© 2008 Deidre Campbell-Jones
May Theme: Mothers
2 Corinthians 1:4
Last week I began the lesson by saying, “Happy May Day,” without entirely knowing what May Day is. This week I begin by wishing you a heartfelt, “Happy Mother’s Day”. And I do so with full knowledge of what Mother’s Day is about and that’s why I’m wishing you the happy Mother’s Day whether you are a mother or not, and if you are a guy and even if your mother is no longer with us.
Deuteronomy 5:16 says: “Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”
It is said that this is the first commandment with promise. However, when I first began reading and learning the bible I misunderstood and thought the promise was for the parents. And when getting in trouble I would think, “Don’t make me accidentally dishonor you if you want God to let you stick around a good long time!”
Instead, we know this promise is for us. Simply by honoring our mothers and fathers we can not only add days to the length of our lives and we can be assured that things will go well for us. And so isn’t it wonderful, at least from that perspective, that in our society we have one day set up where we can specifically honor our mothers and fathers? That’s at least two days each year that you can add on to the length of your days!
And the good news is, that since that promise is given to those who would follow the commandment, there are no qualifiers placed that requires our mothers be living, worthy or even aware of that honor. Although, if your Mother’s are living and you want the second part of that promise to apply to you: that it may go well with you, I suggest you make sure your mother is aware of the honor you show her especially (if not only) on Mother’s Day!
If our mother’s have passed away I’m sure there is hardly a reminder needed in order to honor her. But mother’s day is a good day to do it. For many, the memory of a mother’s passing is painful. But even if you set aside one day a year to purge that pain and honor your mother in memory of the her and her gift of life to you and the life she lived with you (no matter who long or short), I believe it will, be well with you. The good news about honoring our mothers is that no one else necessarily needs to be aware of it either. Your honor you show for a mother who has gone on can be shared between you and God alone.
Some of us however, have had mothers that make it difficult to even alone, let alone in public. How can one honor a mother a mother that doesn’t live honorably or is not seemingly worthy to be honored? Well, as I’ve said, that honor is not specified as honor that is given on display and the first place to start honoring a dishonorable mother is right there in the bosom of forgiveness that can only come from God.
Years ago I took a young thirteen year old girl under my wing – I gave her a place to hang out, a little female advice and helped her with her homework after school. She was a gorgeous girl and as puberty set in she began to suffer the standard teenaged angst over life, but hers seemed to be magnified and more painful because of her past. This girl, Michelle, was of mixed race – black and white and she was being raised by her white and quite elderly grandparents. Once Michelle had become a teenager, they suddenly did not understand her, because of such a wide generational gap, and became extra hard on her out of fear that she would become like her mother – since their trouble had started with Michelle’s mother when she became a teenager.
Michelle’s mother had been young when she had her. She had been on drugs and was a prostitute. In fact, even Michelle at the age of thirteen knew that her father was her mother’s pimp. She also had known that the pimp had repeatedly beat her mother, trying to make her miscarry (Michelle), upon learning about the pregnancy.
By the time I met Michelle, her mother had already passed away from a drug overdose and in her curiosity about God, she could not reconcile why He would have given her such a horrible woman for a mother. And why even after her death she still had to live a “horrible” life simply because she’d been born. She, in fact, had frequently lamented to me that she wished the pimp had succeeded the night he’d beat up her mother trying to get rid of her.
Here is what I told Michelle: God doesn’t make mistakes, people do. And no matter what mistakes a person makes, it is only God that creates life. Michelle’s pimp of a father and whore of a mother did not create the life that became that thirteen year old Michelle. The made the mistakes in their lives that, while the enemy meant it for evil, He meant it for good.
The proof is that her pimp of a father did not succeed in aborting Michelle. God had intended for her to survive, to be a survivor and to know the life He had given her. And that God thought enough about her and loved her enough to give her a life at all and that; of course through Him and not through her parents or grandparents she could have that life and have it more abundantly.
So what’s my point? Sometimes the lessons we learn are specifically good and are directly what we should do. Sometimes the lessons in life are specifically bad experiences and are given indirectly as an expressed example of what NOT to do. When Michelle turned 16 she became pregnant and had a little boy. You might think that Michelle was following in her mother’s footsteps, but in fact, just the opposite. Yes, she had low on self esteem and looking for love and attention in all the wrong places. But once her son was born, Michelle was determined to be the best mother she could be. She got her GED and became a health technician right away. And she made sure the baby’s young father helped her by keeping their son while she was in school. Buy the time she was 18 years old; she was living in and paying for her own apartment for her and her son.
We can learn how to be a good parent from good parents and we can also learn to be good parents from bad parents. The lessons may be more painful, but once learned can have a double blessing. You see, God doesn’t teach us lessons we have no need to learn. We are told to comfort others with the same comfort we have been comforted with. 2 Corinthians 1:4: “Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
I know that Michelle has turned into a good example for her son and for others. I also hope there is one dream she never gave up on. She had dreams of being a country and western singer! And often she would put the pain of her life into the lyrics of a song. If Michelle continued with the gift God gave her, then she will have been a comfort and an example for all kinds of girls in similar circumstances.
God knit us together in our mother’s wombs and it is no accident the things we love, the things we’re good at and the destiny we’re meant to live. Good or bad we can count it all for joy. Praise God our mother’s wombs nurtured us for 9 months while God fashioned us just exactly the way He intended.
Praise God that we have sustained or survived life with our mother’s because all things work for the greater good for they that love the Lord. There are simple reasons and complicated reasons, but ever reason is a good one to honor our mothers on this mother’s day. Honor them that God thought enough of us to give us the mothers we’ve had, for however long we’ve had them, so that we could learn the lessons we have learned and so that we can comfort others in the same manner in which we have been comforted.
On this day, I honor not only my own mother, but your mothers too – because without them, I would not have the honor of knowing each of you. In honor of your mother, I wish you a very happy and blessed Mother’s Day!
Power, love & peace