A Mother’s Prayer
Unless you’re still really young and still coloring on kid’s bulletin, you will agree that a mom’s job is tough. Mom’s can’t help but worry and fret over their families and especially their children. It’s part of who they are! Sometimes I think I’m helping when I tell me wife to relax and not worry about another frustrating dilemma one of our children is facing, but then she reminds that doesn’t help. “That’s my job!” she says. Being a mom is hard. You don’t have to be a mom to get that.
Today’s Mother’s Day celebrates 109 years since President Woodrow Wilson first signed a proclamation (May 9, 1914) that made the 2nd Sunday of May a national holiday for the purpose of honoring mothers. Mothers are to be honored as…mothers. As we consider the cultural landscape I have to ask, “how much longer will this holiday last?” We are a culture of doublespeak. Everyone wants to praise his mother, on the one hand, and denigrate motherhood as a form of “chains” on the other. When motherhood is celebrated, it is celebrated more as a representative choice of a liberated woman rather than for the important role that it is. As if it’s not hard enough being a mother, our culture heaps confusion and sometimes derision on top!
And yet, it is a high calling. It is a calling to provide a shelter for the family. Eve was created as a “helpmate” for Adam, without which he could never fulfill his calling to work and care for God’s creation as God’s representative. While Adam was created first, God’s delay in creating Eve was never intended to be the basis for people assigning women a second-class place in the world. Instead, it highlighted for Adam his need! Without eve, he was incomplete and unable to answer his calling! Eve’s delay in creation highlight the great importance of the woman, particularly as a wife and mother. It is a high calling.
More specifically, women are to work this out by loving their husbands and children, working at home, and submitting to their own husbands.
and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:4-5 )
Now I know some of you are thinking I’m being insensitive since not all women are married and not all women are mothers. This is not meant to, in any way, devalue you. But know that your situation is exceptional rather than normative. The fact that we chafe just a bit when we hear this shows how much our culture has influenced our thinking. Instead of chafing, we should promote and applaud such a role, for Paul gives these instructions so that “the word of God may not be reviled.” Make no mistake, working in the home “builds something far more magnificent than any cathedral” one author writes, “the dwelling place for an immortal soul (both her child’s fleshly tabernacle and his earthly abode).” (Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Crossway Books, Wheaton, 1991), p. 367.)
As important as it is to embrace and promote the Lord’s teaching, it can add yet another reason to fret as a mother. My friend Debbie Williams, who was my administrator when I first came to Cornerstone, told me each year she didn’t want a mother’s day sermon because it made her that much more aware of the shortcomings she already felt as a mother. I suspect she speaks for many.
So, in addition to the daily grind of raising sinners in a society that relishes sin, mothers feel the gravity of God’s high calling of motherhood, the pressure to chafe against it from the culture, and the guilt that rises for doing neither well. It is no surprise that a mother daily faces loads of stress and anxiety, frustration, and even despair. Perhaps especially on a day meant to honor mothers.
Well moms, I have something for you this morning that will give you great hope. It’s a mom’s prayer. This is not what it’s most often called. We know it by another name: the Lord’s Prayer because it is the prayer Jesus taught his disciples to pray. But make no mistake, it is a prayer for you, mom. This morning I want to talk about how that is.