excellence.
Paul in his letter to Timothy fondly remembers the sincere faith of Timothy’s mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois, and acknowledges their influence over Timothy (5).
Mary, Jesus’ mother, was a woman of faith who received the news of her virgin birth and submitted to God’s divine plan. Just like any other mother, Mary too would have performed her motherly responsibilities of cooking, cleaning and taking care of her son, Jesus. She would have watched him grow to become a man. She sought his help when there was a shortage of wine at a wedding in Cana. And when most of His disciples scattered, we see Mary stand at the foot of the cross, helplessly watch Jesus being crucified and the prophecy being fulfilled, “And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (6). And Jesus, despite his own intense pain and suffering on the cross, pauses to provide for his mother. One commentator suggests that Mary would have almost certainly been a widow and probably in her late 40s or early 50s with little or no personal income. And Jesus while yet hanging on the cross, entrusts his mother, Mary, to the care of his disciple, John.
On my cupboard hangs a half-folded white paper. It has tiny odd shapes drawn that run across from the right to the left of the paper. These shapes are asymmetrical and they resemble tiny amoeba of different colours! There is a hole shaped as a heart punched in the middle of the paper. If anyone sees it, most probably he or she would have considered it garbage and discarded it. But not me. To me it is priceless, for it is the artwork and scribbling of a five-year-old boy and an eight-year-old girl which says “Hello Mummy”.
As we celebrate Mothers’ day, if you are a son or daughter, take time to tell your mother that you love and appreciate her.
If you are a mother, we rise up and call you, blessed.
Happy Mothers’ Day.
1. Mumsnet: https://www.mumsnet.com/mothers-day/what-mothers-really-want-for-mothers-day
3. Charles H. Spurgeon, The Autobiography of Charles H. Spurgeon, Vol. 1, 1834-1854 (New York: Fleming Revell Co., 1898), 68-69.
4. Proverbs 31:10
5. 2 Timothy 1:5
Lynette Johnson is Communications Manager, RZIM Life Focus Society.