Today, I want to talk about the hardest job there is – Pastoring a church. No, being a mother. Realize I have no experience in what I’m talking about, but I had a mother. That should give me some credibility.
Because I was born at such an early age, I don’t remember what I was like as a baby and how my mother had to cope with me. As far as I know I was a perfect child. Which would make my brother and sister responsible for our mother’s nervous breakdown.
Since I was born with a dysfunctional immune system, I was sick a lot as a child. Many of my memories are of my mother taking care of me. I’m sure that added a measure of stress to her life. In fact, I know that later I did add quite a bit of stress to her life.
Come to find out, my mom became a worrier. I take credit for that. And the older I got, the more stress I provided. But she handled it fairly well. I’m sure she was applauded when she got into Heaven for a job well done. But she did enjoy Mother’s Day.
My grandmother didn’t. At least the part of going to church on Mother’s Day. We had a tradition of honoring the oldest mother. There was a lady just a year or two older than she was so she never won. My grandmother was determined to outlive her so she could finally win oldest mother. She was never so excited to hear someone died as the day she learned that lady had died. The next Mother’s Day she finally won oldest mother.
Many ladies are like my grandmother and dislike Mother’s Day. But perhaps for other reasons. Some because they are not mothers and they don’t like being reminded of that fact. Others because they had a disappointing relationship with their own mother, and this day brings back unhappy memories. Still others because they feel defeated that in some way they failed as a mother.
And coming to church on Mother’s Day didn’t always help. Most of the messages I’ve heard throughout the years on Mother’s Day leave most moms guilty that they have never measured up to Sarah or Hannah and especially Mary. They view their lives with more regrets than successes.
However, not today. Today we celebrate. We don’t accuse. We don’t bash. We don’t want anyone to go away feeling bad. Even though some of us should be ashamed for how we’ve treated our moms and some men should hang their heads for lack of appreciation for all their wives have done, but no mom is to feel bad today.
Today, we celebrate the role of being a mom or the privilege of having a mom.
You’ve heard Jeff Foxworthy’s You might be a redneck…routine.
If you mow your grass and find a car…
If you’re dad walks you to school because you’re in the same grade…
If you have a complete set of salad bowls and they all say Cool Whip…
If you’ve ever fished in your swimming pool…
If you’re lawn furniture used to be your living room furniture…
If you own a Waffle House credit card…
If you’ve ever been accused of lying through your tooth…
If you’ve ever made change out of the offering plate…
There’s both the heart of the mother and the fact of the mother. You may never have given birth but you’ve assumed the role. So, let’s see if you’ve ever been a mother:
You might be a mother if you’ve ever…
- Offered assistance or had a conversation from the toilet.
- Fantasized about being alone for five minutes, just five minutes!
- Worried about kids getting too much screen time…then given them your phone to get them to settle down.
- Thought, "I JUST cleaned that!" or thought, "Yuck, how long has it been since I cleaned that?"
- Tripped over or stepped on something you didn't leave on the floor. Even after yelling at the ones who left it on the floor to clean it up.
- Cleaned up a mess that "nobody else saw."
- Ever wondered if doing the laundry this week was an absolute necessity or if we can let it slide another week or two.
- Ever smelled your kids to see if they were clean enough to go without a bath, just for tonight.
- Ever had the thought watching them sleep, “These are the sweetest little angels,” only to have them wake up.
10. You’ve discussed adoption with your husband only for him to say, “They’re getting pretty old. Do you think anyone will take them now?”
- Issued instructions. Then repeated the same instructions. Then repeated the same instructions. Then repeated the same instructions really loud. Then said, “If I have to repeat myself ONE MORE TIME…” Then wondered: why do I even bother?
- Absentmindedly said "mm-hmm" when your kids talked while you're in the middle of something only to find out you gave them permission to spray paint the dog.
- Found things in our purses that aren't even yours or found things in the shopping cart that you didn’t put in there.
- Told your kids to go to bed so you could stay up late so you could finish up all the things you had to do today and then went to bed only to find out you couldn’t go to sleep because you were thinking about everything you had to do tomorrow.
- If all this goes away whenever your child says, “Mommy, I love you.”
This morning comic section of the paper had a cartoon: Baby Blues. Dad said: I’ll take the kids for a little hike so you can get some Mom time. She said: That’s sweet. The drew her bath and her thoughts started: I wonder if Darryl packed enough water and sunscreen? Or Snacks? Wren is a beast when her blood sugar is low. Did he even bring their jackets? What about snakes? And ticks? What if his phone dies? How will the search party know where to look? The door opened and they shouted: We’re home! Darryl asked: “Enjoy your afternoon?” She said: “How could I? You had me worried sick.”
We guys can cause as much stress as the kids do. Wife looked at husband and said, why do you have a suppository in your ear? He pulled it out and looked at it and said, “I wonder where I put my hearing aid?”
There’s no way someone can fully appreciate their mother. Until they have kids. Then, instantly her value goes up. You start remembering those valuable things your mom told you, like: “I hope someday you’ll have kids just like you were so you’ll know what you put me through.”
But Moms have to learn when to turn it off. They can only nag their kids so long and then they become sweet little ladies. I found out why. One day, these same kids will be responsible for choosing a nursing home for them to live out her final days.
Actually, that’s far beyond a joke. Today, it is often the reality that we have to become our parents’ caretakers. That independent mom or dad who sacrificed and struggled, labored and loved, encouraged and corrected, now needs that from us.
It’s hard to transition to suddenly have to parent your parents. Many of you know what I’m talking about. So, if that’s the case, realize that the mom who was a blessing to you now needs you to be the blessing for her. So, listen to these statements and find one your mom needs to hear today: Or for all moms here today, play like I’m your child telling you how special you are:
“Mom, I may not have said thank you often enough, but I appreciate you so much for the special role you have always played in my life.”
“You are always the first person I call on for advice. You are not just my mother, but my counselor and friend and I appreciate you more than you’ll ever know.”
“You are an amazing, strong and selfless woman and I am so lucky to have a mother like you.”
“You were always there to kiss me and hug me when I needed someone to make the pain go away.”
“As I’ve grown older, I’ve become aware of just how much you sacrificed for me over the years.”
“You are soft and beautiful but there’s true steel in you too, and I know you will always be there for me.”
“I know we argue sometimes but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate and love you more than you could ever know.”
“I admire you so much, mom, and you have always been my role model. You have taught me so much and made me all that I am today.”
“Thank you for your unfailing love. I have always felt your love surrounding and protecting me.”
“Your love has made me feel secure but free; you make me feel grounded but like I also have wings.”
“Mom, I know that behind those comforting hugs lies a woman who is strong and selfless. I have come to understand how strong you’ve always been and I love you for it.”
“Mom, you are the glue that holds our family together. I am grateful for your endless love.”
“Mom, you have always brought out the best in me, showed endless patience when I fail and encouraged me to get up again.”
“If I put myself in your shoes, I would never have had the strength and patience to cope with a kid like me. Thanks, mom, for bringing me up and managing to stay sane.”
“Your love for me is patient and forgiving. It never failed, even when your heart was breaking.”
“What you have given me, is something more precious than any school or college could give me. You have shown me the power of love.”
“You have always understood me better than anyone else, mom. When no one has been there for me, you have always given me your support. Even when I’ve been wrong, your love has been evident.”
“Mom, you have always shown me grace when I didn’t deserve it. I have been rude and selfish, but you’ve always loved me anyway.”
Mom’s you deserve those words. For many of us, we no longer have that privilege to tell them. It’s amazing how precious they become when we can no longer tell them so.
What’s behind the heart of a mother?
Rom 16:1-2 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well.
What are our obligations:
Eph 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH.
Obedience fits a time-frame. Children – young. Honor is our responsibility from then on.
Being a mother is a forever position. You never can say you were a mother; you always are a mother.
The role may change. At the beginning you are totally involved in your child’s life. As the years go on you become less involved until they become adults and your involvement begins to fade away. Don’t be sad. Because, if that happens, you’ve successfully raised your kids to be independent and able to manage their own lives.
A momma bird raises her babies so they can leave the nest and fly away. Their life isn’t the nest anymore. She has raised them to be successful on their own.
So, what’s our final words today?
2Cor 10:5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,
Mom’s, what are the voices in your head telling you? If they tell you you didn’t do enough or you did too much, let’s turn them off and turn on the messages that are true.
God loves you. He made you a mother. He helped you in ways you never knew, and now rewards you with rest. Look at the pictures and think: am I glad I don’t have to go through that again. But enjoy the life God is giving and has given you. Remember, not everything is your problem.
But my kid got a divorce. Not your problem.
But my kid won’t go to church. Not your problem.
But my kid is in jail. Not your problem.
But my kid is gay. Not your problem.
But my kid wants to become a lawyer. Not your problem.
But my kid…Not your problem.
Your responsibility is to love them. Their choices are their business. If they ask, you can advise but it’s their choice. They can take your advice or not, just like you did with your own mother. And if it is their choice, it isn’t your responsibility.
What can I do? I’ve got to do something? Pray for them. Every day.
Now, if you had a mother. And she is still with you, honor her by how you speak to her. Tell her how much you appreciate her.
If she’s passed away, honor her by how you speak of her. Thank God for giving you such a special gift.
It is highly unlikely you will ever understand her personal sacrifice for you, especially if you’re a guy. So, tell her thanks.