Mother’s Day is coming at an unprecedented time for American society.
For the last two years, most mothers were forced to stay inside on this special day due to the pandemic. As a result, Mother’s Day spending is expected to total $31.7 billion this year, up 13 percent from last year. The average consumer will spend 25 percent more compared to the pre-pandemic level of 2019. Approximately 84 percent of US adults are expected to celebrate the holiday.
We should do everything we can do to honor and encourage our mothers. Has there been a time in our lifetime when Americans needed mothers who live and parent biblically more than today?
A “Mother’s Day Strike” to support abortion?
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court leak shocked the nation with reverberations that are continuing today. In one of the most ironic and contradictory announcements I can remember, some pro-abortion activists are calling for a “Mother’s Day Strike” to protest the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade. They want people to cease working, shopping, attending school, and other activities.
While Americans are thanking our mothers for giving us life, they will be protesting for the right to end life. Their decision to use Mother’s Day for their cause reminds me of Ronald Reagan’s statement, “I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.”
Here’s another sign of our times: President Biden announced yesterday that Karine Jean-Pierre will replace Jen Psaki as White House Press Secretary when Psaki steps down on May 13. This is one of the most visible positions in our government. The press secretary’s briefings make the news almost every time they occur.
The president’s announcement was especially noteworthy for this reason: She will be the first Black woman and the first openly gay woman to hold the position.
Two gifts that change our lives
Here’s the good news for mothers and their children (that’s all of us): we have a Father who loves us unconditionally and whose word shows us how to encourage our mothers in empowering and transforming ways.
Ephesians 6 begins: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’ (this is the first commandment with a promise), ‘that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land’” (vv. 1–3). The text addresses all “children” of all ages and identifies two gifts every mother needs.
The first is to “obey” our mothers—the Greek word is a present active imperative calling us to seek and follow their guidance every day. The second is to “honor” them—the Greek word means to treat them with deference, respect, and kindness. It is also a present active imperative calling us to find ways to honor them every day.
Why are these gifts so important?
When we give them to our mothers, “it may go well with you,” referring to the quality of our lives, and “you may live long in the land,” referring to the quantity of our lives. These are not unconditional guarantees (the righteous Abel died at the hands of his unrighteous brother Cain, for example), but abiding principles. When we obey and honor godly mothers, our society is blessed. Our lives are blessed. And our mothers are blessed.
(There is much more to say about this remarkable text, so I invite you to read my sermon for this Sunday expanding on this biblical passage and its life-changing practical principles.)
Mental health resources I encourage you to consider
Whether you are a mother or a mother’s child, these two gifts can be life-giving. In addition, our ministry has sought in recent days to respond practically to the stress and anxiety of these days. As I noted on Monday, mental health challenges are very real and very pervasive in our society.
Consequently, I invite you to visit these resources on our Denison Forum website:
Rebecca Walls leads Unite, one of the most effective community engagement ministries I know. She has just published an article titled, “How to equip yourself to help others fighting anxiety and depression.” She shows us how to join a live, online overview that explains the basics of relational emotional healing and how to browse a site that helps people find the help they need.
Chris Legg, a pastor and licensed professional counselor, wrote an article titled “Struggling with mental illness? Consider these 7 ideas.” He identifies practical steps for those wrestling with mental illness and discusses ways the church can help.
Chris earlier wrote an article titled “3 reasons why churches fail at mental health.” He discusses the “perfection” trap, the “not-here” trap, and the “Bible is sufficient for everything” trap.
His son, Mark Legg, serves as our Associate Editor and wrote an article titled “Why are teens sadder, lonelier, and more depressed than ever before?” He notes the horrific escalation of sadness and loneliness among American teenagers, warns of mistaken answers, outlines four reasons for increasing persistent sadness, and offers parents some very practical ways to help children find their identity in Christ.
Dr. Lane Ogden, a licensed professional counselor and longtime friend, wrote an expansive article on what the Bible says about mental health. He explains how our minds work and how our thoughts and feelings interact, cites biblical verses on mental health, and identifies practical ways to increase healthy thinking.
I also wrote an article titled “Mental health for pastors: Three ways Jesus practiced self-care.” I focused on social distancing, gratitude in hard times, and the priority of physical health for mental health.
The model for the Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is one of the most iconic gifts ever given to our nation. Whom did the French sculptor Bartholdi fashion her after? He never formally answered the question, but as the Statue of Liberty tour website states, “There seems to really be only one person whom the Statue of Liberty most closely resembles.” A portrait of his mother, Charlotte Bartholdi, when placed next to the statue, shows that they are almost identical.
Bartholdi found a way to honor his mother every day.
How will you follow his example?