Devotion for the Week...
I've heard it said that being a mom is the most rewarding and the most relentless job on earth. I don't know if any mom would argue with that. There's nothing quite like a toddler wrapping his arms around your neck and saying, "I wuv you." Or like watching a child learn to decipher the letters on a page so he can read a story to you. Or seeing an older child find an interest that drives him to learn and learn, until you find you're learning from him.
On the other hand, there's nothing as all-consuming as caring for a sick child who wants to do nothing but cuddle in your arms, not even wanting to let go long enough for you to take a bathroom break. And I don't know if there's anything as exhausting as dragging yourself out of bed, again, at 3 am because the baby is crying, again.
Being mom comes with an ever changing array of concerns. Moms with young children worry about how much their children eat, and what they eat. They worry about getting their little ones to share, and sometimes they wonder if their child will ever understand that the whole world does not revolve around them. Mothers of older children worry about bullying and homework and how their children are doing socially. And even when their grown children have children of their own, moms still worry. They worry about their child's relationships, their finances and their general well-being. Parenting is a life-long job, even when the actual raising of the child is complete.
So, every May, Mother's Day comes around and we are reminded we should thank Mom for all her hard work and her concern for us. According to the stores, the best way to thank Mom is with a card and a gift. Restaurants prefer we treat Mom to a meal out, while florists think a bouquet of flowers would be just right. The best gifts, of course, are matched to Mom's preferences, and there is no one item in any store that is perfect for every mother (though chocolate comes close!).
There are some gifts that we can all give to our mothers, though. These gifts always fit, they're never the wrong colour or the wrong model and they won't go straight to her hips. They can be given to moms in their 20s, 30, 70s...they can even be given to the memory of mothers who have passed away.
We'll start with Ephesians 6:1, which says, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." We understand that children living at home are expected to obey their parents, but what about the rest of us? We don't live at home anymore and we're old enough to make decisions for ourselves. But Proverbs 1:8 says, "Listen, my son, to your father's instructions and do not forsake your mother's teaching." Every time I think to bite my tongue when I want to say something unkind, I'm obeying my mom. Sure, she's not watching over me to be sure I'm doing the right thing, but obedience to the expectations she had for me as a child governs my life today. I pray the same will be true for my boys when they are grown and deciding for themselves how to live.
Proverbs 29:17 says, "Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul." What earned you discipline as a child? Was it telling lies, ignoring your chores, being mean or selfish? Maybe it was staying out past curfew or talking back. Being disciplined is awful. "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it," (Hebrews 12:11). Living according to the discipline you received as a child is linked with obedience. It will bring peace and delight to the one who worked to instill your ability to share, your work ethic, your honesty and your respect for authority and the rule of law.
The next gift comes from Proverbs 31:28, 29: "Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also and he praises her: 'Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.'" Do you tell Mom how wonderful she was, and still is? As toddlers, my boys sometimes said, "You're my best mom ever!" Now that's high praise! Even if your mom is a grandma, or even a great-grandma, I'm willing to bet she'd still love to hear what you think she did right.
For those of you whose moms are no longer here to listen to your words of praise, there's no reason to stop sharing them. What better way to praise her than by sharing the stories of the wonderful ways she showed love, or about how you laughed together when she once put a full cup of butter in a recipe that only called for a tablespoon. My mom is a great cook, and she assures me that Lobster Newburg tastes wonderful, but it was truly awful the first time she made it!
So when Mother's Day arrives, give Mom a call, or send a card, or take her out for supper. But don't forget these other gifts. They won't go out of style, they won't be returned and they won't sit forgotten in a bottom drawer. Best of all, these are 365-days-a-year gifts, so Mom can feel the love in July and November as much as she does the second Sunday in May.
And Mom, I love you. You're my best mom ever!