Our parents gave each of us a first and middle name when we were born. This is the name by which we are known. When a woman becomes the caregiver of a child, she inherits a new name. A few variations of this name are: Mother – Mom – Mommy – Mama – Ma. Throughout the day, she may more frequently respond to this new name than her given name.
Mother is more than a name. Mother is a role and a responsibility. Some may refer to it as an occupation or a title. However, I believe being a mother includes more than any of these descriptions. Being a mother is an honor.
I think about biblical mothers. There are numerous nameless moms.
In scripture we have many references to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Each of these men had a mother. We know Sarah was the mother of Isaac while Rebecca was Jacob’s mother. However, who was Abraham’s mother? We do not know her name. Abram had to have called some special lady Mom. I wonder how she felt when God called her son to move far away. I wonder if she ever knew that God changed the name she gave her son from Abram to Abraham.
I think about such prophets as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Joel, Micah, and Zechariah. Each of these men had a mother but we know nothing about them. No prophet could have come into existence without a mother. God chose a particular woman to give birth to each of these men. Their prophetic words never would have been heard without these women.
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were nurtured by their mothers long before they wrote the gospel accounts. Were these women proud of their sons’ accomplishments? Of Jesus’ twelve disciples, James and John were brothers. Peter and Andrew were also brothers. Here were two mothers who each watched two of their sons leave home and follow Jesus during His earthly ministry. Neither mom is given a name in scripture. However, these women had a part in creating the written word of God.
I wonder about the mothers of Noah in the Old Testament and Paul in the New Testament. I suspect neither woman had any idea what their son would do for the Lord. I could go on and on.
However, there is one more unnamed mother that I want to highlight. In John 6:6-14 we read about a young boy who gave Jesus his lunch of five loaves and two fish. Jesus multiplied this little lad’s lunch to feed 5000. While this account is found in all four gospels, we never learn the mother’s name who made this lunch for her son that morning. (This was pointed out to me by Melanie Shankle in Church of the Small Things.)
Maybe you are a stay at home mom who makes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches five days a week. Maybe you are a working mom who has to hurriedly throw a piece of turkey or bologna between a couple of slices of bread before you leave for work. Do not underestimate your responsibility or your privilege. You do not know who you may be feeding. With whom might your son or daughter share their lunch? What are God’s plans and purposes for the young person for whom you provide daily nourishment? While being an attentive mom of your children, you fulfill Proverbs 22:6. “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
Being a mother can sometimes feel like a thankless responsibility. However, your place in the family is part of God’s design for His bigger family. You may be known as (insert your son or daughter’s name) mother. Consider it a blessing.
Your children may only know you as mom. That is OK. God knows you as a mother and He also knows your name. Isaiah 49:16 NLT says, “See, I have written your name on the palms of My hands.”
In just a few days, we will be celebrating Mother’s Day and honoring the extraordinary women God has called to be mothers. It does not matter if you have achieved world fame or have your name written in history books, you are special in God’s eyes. God has entrusted His little ones (and not so little ones) into your care.
Proverbs 31:25-20 is a good description of how the Lord views mothers. “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her; ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’”
Happy Mother’s Day to all women who fulfill the role and responsibility of a mom! You are honored!