Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "When Mothers Of Salem"1 (Lyrics)
2 Timothy 1:7 – God doesn't want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible. (MSG)
John 19:26 – When Jesus saw his mother and the follower he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son." (NCV)
I'm headed up the hill, going home. It is Mother's Day, and a sad-faced man is coming towards me with some flowers. "For your mother?" I say, smiling at the bouquet. He doesn't smile back, but he stops, as though he needs to tell somebody what's going on. "Yes, my mother," he says. "But she may not even know me." He is assessing whether or not to trust me. I turn my walker around, settle in to listen. "Do you know anything about dementia?" he asks. "Both my parents had it," I say. "So, your mother does, too?" He nods. "But here you are, knowing how hard a visit can be, yet still you go with your flowers." He looks a little sheepish, telling this to a stranger, but he seems relieved. "Someday, you'll look back and be so glad you went," I say.
His shoulders straighten a bit, and some of the sadness leaves his face. "It isn't easy," he says, letting out a sigh, which says that he debated with himself this morning whether or not to go. "It's just my brother and me, now." I don't ask why he is alone or where the brother is. "You are a credit to your mother," I reassure him. "One thing that I've learned is that just because things aren't going the way that we want, doesn't mean that they aren't going the way that they should." He nods. "God is in it," I say. The dread that I'd seen on his face seemed to be dissolving somewhat. "Good to talk to you," he says. Then, he heads on down to see the mother who may not know him anymore.
I pray for him as I turn the walker back up the hill. I pray for the very pregnant, very young mother-to-be, coming out of the women's shelter in the next block, and then for the kid who joins me briefly to talk about why she just can't seem to stay sober … ah, the opportunities to mother.
What does God want us to do about mothers who have not (perhaps cannot) show us the love and care that we long for, due to something in them that we may never know? Or when we lose a mother too early? Or never knew one at all? God's love equips us to mother others in their distress, knowing that we are cared for by Him. A friend brushes a crumb off our face as we leave the table. Someone brings a casserole when we are sick …
Isaiah 66:12a,13a – For thus says the Lord: As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you. (MEV)
Prayer: Dear God of grace and wisdom, we are thankful for every opportunity that You bring us to share the strength and hope that comes solely from You. Particularly, we thank You for the ability to mother, whether or not we are women or have given birth. We are grateful for the mothering that comes to us, all through our lives, as we seek Your face. Amen.