Mom's Love, God's Love Mother's Day 2019
In the love of a good enough mom, you get a glimpse of the love God has for you.
Mother’s Day 2019
This Mother’s Day one of my mom’s is missing. Sherri’s mom lost her battle to cancer this past August. Another family we know said their final formal goodbyes to mom this week. If you a grieving “a mom gone” today my heart aches with you. “Losing a mother is one of the deepest sorrows a heart can know; even though her goodness, her caring, and her wisdom live on like a legacy of love that will always be with you.” My own mother is not doing well at all, that slow slide into dementia; it’s so hard to walk through this time remembering how strong, how sharp, how wise mom was. Then I am sure there are some here today who feel pain because you didn’t have a good enough mother. No moms are perfect, but some mom’s get so wrapped up in themselves that they hurt you. I weep for the babies aborted and the mothers who chose to do so for the sake of convenience. There are mom’s who’ve lost children, a miscarriage, a death, and those whose kids are addicted, imprisoned, in pain themselves or like my son injured beyond human repair. I think of the single moms struggling to make ends meet, going without so her children don’t have to. I can’t forget the women who wanted to be moms but can’t. Mother’s Day can be full of grief and pain. If you are hurting today, take your pain to God. Tell Him. I believe He will cry with you, and wrap you in arms and give you the grace to carry on.
Today I want to explore the characteristics of a good enough mom, to get a good picture of what mothering love looks like, and in doing so get a glimpse of God’s mothering love for you. Finally, I will give you an opportunity to enter into God’s love.
Good enough moms are faithful. She got pregnant, her body changed, she carries her baby, intimately connected, she feels that life stirring inside her. She has dreams and hopes for her unborn. Then there is all the discomfort near the end of the pregnancy, followed by the pain of childbirth. Mom gives her baby food from her own body. An unbreakable bond is formed. It’s in our mother’s arms, her eyes, that we get our first taste of love. That love she will always have for you. Moms are faithful.
Moms sacrifice sleep, schedule, sometimes career as they nurture their little ones. The task gets that much harder when there is more than one to look out for, to make sure they are safe, fed, dressed, well-mannered and happy. They want the best for the child. Sometimes that means working an extra job on top of the monumental task of being a good enough mom. She will spend sleepless nights sitting at the bedside of her sick one. Doesn’t matter the cost, she’s willing to pay it if it benefits her child. Mom’s sacrifice.
Good enough moms are always concerned about the welfare of their children. As we were leaving Heather’s Point Loma Nazarene University graduation, Sherri tells Matt our 36-year-old, “drive carefully.” Moms can’t help it. Even if they have great faith, they still seem to worry. I read this on Pinterest: “Mothers don’t sleep. They just worry with their eyes closed.” A good enough mom will die for her child, even when the child has become an adult. Mom’s protect.
When that beloved child is troubled, when that precious child does troubling things, when that dearest one is in trouble, they weep. I have prayed with many a mom for their wayward child, the one who is on the wrong path, the one in the system, the one on drugs, the one who drinks too much, the one who hangs with the wrong crowd, the one who mom in her wisdom sees is choosing to bring unnecessary hurt and pain into their lives. There is a unique pain the good enough mom feels when their children are not thriving, worse when they are trapped in some pain of their own. Moms of faith cry out to God for the deliverance and restoration of their children. Moms intercede.
What good enough mom doesn’t want the best for her child? Not only do moms want their kids to be a success, but they also want them to be happy. Moms cheer their kids on, moms are their child’s number one supporter. With every milestone, she finds great satisfaction that her baby is doing well. Every victory is an opportunity to rejoice. Moms celebrate.
No matter what age you attain, when the world comes crashing in Moms comfort. Moms will walk with you through the dark times, stand with you in the storms of life, speak encouraging words, or be silent; regardless you know that they are there with you. That arm around the shoulder, that squeeze of the hand, that tear or smile somehow eases the situation, takes the fear, the pain, the anxiety, down a notch, calming your soul. Moms comfort.
Motherhood is hard work. Hilary Rosen said, “As a mom, I know that raising children is the hardest job there is.” It’s physically grueling, emotionally exhausting, and intellectually numbing. Moms are faithful, moms sacrifice, moms protect, moms intercede, moms celebrate, moms comfort. Why? -- because moms love. It’s in a mother’s love that we get a glimpse of the love of God.
In the Creation story, it is revealed that God made humanity in His own likeness, male and female. Masculinity and femininity reveal the image of God. The great female mystic of the 14th century Julian of Norwich wrote: “as truly as God is our Father, so truly is God our Mother.” ( Julian of Norwich, Showings, translated and introduced by Edmund Colledge, O.S.A. and James Walsh, S.J. (Paulist Press, 1977) p. 295)
In our faith tradition thinking of God as a mother is pretty much unusual. Traditionally its: “God our Father, Christ our brother…” The scripture calls Jesus the son and Yahweh the Father. But here’s a twist: Recall the Bible sees the Church as the Bride of Christ, lock that into you thinking and every believer is female. I have a hard time identifying with Isaiah 54:5 “For your Maker is your bridegroom…Nowhere in scripture is God referred to with feminine pronouns. But we might be in error if we totally assign Yahweh a gender, certainly Jesus was male but can we be so sure about Yahweh?
John 4:24 (MSG)
God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration."
I’ll push the gender questions aside and simply point out that a good enough mother’s love is a glimpse of the kind of love God has for you.
If you have ever wondered what God is like. If you were blessed with a good enough mom, then you have just an inkling of God’s love for you.
Moms are faithful, “I gave birth to you, I loved you first, I love you still, I always have and always will.” God is that much more faithful. Faithful is the trait described by words like dedicated, committed, steadfast, unswerving, truehearted, loyal. That’s what you find when you enter into a right relationship with Him.
God is faithful to you.
Psalms 119:90 & 2 Timothy 2:13 (NIV)
Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures….if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.
Moms sacrifice. “A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.” (Agatha Christie) We believe in the incarnation, God taking on flesh, becoming human in the man who we know as Jesus of Nazareth, and in obedience sacrificed himself so that you can enter into a right relationship with God. The whole idea of being born again (John 3:12-13), being born of the spirit, is a picture of God giving you birth. As a mother sacrifices to bring her child into this world, so God sacrificed His one and only Son that through your belief in Him you can be born again.
Michael Shermer likes to point out the insanity of God actions. He writes: “So…God sacrificed himself to himself to save us from himself.” Such a statement is accurate, and it only makes sense when one understands the story of God. C.S. Lewis gets the point across in his children’s book: “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.” For me, this God sacrifice is an example of love that knows no bounds when it comes to making sure the beloved has all he or she needs to enter into a right relationship with Him.
Moms protect. “There is no greater warrior than a mother protecting her child.” (N.K. Jemisin). I don’t know who said this but I really like it: “Mama bear is such a sweet way to describe the fact that I’d tear you open and eat your insides if you hurt my child.” This same protectiveness we see in God. The Psalmist wrote God won’t let your foot slip (Psalm 121:3). The Psalm was sung by those on the journey from home to Jerusalem for the Passover. It most likely was a long journey. So is our journey as we walk the path of salvation. God is working to protect you from falling off that path. God love reaches out to everyone with the desire that you not perish. God protects you from an eternity without Him.
Psalms 121:3-7 (NIV)
He will not let your foot slip-- he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you-- the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm-- he will watch over your life;
Allow me to reiterate—nothing can happen to you that would pluck you out of God’s hand. God works to keep you from leaving the path of salvation. He shields your life from all that would overcome you.
Moms intercede. A mom of faith stands in the gap and beseeches God to do everything she would do if she could, she stands in the gap and pleads your case, she prays down God’s blessings upon you. Never underestimate the power of a praying mom. Sometimes it takes years of diligent prayer to rescue her child, time and time again I have seen a mother’s prayers prevail and circumstances change for their beloved. In such prayers, we get a glimpse of the One who intercedes for us
Hebrews 7:25 (NIV)
Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him because he always lives to intercede for them.
Jesus is praying for you right now. Bringing your need before the Father. Interceding for you that your needs be met.
Moms celebrate. You can always find her in the bleachers cheering you on. She plans the parties, the birthdays, the graduations, the holidays; all the milestones of your life, she’s been there beaming with joy over you. Moms are life’s number one cheerleaders without uniforms.” (Richelle Goodrich) There is One who loves you even more than your mother and He celebrates you being you.
Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)
The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."
Moms comfort. Princess Diana is quoted as saying: “A mother’s arms are more comforting than anyone else’s,” so true. Was it not in her arms and the sound of her voice that dried up your tears when you were upset? Her kiss makes the pain of a cut or scrap disappear? Did her words “It's going to be alright” give you room to breathe as fear fled the room? Look what mom’s comfort accomplished a change of heart, a change of mind, a change of conduct, mother’s comfort transforms us. If you allow God to comfort you, the same things are experienced.
Isaiah 66:13 (MSG)
As a mother comforts her child, so I'll comfort you.
The love of a good enough mother is a glimpse of the love that God has for you. Like a good mom, God does not manipulate you. God does not force himself upon you. God does not seek to control your life. Mom’s rules were for your protection. God’s rules the same. A good enough mom loves you, God loves you. You never asked for your mom's love, you don’t have to ask for God love, you simply enter into it.
Jesus, the week before his execution, looked upon Jerusalem, the city that represents the people of God, and said:
Matthew 23:37 (MSG)
"Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Murderer of prophets! Killer of the ones who brought you God's news! How often I've ached to embrace your children, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you wouldn't let me.
Will you let God love you? All you have to do is ask to enter into a right relationship with Him. He’s sacrificed so that all you need to enter into his love is desire it. Acknowledge that you are stranger to God’s love. Believe that Jesus made it possible for you to thrive in God’s love. Commit yourself to learn how to live in God’s love. Then simply ask. God will gather you in and make you no longer a stranger to His never-ending love.