The Marvelous Ministry of Mothers
Study Guide, May 9, 2021
Pastor Clay Olsen
The year was 1872. The author of ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’, Julia Ward Howe, suggested they hold a day in Boston to honor Mothers, and so they did. Afterwards, the daughter of a Methodist minister in Grafton, West Virginia, believed that this great idea should become a national holiday. Years earlier, during the Civil War, her Mother had organized Mother’s Day Work Clubs to care for wounded soldiers, both Union and Confederate, and raised money for medicine, inspected food items, improved sanitation, and served to help families who suffered from illnesses, such as tuberculosis. So in her honor, Anna Jarvis persuaded her church to set aside the 2nd Sunday of May, the anniversary of her Mother’s death, as a day to appreciate all Mothers. And in response to a letter writing campaign following this, on May 9, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first National Mother’s Day as a public expression of love and reverence for the mothers of our country. And in 1986, in a Mother’s Day proclamation, President Ronald Reagan said: “A Jewish saying sums it up: “God could not be everywhere-so He created mothers.” 1
How about that? Well, God actually is everywhere, being omnipresent and all, however, He did create Mothers to join Him in carrying out this marvelous ministry of Mothers. Which is what a Mother’s service really is…it is a ministry, and Mothers minister to their family and through their family in countless ways. Which is a very key concept for Mothers to carry in their attitude and understanding about what it is that they are really involved in…you are involved in a joint ministry with your Creator and God in nurturing and guiding and leading and teaching and caring and preparing others for life. Mothers are in a joint ministry as joint ministers with God!
So how about that title to add to your personal identity…a joint minister with God? And in just knowing this, in just having this understanding about your identity, this can be a powerful encouragement to a Mother as you go about this marvelous ministry of yours. An accurate identity is crucial to everything, really. One of the newest identities of persons that really impact other’s lives is being an ‘Influencer’. In the marketing world,
the number of followers you need to be an influencer depends on the niche in which you operate. Mega influencers have many followers on their social networks, often more than 1 million followers on a platform. People with followers in the range between 40,000 and 1 million followers on a social network are macro-influencers. Most influencers are micro-influencers with between 1,000 and 40,000 followers. And you also have nano-influencers with fewer than 1,000 followers. And then, in really specialist niches, family niches, those are called ‘Mama-influencers’! Now that has a great ring to it, right? But really, it’s the ‘Mama-influencers’ that really are the mega-influencers, because of the impact and the generational affects for good that a Mother has on her family and through her family. Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying: “All that I am or ever hope to be I owe to my angel Mother.” That’s what we call ‘Influence’! So, Mothers, you are the complete package of ‘Mega, Macro, Micro, Nana, and Mama Influencers’!
But identities can be confusing. I remember hearing the story that one time Dolly Parton entered a ‘Dolly Parton look a-like contest’…and she lost! She didn’t even come in 2nd! She and the winner are probably great friends though…and now she really can be in two places at once. But again, identities can be confusing! But God knows exactly who you are. And God wants you to carry the identity that He has of you…to see yourself the way He sees you.
Yes, you see yourself as a Mother, and rightly so, but God first sees you as His daughter, one who He created in His own image. Your mind, and will, and emotions, and moral nature, are all things you share with God. God created your mind so that you could think about life together with your God, and talk things over about life with your God. We call that praying…but it’s really just ‘sharing with God’…sharing about your life, sharing about your family…your children, sharing about your cares and concerns and whatever else is going on in your world…sharing all these things with your Heavenly Father, since you are His daughter. That’s why He says things to you like: 1 Peter 5:7- “Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns…] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.” AMP
Remember, God is in this together with you! He wants you to cast the cares or transfer the cares that are in your hands into His hands…not for you to stop caring about any of them, but to not be crushed by any of them. He’s going through it all with you. Those cares you have about how your kids are going to turn out, or those cares you have about how your children are going to overcome this or that, or those cares you have about if you did enough of this or didn’t do enough of that, and on and on…Sure, you may carry ‘cares’ like that, but you were never intended to carry them alone. You’re never alone in your ministry of Motherhood…your Maker is with you in it all.
He even feels what you are feeling as you try to juggle church and school and sports and jobs and hobbies and appointments and plans and problems…oh my! Talk about stress, right? It’s a good thing that ‘Stressed’ spelled backwards is ‘Desserts’! Desserts help everything! But the point is, you don’t even have to carry your emotions alone. In fact, you don’t anyway. Your Maker carries those, too, since He is also your Redeemer, who has redeemed you, and He now shares in your life in union with you.
Your life is a ‘shared life’; a life shared with your Lord and Savior. Think often and deeply about that. So God feels your stresses as well as your successes…He feels your sorrows as well as your joys…He feels your burdens as well as your blessings. When He said what He said in Matthew 11:28-30 He wasn’t saying it to everybody else…He was saying it to you: Matt 11:28-30- “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment…and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good — not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.” AMP
God wants to share the load with you…you just need to let Him, and then follow His lead. And to do that…well, that will involve your ‘will’. But He created that, too, so you just need to be willing. You just need to point your will in His direction, and He will guide you from there. Just be willing…God is able. Just supply the will…God will provide the power. It’s a ‘shared thing’, remember? And sure, it’s normal to feel ill-equipped to do monumental tasks, like Motherhood, but when God brings you to it, He will see you through it. Have you ever applied Isa 40:28-31 to your ministry as a Mother? The implications are quite remarkable. It says: “Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of His understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” NLT
When you get run down, God will refresh you. Or, when you are ‘sorely mommicked’ God will surely help you. Moms do get ‘sorely mommicked’ from time to time, don’t’ they…But when you’re on all day and you’re up all night, well, God is always up all night. He’ll share the night watch with you. Even more, He sees you in that night watch! Know this about our God…when things are hardest for you, that’s when God draws closest to you. He sees the hard things you do…He sees you.
I remember in an episode of ‘The Chosen’, just before Nathaniel had met Jesus. He is sitting under a fig tree and calling out to God about the hard things he has been going through, and he asks the Lord if He even sees him. Later, as Philip introduces Nathaniel to Jesus, something begins to connect with him as he meets Jesus, and as Jesus looks at him. The passage says, “Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” John 1:48-49 NASU And Nathaniel realizes that Jesus was right there with him beside that fig tree, even though the hard times made it feel like God was far away.
A similar experience happened with Hagar, one who got caught up in a confusing matter with Abraham and Sarah, and found herself a Single Mom, with fears and great needs, and not feeling much hope, until God comes to her. Gen 16:11; 13,14- “11 And the angel also said, “You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael (which means ‘God hears’), for the Lord has heard your cry of distress.”13 Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the Lord, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me.” She also said, “Have I truly seen the One who sees me?” 14 So that well was named Beer-lahai-roi (which means “well of the Living One who sees me”) NLT God sees us because He loves us…God sees you because He loves you. But hard times often cloud our vision of being able to see God.
Feelings do that you know, especially feelings brought on by fatigue or by illness or by disappointment or other hardships. Feelings often cover facts, like a fog covers a lighthouse. But if you look closely, if you’ll look up, you’ll still be able to see the light coming from the lighthouse which is a standing fortress and a refuge for you. Feelings can often come over Mothers like a fog covers things in the night, but the light is still there, the Lord is still there, always a fortress and a refuge for you. Just like the Lord was to the Psalmist, the Lord is all that to you. Ps 18:1-2- “1 I love you, Lord; You are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.” NLT
And He will shine the light of His promises and His counsel and His sufficient grace to see you through whatever you’re going through. Mostly, He will shine His light on you, because His focus in on you, His care is for you, His concern is for you. God sees you, and you are what means the most to Him…because once again, even though you are a wife and a mother and maybe even a grandmother or great-grandmother, foremost to God, you are His daughter, and as such, you are precious in His sight.
Listen to this: Isa 43:1-4- “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are Mine. 2 When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you…” 4- “…because you are precious to Me. You are honored, and I love you.” NLT
Everything you go through, everything your family goes through, everything that happens to you, everything that happens to your family…everything matters to God because it matters to you, and you are precious in His sight. Therefore, God wants to you to share it with Him, because He cares for you. God is in this ministry with you, this ministry of a Mother. And you are a joint-minister with God. And that really is marvelous.
- Crosswalk.com, First National Mother’s Day – May 9