by Tonya Stoneman
Mary, the mother of Jesus, stood by the cross at Calvary and witnessed as history’s greatest tragedy was inflicted upon her Son. “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).
John the Beloved lived to be an old man—long enough to take good care of Mary all the days of her life. Even as He hung dying on the cross, Jesus demonstrated His love toward His mother, making provision for her care in His absence. The older a mother gets, the more she needs to know that her children still love her.
How can you can show love to your mother?
1. Love her verbally. When you tell your mother that you love her, it is important to be specific. Tell her why and how you love her. Express some of the qualities for which you love her, like the fact that you enjoy the meals she prepares or you appreciate how dependable she is. When you stop and think about all the things your mother does to serve her household, you will find plenty of examples.
2. Love her physically. Your mother was the first person to touch you. Before you were born, she wrapped you in her womb. After you came into the world, she tickled the bottoms of your feet and made you laugh. She kissed your cheeks in the middle of the night and held your little hands when they were soft and tender.
She also changed your diapers, tied your shoelaces, combed your hair, and buttoned your shirts. She touched you constantly during all those years when you needed the security of her touch. When her primary duties as a mother have expired, she will need to know that she is still needed. She will need your touch.
3. Love her patiently. Moms have big jobs. There likely is no corporate responsibility that rivals motherhood when it comes to physical, emotional, and spiritual commitment. It is easy to become impatient with our mothers when they don’t do things the way we want them to. Sometimes they are late to appointments, prepare meals we don’t like, or don’t follow through in the way we expect them to. In these times we must exercise patience.
It is important to remember that our mothers aren’t bottomless wells from which we draw each time we have a need. Our mothers have their own schedules and needs. It is unfair to expect them to align their lives to accommodate ours.
4. Listen to her. Can you remember a time when your mother stopped what she was doing to listen to you pour out your burdens? Maybe somebody you were dating stood you up, a friend didn’t invite you to a party, or you didn’t make the basketball team. What did your mother do? She put her arm around you and encouraged you. She listened. Sometimes our mothers long for someone to talk to. One of the sweetest ways you can express love toward your mother is to listen to her. A lot of mothers suppress fears, anxieties, frustrations, and inner torments because they don’t want to worry their children. In fact, there are no parents who never have fears, heartaches, or burdens. In her latter years, she may face troubles more intense than anything she has helped you overcome in your own life. It is important to keep the door of communication open so that our mothers can express their fears when necessary.
5. Love her gratefully. Think for a moment about all the things that your mother has done for you over the years. How many meals did she prepare for you while you lived at home? How many boxes of cereal did she buy? You wanted Corn Flakes, so she bought that. You switched to Lucky Charms, so she bought that. She asked you how you liked your eggs—fried, scrambled, or poached.
Mothers never bring these things to our attention. They just make their trips to the grocery store and stand in line with their carts full of food because they love us. If we begin to enumerate all the little things that our mothers have done throughout the years, we will realize that we owe them an enormous debt of gratitude.
6. Love her tenderly. A mother sometimes needs acceptance and understanding rather than a lot of advice. Her actions may seem strange, but when you love somebody, you accept her just as she is. Maybe it’s something she can’t help. Maybe she doesn’t understand her own emotions. Don’t judge your mother—just tenderly love her, and accept that she’s going through a difficult time. The best mark of what kind of kids we are is how we respond to our moms when they are going through hardship.
7. Love her generously. Is anything too good for your mother? When you think about all the things she has done for you, could you ever do enough to repay her? More than likely your mother sacrificed so that you could wear the clothes you wore. When she went to the store to buy herself a dress, she made sure that you had the best she could afford first. What was left over, she spent on herself. Mothers do this everyday with their time and energy, canceling appointments or forfeiting opportunities to take their children to sports practice or friends’ houses. How can we be stingy toward our mothers when they have been so unselfish, loving, and generous toward us?
8. Love her forgivingly. Perhaps you do not have a harmonious relationship with your mother. You may be resentful and bitter toward her. Whatever has happened between you, you have a responsibility before God to forgive her. Maybe there is no excuse for her sins; however, when we do not forgive we cannot love. And God tells us to love. If He can forgive us despite our failures, surely we can do the same for our mothers.
9. Love her cheerfully. What comes to your mother’s mind when she thinks about you? Does she smile or frown? Is she encouraged or burdened? The next time you visit your mother, encourage her, laugh with her, and do your best to make her happy. In doing so, you will show her how you genuinely feel toward her.
10. Love her honorably. “Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long upon the earth” (Ex. 20:12 nasb). It is the only one of the 10 Commandments with a built-in promise for blessing. It doesn’t matter what your vocation is in life, how many people know you, or the amount of money you earn. When you live the kind of life that honors your mother, she will be proud of you.
How do you love your mother? You love her with all of your heart. You demonstrate your love to her in a way that makes her grateful for every moment of time she invested in you, every penny she sacrificed for you, and every experience she provided that helped you become the person you are. Whoever you are, you owe a great deal to your mother.
In Touch Magazine, May 2002 issue.
Used with permission.