Mark 13:17 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!
I am the youngest of three. Mom talked about each pregnancy being hassle-free, labor and births on par with that of common experiences. As for nursing of me and my siblings, memorable for mom! Each of us rejected mom's milk. Brother who navigated a raging case of colic ultimately calmed with formula. Sister was bottle fed primarily for mom's convenience while she cared for two infants fifteen months apart. I was fed soy product due to my newborn dairy allergy. All that to say, pregnancy and nursing for mom were not necessarily dreadful, but she did have some stories to share.
Mom enjoyed being our mom. She raised us with lullabies, bedtime reading, exploring nature, and a lot of holding. Mom's capacity for love knew no bounds and I responded to her love readily. I loved my mother's love so much so that my expressed sorrow when separated from her hung-on through third grade. I recall vividly that first day of school my third grade year. With the bus coming down the street, mom encouraging me to get out to the curb so I wouldn’t miss the bus. I braced myself against the counter under the phone, phone books, and pile of mail. The cry I released was messy, loud, involved gasps for air, and a crinkled chin. I did not want to leave my mother. I wondered what if I never see her again? What if something happens to her? What would I do without her?!
Matthew 10:37 Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
Before I met God, there was Gail (my mother). Even after I met God, there was Gail. Mom, simply by existing and playing her mom role to the extent that I was totally into her, took me to that place "who loves their . . . mother more than me." Whoops! Before I knew God, I knew my mother so well, and she me. We both kinda failed Matthew 10:37 or nailed-it depending on how you look at it. The hardest process for me after surrendering my life to Jesus Christ was shifting mom's position within my heart and mind to her rightful place, second. This was not at all easy for me. My mother gave me life and cared for little me through fragile years. She ensured my shelter, my clothing, and my food. I experienced mom as my point-of-focus. She did not demand this of me, but naturally I perceived her as supplier of my basic and complex needs. Through her expressed love and care for me I easily related with my mother as if she was the alpha and omega. Jesus broke through that stronghold; he gained his proper position within my life. First.
Ephesians 6:2-3 Honor your father and mother - which is the first commandment with a promise - so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on earth.
While able to shift mom's position in my heart and mind to her rightful place as second to God, my honor for her remains unwavering. How remarkable this woman who created three humans inside of her body. Her body created milk for all three of us (despite three-times rejected). She worked hard as an employee while raising us. She died young in part because she lived fast, hard for her three children. Mom went any lengths to help us grow into capable, successful adults. As mother, she played each aspect of such an honorable role to the best of her ability. I honor her not merely because it is commended by God that I do so. I honor Gail A. Milne because she is honorable as mother, as woman, as person worthy of honor. That I enjoy my long life is very much the result of the honor I have for mom. I honor her, I admire her. My memories of our relationship, time spent, experiences shared, are fond and many. My joy in several moments throughout my days results when remembering mom’s smile, voice, eyes, hugs, even her "shhsh, I'm trying to listen to this program!"
Psalm 35:14 I went about mourning as though for my friend or brother. I bowed my head in grief as though weeping for my mother.
I understand "grief as though weeping for my mother." This grief is an ache which begins at the deepest root of my inner being and slowly, painfully creeps into the belly. Such a grief continues with gripping symptom on par with a bone-break from belly, through the spine, reaching the throat with a throb. Throb turns wail. Nose full of tears, which tumble madly any which way they wish. Remember to breathe. Breathe again. Breathe deeply to calm the gravity of mourning. When a baby screeches after exiting her mother's womb, I imagine the baby is exclaiming "I miss her!" My mother's warmth, my mother's comfort, the safety of my mother. Grief as though weeping for my mother expresses without words "MY GOD, THANK YOU!"
Proverbs 23:25 May your father and mother rejoice; may she who gave you birth be joyful!
My mother hung in there until I demonstrated Proverbs 23:25. Through series upon series of trial, error, success, error, and another error, my mother waited until she could rejoice. The year I turned forty-four I had a career mom and I celebrated, I owned my first home, and my finances were in secure order. She died within five months of those aligned accomplishments, joyful. My siblings and I joke about mom finally feeling confident that I would consistently manage without her encouragement, her belief in me, and her tangible role in my life. In that confidence, mom rejoiced, and she died. She died joyful that her incredible effort as mother resulted in three capable, successful children.
Mother's Day is May 12th. I trust such a day of recognition brings with it the gamut of human thoughts, feelings, responses, plans, and prayers for many of us. I pray that however Mother’s Day shapes up or falls apart that care of whoever you are is priority. I pray that at minimum laughter is enjoyed once. If sorrowful, I pray the gift of tears convey someone or something has touched your soul. God bless all mothers. God bless all children.
Psalm 118:21 [God] I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.