The Joy and Heartbreak of Motherhood

John Telgren

It has been said that motherhood is perhaps one of the most rewarding as well as the most heartbreaking role one could fill. It is rewarding to see your child speak the first word, take the first step, grow a full head of hair, and things like this. It is bittersweet when your child leaves for the first day of school, graduates, or gets married and moves on with life. It is heartbreaking when your child makes ungodly decisions, takes the wrong direction in life, or leaves this world before you do. Even though scripture refers to the woman as the "weaker vessel," mothers have a unique strength all their own. Mothers are more ferocious than fathers when it comes to protecting their little ones. A mother's love is enduring regardless of what a child has done. They never stop being a mother. The bond between a mother and child is unlike any other bond.

I am reminded of a mother who experienced the greatest joys and the greatest heartbreaks as a mother. Her first son grew up in the family business. He did good work and was well spoken of by everyone in their community. Eventually, he left the family business and became a traveling teacher of sorts. His teachings were new and revolutionary. He demonstrated a remarkable wisdom far beyond his years. His teaching caused quite a stir among the establishment. He received death threats, warnings, and attempts on his life. How hard it must have been for this mother to watch her son go through all of these hardships. But it didn't end there. One of her son's own students turned against him and revealed his location to those who were trying to kill her son. They arrested him and tortured him for hours until he finally died. She was there while this was happening. How hard it must have been for her to watch her son die. In spite of all of the torture, her son's thoughts were on his mother. His father had died, and he was the oldest son. Who would take care of his mother in her later years. So, he oldest son, even though he was still undergoing torture, entrusted the care of his mother to his best friend, who was also a student of his. He would take her in as his own mother. Then, shortly after this, he gave up his spirit and died.

Does this sound familiar? It should. Jesus, the Son of God, was also a son of Mary. He was the oldest son and took responsibility to see that his mother was cared for even after he left this world. Jesus was fulfilling the command of God that said to honor your parents. Honoring parents means caring for them, even in their old age. Jesus honored his mother even as he was dying.

There are instructions and examples throughout scripture that demonstrates what it means to honor your mother. Here are some scriptures to reflect on as you ponder what it means to honor mothers, grandmothers, mother-in-laws, and mother figures in your life. (Eph 6:1-2; Mt 15:1-9; 1 Tim 3:5-8; Ruth 1:8; 2:10-11, 18; 3:1-6; 1 Tim 5:2).