A Happy Mother’s Day?
All the advertising and hype that surrounds Mother’s Day – well, it’s about soft fluffy slippers, pink dressing gowns, happy, well-adjusted children bouncing in on Mum’s bed on Sunday morning, with the very present that she’s been wanting. And that’s all great. But what if … your relationship with your mother ain’t all that the advertising industry tells you it should be?
Imperfect Families – Imperfect Mothers
You know the saying don’t you? You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your relatives.
And that right there is the starting point for many a mother-daughter or mother-son relationship. There are many, many adults who don’t have a fond memory of their childhood. Many who don’t have a warm place in their hearts for their mothers. Perhaps your Mum was far from perfect … or perhaps your Mum and you just clash, with wildly different personalities that just never, really seemed to “click”.
Many families in this world are dysfunctional. Many families in this world have been torn apart. And many children have gone their own, separate ways, just leaving Mum behind and paying, at best, lip-service to her.
I don’t mean to paint an overly bleak picture here, but it’s the truth; it’s the reality for many a person reading this blog.
The mother-child relationship can be a fractious one.
So, in the face of the advertising industry’s soft-pink-fluffy blitz at this time of year, what – if anything – useful can I share with you that might help with a less than perfect mother-daughter or mother-son relationship?
Something Useful This Mother’s Day
Well, the only helpful thing I have for you comes not from me, but from God. His wisdom, born out of His love for you … and your Mum.
“Honour your father and mother”—this is the first commandment with a promise: “so that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:2,3)
Now, that may, on the surface, not appear all that helpful, if your relationship with your mother is far from perfect. But listen up.
It was always God’s plan for you to be conceived and borne in your mother’s womb. She carried you, gave birth to you through much pain, and sacrificed an enormous amount for you.
Okay … she wasn’t perfect. Who is? Are you? I certainly am not.
Nobody ever gave her a manual on “How to be a Perfect Mother” … and even if they had, the trials, the uncertainties, the challenges, the fears, the hurts that she had to deal with while raising you – not to mention all your selfishness, immaturity and teenage tantrums – meant that it went out the window pretty much on day one.
There’s no such thing as the perfect mother. Never was. Never will be.
So even if your Mum was way short of perfect, this Mother’s Day … cut her a break. She’s sacrificed a lot for you.
I know … I know … perhaps you’re one of those people who doesn’t like their mother as a person. You’re not alone. But God’s wisdom for you today has nothing to say whatsoever to say about liking her. His call for you, today, here and now, is to honour her.
How to Honour Her
The dictionary definition of “honour” is: to value, to venerate, to hold in high esteem.
Just stop, think … remember the sacrifices your mother has made for you. All that she gave up, so that you could be the person you are today. Is it all that hard to honour and respect her for who she is and what she’s done for you?
And here’s the kicker in God’s amazing plan for us to honour our parents: the more we start doing this “honour” thing, the more He softens our hearts, and heals our emotions, and brings forgiveness and reconciliation to our hearts.
God never tells us not to do something, unless it’s bad for us. And the corollary is also true: He never tells us to do something, unless it’s good for us.
Honour your father and your mother … [so that, what?] … so that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.
Honouring your mother this Mother’s Day – whether you feel like it or not – is an entry point for God’s blessing into your life.
So, as they say on the Nike ad … Just do it!
Bernie, this was a wonderful, encouraging and timely piece of writing that I needed to read. My mum is 85 and I am her primary carer, although she lives in a senior’s village. I have struggled with ill feelings towards her for many reasons, I mean….really struggled!! I was finding it very hard to have the right attitude toward her when I read your wonderful piece.
Thank you so much. I am a Christian and mum is not. All the more reason for me to rise above my pent up emotions and ‘honour’ her. You gave me release.
God bless you for your wonderful work. I value every one of your writings.
Thank you for thinking of me and others whose relationships with their mums are not too good. I am an Adult with young pre teens and my mum hasn’t wanted to make contact now for 18 years. It is days like mothers day and birthdays and Christmas that I miss her and all the time wasted that we all could spend together. Thank you for encouraging me to look at what I am doing and honouring my mother. I love my mum and have said it to her through phones and writing.
A lovely piece ,i have some good memories,my mum has Alzheimers,so i tend to treasure them
My mum and I have gone through a lot of unusual situations in my life that were quite horrific to me. We never had the best relationship. When I looked at her side of the problems we had I realised why she acted in the ways she did. Then it was easier to forgive her. Although we live in different states I still talk with her on the phone for hours at a time. I love my mum.
My Mother was a cruel, violent, abusive woman; I have no love or respect for her. Have yet to grieve for her after 12 years. I looked after her, and the only reasons were, Jesus, and I had to look at myself in the
Thank you Berni for this. My mother died 11 years ago at the age of 91! I loved her dearly and she was a very special mother and granny. Of course she wasn’t perfect as you say, but I thank God for with many happy memories. Joy
Thanks for that message Berni. I don’t have a really bad relationship with my mother but I am also don’t feel close to her. My other siblings have pretty much distanced themselves completely from her. They probably won’t even contact her on Mother’s Day. I am the one who takes care of her( she is 83 years old) financially and otherwise, but I get the impression that she would rather be with either my brother or sister who are her favourites. I don’t feel appreciated and loved by her. So come Mother’s Day, I sit with conflicting emotions. “Why must I, it’s not going to be appreciated” and at the same time feeling ” because it’s the honorable thing to do and she is my mother and I do love her.” So your message has been very helpful in terms of putting things into perspective for me.
It is only through having God in my life i have been able to forgive my mum and love her after 56 years on this earth..i now feel her pain and am being treated the same by my own 5 children, but with the grace of God i go forth in the hope that God will heal their hearts and understand i did the best i could with the small amount of knowledge i had..The one thing i have always for all my kids is unconditional love and will continue to be forgiven before i die..It is so sad that there is so much dysfuntionality in the world today..Knowing what Jesus gave for our eternal life is some comfort..
Thanks. I love my mum and dad very much. They are gone to heaven , but I miss them very much. I just cry always when I talk about them, cause I miss them so very much. I wish they were still around so I can just hug and tell them how much I love them. Guide and protect us from heaven mummy and daddy. I love you’ll. Thanks and God bless. Oh I glad my parents Loved the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank God for my mum and dad for without them I wouldn’t be! Period! Mum and I had a good relationship and God was gracious and allowed me to lead her to Jesus and then at her death gave me the most wonderful assurance of her salvation. Another great piece Berni, thank you.
It’s very hard for me with my mother, cause every time I go to see her she picks on the clothes I wear & is being very bossy when I’m 53yrs old & go to visit her to see how she is doing. She keeps talking about her sickness when she is very well. She wants me to feel sorry for her. I have witnessed 2 her telling her about Jesus but it’s impossible so, I have distant from her as she is a very negative woman & I don’t need this in my life, so I get on with my own life & keep praying for God about her to make her understand that Jesus still loves her & I love her but can’t tolerate her but God understands what I’m going thru.
Thank you for such a beautiful insight. Peter
So true. The way to our hearts is through gods heart and love for us. Me and my Mums heart softened earlier this year and it’s the best feeling ever.
Thank you for this insight into our required response this Mother’s Day ……honouring ….a beautiful God ordained concept ….rarely seen in our world today be it in business in Government in Churches in friendship and in Family…..indeed just do it!!!!!!!
Thank you for this thought on Mother’s Day, my mother had an affair and abandoned her three children for a better life in 1958. We did not know where she had gone, it wasn’t talked about then, the pain, terror, and fear that we experienced goes on today. Over the years two of us have tried to have a relationship with her, she is 91 now and there simply isn’t a scrap of remorse, and she would do the same over again if it were possible. I struggle with this every day, would love to be able to take her out, or go to the movies with her etc, but it is just not possible. I struggle to honour her, but she feels we have abandoned her. She has a group of people around her her pander to her every need and she does not understand why we don’t fall all over her, I’m the closest to her, but a 6 hour drive away. It was not us who moved, anyway, thank you again, I might ring her up tomorrow in spite of the feelings that will arouse, blessings Faye
How strange that my name is Faye and when my mum was ill I did my duty, felt compassion but no love. I never had love or affection. When I gave my life to the Lord I discovered my thoughts are not as bitter as they use to be! I ponder what might have been but had to move on for my own sanity. It is not easy Faye and I found it a struggle and still do, but I have wiped disrespect from my mind and feel happier within! Like you there was no remorse (or no memory) for the past and I had to deal with that. I hope you find peace within tomorrow. God bless and take care.
Berni – so poignant. I needed to read this today – thank you with all my heart x