George Bowers Sr.: ‘Behold thy mother’
As Jesus was dying on the cross, he used some of his very last breath to arrange for the care of his mother. In John 19:47, He told John, “Behold thy mother.” Although it was a specific directive for John to assume responsibility for Mary, these words of Jesus are good advice for us this Mother’s Day. Let us take a few minutes to behold our moms.
Behold thy mother giving you life. The process of giving birth, I’m told, is one of the most painful experiences humans ever endure. After nine months of discomfort and possible sickness, hours of intense labor are necessary to bring a new human into existence. Even if your mom did nothing else for you, behold her great gift of granting you life through pregnancy and childbirth.
Behold thy mother’s sleepless nights. After a baby is born, she rarely sleeps long and often gets her days and nights confused. It is usually mom who stays up to feed, rock, and sing her back to sleep, or to just hold her while she cries. Does it exhaust her and leave her without energy for her duties the next day? Sure it does. But behold her love that stays up anyway.
Behold thy mother changing your diapers and bathing you before you had any clue you needed either to be done. Behold her cleaning out your ears and scrubbing your toes. Behold her washing your onesies, blankets, and sheets before you finally got the hang of the potty.
Behold thy mother cooking for you. Although dads get in on the action occasionally, it’s often the mother who prepares the bulk of family meals. Behold her selecting the recipes and the ingredients. Behold her thoughtful blending and brazing, measuring and mixing, flavoring and fixing, seasoning and sautéing, so that you could have the nourishment to grow, learn, and play. After dinner, behold her cleaning up the leftovers and dishes for she’s often the one who does that too.
Behold thy mother nursing you back to health. Remember those scraped knees and raspberried elbows? Remember the sore throats and upset tummies? Who was it that doctored you and held you close? Who was it that always knew where to find the Bactine, the Band-Aids and the Robitussin? Behold thy mother taking your temperature and giving you ginger ale with crushed ice.
Behold thy mother teaching you important life lessons. Although schoolteachers helped with the process, it was probably your mom who actually taught you to count, read, and add. Behold her teaching you how to treat others by her example and pattern. Behold her reading your bedtime and Bible stories and helping you learn the memory verses that now get you through each day.
Behold thy mother’s bitter tears as she loved you through those teenage years. Behold her sitting up waiting for you, praying every minute until you arrived, and then scolding you when you did. Behold her broken heart when you spurned her love and rejected her kindness. Behold her joy when the relationship was mended as you matured.
Behold thy mother’s selfless sacrifice giving up what she wanted to do to play your game, read your book, or take your walk. Behold her giving up the money she was saving for a dress to buy your new shoes. Behold her hard work at the office or factory to put food in the fridge and clothes in your closet. Behold thy mother’s never ending sacrifice for her children.
Behold thy mother’s fervent prayers. How many times did your mom pray for you before you were born, when you were an infant, as you toddled about and when you went to school? How often did she repeat your name before God’s throne asking for your protection, blessing, and well-being? How many times did she pray for your choice of occupation and spouse? Behold thy kneeling mother storming heaven on your behalf.
Behold thy mother’s love, for this is what motivated all of the above. As we celebrate Mother’s Day, if you beheld your mother in any of these paragraphs, and if she is living, be sure to thank her appropriately. If she has passed on, thank the God who gave you such a wonderful gift of the time you had with her. Take time to behold thy mother, for she is one of God’s greatest blessings. Happy Mother’s Day, George
George Bowers Sr. is the senior pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock and the author of seven books, including his latest book of poetry, “Holy Verses.” He can be reached through www.georgebowersministries.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org.