Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Mama's Love

Frederick Douglass grew up as a slave in Maryland in the early nineteenth century. He escaped and became one of the century's leading abolitionists who fought to end slavery forever. He writes in his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave, about being torn away from his mother's love:

“My mother and I were separated when I was but an infant—before I knew her as my mother. It is a common custom, in the part of Maryland from which I ran away, to part children from their mothers at a very early age. She was hired by a Mr. Stewart, who lived about 12 miles from my home.”

Nonetheless, young Frederick's mother several times found ways to see her son:

“She made her journeys to see me in the night, traveling the whole distance on foot, after the performance of her day's work. She was a field hand, and a whipping was the penalty of not being in the field at sunrise . . . She was with me in the night. She would lie down with me and get me to sleep, but long before I waked she was gone.”

How amazing is the power of a mother's love. Frederick Douglass' mother worked all day long in the scorching heat of the tobacco fields, and then, when her body was crying for rest, she walked 12 miles in the dark to see her son. After comforting him and holding him as he fell asleep, she had to walk another 12 miles back. She gave up a night's sleep. She risked getting a severe whipping if she was caught, or if she got home late. But nothing could keep this mother from her son.[1]

The heart of a mother is like a rare jewel. They love their children during the worst and best of times. Their devotion and quiet service is manifested by the way they turn a house into a home. Of course they build their homes by cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, and putting Band-Aids on scrapes. Chances are they will be the first one up in the morning or the last one down at night. Mothers juggle so many things at once; yet it’s amazing how they can always give a little bit more.

This scripture seems to be written just for mothers:

“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." Philippians 2:1-4

There never would have been an Isaac without a Sarah, a Moses without a Jochebed, a Samuel without a Hannah, a John without an Elizabeth, a Timothy without a Eunice, or a John Mark without a Mary. These men were the men they were, in great part, because of the mothers they had. The hidden secret of that winning combination? Mother with child—just that simple.

And so, mothers, don't ever forget the permanence of your imprint. The kids may seem ungrateful, they may act irresponsible, they may even ignore your reminders and forget your advice these days. But believe this: they cannot erase your influence.

Mothers make up a crucial part of our lives. So whether it is a Hallmark card, dinner out, hug, or a kiss on the cheek, we should show we care. It is so important to give our love to these dedicated women in our lives and not take them for granted.

A familiar mother’s day poem written in the early 1900’s sums up mothers best:

M is for the Many things she gave me,
O means only that she's growing Old.
T is for the Tears she shed to save me,
H is for her Heart of purest gold.
E is for her Eyes with love light shining,
R means Right and Right she'll always be.

Put them all together, they spell MOTHER.
A word that means the world to me.

[1] Kevin Miller, “Fredrick Douglass’ Mother’s Daily Sacrifice,” Preaching Today, April 2002 <http://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2002/april/13642.html> 

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