For some women, Mother’s Day is an uncomfortable reminder of their singleness or their lack of children. Kids and perhaps even some adults assume that because they are a woman, they are also the mother of a child. Every time someone says “Happy Mother’s Day!” it can stir up a sense of inadequacy, or possibly reopen the scars of relational wounds. As followers of God, we are called to honor our father and mother, but as Christians, we are part of a much bigger family.
God’s probably not asking you to write “Happy Mother’s Day” on a card for every woman or to start calling them “mom,” but take a look at these two verses in Mark:
Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Mark 10: 29–30)
When we leave ourselves behind and join the body of Christ, we become part of a much larger family, and we gain relationships and experience the generosity of our spiritual family. But that’s not all Jesus has to say about this new definition of family. In John, we read this:
. . . but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. (John 19:25–27)
In the moment Mary lost her son, she gained another—a spiritual son who cared for and honored her just as a biological son would have. This relational model is perpetuated through women of faith in the church.
So who are our spiritual mothers?
Not everyone is blessed with a biological family that shares in the joys of their faith. For some, Mother’s Day is hard because it feels like a mandate to honor someone who has hurt them. Someone who abused them emotionally, physically, or spiritually. For them, it’s important to remember that despite our pain, God does not make exceptions. We are all called to honor our father and mother (Matthew 15: 4–6). For others, Mother’s Day is yet another reminder of the people they have lost.
The Bible provides us with exceptional models of the ideal mother. One of the most prominent is in Proverbs 31:10–30. Mothers care for their families by emotionally, spiritually, and physically providing for them. In the body of Christ, we are surrounded by women who pour wisdom and love into our lives and devote their own time and finances to care for us. These are our spiritual mothers.
Even for your biological mother, getting a card and saying happy Mother’s Day probably isn’t the most meaningful way to show your appreciation for her. It’s the act of lifting her up and pausing everything else going on in your life to remember her and love her that shows your honor for her. This Mother’s Day, let’s honor the mothers in our immediate families, but let’s also take a moment in the body of Christ to lift up the women of faith who don’t have kids, but love and care for us all the same.
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Get an animated look at Proverbs 31, and see why it really applies to all women.