When Hallmark Doesn’t Make a Card for Your Mom

bar-1248841_640I have, by God’s good grace, an amazing mother.
But, what if you don’t?
I work with many families who have
complicated mothers,
addicted mothers,
mom’s who can’t keep it together,
mom’s with untreated mental health issues or
priorities that don’t include their kids.
In my personal life, I know critical mothers, mothers who are never satisfied,
mothers who don’t love one of their children or who favor one over the rest,
mothers who can’t commit to one man
or to one personality.
Mother’s Day is a celebration of motherhood
but even the good ones aren’t perfect, have made mistakes.
We weren’t ever designed to get everything we need from the humans in our lives,
we were designed to be loved by the flawed, clumsy hearts of other humans
who need God just as much as we do.
But some moms are a little more flawed than others.
I saw a book titled, “Biblical Motherhood” and the snarky side of me laughed.
I certainly have aspired to be the best mother God could make me and I’ve tried to do that by living out Biblical truth
but not all the mothers of the Bible were stellar role models.
Take Rebekah, old Jacob’s wife.
She had two sons, but one was her clear favorite.
Esau was a skilled hunter but Jacob was “content to stay at home and wander between the tents.”
He was a mama’s boy.
And she prodded him and then assisted him in stealing Esau’s firstborn blessing and then escaping his brother’s wrath.
Esau was no prize but Rebekah was one shrewd, calculating mama.
Jacob’s mother’s day card? “Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Everything I have, I owe to you!”
Esau’s mother’s day card? “Thanks for nothing, Mom. Hope you’re enjoying dinner with Jacob.”
Then, there’s Athaliah.
When her son, the king, was killed,
she expressed her grief by killing the rest of the royal family.
One of her daughters hid a young prince but if she hadn’t
Athaliah would have succeeded in wiping out her own descendants so she could be queen.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the most narcissistic of all, right?
She was killed in the public square for the good of the kingdom.
Athaliah’s mother’s day card from her resourceful daughter, Jehosheba? “Too bad, Mom. You missed one.”
And Gomer?
She had three children but she couldn’t bother to be tied down to their father.
Hosea had to keep running after her, paying off the guy she’d picked up,
and bringing her back.
Gomer’s mother’s day card from her kids. “Mom, we know where you are. Dad’s coming to drag you back. Can’t wait to see you. Are your bringing us back something?”
Okay, and then, in the New Testament, we’ve got the clearly Shakespearan mother, Herodias.
She’s having a public affair with the King,
her husband’s brother,
and sends her daughter, Salome, out to dance for the king on his birthday (I’m sure it involved veils and a lot of twisted moves).
King Herod is so pleased with his niece’s dance,
he offers to give her whatever she asks.
What does her mom prompt her to request?
John the Baptist’s head on a platter.
Herodias was no fan of John because he’d declared her adultery a sin.
But seriously.
A king offers you anything you want and your mother insists you request revenge on a platter.
Salome’s mother’s day card to Herodias. “Here’s that prophet’s head, mom.  That makes us even. Next time, I’m asking for real estate.”
Yup, it can be lonely on mother’s day for people whose mothers don’t fit the cards being written by Hallmark.
Know this, though, loved ones:
“Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” Psalm 27:10
 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget, I will not forget you!  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;” Isaiah 49:15-16a
Our mothers  may fail us, but God never will. He has the final word on your life, no one else.
It can be awkward when others are writing tributes to their moms on Facebook but your mom more closely resembles Norma Bates than June Cleaver.
So, if you want to acknowledge a mother
who, well, made life challenging,
perhaps you can just say,
“Here’s to my mother who would have found a place with some of the mothers of Biblical times.”
and leave it at that.

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    The Conversation

  1. Anonymous says:

    The only “Mother’s Day” I needed was the one when I counted my babies’ fingers and toes and saw that everything was in place. From then on, nothing in life took the place of motherhood. It has its ups and downs (some way downs) but I wouldn’t trade the title for any amount of money. And I don’t need a special day to know my two children (grown and flown from the nest)love me. God loaned them to me and I did my best to help them know Him for themselves. Love you, Child. MOMMA