Written by Valerie Hancock
The popular children’s book, Are You My Mother?, poses a question that seems timely as we think about Mother’s Day. The little bird in this book searches to find his mother and comes across many unlikely candidates in his quest. At one point he asks himself if he even has a mother. This little bird wasn’t sure who was supposed to be his mother. Who was going to meet his expectations? Eventually, after questioning every character in his path, he finds himself back home. Soon after, his mother returns and he finally recognizes his true mother.
What struck me about the title of this children’s book is that the question sounds very simple, but its answer can be complex. I would like to use it in order to pivot our view of mothers and motherhood from a natural familial view to a more Christ-centered view. We are, as believers in Jesus Christ, part of a larger family. We are part of the family of God. Being a part of the family of God gives us the opportunity to expand our view of family and relationships.
For most of us, we definitely know who are mother is! Personally, I have been very blessed to have a godly mother who raised me in church and showed me the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I am blessed to have a godly mother-in-law who is supportive and encouraging. I am blessed to be a mother of two grown children. I am most recently blessed to be a grandmother!
This type of blessing may not be true of many of us, so this Mother’s Day I want to challenge you to think outside of your natural family relationships and think about the Family of God. How do you fit into that family? I have heard that we should all have a “Paul” and “Timothy” in our lives. That means we should each have somebody we are learning from and somebody we are pouring into, somewhat like a spiritual mother/child relationship. This is seen in 1 Timothy 1:2 where Paul warmly writes, “to Timothy, my true child in the faith” (NASB). Paul even exhorts the women in the church to do this very thing in Titus 2:3-5. “Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips, nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored” (NASB)
I can think back on my own life and identify those who have been a spiritual mother to me. Jane was a member of the church Scott pastored during the time both of our children were born. She was great at giving me mothering tips and tricks. She had us over for Sunday dinner more times than I can count. Sometimes we would simply open her fridge and pull out leftovers! She poured her time and love into me.
When we lived in the Middle East I had the privilege of knowing Suha, a devout believer in Jesus Christ. She and I started our friendship by walking and praying for our neighborhood. She became my prayer warrior and encourager. Her favorite saying was “without mingling, there is no blessing.” (Sounds a lot better in Arabic!) Basically what it means is that if you don’t mingle with people, interact with them, and get involved with them, you miss out on the blessings God has in store for you.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to mingle with people right now due to this time of social distancing, but it can be done! We have to be creative and intentional in “mingling with the people.” Some of us have more time to be intentional since many of our normal day-to-day activities have been taken away from us. If that is the case for you, reach out to somebody today. Now more than ever, we have a variety of technology-centered communication methods that can be used in place of close physical proximity.
I also have had wonderful opportunities to have spiritual “children.” Like natural children, these relationships aren’t always easy but they are always rewarding! While living in the Middle East, God brought three Muslim college-age girls into my life. These girls wanted a relationship with me in order to improve their English skills but God used our relationship to speak into their lives. We had opportunities to read the Bible and celebrate Christian holidays together. Watching them see Biblical truth for the first time was so rewarding.
Currently, I have a friend whom I meet with weekly. She has no church background. After praying for her for over 1 ½ years, God has softened her heart and she is open to spiritual conversations. As we read the Scriptures together and talk about them I can see God illuminating His Word to her. What a beautiful and amazing joy to see His Word come alive to her!
How about you? How are your relationships in the Family of God? Can you identify a Paul and Timothy in your own life? If not, ask God to show you who you should reach out to this week.
I Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”
Happy Mother’s Day to you!
Prayer Prompts for May 11-17, by Laverne Smith