The Special Senses of Mothers
Study Guide, May 8, 2016
Pastor Clay Olsen
Did you ever notice how Mothers seem to have some special senses about certain things in life? And we’re not talking about it in an eerie sort of way or anything, but more of in an ‘edifying’ sort of way; like the ‘building up’ others sort of way, both in their own families and others. Now, certain comedians from way back have pointed out some other unusual things about Mothers: like, Phyllis Diller once said, “I want my children to have all the things I couldn’t afford…and then I want to move in with them!”; and Buddy Hackett pointed out, “My Mother’s menu consisted of two choices – Take it or leave it!”; and Milton Berle actually had some pretty good insight on this one when he said, “If evolution really works, how come Mothers still only have two hands?”; right?…and then Erma Bombeck said, “When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice safe playpen. And when they’re finished…I climb out!”
But one of those special senses Mothers have that we’re talking about is that they have a special sense about ‘True Wealth‘. Jesus was once talking to a crowd about covetousness, and then He put His finger on what is true wealth. He put it like this: Luke 12:15- “Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.“” NASU All right, so since life is not really about possessions, what is life about? If it’s not about material wealth, what is life really about? It’s about ‘relationships’; first our relationship with our Creator and Redeemer and next about our relationships with others; our family, church family, community, country, and such. It’s about building relationships and relationship building.
Mothers have a special sense about that. They have a knack for seeing wealth not in what they have in their life, but in ‘who‘ they have in their life. And so if they happen to have a lot materially in their life or not, since they have that special sense that Jesus spoke about, that ‘not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions’, they look at their relationships, their family, their church family, and their connections with others as their true wealth. And somehow, they seem to communicate that sense to others even if they are not spelling it out in words.
When I was a kid, our family was rather on the ‘poor’ side of the economic scale. But in our home there was never any talk about being poor economically, because the focus was not on what we had or didn’t have, but on who we were and all the riches that came with who we were in our relationships with God and one another. Mom especially had a way of turning the focus off of what we didn’t have to focusing on other amazing things. Actually, it wasn’t until I was almost an adult that I caught on to one of her strategies.
Most people celebrate Presidents Day once a year. But oftentimes we would celebrate Presidents Day once a week, especially President Lincoln, because Mom would say that since President Lincoln grew up poor, we needed to just have a very basic meal in order to honor President Lincoln. So I remember a lot of once a week suppers that were basically crackers and creamed peas…because, as Mom would point out, that’s probably all that young Mr. Lincoln had when he was a boy. I didn’t connect the fact that Mom was just having to cut back on our food budget each week, since that was all they could afford. I just thought we were honoring Presidents Day, and felt pretty patriotic about it all. Mom was pretty clever and pretty good at that!
But the point is, we didn’t think much about being poor, because Mom and Dad focused our attention on another kind of wealth … our relationships … our relationship with God and with each other and how rich we were to have all of that!
That goes along with another special sense that Mothers have, and that is the special sense about ‘True Value’. I have a 20 dollar bill here. I’m not going to mess it up, because there’s that thing about defacing money, but let’s say that I were to crumple up this 20 dollar bill here, and then take it outside and mash it in the dirt, and then even let some cars drive over it until it was pretty grungy and maybe even muddy and messed up. Now, what would be the value of that 20 dollar bill after being all mommicked? Right, $20!
The value of the bill did not change because of the condition or because of the appearance of the bill. No, the value of the bill remains exactly what it was before it got all messed up, because the value of the bill is determined by the value that was created into it. The value was given to it by creation, not by it’s later experience or the treatment or the condition of it.
Mothers have that special sense of seeing the true value of their children apart from their experiences, behaviors, treatment, accomplishments, performances, and so on, of their children. Oh yes, they are certainly proud about all the accomplishments and achievements and good works of their children, but still, they just sense that intrinsic value of their children, even if things don’t go so well in their lives or when things don’t work out as they had thought they would. How often is it that when trouble or a bad turn of events happen in their families and others sort of give up on one or more of a family member, that mothers keep holding on and hoping on. It’s pretty remarkable, and it’s because they have that sense that even though that certain child is crumpled up or muddied up in their behavior or poor choices and such, still, their value is the same as it always was and always will be, because that value came with their creation, and nothing can change that. Like they would look at a dirtied up $20 bill they look at a dirtied up family member or even someone else’s family member and they think; “They just need some ‘washing up’ in their life, some ‘renewal’ in their life, because their value is still the same.”
And in this sense, mothers have caught that special sense that God has as He looks at others; as He looks at us. As God saw us muddied up in our sins and walking through life in the mire of the world, He saw the value in us that was created into us, and thus the need for us was the need for some ‘washing up’ of us and for some ‘renewal’ of us. And that’s exactly what He did: Titus 3:4-6- But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit…” And 1 Peter 1:18-20 goes right along with it: “...knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” NASU
How thankful so many of us are that God didn’t give up on us when our lives were tattered and our behavior was tarnished and our attitudes were tempered by self will and worldly ways. God saw His created value in us and knew that He could wash away the sin from us and renew us by His Spirit, if He could only get to us … if He could get to our heart, and then get us to give our heart back to Him. Mothers are like that with their children. They don’t make their kids validate their worth, because they know that their value is already in them. They don’t make them earn their love and favor, because they’ve already given it to them. Their kids don’t have to perform up to a certain standard to gain their acceptance, because their acceptance of them never was based on what they did. It’s based on who they are. And the value of who they are is an unconditional and unchangeable value, just like their love for them, and just like God’s love for us. It’s a God thing.
And that leads us to one more special sense that mothers have about things in life, and that is the special sense that mothers have about ‘True Purpose’. Even about the sense of their own purpose, mothers know that in God’s plan Motherhood is not only a blessing from God, but also a ‘calling’ of God. God foreordained mothers with the high calling of forming the lives that God had formed within them. Mothers sense this connection of what Psalm 139 proclaims: Ps 139:13-16- “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.” NASU
This last part that speaks about the plans that God has for us. It speaks about these plans as being prerecorded for us. And it is the early revelation of what the Apostle Paul later revealed in Eph 2:10- “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” NLT You see, those ‘days that were ordained’ for us are not about time; they are about purpose, about the works God planned or assigned for each of us to do. And Mothers have a special connection with these works of God, with these plans of God, with these purposes of God. Just as God wove the child within her, so He continues to weave His plans through mothers in her ongoing works in that child and in her prayers for that child and in her example to that child. Like Esther was appointed for such a time as hers, mothers are appointed for such a time as theirs; appointed for such a work as theirs.
And yes, the works of their lives will be many faceted and those works, too, will be much rewarded. But among them are these specific preordained works, those prerecorded works, that were to be accomplished through procreation or through adoption or through guardianship of some form, and then guided and guarded and directed as they co-labored together with God. And these works have a purpose that connect back into eternity past and right on up into the Mother’s very present. It’s a calling whose story began in eternity past and continues to the very present and will go on into eternity future.
Again, whatever else Mothers do, Mothers are doing what God called them to do as they carry out the works that were prerecorded for them to do in the lives of their children and their children’s children and on and on.
Well, these special senses, and others, that Mothers have; they are a God thing, and a really good thing for each of us!