Did you happen to catch the Coronation this past Saturday?
Though I’ve not a drop of English blood, I sat in the pre-dawn chill of our home transfixed by the solemn, deeply religious ceremony that officially crowned Charles III King of England.
This week contains a coronation of another sort: the Sunday that moms are queen for the day. If you have a mother still present in your world to honor, you are blessed. But we recognize that Mother’s Day is often painful for women who’ve been bereaved – whether the one lost is mother or child – or for those who still long to be mothers themselves.
May we hold the hurt, longing, and dreams of the women around us with sensitivity and tenderness.
But today? I’m writing to the generation that made many of us mothers. Besides the fact that we love you with every fiber of our being, here are five simple things we moms want you to know.
1. The older you get, the more important it is to say please and thank you.
Remember how your mom coached you as a toddler? When you reached for a cookie or toy, she reminded you to say please, and when you received it, she prompted: “Say thank you.”
In our home we had a rule when it came to receiving gifts: You don’t wear it, eat it, play with it, or spend it until you’ve thanked the giver for it. (In full disclosure, this did lead to a few gift checks languishing in a child’s drawer for months until Grandma finally contacted her bank.)
If expressing gratitude is crucial training at 2, it’s even more important at 12, 22, and 42.
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thess. 5:18
2. When I offer advice or correction, please hear it for what it is: The language of love.
What must it have been like to parent some of those infamous kids in the Bible?
Eve: “Cain! Abel! Please stop fighting before you kill each other!”
Rebecca: “Esau and Jacob, I am sick of hearing you argue about who’s older.”
Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist: “Son, your hair. Those clothes!”
“A foolish child brings grief to a mother.” Proverbs 10:1
When your mother asks you to call when you arrive or if a parent will be present at a house party, it’s not because she doesn’t trust you. It’s her language of love.
When she reminds you to eat right or not to stay out late or to do your homework, she’s not trying to control you but protect you. It’s her language of love.
When your mom urges you to try harder - to reach beyond your grasp -it’s not because she wants to tell you what to do but rather that she knows what you’re capable of. It’s her language of love.
3. My love for you is unconditional; My trust in you is in your hands.
During the years that we had five teenagers at home, we were not lacking for drama. When one child Who-Shall-Remain-Unnamed broke a crucial household principle, we were alarmed and disappointed. The confrontation was tearful and painful.
Years later, though, that now-adult child recalled that what they remembered was our response:
There is nothing you can do to make us love you less, and nothing you can do to make us love you more. Our love for you is without qualification, but what you lost today was trust.
Trust is like a bank account: It starts out full, but every time you deceive another person, there’s a withdrawal. When you lie or cheat, steal or engage in risky behavior, you’re using a moral debit card. When you keep making withdrawals from your “trust fund” without making deposits, the account is depleted. No wonder your parents find it hard to trust you any longer.
But when it comes to the ocean of their love for you? The biggest blunder-bucket you can carry will never drain a drop.
4. Your dad and I will make mistakes, but with God’s help you don’t have to repeat them.
When our family visited the inner city of Los Angeles years ago, we noticed a billboard campaign with this slogan: “Just because you did drugs doesn’t mean your kids have to.” Whoa!
Beloved child, forgive us if we ever act as if we’re perfect, as if we’ve never blown it, as if we didn’t do stupid stuff when we were young. And please forgive your church family when their lives sometimes don’t match their beliefs.
We are all sinners saved by grace, and if we ever forget it? You have permission to call us on it.
5. The best gift you can give me is the knowledge that you’ve chosen to walk with God.
“It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us.” 2 John 4
Ok, right about now you might be thinking: Mother’s Day is this Sunday? Yikes! Is it too late to get a card/gift in the mail? Should I order flowers? I never know what to get Mom.
Dear young friend, may I stand in for your mom for just a moment? She will love anything you give her - promise– but all she really needs is you.
Call her and let her know what she did right raising you. Moms are filled with self-doubt.
If your mom lives within driving distance, surprise her with a visit. No bouquet of flowers can surpass the scent of your hair when you’re enfolded in her arms.
And whether you can see her this Mom’s Day or not, please let her know that you’ve not forgotten how she taught you to love Jesus. Maybe your politics or your life choices differ these days, but you know what’s still the same?
Hers for you. Yours for her.
And His for you both.
- Maggie Wallem Rowe. 2023
"Thanks be to God - Creator, Redeemer, and Giver of Life. We go in peace to love and serve the Lord, and to live our lives so that those to whom love is a stranger will find in us generous friends. Amen." - Robert Benson, Daily Prayer
Maggie Wallem Rowe writes from Peace Ridge, her home in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina. She is the grateful mom to seven kids: three who she and Mike raised from scratch, two who came half-baked, and a bonus son and daughter who were brave enough to marry in.