The Perfect Mother?
Mothers face a lot of pressure. Anything less than perfect feels like you are damaging your children for life. To be honest, a lot of Mother’s Day sermons don’t help. Preachers pick out one or two passages and hold them up as mirrors to women who already struggle with feeling inadequate. Maybe preachers need to read the Bible, and do a quick survey of Biblical motherhood.
The first mother, Eve, did such a good job with her boys that one murdered the other. Sarah, Abraham’s wife, loathed her step-son, and had to wait until she was on Medicare to give birth. Leah and Rachel turned their children into bitter rivals, setting the stage for deceit, competition, and shame for decades.
Moses’ mother did save him from execution, but she put him a river full of crocodiles. Someone call child protective services! Hannah wanted a child so bad she promised him to God. As soon as he was weaned (Probably 3 years old) she took him to the Tabernacle and left in the care of an old man who was blind. Shouldn’t she be arrested for child abandonment? Hosea’s wife, Gomer, kept having babies and running off. In the end, he never really know which were his and which belonged to some other guy. Talk about family issues.
Mary, the mother of Jesus started off pretty well. She submitted to God and ponder all the wonders of his birth in her heart, but when he was an adult, she rounded up her other sons and said, “Let’s go get your older brother. He’s lost his mind.” Always a nice re-enforcement when your Mom thinks you are crazy.
The mother of James and John kept nagging Jesus to give her boys special treatment. She wanted her boys to sit on the right hand and on the left hand of Jesus, which is like a Mom saying to a coach, “My boys will be your starting pitcher and first baseman.”
Aren’t there good moms in the Bible? Sure. Paul in Romans 16 talks about Rufus and then says, “Tell his Mom hello. She has been like a mother to me.” I makes me wonder if she told Paul to eat his vegetables. There are other moms who never got recognition, but surely walked with their families through tough times. Noah’s wife was stuck on a cruise with her sons and daughters-in-law, with a zoo on board. She must have been remarkable; no one was murdered. David’s mom raised eight boys; her laundry load must been incredible.
One of the reasons I trust the Bible is it never gives us fairy tales. It gives us truth. And the truth is there were no perfect mothers in the Bible, just as there are no perfect mothers on earth. Your mom and my mom were sinners in need of grace. If you are a mom, you need grace. You also need to be delivered from ridiculous expectations of perfection.
On this Mother’s Day, I would like to convey to you the verse I think every mother should claim: “28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).” Here’s the good news: You are not perfect, but the perfect one is working good in lives of those little rascals you gave birth to. This Mother’s Day, give yourself the gift of His grace