It is Mother’s Day this weekend, a day I always look forward to. My children are always so excited to give me their hand made crafts, sweet cards and personally chosen gifts. If you see me on Sunday I may be donning a pasta necklace or a pair of ‘very expensive ruby earrings’ (which probably cost them $3 at a Mother’s Day stall).
Mother’s Day is very special for me, however I’m very aware that isn’t the case for everyone. As I have been preparing for Sunday’s family service, I came across the following article written by author and speaker Jen Wilkin. I think it beautifully captures that as Christians we are part of God’s family which means we all have an opportunity to show honour and love to others on this special day. Jen writes:
Mother’s Day is once again upon us, sending children of all ages scurrying to the greeting card aisle to find just the right sentiment to send to mum. Mother’s Day touches all of us - though not all of us are mothers, all of us has a mother. It is true that the calendar date of Mother’s Day is not even one hundred years old, but for the people of God who delight in the commands of God, honouring our parents is an ancient and beautiful command given to us for His glory and our good.
The fifth of the Ten Commandments speaks of showing honour to our parents. It is a command often repeated by parents to young children, but I wonder how often we remind ourselves of its relevance to each of us as adult children. Some would say that this command is actually directed primarily at adult children because it is found in a list of other commands so clearly addressed to adults: “Adult children, honour your aging parents whose days have been long upon the land, that your days might be long as well.”
Honouring our parents would be a simple matter if all parents were worthy of honour - a command to do so might be almost unnecessary. But for some of us, that aisle of Mother’s Day cards awash with loving sentiment can feel like an annual gauntlet we must run. Yes, all of us has a mother, but not all of us has one who is easy to honour.
So how can we think beyond the card aisle to fulfill the fifth command so far as we are able?
Maybe your mother didn’t do everything right. If you’re a parent yourself, you have probably learned already to extend the gracious proposition that she did the best she could. Show honour to your mother by telling her two of your favourite memories of her from your childhood. If you have children of your own, repeat those stories to them as well. And think hard about which other stories they need to hear. Giving your children the gift of relationship with a grandmother un-weighted by the baggage of your own childhood can be a way to show honour. Sometimes we honour our mothers by demonstrating forgiveness in what we leave unsaid.
Maybe the mother who raised you was a mother in name only. Maybe she caused or allowed harm to you. Look to show honour where you can. Who mothered you? A teacher? An aunt? A grandmother? A stepmother? Express your gratitude to the woman or women in your life who looked beyond the boundaries of biology to demonstrate motherly love in tangible ways. Make a donation to a cause that helps women to mother and children to be parented.
Maybe your mother is no longer living. Show honour to her memory by making a recipe she made, by reviving a family tradition she started, or by making a donation to a charity in her name. Maybe you know someone whose mother has recently passed away. Ask them what they miss most about her. Send a note to acknowledge their sorrow. Maybe you know someone aching to be a mother. Maybe you know a mother whose child will never wish her Happy Mother’s Day. Reach out to them with empathy and comfort.
Maybe your mother was the kind for whom the entire greeting card aisle was written. By all means, take your time finding the perfect card and writing the perfect sentiment. But also feel the weight of your privilege. To be raised by a mother who consistently places the needs of others above her own is no common thing. Show honour by being that kind of parent to your own children. But don’t stop there. Turn your eyes to those you know who are physically, emotionally or spiritually motherless and be a mother (or father) to them according to their need.
We, all of us, are sons and daughters. This Mother’s Day may we think beyond the card aisle to outdo one another showing honour, each of us according to the grace we have been given.