This Sunday is Mothers’ Day (and if you’d forgotten, consider this a free reminder). For many, it’s a day to spoil our mums and grandmas, make them breakfast in bed, take them out to lunch, give them flowers and chocolates. For many, it’s a day to celebrate our mums and to celebrate being a mum.
But for another many, it’s a day that brings to mind pain – the pain of children or mothers lost or who were never known, the pain of unfulfilled longings and unanswered prayers, the pain of strained and severed relationships, of betrayal and disappointment.
Our God has a special place in his plan and purpose for mothers. Motherhood is the way in which he chose to give life to humankind (Genesis 1:27-28; Psalm 139:13), and the way he has designed for children to be raised (Proverbs 1:8; 6:20).
God also shows a special compassion towards the barren woman, and the woman who has lost her children
But motherhood also has a place in his eternal plan and purpose. We are told that through one of Eve’s children Satan would be defeated (Genesis 3:15), and all the way through the Old Testament the arrival of a new child brought the question, “Is this the one God has promised?”
And so, even our Lord Jesus Christ had a mother (Luke 2:4-7), a mother he loved enough to ensure her continued care after his death (John 19:26-27). Motherhood is an essential part of the gospel (Galatians 4:4).
Often in the Bible, what is physical and temporary is meant to point us towards something spiritual and eternal, and much greater. Motherhood is no different.
Because of the gospel, we enter into God’s new family as his sons and daughters. And in this new family, there is an opportunity for all women to exercise the ministry of motherhood. We see this in the life of Timothy, where Paul recognised the spiritual nurturing of his mother and grandmother. Paul himself was grateful for the ministry of motherhood he received from Rufus’ mum.
Even those who have lost or never known their own children, or for whom the physical relationships of motherhood are broken and scarred for whatever reason, can find joy and fulfillment in this service. Women in God’s family are called to love God’s sons and daughters as if they were their very own.
God speaks in the book of Isaiah to the barren woman:
“Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,” says the LORD.” (Isaiah 54:1 ESV)
Gloria Furnam wrote a book called Mission Motherhood: The Everyday Ministry of Motherhood in the Grand Plan of God. She writes:
“Mothering or nurturing is not just a calling for women who have biological or adopted children. Mothering is a calling for all women. Every Christian woman is called to the spiritual motherhood of making disciples of all nations.”
Live it: If Mothers’ Day is a tough day for you, bring your pain to the Father, and ask him to give you joy and fulfillment in his spiritual, eternal family. Let’s also pray for those for whom Mothers’ Day is a battle.
Praise and thank the Lord, too, for those women who have been mothers to you, in his spiritual family – for those who prayed for you, or read the Bible with you; for those mentors, those Sunday School teachers, those youth group leaders, and even those women who simply took the time to talk to you and show an interest in you.
– Clint Lombard