The Many Faces of Mother’s Day
By Shona Neff
Just as no two women are alike, Mother’s Day represents different faces for those it is meant to honor. It isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” kind of day.
The Happy Face
Many moms are the embodiment of that bulbous yellow circle wearing a huge smile that represents HAPPY. This mom’s husband recognizes her tireless and loving contributions to the family. Her children really DO call her “blessed.” Her heart is full and overflows with joy. Mother’s Day is an easy celebration because those around her understand her ribbon of love that binds the family throughout the year. God loves the Happy Face of Mother’s Day.
Some moms wear a mask on that second Sunday in May because the Happy Face doesn’t fit quite right. Oh, this woman may put on a smile, but her heart is sad. Maybe her beloved child lives far away. Perhaps the child is physically close, but emotionally distant. Some mothers grieve because death, prison bars, or unseen bonds like addictions or mental illness separates them from the son or daughter who holds their hearts.
The Mask may smile. It may be brave, but it always hurts. God comforts the broken hearted.
The Face of Reality
Every woman yearns for a fairytale – you know . . . the one with a happy ending. She dreams of a prince charming. She envisions perfect children. But, she cannot hide from reality. Sometimes Prince Charming really is a warty old frog, and very few children are the perfect little beings that frolic in fairy tales. Life rarely delivers a story book existence with the proverbial “happy ending”, instead it hits the heroine over the head with a big stick. There is no reason for this mom to put on a mask, because her life is there for everyone to see, including God, but reality doesn’t surprise Him.
The Bible is full of shining examples of different mothers; different faces. Hannah followed through on her promise to dedicate her long-awaited, first-born child to God’s service. Samuel became a mighty man of God who greatly influenced the nation of Israel, (1 Samuel 2:1-3). Death took both of Naomi’s sons, but life provided her a faithful daughter-in-law and, eventually, a kinsman redeemer, (Ruth). Mary watched her precious Son hang on a cross and rise up three days later (Matthew 19-20). Oh the faces these women must have worn, but oh, the joy that must have danced in their hearts because God understood and worked everything out.
God really does understand. He rejoices with the Happy Face. He sees behind the Mask, and He knows the Face of Reality. He understands because he put a little bit of “mom” in the heart of every woman. Whether or not she has children, that mom gene is there . . . it is there to rejoice, grieve, and hope. God also created a mother’s heart to burst forth every time a woman shows kindness in a church nursery full of little ones or when she shares a smile with a patient in the hospital. That motherly heart beats with strength when she shares wisdom with a young girl who, despite making bad choices, still has a full life ahead of her.
Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate your mom, but it is also a great time to celebrate all ladies. All women have children whether they live in her house or in her heart. Be quick to give a hug on this day. Let a special lady know that she has touched your heart whether she changed your diapers or inspired you later in life. Help God honor the many faces of Mother’s Day.
©2013 Shona Neff