As Mother’s Day approaches, I’m remembering my mother and the countless special things about her. I’m sure many of you are doing the same. After all, our mother is the first person we see, touch and love.
Mothers come in all sizes, shapes and colors. But no matter the diversity, they all have one thing in common: They love their children. No matter how old we get or how many people come into our lives, our mother is the only one who is there from beginning to end, the one constant. A mother’s love begins before birth and continues forever. It protects, nurtures and forgives.
And like God’s love, it is unconditional.
When I was very young, my mother got up at 4:30 a.m., after my father had built a fire in the coal stove and warmed the house. She cooked his breakfast and packed a lunch for him to take to his job at the coal mine. When I, her only child, got up, she fixed my breakfast, tidied up the house, and did laundry — the hard way. A galvanized tub on the coal stove was used to heat water that she’d pumped from an outside pump. She’d put the clothes in, rub them on a wash board, rinse them in another tub and, weather permitting, she’d hang them on the outside clothesline to dry.
Those post-depression years were not easy for anyone. My mother was only in her 20s, but she’d been taught early that wives and mothers must care for their families. She didn’t question it. She just did it.
But no matter how difficult the week, when the bell on the little white country church rang on Sunday morning, we were there, my mother teaching a Sunday School class and my father performing his duties as a deacon.
The years passed. My dad left the coal mine and things became somewhat easier, but make no mistake, it was my mother’s strength and faith that saw us through the hard times. She took care of family finances and, sometimes, when there wasn’t enough money to go around, she’d say, “Don’t worry. God will provide.”
She persisted. She prayed. She trusted God.
And God did provide. I don’t remember ever being hungry.
After I was married, I heard similar stories from my mother-in-law. Although they didn’t live in the coalfields, my father-in-law was occasionally without work and times were difficult for them, too. My mother-in-law was a devoted wife and mother who worked hard to make a good home for her husband and children. She was adept at stretching money and, using her imagination at mealtime, always managed to feed her family of four. My husband doesn’t recall ever being hungry either.
While neither of these women amassed a fortune or a wealth of material possessions, their children loved and respected them, and that was enough. They were proud mothers who received a great deal of praise for a job well done. “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her” (Proverbs 31:28).
In the end, it’s not the material things we leave behind that matter. The greatest legacy a mother can leave her children is wonderful memories. To close my eyes and see my mother’s smile and hear her laughter; to revere her strong belief in God; to lovingly recall her sometimes humorous efforts to teach me right from wrong, these are priceless recollections.
A mother’s love is strong. It is uplifting, supportive and unconditional. Of all the roles you fill in life, being a mother is one that has no expiration date.
Today, I honor and appreciate my mother. I remember the wisdom she shared, the stories she told and the characteristics that are uniquely hers. I am grateful for all she has given to our family. The greatest thank you I can offer is to share with others the best of what my mother taught me.
Dear Mother, I bless you today as I give thanks for the blessing you were in my life. I learned not only from the endless thread of your spoken words, but also from your willingness to give and do. Although I can’t be present with you now, you are an indelible part of my memory. I love you and am always connected to you through the light and love of God.
With gratitude, I bless and celebrate all mothers of the world, whether biological or adoptive, and the love they share. May they be blessed, knowing they are loved and appreciated.
“A mother is she who can take the place of all others, but whose place no one else can take.” — Cardinal Mermillod