When Anna Jarvis in 1908 pushed for creating a national holiday to honor mothers, she had intended to create a very personal day where each person would go back home and celebrate it with their mothers. She had intended it to be a religious event as the first celebration was at her home church, a Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. Over time as the day became commercialized, she opposed the day's designation as she felt it lost the personal nature of her intent.
As I have been reflecting on Mother's Day and how to spend it with a greater focus on mothers around me and less commercially focused, I found myself thinking about mothers in the Bible. One major theme that seems to come through for me is the pain that mothers experience.
Eve had one of her sons (Cain) kill his brother (Abel)
Hagar had her son (Ishmael) abandoned by his father (Abraham) and prayed to God that she does not have to see her son die
Rebekah had to send a son (Jacob) away to keep him alive because he cheated his brother (Esau) of inheritance
Mother of Moses had to put her son in the river to die because, as a Hebrew slave in Egypt, she was not allowed to have a son
Hannah had to endure taunting because she was childless, but when she finally had a son (Samuel), she had to give him up to be raised by a priest in the temple
Naomi had to see her husband (Elimelech), and both of her sons (Mahlon and Chilion) die in the foreign country and had to go back home with nothing
Mary had to witness her son being humiliated, tortured and put to a cruel death of a criminal
There are also many other stories of mothers enduring all kinds of pains for their children, but their faith is also told in these stories. Mothers faced their difficulties, but they lived out their love and faith. So on this Mother's Day, let us remember the mothers of our lives who have shown us faith as they endured great travail and reminded us that God is always faithful.
Happy Mother's Day to all mothers, who model mother's love, and who love us like a mother.