Mother's Day is right around the corner. This will be a unique Mother's Day, such as many of us have not seen before. There may be a lot of you that won't be able to see your mother on Mother's Day for the first time this year. Other's may be dealing with loss of a mother. I wanted to share a few thoughts for all of you, wherever you may be and in whatever situation you may find yourself in this year.
Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association named the Are You My Mother? one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children." I'm sure you have read it before. One of Dr. Seuss' great books that my family has enjoyed. A mother bird leaves an unhatched chick in the nest to go get food. The chick hatches before her mother comes back. The little chick goes on a journey to find out "who is my mother?" She sees a cat, dog, cow, horse and many others. None of them her mother. As she approaches each of them, she asks this very important question, "Are you my mother?" My youngest loves this book as did my older two when they were younger. When you finally arrive to the chicks mother, there is a sigh of relief, that the book is now over!
Long before Dr. Seuss penned the words, "Are you my mother?" Jesus did! He asked an almost identical question. In Matthew 12:48 it states, "Jesus replied, 'Who is My mother, and who are My brothers?'" There is a lot we could dive into here, but the first thing that I notice is how much this may have hurt Mary, the mother of Jesus. She is looking for Him, the disciples reach out to Him, and this is His response! It causes me to pause and think. As should everything Jesus says or does. If He doesn't bother you on occasion, even on this sacred Mother's Day, you may not be doing Christianity right.
Listen to what Simeon, in Luke 2 tells Mary when Jesus is getting dedicated at the temple. "He said to Mary, the baby's mother, 'This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.'"
What was that?! I wonder if Mary pondered this in her heart, as she is well known for doing on many occasions? I wonder if Mary asked herself if she made the right choice? And I really want to start randomly singing, "Mary, Did You Know?" now! Finally, I wonder if Mary, at the end of this all, His death and His resurrection, thought that it was worth it?
I think in some way this is similar to what all mother's go through. There isn't a mother on earth now that is the mom to the Son of God. And I am not a mother, so I don't know how much I am allowed to speak to this, but hear me out. As I watch my wife raise our three kids, I see the great love she has for them. I watch her pour hours into their schooling. She makes meals, cleans rooms, bathes and dresses them. She has changed countless diapers and been there for them while they were sick. There is something so special about this mother's love.
Then, one day, they decide that they can grow up. We did not give them permission to do so, but they do it anyway! They grow up and they move out. And it hurts. I am thankful that we have not had to experience this yet with our kids, but we know it is coming. I turned 18 and went to college 8+ hours away from home. I came back for a summer, moved away again in November and never came back. We visit my parents often, but it had to be hard for my mom.
Even though our kids aren't going to a cross, there can still be a sword to pierce your soul. Jesus, by no means, was disrespecting His Mother in this passage. He was always sharing a greater truth that I want to journey to in just a moment. I'm allowed to think that this statement still stung. She knew what was required, but that doesn't mean it was easy.
In the next few verses Jesus states that his disciples and those around Him were His brothers and His mother. Jesus says that anyone who does the will of the Father in Heaven is His brother and His mother. If we allow the truth of this passage to get in us, it can be of great comfort to those who have ears to hear.
Your mother may not be with you today, but you still have a mother in the family of Christ. Mothers, you may be struggling with the loss of a loved son or daughter (physically or spiritually lost to you), but you have sons and daughters in His kingdom. No, it doesn't take away the sting. But it does give you hope. Hope that we can enjoy this life with the people God has given us. We are allowed enjoy the blessings in spite of the hurt and pain. Jesus is giving us permission to smile and laugh again. To embrace those who can be our Mothers, our brothers, our sons and our daughters and cherish the moments we have.
And one day...we will gather together where there are no more tears. No more crying. No more sorrow. Where death has completely lost its sting! Until then, celebrate this Mothers Day with rejoicing and a peace in your heart that can only come through Christ, who loves you deeply!
Happy Mother's Day!