Commonsense Christianity

1 Corinthians 13 talks about love, and that’s what mothers do — they love. Madonna and Toddler, original oil painting by Steve Henderson; licensed open edition print at iCanvasART and

Mother’s Day is one of those holidays that sound good, but get so taken over by marketers and manufacturers that its true meaning gets lost. People are subtly, or not so subtly, nudged into buying the perfect gift, and celebration turns into obligation very quickly.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Any holiday can, and should, be customized to what works for us, and when you consider Mother’s Day an opportunity to express to some special women (and these moms will look different for each person, depending upon life’s circumstances) how much you love her, as opposed to flipping through ads and clicking pop-ups to buy what mass marketers tell you she wants, then you’re experiencing the true spirit of the day.

What Mom Wants

So what does Mom want? Well, for starters, you might ask her. Then listen to what she says. I did this for years with my own mother, but because I spent so much time ignoring her actual answer, it took awhile before I found some success.

Here are some of the things she said:

1) “Please don’t buy me anything. I know you don’t have much money, and I really don’t need anything.”

Mom said this from the time I was six-years old, and I never did believe her. When I was ten, I bought her an atrociously ugly pitcher that weighed 15 pounds, before you put anything into it. One of my tiny, five-foot-tall mom’s happiest days was when someone dropped the thing and it shattered.

If you do have more money than mom thinks, then feel free to ignore what she says, consider deeply what she would get pleasure or use from, and give thoughtfully to this difficult gift recipient. But don’t be surprised or offended if she scolds you.

In John 13: 1-17, Jesus washes His disciples feet. This is an image of what moms do in our lives until the end of our lives, or theirs. Through the humility of their love, they instruct us that “you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” One of the best gifts you can give to Mom is to learn the things she tried so hard to teach.

A Constant Reminder

2) “If you must buy me something, make it something simple that I use every day. That way, I am reminded of you regularly.”

It’s hard watching kids grow up and away, and even when you’re in the midst of the chaos of raising them, you know that they can’t live with you, always and forever, regardless of their plans as a three-year-old.

Romans 1: 20 tells us, “For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.”

In the same way that we are comforted by seeing God’s presence in the beauty of the things He has created, Mom delights in a regular reminder of you.

Hand Made, from the Heart

3) “Make me something. Anything.”

I always felt that my childish, and even young adult efforts, to make my mother something were pathetic substitutions for “real” presents that are purchased in a store. Through the years, though, it is the cards, the notes, and the little projects that remain in my mother’s treasure trove.

No matter how old you get, or how old mom gets, you are always a child in her heart. Afternoon Tea, original oil painting by Steve Henderson; licensed open edition print at Great Big Canvas, iCanvasART, and

My own treasure trove contains jewelry, pillows, cards, and crafts made by my progeny, from the time they were old enough to hold a crayon.

Matthew 6: 21 tells us, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” You, my friend, are Mom’s treasure. Her heart is always with you.


4) “Call me. Write me. Visit me. Connect with me all year round. I want to be a part of your life.”

I never realized how meaningful a phone call to my mother was until my own adult children called me and apologized for doing “nothing more” than that.

Are you kidding? I inhaled their voice, drank up their laughter, closed my eyes and just enjoyed being with this terrific person who in a unique, special, irreplaceable way, is mine.

In the noted vine and branches teaching of John 15, Jesus tells His disciples in verse 9,

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” All relationships flourish when we invest time in them.

Keep Her up to Date

5) Last, but not least: “Feel free to tell me about your sadness, pain, and hurt. I want to be there for you. BUT — don’t forget to let me know how things work out. Don’t leave me hanging.”

Moms give, and give, and give, but it takes it out of them, and nothing empties the smile from a Mom’s heart more than to know that her child is hurting. Don’t avoid communicating with Mom when things are going badly (she’ll probably guess something is up, anyway), but don’t leave her in a state of worry.

This is why it’s important to communicate often, and regularly, so that every call isn’t one of panic, every text one of angst.

Whether they stay at home or work in an office, Mothers . . . love. That’s their primary job. And while they’re human, and mess up, they do their best to be patient and kind, always protecting, always trusting, always hoping, always persevering (1 Corinthians 13: 4, 7).

Mother’s Day is an opportunity to say, “Thanks, Mom.”

Thank You

Thank you for joining me at Commonsense Christianity, where I am on a lifelong journey of reading the Bible and asking God, “What does this mean? How about that? Is this seriously true?”

All of us who seek truth are on this journey, and the only way we will find the answer is if we are walking on the path ourselves, and not allow ourselves to be carried along on the words, teachings, admonitions, directives, opinions, and beliefs of others.

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