It’s that time of year again when Mother’s Day rolls around and I am haunted with questions regarding how I’ve succeeded or failed as a mom. Always leaning toward self-criticism, I think of opportunities wasted, poorly chosen words, and all those times when I’ve majored on the minors and minored on the majors.
On this Mother’s Day, I want to take the time to tell you what’s on my heart. If you take nothing else from this life we’ve spent together, carry this with you.
All six of you are at a stage when you’re full of exciting questions—who will I marry? What will my career be? Where will I live? Those are great questions, but guess what…they are not the reason you are here. You are here to know and love Jesus. He has a plan for all areas of your life, but the secret to finding that plan is to seek him first. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you as well.” (Matt. 6:33)
Secondly, you are called to love people. There are two types of people in this world: people who know Jesus and people who need to know Jesus. That’s it. Our culture has divided people into an incredible number of categories, but there are simply two types. Love them both. Choose your spouse, close friendships, and advisors from those who know Jesus.
Thirdly, cling to truth. Truth is found only in the Word of God. I’ve come to believe that the difference between knowing about God and actually knowing God lies in digging into the Word. Don’t rely on fallible man to tell you who God is and what he wants from you. Go into his Word. Pursue him. Measure everything you’re taught against what you find there.
Our culture has developed a “second opinion” regarding truth and love and sin, so I want to pose a question. Imagine you went to a doctor and he told you that you have a deadly cancerous tumor in your brain and that if you want to live, you must get it removed and undergo painful and unpleasant treatment. You are very unhappy about that, so you visit a different doctor who tells you brain tumors aren’t really bad and that you are fine just as you are. You’re relieved that you don’t need to undergo treatment or do anything different at all. Which doctor truly cares for you? Which doctor is going to lead you toward life and which toward death? Follow the right doctor. That doctor is God, and his Word instructs us that we have a deadly problem called sin. It resides in each of us, and with it we cannot be reconciled to God. There is only one cure, and he is Jesus. Jesus came and paid the price for our sins, that we might have eternal life. He himself proclaimed that there is no other way to Heaven except through him. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
If you give your life to Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to live in you, you will find the right spouse (or contentment in singleness), the right career, and the right place to live. No, none of these will be perfect, and perhaps not even your preference. The key is that no matter where you are in any of those areas, honor him there. In it all and through it all, trust and obey. He will refine you and use you and bring fruit as you persevere.
When you were young I used to draw a little dot on a sheet of paper, then from the dot I drew a line to the edge and told you to imagine that line went on and on and on forever. That dot was this life we are given on earth. It is but a vapor and then it’s gone. The line that goes on forever is eternity. Each of us has a lifetime on earth, but each of us also has an eternity that we will spend either with God in Heaven or apart from God in eternal suffering. The world will try to convince you that the dot is all that matters…that there is no line. God’s Word, however, tells you to set your mind on the line. “Set your minds on things above, not on things that are on earth.” (Col. 3:2) In every choice you make, consider the line, not just the dot—the eternal implications, not just the temporary satisfaction you think you’ll receive. Every choice matters.
Finally, my children, understand that there will be times when you’ll fall. Your father and I each have learned what it is like to sin so badly that you feel things can never be redeemed. The enemy was right there to taunt us with the lie that we had ruined our lives, and yours, beyond repair. But that is always a lie. When you fall, because everyone who walks will at some point fall, do not listen to the enemy. Call upon Jesus. He is our rescue, our only source of hope. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) We cannot fall beyond the reach of his grip. We cannot commit a sin so bad that his blood lacks power to cleanse us. Call upon his name. He is mighty to save.
The greatest honor God has bestowed upon me next to calling me into his kingdom is the privilege of being your dad’s wife and your mom. You bring such joy to my soul. I’m beyond grateful that you call me “Mom.” While I’m sure that next year on Mother’s Day I’ll again examine ways I could have done better, I will know for certain I have communicated to you the crucial things you need to know.
And I love you. Always. Forever. Unconditionally. Completely. On your best days. On your worst days. Recklessly. And yet…not a fraction of how deeply your Father in Heaven loves you.