From the moment of conception, a mother and her child are connected in the most intimate way. We are one with our mothers and for nine months our mothers carried us in faith that we will be born. She pushed aside her own comforts and worries to give us life.
A mother’s deep love for her child builds the faith that the child has in themselves and this provides a foundation for faith in God.
The book of Sirach reminds us to:
“honour your father and never forget the birth pangs of your mother.”
I am so blessed to journey with many young mothers. I have more than ten first cousins who are mothers and my sister is an amazing mother of twelve children. I am often in awe of their selfless devotion to their children, pushing past exhaustion, hunger and thirst to first attend to their child’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
At these times, I often reflect on the passage that:
“women will be saved through childbearing if they continue in faith, love and holiness …” – 1 Timothy 2:15
When I see the lengths, mothers go to care for their children I can see why.
Perhaps I am not qualified to link this passage to Matthew 25 but it has always highlighted this for me
“For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink… I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me…’
Truly I tell you, that whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
A mother feeds her children when they are hungry, clothes them, cares for them when they are sick and seeks to be with their children, in good times but also in times of loneliness; in times where they might feel alone or a stranger to others.
I often marvel at how deeply a mother knows her children, their different personalities, temperaments, likes and dislikes and how mothers are able to meet and manage their children’s individual needs.
As a child, you often wonder how Mum is always a few steps ahead, particularly when you are trying to get out of trouble. During the teenage years you might think that you know a lot more than your mum; but as an adult you come to realise that a mother’s worth and her insights from so many years of self-sacrifice cannot be measured.
The way a mother knows and loves her children sets them up to believe that God can know us deeply and love us unconditionally. The role of a mother never ends and certainly at 34 years of age my mum is still my rock and refuge. My mother always affirmed me, she told me I was smart and that nothing was out of reach with hard work and God’s love and protection. Mum kept God as the centre of our home and because of this I never doubted God’s existence.
It was not until I was at university that I first reflected on the fact that faith was a gift from God and not something everyone had. My university chaplain asked me to “Thank God for the gift of faith that he has given you,” I realized that day that my mum’s convictions and witness enabled me to receive God’s gift of faith.
As I reflect upon this, I know for sure that my mother and her sisters, my aunties are the reason why I believe in God. They created an environment where faith and life were inseparable. They taught me to praise God in the good times and run to Jesus in the hard times. It appears simple but the gift of faith in God, the father the son and Holy spirit is truly the greatest blessing of my life. I thank God for gift of my mother and for surrounding me with beautiful mothers that point me towards the kingdom of God.
With Mother’s Day around the corner, it is a really enriching exercise to reflect on the gift of our mothers. Where there could be issues of unforgiveness we can allow God to help us to forgive. The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the fragility of life and its worth taking a moment to be grateful for the gift of life that God gave us through our mothers and if they are still with us to express our gratitude.