Tomorrow, May 14th, is Mother’s Day here in the US. It has already been and gone back home in England, and I still haven’t figured out why the dates are different. It seems even bigger here, though. Every store I visit is full of themed gifts, my devotionals lately have all been about Mother’s Day and school has been crammed with card and gift making activities. Of course, I celebrate Mother’s Day since I have a pretty wonderful mum. But I did that a few weeks ago, since my mum is at the otherer side of the Atlantic Ocean! So what do I do this weekend?
What do you do on Mother’s Day when you’re not a mother? When the women around you in the pews are given flowers for their special day, but your arms are left empty?
As a woman, and a woman without children, Mother’s Day sometimes runs the risk of making you feel a little left out. Sometimes, as a woman, and a woman without children, I often feel left out. I’m sure some of you will know what I’m talking about here. You join a new church, join the women’s group, only to find that all the conversations center around kid dramas. Kid dramas that you just don’t have, because you don’t have kids. And so you are left sitting there, smiling along, sipping your tea every second just for something to do. It’s not that those women are trying to isolate you, but it still happens anyway. All because you are not a mother.
I sincerely hope that I will one day be a mummy to some beautiful children. That is my real, honest, big hope. But right now, that is not the path I am walking, and I trust God’s timing in these things. Does that mean I cannot celebrate Mother’s Day now? That I cannot share in the flowers and thanks and celebrations now?
Miriam. You might know her. She had a pretty famous brother. In fact, two famous brothers. They led God’s people out of Egypt. She helped them. Actually, if you think about it, they wouldn’t have been able to lead God’s people out of Egypt without her. Take a look at the beginning of Moses’ story and see her starring role.
A man from the family of Levi married a Levite woman. The woman became pregnant and had a son. She saw there was something special about him and hid him. She hid him for three months. When she couldn’t hide him any longer she got a little basket-boat made of papyrus, waterproofed it with tar and pitch, and placed the child in it. Then she set it afloat in the reeds at the edge of the Nile.
The baby’s older sister found herself a vantage point a little way off and watched to see what would happen to him. Pharaoh’s daughter came down to the Nile to bathe; her maidens strolled on the bank. She saw the basket-boat floating in the reeds and sent her maid to get it. She opened it and saw the child—a baby crying! Her heart went out to him. She said, “This must be one of the Hebrew babies.”
Then his sister was before her: “Do you want me to go and get a nursing mother from the Hebrews so she can nurse the baby for you?”
Pharaoh’s daughter said, “Yes. Go.” The girl went and called the child’s mother.
Pharaoh’s daughter told her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me. I’ll pay you.” The woman took the child and nursed him.
After the child was weaned, she presented him to Pharaoh’s daughter who adopted him as her son. She named him Moses (Pulled-Out), saying, “I pulled him out of the water.” – Exodus 2:1-10
There she is. As Moses’ story begins, so does Miriam’s. She watches on, a good big sister, making sure her little bother is okay. And then she uses her smarts to bring his mother back to him, even if he doesn’t know it.
Miriam is a great sister. She is a great woman. She helps Moses, and her other brother Aaron, to led God’s people out of slavery and to the promised land. She is a force to be reckoned with.
I read something very powerful this week about mothers. It asked the reader: can’t we all be mothers? All of us women, who give and nurture and care for life, aren’t we all mothers in some way? I may not have my own child, but that doesn’t mean I can’t ‘mother’.
Miriam ‘mothered’ – guided, supported, nurtured – her brother. In doing so, she also mothered her people. She mothered their leader, their journey, their future, their hope. That’s the kind of ‘mother’ I want to be.
This Mother’s Day, may we all remember that as women, we can be mothers to all. We can do what mothers do: encourage, guide, care, nurture, believe, love.
Above all else, love.
Happy Mother’s Day!