Good Morning Beloved!
A preacher, who shall we say was “humor dis-advantaged”, attended a conference to help encourage and better equip pastors for their ministry. Among the speakers were many well-known and dynamic speakers.
One such speaker, boldly approached the pulpit, gathered the entire crowd’s attention, and said, “The best years of my life were spent in the arms of a woman that wasn’t my wife!” The crowd was shocked! He followed up by saying, “And that woman was my mother!” The crowd burst into laughter and he delivered the rest of his speech, which went quite well.
The next week, the pastor decided he’d give this humor thing a try, and use that joke in his sermon. As he approached the pulpit that sunny Sunday morning, he tried to rehearse this joke in his head. It suddenly seemed a bit foggy to him.
Getting to the microphone, he said loudly, “The greatest years of my life were spend in the arms of another woman that was not my wife!” The congregation inhaled half the air in the room! After standing there for almost 10 seconds in stunned silence, trying to recall the second half of the joke, the pastor finally blurred out, “…and I can’t remember who she was!”
I must say, I’ve had a difficult time writing this weeks’ lesson. Some of the problem, I suspect, is “Florida lag”…coming back from a week away is tuff! I’m still wandering around with harry Potter and the gang!
The other reason I’ll get to in a moment.
First I wondered if you know some of the history to Mother’s Day?
It goes all the way back to the years before the Civil War (1861-65), Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia helped start “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to teach local women how to properly care for their children. These clubs later “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” at which mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation.
Another precursor to Mother’s Day came from the abolitionist and suffragette Julia Ward Howe. In 1870 Howe wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” a call to action that asked mothers to unite in promoting world peace. In 1873 Howe campaigned for a “Mother’s Peace Day” to be celebrated every June 2. Look up the proclamation, it is relevant for today!
The official Mother’s Day holiday, however, arose in the 1900s as a result of the efforts of Anna Jarvis as a way of honoring the sacrifices mothers made for their children. After gaining financial backing from Philadelphia department store owner, John Wanamaker, in May 1908 she organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration at a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia. That same day also saw thousands of people attend a Mother’s Day event at one of Wanamaker’s retail stores in Philadelphia, of course.
Following that success, Jarvis resolved to see her holiday added to the national calendar. Arguing that American holidays were biased toward male achievements, she started a massive letter writing campaign to newspapers and prominent politicians urging the adoption of a special day honoring motherhood. By 1914, her persistence paid off when President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
Anna Jarvis had originally conceived of Mother’s Day as a day of personal celebration between mothers and families. Her version of the day involved wearing a white carnation and visiting one’s mother or attending church services. But once Mother’s Day became a national holiday, it was not long before florists, card companies and other merchants capitalized on its popularity.
By 1920 she had become disgusted with how the holiday had been commercialized. She outwardly denounced the transformation and urged people to stop buying Mother’s Day flowers, cards and candies. By the time of her death in 1948 Jarvis had disowned the holiday altogether, and even actively lobbied the government to see it removed from the American calendar.
Even though the holiday turned into something other than what Ms. Jarvis wished, I believe it still has a purpose in our lives.
To me, personally, it’s a reminder of how far I’ve come.
I’d like to tell you a little about my Mother’s Day Story. You see, for years, I found it very difficult to even shop for a Mother’s Day card. The cards available were never what I wanted to say, never what I felt. The same problem happened on Father’s Day.
No, it’s not that they didn’t convey my love for my Mother…you see, I had a difficult relationship with my Mother. So the cards that expressed love for the Mother, for all the wonderful things that Mothers do for their children, I just couldn’t relate.
You may be surprised. For many of you know that I call my Mother nearly every day just to touch base and make sure she is ok. And I have been doing this for years, not just since I moved here.
I have been my Mother’s caretaker more than she’s been mine.
So, what changed? My grandmother, my Mother’s Mother, died. And at that funeral, I heard my Mother say how she hated her Mother. And from that day on, I worked on changing the relationship I had with my Mother.
I didn’t want to hate her.
You may wonder why she would hate her Mother…that’s easy. The history of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse travels through a family until someone stops it.
So, it took much effort to overcome the feelings of abuse, neglect and not receiving much nurturing to get to the place where I am with Mom today. Lots of counseling and soul searching.
So, I understand how some of you may feel about Mother’s Day or Father’s Day…it can be very difficult. But it says in Exodus 20:12 Honor thy father and thy mother:
You might say, “Yeah, but my mother wasn’t honorable!” Well, the Bible says nothing about that qualification…it only asks, is she your mother!
And in 1 Peter 4:8 – ‘Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins – errors.’ So, to get past the idea of what a Mother SHOULD be, in my mind, I love her, unconditionally. And I understand that she did the best she could do at the time with what she knew.
It took a while. But it can be done.
Most of us probably do not need a reminder to love and honor our caretakers, whether they were Mothers or Fathers or Aunts or Uncles or even Grandparents. And we must not forget those Foster Parents and those who are not blood relatives but ‘relatives’ just the same.
My point, we are all male & female; made in the image of Mother/Father God. So, whoever raised you to who you are today, let’s honor them. Let’s honor the mother energy in all of us.
To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you;
To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you;
To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we appreciate you;
To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you;
To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we walk with you;
To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you;
To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you;
To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children – we sit with you;
To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you;
To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your experience;
To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst;
To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children – we mourn that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be;
To those who step-parent – we walk with you on these complex paths;
To those who placed children up for adoption — we commend you for your selflessness and remember how you hold that child in your heart;
And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate with you This Mother’s Day, we walk with you.
Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. We remember you.
So we honor all, not just the care taker of a child, but wherever the feminine principle resides there is a requirement for the caring, loving roles of mothers.
There is the mother energy in every human. It’s in you and it’s in me. And it’s in every human and I would say, every animal too.
So, let’s ask ourselves, who are our mothers? Was it your birth mother, a step-mother, your mother in law, maybe some other relative or friends? Where there teachers in your life that helped to fill a void that may have been there? There were for me, fortunately.
How about yourself?
Have you’ Mothered’ yourself through the years? How about recently? We all need that energy from time to time.
Remember, wherever the feminine principle resides, the “Mother” in us resides.
I ask you to really look at this question today and this week. Where do you see, and better, “feel” the feminine energy?
If you are looking for ways to show your love, here are some thoughts:
Many of us can probably replace the term Mother for another, like father, our aunt. But let’s look at it, there is a great message here, and it reminds me of the lesson I gave a bit ago about Love being a VERB. Here are 7 ways we can love our Mother:
- Love her verbally. Sometimes we have the philosophy—I don’t have to say the words, I love you, that somehow you already know it. Maybe we have the philosophy, “I have told you before; if I change my mind I’ll let you know!” Or, “I SHOW you love, I don’t just say it”…and that may be true, but we all need to hear those words, “I Love You!”
- Love her physically. When’s the last time you gave her a big hug w/ out her asking for it…or a kiss on the cheek, or a neck rub, or just sat on the couch and held her for a change? She deserves your touch and should never have to give that up completely! It would mean more to her than flowers or candy, or eating out.
- Love her patiently. Mothers have an incredible job w/ no pay. No position in the business world compares to the physical, emotional, and spiritual commitment she has in motherhood. It even says on the census form, No Occupation
Here’s the point, in spite of all she does for us, we often become impatient with her…we get so used to her taking care of things we come to expect it and are outraged that “those clothes are still dirty?”/that’s not ironed? /you’re out of my favorite cookies? /you know I like that over rice, where is it?
She’s picking you up at school because you don’t like to ride the bus, but you’re scolding her for being 5 minutes late!
Love her patiently. Because she’s tender to your needs is no reason to take advantage of her, its reason to be patient and to love her all the more!
It is unfair for you to be more kind, considerate, and patient with your friends than your own mother! In some cases, if you treated your friends like you treat your mom you wouldn’t have friends.
- Love her attentively. Mothers listen as you pour out your heart…she has a sympathetic ear, and always has…and even as an adult you’ve gone to her when you want someone who will really listen and understand…and she’ll always be on your side. It’s no wonder we like to talk to mom…she listens…but now she has issues, and now it’s your turn to be her “rock”…and take time to listen…it’s payback time!
- Love her gratefully. She needs a sincere thank you, and not just today, but from a genuinely thankful heart when least expected!
An elementary science class had been studying magnets, and how metal objects are attracted to them. At the end of the semester the teacher put on exam this question: 6 letters, starts w/ “M”, picks up things, what am I? Over half the children wrote “Mother”!
- Love her generously. There’s nothing too good for her, we could never repay her, but we ought to die trying before she does! She didn’t spend on herself unless all your needs were met…she could easily do without, and now it’s time for her to have something she wants!
- Love her honorably. As we said, “Honor thy Father and thy Mother…
Let’s end with the reading of “I’ll love you forever.”