Well, today is the day that we set aside each year to honor, and in my case, remember our mothers. When I was much younger, and my mother was still a young woman, I confess that I didn’t put too much stock into this day honoring our mothers. Back then, I was into entitlement and it didn’t even begin to occur to me that mothers were hardworking people who many times held the family together.
My father was an intense individual, usually stressed about money, and when family unity was at stake, my mother was the one who stepped in and made sure that we knew everything would be okay. When Dad needed some room, Mom would put us in the car and take us over to her parents’ home – only several minutes away. I don’t want you to get the idea that Dad was never home, or didn’t love us – but he worked hard and we rarely had enough money for the things we needed to live. Starting a business was difficult work and mother made sure the house ran right while Dad was out on calls and working every night after dinner. On reflection, Mom didn’t get enough credit for her part in making sure the family was taken care of.
I have also known Janet’s Mom, Nancy, since I was 5 years old. She was a kind lady, who, like Janet, wanted everyone to get along. My father-in-law, John, was starting his business the same time that my father was also beginning his company. Nancy was always kind to me and I recall how each New Year’s Eve, my parents and Janet’s parents would celebrate together – year after year after year. I got to know my future in-laws very well. In fact, Janet’s Dad hired me to cut their grass each summer and Mrs. Boyd would always come out and offer me something to drink. This was long before Janet and I were old enough to even think about dating – and back then, we didn’t like each other enough to consider that anyway!
Of course, our thoughts on dating each other changed years later and, well, that nice Mrs. Boyd became my mother-in-law. I couldn’t have asked for a better one! As I get older, I realize each year how important mothers are in a family. My grandfather used to remind me that you only get one mother to a lifetime – so it was important to recognize and take care of her. He was right. Now that my mother has been gone 15 years, I tend to use Mother’s Day as a time to reflect on the times with my own mother. Both of our girls are mothers in their own right, and that is very great in itself, but for me, Mother’s Day is mostly about the generation ahead of me – not the one behind me.
And this year is the first time that Janet’s mother is no longer living, either. I remember the first year my mother was gone. I know Janet has been thinking about her Mom a great deal today, but she gets comfort in knowing that her Mom and Dad are together in heaven – a healthy and good way to look at her mother’s absence here this year. I think she is handling this new reality much better than I did the first year I couldn’t pick up the phone and call Mom on her special day.
One of the things that does tend to bother me is the fact that I see less respect for mothers than I used to. Kids just haven’t been raised to show the same degree of respect that I am used to from my childhood. Now that isn’t a blanket statement condemning all children, but it is a trend that I see emerging more than I used to. One thing is for sure – I wish my mother was still around so I could pick up the phone and call her. It is my hope that some day I will see her again.
And in one final tip of the hat to mothers, my grandfather told me that the biggest thing he looked forward to in heaven was the opportunity to see his mother again – somebody he hadn’t seen since he was thirteen. The verse for this evening is from one of the books that Moses wrote – her sermon we call Deuteronomy. Moses tells us, in Deut. 5:16, “Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”
My encouragement this evening is that God thinks Moms are important and one of the ten commandments identifies how strongly God wants us to honor them. My prayer is that you will always remember the love and the effort that mothers across the world demonstrate to us each and every day. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…