Jesus, Chickens and Mothers

mother-and-child-2chickens-1Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
Proverbs 31:28

With this coming Sunday being designated as Mother’s Day, I want to take time to honor our mothers and fulfill Proverbs 31:28. However, I am pondering what qualifies a female to be a mother. I believe any woman who reflects a lifestyle of nurturing and caring for others is a mother. Motherly characteristics are exhibited not only by human beings, buy also by animals and birds. Jesus described His love for Jerusalem (a symbolic representation of all believers) as being like that of a mother hen. I am not saying Jesus or mothers are chickens! However, I think there is a revelation of Jesus’ love and a mother’s love when we look at the life of a chicken. I grew up on a farm and we had chickens, so maybe that is why I am attracted to this image today. Let’s see how we can tie together the hearts of Jesus, chickens, and all women who function in a mother role.

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you,
how often I have longed to gather your children together,
as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings,
and you were not willing.
Matthew 23:37

When I read this verse from Matthew, I not only see a mother hen drawing her little chicks close to her body but I also picture Jesus doing the same with each of us as His children. I am reminded of the refrain of the old hymn Safe in the Arms of Jesus by Frances Crosby, “Safe in the arms of Jesus, Safe on His gentle breast; There by His love o’ershaded, Sweetly my soul shall rest.” Psalm 91:4 NLT says, “He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” This image is similar to a picture of an earthly mother holding a baby in her loving, caring arms. There is a feeling of warmth and security as well as love when a baby chick, a believer in Christ, or a young child is snuggled near to the body of the one emanating love. 

As a young girl, I remember seeing the chickens running around in their open space while I was swinging on my tree swing. One of my recollections is of a mother hen leading her newborn chicks out for a walk. With the mother hen in the lead, five or six fluffy little chicks followed in a parade. The new hatchlings followed their mother wherever she went. They trusted her to lead them along the right path. Mothers of young children also lead and instruct their children. Proverbs 22:6 instructs moms (and everyone else) to “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” David says in Psalm 25:4, “Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths.”

While living on the farm, there were occasions when I remember hearing a lot of squawking from the chickens. Usually it meant that some predatory animal, or even another chicken, was trying to attack a brood of young chicks. The one making the most noise was the mother hen who was trying to protect her defenseless chicks. If the attack was instigated by another chicken and her squawking was not enough of a deterrent, she would ruffle her feathers and attack. Psalm 121:7 says, The LORD will keep you from all harm– He will watch over your life.” The Lord watches over our lives, a mother hen watches over the lives of her chicks, and mothers watch over the lives of the children entrusted to them.

Jesus, chickens and mothers are not synonymous words, but it has been fun to search for similarities. While exhibiting love and compassion, mothers are also protective and defensive of their children. Their goal is to help their children grow and mature to be who God created them to be. Any woman who finds herself in the role of a mother is worthy of honor on Mother’s Day and every day.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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A Mother’s Day Bouquet

The word mother is defined as being a woman who has borne a child. However, I want to expand the meaning of this precious word to include more females than we might tend to think. A woman can become a mother through the adoption of children as well as through natural childbirth. A woman can be a spiritual mother as well as a biological mother. All of these ladies deserve special honor and recognition this coming Sunday as we celebrate Mother’s Day.

Flowers are a common gift given to honor mothers. Today I want to present a bouquet of floral images and meaningful scriptures to all mothers. Imagine each verse a flower hand-picked to be a blossom in your bouquet.

tulip-red

Every one of you shall revere his mother
Leviticus 19:3a

 

tulip-pink

He gives the childless woman a family,
making her a happy mother. Praise the LORD!
Psalm 113:9 NLT

tulip-singlce-purple

Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.
Proverbs 31:25

tulips-multi-2

She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
Proverbs 31:26

tulip-singlce-purple

 

Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her.
Proverbs 31:28

tulip-pink

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman
who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
Proverbs 31:30 

tulip-red

(Treat) older women as mothers, and younger women
as sisters, with absolute purity.
I Timothy 5:2

tulips-multi

Happy Mother’s Day
to all moms!

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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Blessings for Mom

flower-in-handMay each mother reach out to receive her blessing from the Lord.
Happy Mother’s Day! 

8606715653_3761c12e53_b

pink-flowerBlessed are you among women,
and blessed is the child you will bear!
Luke 1:42

Elizabeth spoke this blessing over Mary shortly after Mary found out that she was pregnant with the son of God. In observance of Mother’s Day this Sunday, I choose to speak this blessing upon all mothers who may read this blog. Yes, there was a special blessing placed upon Mary because she was chosen by God to be the mother of His son. However, I also want you, as a mom, to realize this blessing is for you because God chose you to be the mother of the children He has given to you.

At the same time, being blessed as a mom does not guarantee that it will be easy. Being a mother is one of the most difficult tasks a woman will ever undertake, yet it is a position for which she is probably least prepared. There is no Mothering for Dummies book available. Neither is there a mom shaped cookie cutter. A mother needs to uniquely love and nurture each of her children according to his or her personality. Having said this, I still see Mary, the mother of Jesus, as a good role model for motherhood today. Mary was blessed and all moms can be blessed while fulfilling their motherhood responsibilities. Let us look at the example Mary sets for moms.


pink-flower... she (Mary) gave birth to her firstborn, a son.
She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger,
because there was no guest room available for them.
Luke 2:6-7

Mary cared for the physical needs of Jesus as a baby. We must care for the physical needs of our children.8606715653_3761c12e53_b

pink-flowerWhen the time came for the purification rites required
by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him
to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.
Luke 2:22

Both Mary and Joseph took their newborn son to the temple to be dedicated as required by the Jewish Law. We, too, should assume the responsibility of dedicating our children to God. For some, this may involve infant baptism while for others it may be a dedication service.

pink-flowerAnd Jesus grew in wisdom and stature,
and in favor with God and man.
Luke 2:52

Mary provided opportunities for Jesus to grow educationally, physically, spiritually and socially. Today, we as moms still need to help our children mature in all of these areas.

pink-flower

His mother (Mary) said to the servants,
“Whatever He says to you, do it.”
John 2:5

This verse of scripture is taken from the account of Jesus’ first miracle of turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana. Mary knew it was time for Jesus to begin His public ministry and she encouraged Him to do so. I believe Mary set an example for us to encourage our children to become the men and women God created them to be. There comes a time for us to “untie the apron strings” and acknowledge our children as responsible adults.

pink-flower

Someone said to Him (Jesus), “Behold, Your mother
and Your brothers are standing outside
seeking to speak to You.”
Matthew 12:47

Although Jesus was a grown man with His own ministry, Mary continued to follow Him and care about Him. Once a mom, always a mom! Our children never outgrow their need for our prayers, love and interest in their lives.

pink-flower

But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother
John 19:25

Probably the most difficult task for Mary as the mother of Jesus was watching Him die. I hope I do not have to full this role as a mother. However, I do not think there is a mother who would not stand by the side of a dying son or daughter.


pink-flower

When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple
whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His
mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then He
said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From
that hour the disciple took her into his own
household.
John 19:26-27

While her son was dying on the cross for the sins of the world, I believe Mary was blessed. These words record how Jesus handed over the responsibility of  caring for His mother to John. Mary had successfully fulfilled her responsibility as His mother and Jesus wanted her to be cared for the remainder of her life. What a blessing to have so successfully nurtured her son that, even though He was in extreme pain, He remembered her. He loved her!

pink-flower

Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
Proverbs 31:28

Mothers, your role is not easy but it is fulfilling. Mary received a blessing from her son. May your children bestow upon you the blessing promised in Proverbs 31 this Mother’s Day!

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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Mommy Memories

As we approach Mother’s Day on Sunday, I am reflecting upon previous celebrations not only with my mother but also with other women who have fulfilled a mother’s role in my life.  When I delve into the files of my life, I find a category known as “mommy memories” with dates for specific Mother’s Day observances.  My Reader, please join me as I do some reminiscing.

 

greeting-card-mfPriority memories are given to my mother with whom I shared the first 25 years of my life.  Unfortunately, she died of cancer before she could see either of her grandchildren born.  However, I have many positive memories of her.  When I was about seven years old, I remember wanting to make her a special Mother’s Day card all by myself.  My problem was that I did not know how to spell mother.  However, I could spell mommy, so on the front of the card I inscribed “Happy Mommy’s Day!”  I still remember her laughing at my ingenuity of how to resolve my dilemma.  As she received my card with love, the wording did not matter to her.

carnation-mf My memory bank also has deposits of both my mother and me honoring my grandmother.  My mother always bought a white carnation for Grandma to wear on Mother’s Day.  At that time, if one wore a white carnation, it meant your mother was no longer living but if you wore a red carnation, your mother was alive.  Mom always let me help her give Grandma her flower.  Oh, yes, my mother was also proud to wear her red carnation that day.

orchid-mfI fast forward my mind many years to the time when I became the mother. My husband would take our two children with him and they would buy me an orchid to wear on Mother’s Day.  I guess the carnation tradition was no longer observed but flowers were still an appropriate gift.  I remember the pride and smiles on the faces of Greg and Jill as they would give me my orchid corsage.  Neither do I forget the gleam in my husband’s eyes when it was my turn to be honored.  I am reminded of Proverbs 31:28, “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.”  I am blessed!

tea-for-two-mfSince my mother died at an early age, I was blessed to have an aunt who helped fill the mother role for me.  She lived in Iowa and I lived in New York, however, we shared enough love to stretch between the miles.  My husband and I made many trips to Nebraska to see family and whenever possible we would stop in Iowa to see my aunt and uncle.  One year we were able to be there Mother’s Day weekend and I went to a Mother’s Day Brunch at church with my aunt on Saturday.  I felt very honored that she would include me as her daughter at this event.

ice cream cone LINK pdNew pages continue to be added to my mommy memory file every year.  Both my daughter and daughter-in-law are good at remembering me on Mother’s Day, but sometimes I like to make Mother’s Day special for them because they are now the 24/7 moms.  I still smile when I think about the Mother’s Day card my daughter gave me last year.  She had been teaching the children’s Sunday School that morning and she had them make cards for their mothers.  So, she made one for me as well. The card was made like a big ice cream cone with sprinkles and a cherry on top.  On each sprinkle was the name of something the child liked about his or her mother.  My ice cream cone hung on our refrigerator for a long time!

So, my Reader, how are you feeling about the observance of Mother’s Day this year?  Does Mother’s Day create happy or sad feelings within you?  Do you have a mom or a mom substitute or a mom mentor with whom you can share the day?  We have a friend whose daughter often sends him a Mother’s Day card because her dad was both her mother and her father when she was growing up.  While mothers come in many different shapes and sizes, I hope you can express the love in your heart to your “mom person” and you can receive their love as well.  My desire is that my Mother’s Day recollections bring to mind many memories you may not have thought about recently.  May you find some remembrances that bring a smile to your face.  Whether you are the mom or you have mom memories, one thing for all of us to remember is that mothers reflect the nurturing and loving character of God.  We are all made in the image of God and each one of us uniquely reflects one or more facets of His nature.  I like the image Jesus describes in Matthew 23:37, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem,… how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.”  Picture with me the image not only of a mother hen with her brood of little chicks under her wings, but of our Lord holding and protecting us in His loving arms.  Also see yourself with either your mother or your children in a loving embrace.

Happy Mother’s Day!
Enjoy your Mommy Memories!

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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Who Is a Mother?

(Reader – There is one more blog in my trilogy of “Try for Tri” which will appear next Wednesday. This week I wantfree OK Mom to take time to honor our mothers.)

This coming Sunday will be the day set aside for us to honor our mothers.  When thinking about what I wanted to blog about relating to Mother’s Day, I was reminded of a book I used to read to our children entitled Are You My Mother? by P. D. Eastman.  This is a story about a little bird who fell from his nest while his mother was gone getting him some food.  Throughout the book the bird proceeds to ask several animals and machines if one of them is his mother.  Of course, they are not.  Finally he reconnects with his mother.  His desire for and need of a mother         Happy Mother’s Day was so strong that he would have been willing to connect with  anything or anyone
 who would fulfill the mother role for him.                                                                        

free OK Mom if smallMy Reader, you and I most likely know who our biological mother is or was and we do not need to ask, “Are you my mother?”  Exodus 20:12  tells us to honor our mothers, and it also gives us the promise of long life if we do so.  So, my Reader, honor your mother today.  If you are privileged to still have your mother living, let her know how important she is to you. If you only have mom memories, let those memories honor her.

However, my Reader, have you ever asked the question, “Are you my spiritual mother?”  In I Timothy 5:2, Paul says we are to treat older women as mothers.  The women Paul is referring to are the spiritually mature women.  Just like the little bird in the story who desired to find his mother, God has placed within you and me the desire to have a Christian mom who will help provide for spiritual growth.

free OK Mom if smallI have always related to what Paul says about Timothy in II Timothy 1:5, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”  With this being my situation, my biological mom was also my spiritual mom.  However, my mother died when she was only 56 years old and since then God has blessed me with other godly women who have each been a spiritual mom to me.  These are women who have loved me and spoken words of encouragement and guidance into my life at key times.  My spiritual mom may be chronologically younger or older than I am, but she is definitely more mature in her spiritual walk.  Without these women, I would not be the woman of God I am today.  I like to take time on Mother’s Day to remember my spiritual moms and let them know how they have helped me grow spiritually. How about you, my Reader, can you identify a woman in your life who is your spiritual mother?  Choose a way to honor her this Sunday.

free OK Mom if smallNot only have I been blessed to have biological and spiritual mothers, but I am also blessed to be a biological mom to our children. Now I ask myself, “Has the Lord expanded my motherly instincts for me to be a spiritual mom to others as well?”  Do I have some godly wisdom to share with other women? If so, I must be willing to embrace this role and reach out to these children of God that He has placed in my midst. In Titus 2:3-5, Paul talks about older women teaching younger women to be reverent in the way they live. If I am to teach younger women to live reverently, my lifestyle must be an example.  I must remember that spiritual age is not calculated by the number of years one has lived, but upon the way one has lived as a woman of God.  Being an older woman from this perspective comes with a responsibility.  Now I ask you, my Reader, “Is God calling you to be a spiritual mom?”  If so, I encourage you to make a commitment to the Lord this Mother’s Day telling Him that you are willing to be a spiritual mother. Watch to see who He places into your life.

free OK Mom if smallMay 12, 2013 is Mother’s Day.  I speak to myself as well as to you, my Reader, when I say, “Take time to wish both your biological mom and your spiritual moms a Happy Mother’s Day.  Also remember to be the mother God has called you to be whether it be to your biological children or your spiritual children all year!”

Happy Mother’s Day!

Joyfully,
Cheryl