My earliest Mother’s Day memories are of my father purchasing flowers for the whole family. The tradition he taught us was that on Mother’s Day you wear a flower to honor your mother: red if she is living, white if you’ve lost her. So my three brothers and I, along with our mother, wore red. My dad wore a white boutonniere.
Over time Mother’s Day changed for me. My inability to conceive a child (which I felt every day) was annually highlighted on that one special Sunday. Mother’s Day was the one Sunday in the year I was tempted (and have been known) to play hooky from church.
I recall feeling it acutely one year, as mothers rose to be honored, and I remained seated alongside an incredible young wife who couldn’t have stood even if she had a child, which she didn’t and never would simply because a debilitating disease had overrun her body. That’s when I began to look beyond my own discomfort to realize how, for so many women Mother’s Day is one date on the calendar they’d just as soon skip.
Jesus had the opportunity to memorialize Mother’s Day. Twice He had golden opportunities to celebrate His own mother in public. Instead, He redefined our reasons to honor women and changed everything for all of us.
On one of those occasions, Jesus was preaching, when a woman in the crowed blurted out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” Instead of celebrating motherhood, Jesus pointed to another reason to celebrate women.
“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it” (Luke 11:28).
In God’s gracious providence, He gave me a little girl and made me a mother. Looking into her blinking eyes the first day I met her, was the first of many glorious moments. But as much as I love being a mom, I cannot forget the women who share the heartache I felt for so many years.
Maybe instead of celebrating biology—and leaving out so many women—we should take Jesus’ advice on the subject (now there’s an interesting idea!) and celebrate ezers who follow Him and are fulfilling His mandate to be fruitful and multiply by advancing His kingdom in the lives of others. Maybe then, instead of giving young women examples to follow that may be physically beyond their reach or easily lost in this broken world, we’d be showcasing role models every woman can and should follow.
A Blessed Ezers Day to ALL my sisters!