Hi everyone–I hope you had a great week! With Mother’s Day around the corner, I thought I might talk a bit about honoring your mother. My sweet mother’s birthday often falls on Mother’s Day, though not this year. On May 10th she will turn 80, God bless her. But you would never know she’s reached that milestone birthday if you just happened to see her walking down the street! As a mother of five (grandmother of ten) and a small business owner until just last year, she has lived a very long and full life, with many more such years ahead of her.
Parent-child relationships are often complex and sometimes tricky to navigate, but scripture nonetheless provides a very clear guideline: “Honor your mother and father…so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on earth,” (Ephesians 6:3). It doesn’t get much clearer than that, does it? The biblical principle of reaping and sowing is at work here: honor your parents (sow) and things will go well (reap). Now, that doesn’t mean that when you’re nice to your mom, then everything in your life will go smoothly. We reap in kind to what we sow. That means that when we sow respect and compassion, we’ll reap respect and compassion. The reaping will come in many forms: our developed character, our mother’s reciprocation, and God’s blessing. As Martha would say, “It’s a good thing.”
Some might say, yes, but my mother is/was critical [substitute your own word: abusive, unkind, unloving, passive aggressive, etc.]. While any of those traits makes it difficult to love and accept a parent, in most cases, we can find something in the relationship to honor. It might take some digging, perhaps even a conversation with a trusted friend or pastor to help us wrestle with the matter. It’s good for us, I think, to stop and look at our relationships and identify what we value in them, and then take steps to honor the person for that. And especially in May, when we take some time to honor our mother, that effort will be rewarded.
[Note: I don’t want for a minute to sweep anyone’s pain under the rug. When someone in our life hurts us with their words or behavior, we need to stop and take a close look at what’s going on. In these cases, it’s essential to put up strong, healthy boundaries. For example, when facing a loved one who hurts with their words, one could say, “I love you, but I cannot allow you to speak to me that way, so I’m going to hang up/leave now.” Depending upon who you’re saying these words to, you might be in for an emotional backlash, so make sure you have a strong support system–like that trusted friend and pastor I mentioned. I cannot recommend the book, Boundaries, highly enough. It is filled with wisdom and guidance for every kind of relationship–good and bad.]
I’d love to hear how you all plan to celebrate Mother’s Day. If you’re a mom yourself, what was the best gift your child ever gave you? Traditional means of celebrating the day are all lovely: eating out, flowers, chocolates, spa days, and more. But how about other, less common ideas? How about writing her a poem? “Buying” her a star because she’s a star? Making a special card and listing 10 reasons you love her in it?
Whatever your plans for the special day, whether you spend them with your mother or with your children, or with women who have become like mothers and daughters, I wish you a special day filled with memories and blessings. If trying to honor your mom is difficult because of past hurts, I pray strength to simply do the best you can. Relationships are not easy, are they? But with God’s help, I believe we can find both the good in them and the grace we need to live them out. Happy Mother’s Day to you all!
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