Mother’s Day has a tendency to bring a variety of emotions, depending on the person experiencing it. It can highlight the pain of broken relationships or the joy of good ones. It can remind us of Moms we miss or that we miss the role we so desperately want. For some it brings memories of pain and suffering; for others it’s a celebration of great joy in parenting. As I watch Mom friends, single friends and even grandmothers experience this day I can’t help but wonder, what’s the point of it all? Did Hallmark pull a fast one on us, or could there be purpose in this day? What I’ve found is that regardless of what emotions this day brings, it should lead us all to the same place.
Jesus for Those Who Suffer on Mother’s Day
Earlier today I sat with a counselee and described the dread and agony that Jesus endured as he prayed in the garden (Lk 22:39-46). We unpacked what Jesus knew. Jesus in his perfect divinity must have known not only about the physical pain he was destined to endure a short time from that moment, but what it would feel like for the wrath of God to be poured out upon him. What must it have felt like to become sin when he was perfect? But Jesus’ response to this horror was perfect. “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” What Jesus does here is so much more than deference and shocking trust in his Father. It’s also a demonstration of how to trust God when what we want is not what our hearts desire. Jesus was willing to go to the cross, not because he wanted to suffer, but because he trusted his sovereign Father more. So now when we suffer, we get to have a relationship with the one who suffered to an unbelievable degree but did not sin, Jesus. We also get a Father who knows what we need most. We get the promise of joy in and beyond our suffering; the same joy that was set before Jesus when he endured the cross (Heb 12:2).
Jesus for Those Who Are Joyful on Mother’s Day
On the other end of the spectrum is the mom who finds great happiness in getting to celebrate her life in motherhood. There is so much to celebrate about raising children, but make no mistake, joy rooted in anything other than Jesus is finite. When Paul tells the Philippians to “rejoice in the Lord always,” he’s giving a profound command (Phil 4:4). The type of joy rooted in the experience of motherhood will rise and fall depending on the mom’s successes and failures, but joy rooted in the person and work of Jesus will never falter. Mothers can have joy on Mother’s Day and every other day because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8), because he will never leave nor forsake us (Heb 13:5-6) and because he will leverage even our trials as parents to transform us into the image of Jesus (James 1:2-5).
Jesus for Those with Expectations for Mother’s Day
Mothers are among the hardest working humans on the planet. If a Mom isn’t in a season of changing dirty diapers, then she’s packing infinite lunches and spending hours in the carpool line. If she’s not doing that, she’s going back to work to pay for college or a wedding. If she isn’t doing that, she’s reminiscing about when she did. The point is, moms can easily feel like we’re owed something. Maybe a Mom might believe she is owed time with grandkids, or flowers from her husband. Maybe she is owed a phone call or a thank you card. While these things can be nice, these demands will bring disappointment. Only Jesus can truly satisfy expectations. Kids will get busy and not call. Husbands will drop the ball with a gift. But Jesus? Jesus satisfies our longings and fills our hungry souls with good things (Ps 107:9). These things are even better than Mother’s Day cards. These things also fill us with grace to extend instead of expectations to demand.
Jesus for Those Who Miss Their Mom on Mother’s Day
A good mom does her best to provide security for her children. It’s a relationship that provides unconditional support and love. When that goes missing, the void is palpable. However, our Jesus fills this void and understands even this pain. John 14:26-17 says, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him or knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” Jesus is your advocate when your mom is no longer on earth or has failed to care for you. This is the greatest news for those who grieve and look for comfort on this day.
Jesus for Weary Moms on Mother’s Day
Part of Jesus sympathizing with our weaknesses is his awareness of our physical limitations (Heb 4:15). He experienced what it was like to be busy and in demand, with things to do and problems looming over him at every moment of every day. When I am exhausted from my precious children and the million other things that need to get done, not only does Jesus know I have a personal energy expenditure limit, but he understands it more than even I do. In fact, he understands perfectly. He knows what it is to be weary, and he promises the weary who trust in his infinite grace that they will find rest in him (Matt 11:28-30). This weariness points to weakness that displays God’s power (2 Cor 12:9).
Jesus is better than Mother’s Day
Our hope on this day, then, can’t be in a celebration of our broken motherhood, but on a perfect person who endured all things, yet did not sin (Heb 4:15). Jesus brings comfort on Mother’s Day because he crushed death and is interceding for us (Rom 8:34). Jesus gives hope on Mother’s Day because his promises never fail (Rom 9:6-8). Jesus brings joy on Mother’s Day because his grace is sufficient in our weaknesses (2 Cor 12:9). Jesus is better than Mother’s Day because he satisfies the expectations of our souls (Ps 107:9).