LOOKING out my window early last Sunday morning, I noticed a cow and her young walking past, stopping intermittently to chew on the grass. But she was walking with some difficulty:
Her front legs were wobbly from the knees down; they crumbled as the weight got to them, and she struggled to maintain her balance. Then it dawned on me: This is no ordinary cow; this is a female; a mother and an animal.
I did not know where she was going, but certainly, she was taking them some place, and they were looking for food. I did not see a father; but she was with them. At one time they had gone ahead of her, and I could see there was a struggle to catch up as she tried to increase her pace. I watched her go out of sight.
Isn’t it so sometimes with us humans? Many days we mothers may not feel well, but we have to go to work or go someplace to eke out a living for our families. The biblical injunction at Proverbs 31 speaks to this situation: “She rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household… v.15 (a) She watches over the way of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. (v.27) Her children rise up and call her blessed.” (v.28 (a)
Conversely, according to Washington Irving: “A father may turn his back on his child, brothers and sisters may become inveterate enemies, husbands may desert their wives, wives their husbands. But a mother's love endures through all.”
Sometimes all this is done at great sacrifice. Mothers are oft-times used and abused, broken, wounded, battered and bruised in the pursuit of their children’s happiness, and if she is not careful, may very well lose her life in the process, but the desire is still there to try; so she persists, against all odds.
|‘No language can express the power, and beauty, and heroism, and majesty of a mother's love. It shrinks not where man cowers, and grows stronger where man faints, and over wastes of worldly fortunes sends the radiance of its quenchless fidelity like a star’ ~Edwin Hubbell Chapin
“A mother‘s love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.” - Marion C. Garretty, in A Little Spoonful of Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul.
But what goads her on? Is it love for humanity? Is it that she cannot forget the child of her womb; the pain she felt at its birth; the humiliation she felt to bring that child outside of wedlock? Is she concerned that the child, if left alone/neglected, would suffer at the hands of the abuser, the destroyer of morals, dignity, justice, and law and order? It is surely a mother’s love. Such love is protective, and as mentioned in 1 Cor.13, it bears all things, believes all things, endures all things and never fails. Such love is fuelled by strong faith. Inasmuch as we may feel defeated when we are burdened or mistreated, that inner strength comes to make us stronger and develop qualities that will prepare us for the future.
“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” ~Washington Irving
Mothers would do anything in an effort to protect their children, even if it may appear that they are uncaring. They may put them up for adoption or walk out of their lives, leaving them in conspicuous places where they can be seen and cared for. These are all steps taken in the children’s interest. Are we not reminded of the story of Moses in Exodus, Chapter 2 – and how his mother had put him among the reeds along the bank of the Nile to save him from Pharaoh who had commanded the midwives to kill all the first-born of Hebrew baby boys? What wondrous love?
Just think of this: Some mothers would stand by their children, whether it is alleged that they have committed a myriad of offences, and whether they are incarcerated, or gunned down. She never ceases to visit, take something to eat, or even at that stage, offer a prayer or advice. At his funeral service, she would always declare, “He was a good boy.”
According to one famous quotation, “A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.” Do you remember the widow at Zarephath (1 Kings 17:7-16) who thought she would prepare the last meal for her and her son, then die? All she had was a handful of flour in a jar, and a little oil. Yet, when Elijah asked her to make a small cake or bread for him out of what she had, she did so willingly. Because of her faith in God, and obedience to His word, she was richly rewarded.
Abraham Lincoln remembers his mother’s prayers. He said: “I remember my mother's prayers, and they have always followed me; they have clung to me all my life.” Robert Brault honours his praying mother this way: “If you have a mom, there is nowhere you are likely to go where a prayer has not already been.”
“Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my field, since the payment is pure love.” - Mildred B. Vermont
And Tammy Wynette, in her song, “No Charge”, speaks of the little boy who wrote a letter to his mom, costing all the chores he had done during the day, and his mother’s telling reply:
‘For the nine months I carried you growing inside me, No Charge.
For the nights I’ve sat up with you, doctored you, and prayed for you, No charge.
For the time and the tears that you’ve caused through the years there is No Charge,
and when you add it all up the full cost of my love is No charge.
For the nights filled with dread and the worries ahead, No Charge.
For advice and the knowledge and the cost of your college, No Charge.
For the toys, food and clothes, and even for wiping your nose. There’s No Charge.
And when you add it all up, the full cost of my love is No Charge’
“Some mothers are kissing mothers, and some are scolding mothers, but it is love just the same, and most mothers kiss and scold together,” says Pearl S. Buck.
For me, a mother’s love is captured by the feeling one gets when standing in a sunbeam and being wrapped in a warm, comforting hug; a time when I am drawn closer to God. We all receive that unconditional love from someone in our lives, even if it is from the Mother within us.
So, this Mother’s Day, take the time to be still; reflect on all those who give you unconditional, motherly love, including connecting with the “mother” within you. Be unconventional, and express the gratitude you have for that love to the “mothers” in your lives. For in so doing, we realise that we are all connected and embraced by LOVE.
My mother’s love story is unique. What about yours?
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!