I got to see my mom this weekend. She usually visits us on Mother’s Day. Watches David play soccer and lacrosse and comes to worship. This year I saw her in Des Moines with my other siblings. One sibling is recovering from a long surgery. The others of us travelled to visit him and then planted flowers at his house for when he returns home. He loves flowers.
The Bible tells us to honor our mothers (Exodus 20:12). For some of us this task is simple and natural. For others it is difficult and contrived. Some mothers are nearly perfect. Others have made so many mistakes that only God can clean up the mess. Either way, God says, “Honor your mother.”
My mom, Bonita, is imperfectly perfect. Despite her demanding job as an accountant and parenting my three older siblings, she loved me like I was the only one to love. I ran distance races in track. She drove thousands of miles to see me run around a 400 meter oval countless times. She was my biggest fan – celebrating the victories and encouraging me on the days I wished I was on the golf team.
She is not perfect, but as far as moms go, I am blessed. She enjoys and loves her many grandchildren. But she still loves me like I am the only one there is to love.
The role of being a parent is holy and sacred. Even if the parents are neither holy nor sacred, the role of parent is still sacred. Being a parent is ordained by God, the creator and sustainer of life. Being a parent has responsibilities and rights. The responsibilities are many.
Entire books have been written on parenting: but praying, playing, listening, and modeling a Christian life are a good start. These responsibilities are for the parent of a six-year-old child and the parent of a sixty-year-old child. The rights are many as well: smelling the hair of a sleeping baby who has recently been bathed, laughing with the child exploring life, watching the child hit baseballs or dancing dances or singing songs, witnessing the child become who God wants the child to be, and having that child care for you when you are no longer able to care for yourself.
Today is Mother’s Day. God’s command to honor your mother applies today as it does every day. Honoring them doesn’t mean putting them on a pedestal or worshipping them. It means seeing them for who they are and who they are not. It means loving God and our neighbor as faithfully and selflessly as mothers at their best have tried to love us. It means listening to them, praying for them, playing with them, and taking care of them to the end of their days on earth.
To mom and all the mothers reading this—Happy Mother’s Day!