by Terra Koch
Sunday is Mother’s Day. Contrary to what you might think, moms didn’t come up with the idea of Mother’s Day as an easy way to get served pancakes in bed. In the year 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation making it an official holiday to be celebrated the second Sunday of May. But years before that, several movements were precursors to the official holiday. In the years before the Civil War in America, Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia helped start “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to teach women how to “properly care for their children.” In 1870, abolitionist Julia Ward Howe wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” a call to action that asked mothers to unite in promoting world peace. Then, in 1905, a woman named Anna Jarvis (daughter of the aforementioned Ann Jarvis) started a campaign for an official holiday honoring mothers—the very year her own mother died.
To know a mother is to know someone who spends much of her time ignoring her own needs while looking out for others and extending to them whatever help they need. This Sunday, as our lead pastor at Christ’s Church, Trevor DeVage, continues teaching in our series, “Six Words That Can Change Your Life,” how appropriate that the word of the day is “HELP!” You can check out that message here. God responds to us when we cry out to him for help, and he put in the DNA of mothers everywhere the desire to help and serve whenever and wherever needed.
Our Lord came to this Earth as a servant. He modeled what helping and serving others really looks like. It’s by faith that we are saved—faith that believes, and a humble soul that cries out for help. Jesus has made known exactly how he will respond. He will respond with “Yes, I will help you.” Jesus marvels when we place our faith in him and we say, “Jesus, I believe because of the fact that you overcame death and sin—and I believe you can help me do the same.” He is not done helping us.
A Mother’s Love
On this Mother’s Day weekend, think of a mother you know, or someone who is a mother figure to you. Whether through birth, adoption, marriage, or friendship, when a woman invests her time and energy into a child, she loves and serves with her whole heart. It was only a few weeks after my first son was born, after many sleepless nights, calls to the pediatrician, and reaching a point of exhaustion that I had never experienced before, that it struck me. How much effort it had been for my own mother just to keep me alive. Motherhood requires a lot of energy and effort! No matter what a mother’s story, the fragility of this new life can cause her to lean on and trust God in new ways.
As mothers of infants, we can plead with God for a fever to pass, or for energy to get through the day after a long night. Then we grow from that stage and the needs of our children change. While the specifics of our prayers may be different, a mother’s heart does not change. From those precious newborn days, to the first day of kindergarten, to high school graduation and beyond, we humbly pray for wisdom and guidance (and patience and energy!). As we serve God through motherhood, we cry out to him for help because we know there is so much beyond our control, yet we love our children deeply.
Just Say the Word
In Luke 7:1-10, there is a story of a centurion (a commander in the Roman army), who has a cherished servant who falls gravely ill. The centurion sends some Jewish elders to ask Jesus to come and heal his servant. When Jesus comes, the centurion says, “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed” (Luke 7:6, 7, NIV).
The Bible says Jesus was amazed at the centurion’s faith and persistence, and he exclaimed to the crowd following him, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel”—and he proceeded to heal the servant even though he was not physically with him (Luke 7:9, NIV).
It is not a mother’s perfection, her ability to get everything right, to do everything perfectly, that is paralleled in this story. The faith represented by the centurion in asking Jesus to heal his servant is reflected in motherhood. “I am not worthy, but say the word, Lord.” The centurion, a powerful Roman commander whose job was to oversee about 100 men, admitted his own powerlessness, reached out to Jesus, and asked him to help. In the same way, a mother trusts in the Lord to answer her prayers. This narrative tugs on my own heart as a mom. That first time I called the pediatrician with a little one’s fever, I realized there was much in his life that would be beyond my control. I would need to do what I am able to do, pray for help, and trust in God—no matter the outcome.
We don’t always get the answer we are looking for, just as a mother lovingly tells a child, “No,” or “Not yet.” We cry out, lovingly but imperfectly, to ask Jesus for help, and the Lord responds, “Yes, I will help you.” Jesus takes our brokenness, our tragedies, our heartaches, turned over to him in honesty and humility, and he transforms them into abundant life.
One of the last things Jesus promised his disciples was this certainty: “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20, NIV).
So, this Mother’s Day, when you cry out for help from Jesus, know that he is ready and able to provide whatever help you may need.
Terra Koch is a mom of four boys on a small farm. She serves on the Moms’ Group facilitator team and the women’s leadership team at Christ’s Church.