Anna Jarvis is best known as the founder of Mother’s Day. She worked hard to establish a day of remembrance for mothers because of something her mother once said: “I hope that someone, sometime, will [establish] a Memorial Mother’s Day commemorating her for the matchless service she renders to humanity in every field of life. She is entitled to it.” Then and there, Anna made a promise to her mother: “The time and place is here and the “someone” is your daughter, and by the grace of God, you shall have that Mother’s Day.” On May 9, 1914, her labor of love bore fruit when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed a national day of remembrance of Mothers. This Mother’s Day let us praise God for Mothers and encourage her to cultivate her most important relationships.
Relationship #1: With the Lord
The first relationship a mother must cultivate is between her and the Lord. The greatest commandment, according to Jesus, is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matt 22:37). If you want to be a good mother, become a godly mother. Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, “I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” He also said, “I regard no man as poor who has a godly mother.” Jesus calls you to “be born again” (John 3:3). You need to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He must be your Lord and Savior. Moms, there is no higher priority or more important relationship than between you and the Lord. Seek Him! Grow in your knowledge of Him! Love Him and enjoy Him forever!
Relationship #2: With Herself
The second relationship a mother must cultivate is between her and herself. While this might surprise you, remember what Jesus said about the second greatest commandment: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). Did you notice those two words at the end? The implication is that we take care of and love ourselves. Our love for others is to be modeled after our love for ourselves. The reason I have listed this relationship second is because if this relationship is wrong, it will have a drastic effect on all other relationships. Loving yourself (in this context) does not mean you exalt yourself or love yourself first, but that you think of yourself and measure your worth through God’s eyes. When your first relationship is correct, you don’t think less of yourself than you ought or more of yourself than you ought but think of yourself as God does. With this relationship being healthy, you can follow the Golden Rule: “Just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise” (Luke 6:31).
What does this mean for mothers? First, it helps you avoid the comparison trap. When you embrace God’s great love for you, you feel less of a need to compare yourself against others. Second, it helps you focus more on your inner beauty. The Apostle Peter included in his first letter instruction to wives: “Do not let your adornment be merely outward–arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel–rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:3-4). A godly woman would rather show off her gentle and quiet spirit than anything else. She would rather spend her time fixing her inner imperfections than her outer imperfections. These verses are not prohibitions of outward beauty or against taking care of yourself, but that to truly be a godly woman you must spend more time on your inner qualities than your outer qualities.
Relationship #3: With Her Husband
The third relationship a mother must cultivate is between her and her husband (if married). The New Testament makes it clear that wives should submit to their husbands (Eph 5:22,24; Col 3:18; 1 Peter 3:1). She submits to him because God has set him up as the head of the home. It is important to clarify what God means when He sets up the husband as the head of the home. Male Headship does not mean Male Domination. Raymond Ortlund wrote in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood about Male Headship in terms of Male-Female equality: “Let me define male-female equality: Man and woman are equal in the sense that they bear God’s image equally. Let me also define male headship: In the partnership of two spiritually equal human beings, man and woman, the man bears the primary responsibility to lead the partnership in a God-glorifying direction.” A godly woman understands that her husband (whether or not he is a Christian, or he acknowledges it, or he acts upon it) is responsible for the spiritual upbringing of the family and she works to help and encourage him. Time does not permit to go into detail on this topic; but a godly woman loves, prays for, and submits to her husband and his leadership in the home.
Relationship #4: With Her Family
The third relationship a mother must cultivate is between her and her children. A mother’s role in raising children cannot be overstated. As we remember that the husband is the head of the home, the wife plays a vital role in helping him and working together with him to train up their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph 6:4). Children are told to obey their parents (dad and mom) as they “train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). In fact, Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 2:7: “But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother cherishes her own children.” The Lord is pleased when children are nurtured, and rest assured that no time spent with them is wasted.
Relationship #5: With the World
The last relationship a mother must cultivate is between her and others. She is committed to her mission, which is the Great Commission. She desires to live her life as a living sacrifice and she wants to be an instrument in God’s hands to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10).