By Melissa McLaughlin
What are some of your earliest memories of your mom?
One of my earliest recollections of my mom takes place on a small farm my parents owned when they first started out. I remember my mom singing a lullaby to me as we sat in the soft grass near a wispy willow tree that grew in a meadow just below the farmhouse. Willow trees remain one of my favorites to this day. Any wonder?
Most of all, I just remember being loved. I was given healthy meals and healthy boundaries, bedtime stories and time to play, goodnight kisses and nighttime prayers. Though we never had a lot of money, we had delicious food, clean clothing and a comfy home with a bountiful backyard and wondrous woods for exploring. I remember Mom making my favorite cake each year on my birthday. One year she even sewed a handmade collection of Barbie clothes as a gift for me! Every summer, we had a small list of chores to accomplish before lunch. If the chores were complete, she piled us in the car and drove us to the local community pool for an afternoon swim. This was the highlight of the summer, diving and splashing and gliding in the cool refreshing water! Mom and Dad took us to Sunday School and church every week and raised us to love Jesus, which is a gift that keeps on giving!
Though all these descriptions are sweet, they don’t do justice to the gift of my mom. How do you capture the love of a mom?
Being a mom means joyfully carrying out the daily grind with little or no appreciation. Mom drove me to doctor’s appointments, school activities and friend’s houses to play. Mom tenderly cared for me when I was sick, so a sick day was never all bad for me. She ensured the bills were paid, the groceries were bought, the meals were prepared, the teeth were brushed and homework was done. She kept us on a sensible schedule so we got to bed on time and woke up ready for school the next day. Though each of these tasks could easily be disregarded or unnoticed, when you add them all up, they make for a long workday! In spite the daily “to-do” lists that every parent bears, my mom made certain I felt loved. She was quick to offer a word of encouragement, a cozy hug and a sunshiny smile.
Above all, my mom continues to demonstrate a life of sacrificial love, putting the needs of my disabled brother before her own, day after day after day. This kind of love is the rarest of gifts.
As we remember our moms and reflect on ourselves as moms, however, we must remember that no mom is perfect. Often we recall only the soaring moments or only the moments of failure, both in our own lives or in our mothers’ lives. Looking at some of the Biblical moms, we see lots of inspiration and lots of failure.
In Genesis 4, the first mom, Eve, gave birth to her two sons, Cain and Abel. In no time at all, there was a rift so great that Cain took Abel’s life, despite God’s efforts to draw Cain close and provide the emotional healing he needed. What kind of mother raises children who would kill each other? A mother just like you and me.
In Genesis 27, Rebekah encourages her younger son, Jacob, to deceive his father in order to receive the blessing typically reserved for the oldest son. What kind of mother gets involved in deceit and favoritism between her own children? A mother just like you and me.
Contrasting this, in Matthew 15, a Canaanite woman, who was an outsider among Jews, pleaded with Jesus to heal her daughter. Jesus commended the woman for her great faith and healed her daughter instantly. A mother fighting for her child is a treasured image of motherly strength. Another mother like you and me.
In John 19, when Jesus was hauled off to be crucified and so many friends had fled, one of the few people who remained by his side at the cross was his own mother. This I cannot imagine. Standing at the feet of your son, watching him be executed for the redemption of the world. John 19:25 …but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
Jesus, with a heart of compassion says these words in the very next verse, John 19:26-27– When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
Clearly, we see Biblical mothers who inspire us and we also see Biblical mothers who have failed, just as we have failed.
Despite it all, God demonstrates His tenderness for a mother’s heart, for as Jesus hangs bloody and dying on the cross, He remembers in that very moment, the heart of a mother.
So this Mother’s Day, may you cherish the sweetest of memories that your mom gave to you! May you also remember that God can redeem those areas where we have failed, so let us release them to Him at the foot of the cross, look up into the eyes of Jesus and see His love for the heart of a mother.
May we draw near to Him and be filled with His love, that we may love others fully and point them to a Love that is deeper and wider and fiercer than a mother’s love…the Love of God.
Most of all, may we each remember this:
In our glory and in our failures, God loves us.
We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19
God sent His first touch of love to each one of us, through the hand of a mother.
What a privilege.
What an honor.
What a grace.
To be a mother.
From a Mother’s Heart – A Mother’s Prayer by Melissa McLaughlin
She Bows Her Head – Poem of a Mother’s Love By Melissa McLaughlin
Photo of Mother’s Hands and Child’s Feet courtesy of WordPress.com
Photos Below ©Melissa McLaughlin
My Mama went to Heaven in 2013. I miss her very much. I remember her beautiful hands. She always wanted to have her fingernails polished. Mama’s hands worked hard at the grocery store register, stocking shelves in the store and shaking hands of customers. Her hands comforted me with soft back rubs. Her hands held books and more. Many wonderful memories of Mama and how she used her hands. 🙂 Happy Mother’s Day!
Dear Melissa, this brings tears to my eyes. What precious and beautiful memories of your mom. Thank you for sharing. What a blessing that she used her hands to bring about so much goodness in this world. May your memories bring you comfort and joy as you miss her. God bless and Happy Mother’s Day!
Amen! God bless all the Moms!
Thank you, Ryan! Blessings to you, your dear wife and family!
You are so fortunate to have such a good mother! Lovely post!
I agree, Valerie! I am very blessed and fortunate to have such a wonderful and Godly mom! May God bless you and hold you close, as His daughter. God bless and Happy Mother’s Day to you!
Your Mom is very sweet! God bless her and you!
Dear Dee, yes my mom is sweet! I pray you can enjoy some good memories from your childhood, as well. May we rest in God’s perfect love for us as His children, as only His love can truly fill the void in our souls. Bless you!
Amen, so true! Blessings.
This was such a beautiful post! I am crying, which does not often happen when I read a blog! You portray the heart of a mother in such a poignant manner. When I read the scripture verse of Mary, the mother of our Lord, at the foot of the cross, the tears began. We are so blessed with the love of our heavenly Father with the gift of our savior, Jesus Christ. And when we think of Mary who possessed the purest heart that a mother ever could have, it is overwhelming. It does make me think of the verse that ‘we love because He first loved us.’: 1 John 4:19. I feel blessed to have read this Mother’s Day tribute…what a lovely childhood you had and what a beautiful mother.
Dear Linda, thank you for joining me here and sharing your insights in remembrance of mothers. Yes, I was blessed deeply with a wonderful mother! I pray that you are able to pause and cherish some good memories of your mother, as well. And I agree wholeheartedly, when I read the scriptures of Jesus on the cross and Mary there by His side, it brings tears to my eyes, too. Oh how He loves us! May the love of God fill you to overflowing this Mother’s Day weekend! Blessings to you, Linda!
My mother is eighty-five years old, and she was with me on Mother’s day with my children, husband, and other family members. We had a great day, and I hope you did too! Blessings!
Wow! Linda, that is a most beautiful picture of Mother’s Day! I love it!
I was able to see my mother over the weekend and spend time with my children. It wasn’t all together, but it was a sweet and cherished blessing. So thankful for every single moment!
Melissa, what a sweet and special post. Love all the photos and enjoyed how you bring out the successes and failures and love of biblical moms. And this, “Despite it all, God demonstrates His tenderness for a mother’s heart, for as Jesus hangs bloody and dying on the cross, He remembers in that very moment, the heart of a mother.”
Happy Mother’s Day!
Karen, thank you for joining me here as we remember the gift of mothers, a gift from God Himself! In the highs and the lows, the Biblical moms were used by God in spite of all their human frailties. Weak though we feel at times, may He use us, too! What a tender heart God has for mothers! Happy Mother’s Day to you! Blessings to you and your family!
Good morning Melissa, what a beautiful tribute to your mom. I appreciate so much the reminder of Biblical moms who struggled to stay in His truth, as we all do sometimes. Sometimes I wish there were 2 or 3 of me, not because of busy … rather it would be nice to have others who are stronger in my weaker mom areas. Then, theres Jesus. Thank you for pointing out his heart for moms. I received that Scripture in a new way this morning. May God bless you this weekend, you mother of three!
Good morning, dear Julie! I love the Biblical moms, too, because they are as flawed and human and lovely as each of us are. You made me with smile with your idea of extra “me’s”! The love of Jesus is so very beautiful, isn’t it? We catch glimpses of His beauty in the smallest places, like this tiny passage of scripture illustrating His deep compassion for His own mom. May our weaknesses allow His strength to shine through! May God bless you, dear mother of two! Blessings and love, hugs and prayers for you!
My first memory–very first memory–is of my mother caring for her father during what I later would realize were his last days.
It’s only recently that I’ve realized that her life with him had been one of shame at his alcoholism. She never spoke a bad word about him. She never told me anything bad about him.
Apparently, my oldest brother was old enough, in my parents’ minds, to hear–or realized on his own what the situation was.
Mother was living out a way to honor her father as the commandment directs us. My new knowledge helps me understand what she was dealing with as the grown daughter of someone who lived a dysfunctional life.
These moms who dealt with difficulty have such a great legacy for us.
Thanks for telling us of yours. God bless! Happy Mothers’ Day! God bless!
Nancy, what a legacy of honor and love your mother left for you! Thank you for sharing such a sacred memory with me. Reading your words brought tears to my eyes, for my grandfather also struggled with alcoholism and I watched my grandmother, my mother and her siblings treat him with a similar honor and kindness that you describe here. Your words resonated deeply with me. Despite the ashes of sorrow and shame, your mother shone with a heavenly beauty. What a gift! May we take these deep lessons to heart and pass them along. Happy Mother’s Day, Nancy! May God bless you and your family!
Love the pics, Melissa. I enjoyed this post. Jesus must have had a special love for his mother Mary. I hadn’t really thought about that in light of Mother’s Day until now. How pure it must have been for Mary to be honored by her son throughout her life. What a blessing! Happy Mother’s Day to you.
Thank you for reading and sharing your insights, Stephen! I was also taken by Jesus’ tenderness toward his mother, especially there in His final moments. Despite His own pain and suffering, He saw the suffering of His own mom and made sure she would be cared for when He was gone. Such love. Such grace. What a blessing, indeed! Wishing you and yours many blessings this weekend!
What a wonderful message. Brought back great memories of my mom. She too made special birthday cake for my (caramel icing ). We shared the same birthday. I love the picture with you laughing with your mom!!
Bruce, thank you for sharing your memories here! The caramel icing sounds wonderful! How sweet to share a birthday with your mom. I pray each precious memory will bring you joy. Blessings and love to you, Kathy and your family! Please wish Kathy a Happy Mother’s Day for me!
Thank you for this beautiful post! I have so many beautiful memories of my mother! As to Mary’s decision to remain at Jesus’ feet, one of my children had to be life-flighted. I was terrified! I didn’t want my child to be flown away without me being there, should that child die en route. I didn’t want that one to be alone. So, I did whatever the ER staff required, even though it was nearly impossible to remain absolutely motionless as they worked in the ER. I had to go. That was the only choice. I plastered myself to the wall and barely breathed. I said nothing. I was allowed on the flight. Thank God, my child lived! His mother at his feet would have been great comfort to Jesus. A loving mother would choose to do whatever their child required and needed in that situation. That’s why I believe that Mary stayed.
Oh Melinda, what a heart-stopping story and perspective you share. I can only imagine how terrifying it would be to wonder if your child would live through the next hour. Praise God for his mercy and the healing touch of the paramedics, doctors and nurses that your child could survive. Given your story, I can see this scene at the cross in a new way. Mary stayed at the cross out of love for her Son. How unspeakably, painfully beautiful. God bless you and your family, Melinda!
That’s the first time I’ve written about that publicly, and it was 21 years ago. Mother love empowers us to do otherwise impossible tasks. It may be the motivator to allow us to approach Christlike love in some small portion.
Thank you for sharing this sacred memory here, Melinda. God has so much to teach us through the hard times in our lives, but that doesn’t make these moments any easier.
I agree wholeheartedly that one of God’s gifts to mothers is being able to love our children to a sacrificial level that is hard to achieve in any other relationship. A gift from God that allows us to be more Christlike in one small way. God’s gifts have a way of uncovering layer after layer of beauty as we ponder them. Motherhood is just one example. Wishing you a blessed week ahead!
I so agree about motherhood and the deep capacity to love in that role. This may be one of our truly selfless roles starting when they’re in the womb. I know that not all women have this type of experience though, so I praise the Lord that he often provided this kind of love for me to share with them.
Yes, what a precious blessing!
Such a beautiful tribute to your mom! I know I take my own mom for granted all too often. Your connection to Scripture is poignant and humbling. I truly want to be the mom God has designed me to be.
The scriptures are both uplifting and humbling as we consider motherhood. I echo your heart’s cry – may I be the mom God truly designed me to be! What a beautiful thought and beautiful prayer! Bless you and your family!
I love the picture of you laughing with your mom! I am like that, too, with my mom. She is really my best friend in many ways, and I realize that is not always the case with every mother/daughter relationship. So, I am blessed. And it looks like you are, too!
You are right, Lisa, I am so blessed to have such a loving mom! And she is a sweet friend, too. What a joy to hear about your dear mom. Blessings to you both! May God’s love flow through this most cherished relationship in our lives.
What lovely memories! And the pictures you shared make me smile! Thanks, Melissa, for a thoughtful and meaningful post as always.
Thank you for sharing with me in the joy of these memories. I pray your journey of motherhood is a blessed one!
Enjoyed this beautiful tribute to motherhood, Melissa! The pictures were delightful, showing the joy of each person. Thank you for sharing them. I also enjoyed the comments. Blessings.
Dear Gail, I appreciate you taking the time to reflect with me on motherhood and the Biblical accounts of mothers who displayed both moments of failure and success. May God bless you and your family as you continue your journey in Christ!