May 10, 2020, Pastor Cliff Bergman
Mother’s Day is an occasion for us to particularly turn our attention to mothers; however, this year we need to adjust a number of the things we have customarily done. Due to the isolation requirements many won’t be able to go visit their mother. Typical Mother’s Day luncheons will be replaced with meals at home. Nevertheless, none of those restrictions prevent us from reflecting on our mother and the pivotal role she had/has in our life. Many will still be able to communicate by telephone or electronic means with their moms and affirm and encourage them in their special role. And isolation certainly does not keep mothers from realizing they are special and experiencing God’s well deserved blessing upon them on this Mother’s Day.
Generally when we think of people who are successful and have made a significant contribution to our society we think of people in business, education, or science, or who have held some prominent office. People whose names have become household names due to their participation in sports, or the arts, or government leadership. In the past couple of months we have become acquainted with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer in BC, whose calming voice helped provide reassurance as the coronavirus began its assault in Canada. Or Dr. Theresa Tam as she has given regular briefings about what is happening in our country and how we should respond. And as we scan history, the pages are filled with the names of women who rose to great prominence and success – women who left their mark in political leadership, science, industry, education, sports, the arts, and so on. It is easy for women to depreciate their role as moms and miss the enormous influence and impact they not only have on their immediate family, but society in general. Some women have forfeited careers or advancement in their jobs for the sake of their children and as they see the public successes of other women may feel inferior.
While the names of most moms will never be known beyond their immediate family, friends, and acquaintances in their community, that doesn’t suggest for a moment that their importance and impact as moms is secondary. Let me point out
I. Moms – You Are Important and Influential
The most influential time in a person’s life is the first 5 to 10 years. In addition to the obvious physical development that takes place, it is then that a person’s philosophy of life, core values, standards to live by, and priorities are shaped. It is then that a person’s character becomes rooted. And it is in those formative years when a child’s perception of who God is and their relationship to Him is grounded. While fathers also have a key role in shaping the development of a child and nurturing their appreciation for God, in those younger years generally mothers are more influential simply because they usually spend more time with their children. However, many of my comments apply to dads and grandparents too.
Moms often overlook not just the importance of their immediate impact on their children, but through them, their contribution to the health and wellbeing of our nation. It is easy to miss the scope of their role when their focus is generally far more immediate, walking the hall at night with a colicky infant or trying to manage with very little sleep as the needs of a child demand attention. Or when you come alongside your teenager who is struggling to discover his or her way and identity in a minefield of suggestions and opinions about truth and values. Or as you help him or her victoriously avoid the pitfalls of drugs, alcohol, and sex, as they prepare for adulthood and they don’t always appreciate your input and genuine care. In the normal course of life the thought of being important and influential isn’t usually in the forefront of your mind. Our world recognizes the achievements and milestones of women in business and community, but seldom pays attention to the mom lovingly caring for her children.
I want to remind you moms that you are important and hold an influential role in society. It is true most children won’t become prominent members of society; most won’t ascend to positions of great power and influence; most will simply be part of the fabric of society, but to be a productive and integral part of the fabric of society, consider how important that is! Moms have a significant part in shaping the journey of their children from infancy to launching them as well equipped adults. And a mother’s contribution doesn’t stop when her children begin their lives as adults, for while the nature of her relationship changes, there will nevertheless be occasions for support and care.
It may not be immediately apparent as you take time to read with your child, or grandchild, or help them with their arithmetic, or English, but it is far more integral than may at first appear. Or when you answer the endless questions that may seem unimportant and tedious at the time. Or when you spend time with your child when you would rather do something else. Often it is within seemingly unimportant and trivial activities that some of the most important values and qualities are established. The accumulation of them become the building blocks of a person’s character.
And moms and grandmothers have the enormous privilege of conveying to their children who God is and His role in their lives. She can help shape a Christian world view in the minds and hearts of her children as she teaches and models Biblical truth and values; as she exemplifies God-honoring priorities, standards of integrity, and character qualities. A mother’s faith and commitment to the Lord is indelibly imprinted through choices, responses, and the everyday decisions of what to participate in and what to avoid. Her qualities are conveyed as she goes about her daily routine and responsibilities.
O I know that even the impeccable life of a mom doesn’t guarantee her children will walk with the Lord and make generally wise and God-honoring choices, but even for those who stray from the Lord, the qualities and values children learned from their mothers are not blotted out.
Let me encourage moms to realize the importance and significance of being a mom. May all of us reflect on the importance of our moms in our lives. For many, your mom died years ago, for others your mother is at an advanced age, perhaps in failing health. Highlight things you particularly appreciate about your mom – perhaps some quality or trait that is evident in you. Perhaps it is the effort and sacrifice she invested in you. If your mom is still alive, take the time to call her, or communicate to her that you appreciate her and let her know some of the things that stand out for you. Whether she is alive or dead, take the time to thank God for your mom. And dads, take the time to thank your wife, the mother of your children, and express your appreciation to her today. Try to convey her important role.
Given the pivotal influence of moms, and the points I have noted, it is of course critical that . . .
II. Moms – Walk With God
The Bible goes to great length to convey the importance of walking with God, and certainly, in the context of raising and influencing one’s children.
Deuteronomy 6:5–9 (ESV) 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Though these words of God were penned thousands of years ago, they could have been written yesterday for they are so relevant to us. Our children face unprecedented assaults on truth and godly living, and on something as fundamental as belief in the very existence of God. There has been a dramatic shift in understanding truth – in recent decades we have witnessed the rejection of absolute truth, particularly where it relates to moral values and ethics – today the trend is, “truth is whatever you are convinced it is and are comfortable with.” The Bible as God’s word is exchanged by many for subjective and misinterpreted experiences. As well, people today increasingly encounter very divergent belief systems. That is the environment our children and grandchildren are growing up in and being influenced by. Thus the task falling upon moms, and dads, to equip their children to face those challenges is ever increasing.
In order for moms, and dads too, to effectively prepare their children to become the adults God desires them to be, and to be responsible members of our society, they must personally walk with God. The common thread running through Deuteronomy 6 is parents dynamically living out their faith before their children; their faith permeating through the entirety of their lives. As moms and dads conduct their lives in intimate communion with the Lord, and His truth is so integrated into the fabric of their lives, it influences every aspect of what they do and in turn conveys to their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, what it means to walk with God. Children observe, both formally and informally that their parents love the Lord – it will be unmistakable. They will see your love for the Lord determine your priorities, values, and philosophy of life; it will be apparent not only when things are going great and successes are being realized, but especially in times of disappointment and heartbreak; it is when we face crisis and defeat that what we really believe and value becomes most evident. Often times what we believe is conveyed quietly and subtly; other times vocally and decisively. A walk with God is never intended to be private and limited to what we do on Sunday, but is to be light to the watching world.
Moms realize your importance and influence, which underscores the importance of walking with God, and doing so with your eyes on the future.
III. Moms – Come To Terms With Your Past And Live For The Future
Some of you are encouraged by the great job you are doing, or did do as a mom, but others grieve over the past. The fact is, some also don’t look back on their childhood with fondness, rather they are reminded of bad memories and sadness, some were abused as a child. And when some reflect on their role as mothers, they grieve that their children don’t walk with the Lord.
Whatever, your past includes, it is important to come to terms with it for your future is dependent on it.
- Come To Terms With Your Past
Perhaps you didn’t know the Lord when you raised your children, or if you did, your commitment to the Lord was pretty nominal; you didn’t pay much attention to God’s truth. Or you didn’t have a good grasp on how to apply it, or you were juggling too many things at the time, and despite your efforts, you are left with lots of regrets. Some faced a failed marriage and that impacted your children negatively. Oh, how you wish you could get out a giant eraser and rewrite parts of your history as a mom. For others, despite trying to be a good mom and seeking to walk with the Lord in a meaningful manner, and seemingly having done most of the right things, your children don’t walk with the Lord today.
It is impossible to change the past, no matter how many regrets we have about it, but we can affect how we relate to it. Where we need to seek forgiveness from the Lord for what we did, or didn’t do, or from our children, we need to take that step. God is the God of mercy and abundant grace. Where there are issues that reach back to our childhood, sometimes scars you bear, where your mom is still alive and is receptive to dealing with it, do so, but where she isn’t, or if she is no longer alive, forgive her and leave it with the Lord. Trust the Lord to provide sufficient grace to enable you to come to a place of contentedness with the past. That doesn’t mean denying the past, but claiming the strengthening power of God through His Spirit in your inner to victoriously move on.
2. Live For the Future
Realize this moms, God’s will begins with where you are, not with where you could have been, or should have been, or could have been, but where you are. Seek to influence your children and grandchildren in God-focused living. Irrespective of the past, maximize the years ahead by walking with the Lord as best as you are able and doing all you can to influence your children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren to walk with the Lord as well.
On this Mother’s Day we honor moms – young and old; experienced and inexperienced; successful moms and struggling moms. Remember you are important and influential. Because that is so walk with God. Come to grips with our past as best as you can and then live for the future. May the Lord richly bless you today and throughout the year ahead.