FaiTHought: Honoring Your Mother

With Mother’s Day around the corner, I thought it timely to 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?

Honor your mother and father…so that it may
go well with you and you may enjoy long life on earth.

The Reaping & Sowing Principle

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 back. 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.”

Honor Your Mother

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 the world takes some time to honor mothers.

It’s good for us…to stop and look at our relationships and identify what we value in them.

When the Relationship is Hard

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 establish strong emotional 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.”

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.

Ways to Celebrate

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.

My Prayer for You

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!

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16 Comments

  1. Your mother is truly blessed to have a daughter such as yourself and it was special to read your comments. My mother died when I was 12, so I always rejoice for those who still have their mother. God bless you on Mothers Day!

    1. That’s so heartbreaking to hear, Karen–you were so young. My mother also lost her mother young, by the time she was 16, both of her parents had died. She was blessed to have an older sister who took her in and loved her like a mom. In fact, my mom and I just visited her last week. Life is certainly not easy, but you have a tender heart and that can make all the difference. Thanks for chatting today 🙂

  2. My mother has always been kind, loving, caring and giving and I am so blessed to have her! She is 83 years old and in my thoughts each day. We talk on the phone each week and hope to be able t afford to visit mom and dad in October this year.

    1. Your mother sounds like a sweetie, Rose! How blessed you are 🙂 And I so hope you are able to visit them in October–saying a prayer right now for you!

  3. I was heartened to read your acknowledgement of how to deal with a less than stellar relationship. I have tried for many years know I am not perfect but am at the point where I am happier without seeing my mother. Is this what I wish? Is this what she wishes? Sometimes, we can have a decent time together but for me, the situation is not a happy one. Work in progress. She is 94 and it is hard, hard, hard.
    My own daughter is my best friend and I am so grateful to have her.

    1. I hear you Susan–I have a similar, difficult relationship in my life. I guess our only option really is to prayerfully walk through it as best we can. I feel for you though and agree, it’s hard. I’m SO glad however that your relationship with your daughter is such a wonderful blessing to you–yeah!!

  4. My mother was a loving, dependable mother despite having to parent her three children on her own for five years after her husband died at age 34. He was my stepfather as my biological father had divorced her when she was pregnant with me. They lived with his parents after they were married and his mother didn’t want her around when she had morning sickness and couldn’t help with the chores on their farm. My father was a very subservient “mama’s’ boy and couldn’t stand up for her. Can you imagine? He took her to stay with her parents and after a few weeks she was served with divorce papers. Then when I was three she married again and had twins shortly. She also had a rare blood disorder that caused her blood count to be very low and her to be extremely fatigued most of the time. She and my stepfather lived on a farm, but he did a lot of electrical work with his father who was an electrician so he was often gone long hours and she cared for us alone. She spent many hours reading to us and I have always been an avid reader. She saw that we were fed healthy meals, bathed and dressed in clean clothes every day. And she never complained. When I was 12 or 13 she remarried my second step-father and they made a home for me and my brother and sister on his farm where they both lived until each passed away in their eighty’s. My relationship with my mother was a bit complicated but I always knew that she loved me and wanted the best for me. She gave me the gifts of curiosity, creativity and the freedom to be myself. She, of course, was not perfect and had her faults but I always knew that, above all, I was loved. I feel lucky to have had her for a mother and I miss her a great deal. Her name was Rose and the rose is one of my favorite flowers (along with the daffodil).

    I am hoping to spend Mother’s Day planting flowers which I have done frequently over the last few years. I may see my daughters who are mothers, also, sometime during that weekend, too. But no big plans for entertaining or going anywhere special. Which I prefer. I like things low-key and work-free! Hey that rhymes! Maybe I should be my slogan for all holidays!

    Hope your Mother’s Day is joyful and fun!

    1. Thank you for sharing your story with us, Naomi. Your mother certainly had her share of troubles, but she didn’t let them stop her from loving and caring for you and your siblings. Sounds like you have some precious memories of her and that’s a true blessing. I think your Mother’s Day celebrating sounds absolutely perfect. I like to keep things low key myself, but sometimes it’s not up to me…your slogan is perfect 🙂

  5. Well, that one sentence doesn’t make sense, does it? I think I meant to say “maybe that should be my slogan or all holidays.” Got confused. Sorry!

  6. What a lovely tribute to your mother. I lost my mother when I was a teenager but was blessed to have a close relationship with her sister – my aunt. So you are right when you say to honor not only your mother but other women who have influenced us.

    1. I can’t imagine how difficult that must have been for you, Debra, but I’m so glad to hear about your close relationship with your aunt–what a blessing!

  7. It’s nice to hear about your mother’s upcoming 80th birthday! She sounds fantastic! My mother died of leukemia when I was only 24 and still in law school. It was without a doubt the absolute worst time in my life. Somehow (after a few years) I managed to pull myself out of the fog and depression and “move on” (although we never fully move on, do we?) I was always so jealous when I would see other adult women and their mothers. It still gets to me sometimes. The good news is that my mom and I had a wonderful loving relationship and I knew that she was very proud of me, as I was of her. Mother’s Day is truly bittersweet for me because regardless of what we do or don’t do on that day I always think a ton about my mom (and still hold kind of a little pity party for myself). I do look a lot like her and have many of her personality traits as well so I’m happy to carry those things with me throughout my life. I just really wish she could have known my kids:) I know there are people with much worse mother stories than me (bad relationships, abuse, etc.) so I try to take comfort in the fact that mine was a good one!

    1. Oh, Kathy, I’m so sorry you lost your mom so young–what a tragedy. That kind of trauma takes so long to work through, and no, you don’t ever fully move on. I think it’s neat that you “carry” your mom with you, both in your heart as well as in your looks and personality. That way your kids can get to know what she was like 🙂 I’m praying a special blessing on you and your sweet family this Mother’s Day.

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