My mother died when I was 21. There was no extended illness to herald her departure – one day she was with us and the next she was with the Lord. I was not able to learn from her as I bore my own children, or to seek comfort from her after a failed marriage, or to share the blessing and joy of my marriage with my soulmate, Bill. She would never know my children or hear them call her Grammy. Decades have slipped through my fingers since her death, and I miss her still, but praise the Lord, He has provided other women who stepped into the role as mother to me and as grandmother to my children, even though there is no biological connection.
Paul had this feeling about a lady in Rome when he said in Romans 16:13: “Greet Rufus, whom the Lord picked out to be his very own; and also his dear mother, who has been a mother to me.” [New Living Translation]
Who is my mother?
I suggest that it is any woman who shares my spiritual DNA, a DNA that cuts across all races, nationalities, tongues and locations and which evidences our relationship with the Lord and, thus, with each other.
My own children were fortunate to have been a part of congregations where older Christians acted as grandparents to the children when relatives were hundreds of miles away. There was abundant love showered on my children by these saints.
Surrogate grandparents who are members of Christ’s Church can give children hugs and smiles when they see them, whether at church or in the store; they can babysit and care for the children of single mothers who need a break; in short, they share in children’s lives by being the hands and feet of Christ and the Church can be the “safe home” for so many children who have less than ideal home situations otherwise. Biology has nothing to do with it.
Then, too, there are the older women who can be a surrogate mother by being a mentor, counselor, or prayer partner! Those of us who are older can mentor the younger women who are motherless or whose mothers are not readily available to help or counsel. Titus 2:3-5 gives an incredible description of the relationship that is characteristic of Christian women.
Paul states the mystery of our relationship with other Christians like this:
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:16-17 [NIV]
Thus, Christians are related to each other through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
So, how do you identify your mother who has the same spiritual DNA? Look for any woman God provides who:
- Is of assistance, encouragement, and of spiritual blessing to you.
- Loves the covenant children of the church by teaching, working in the youth programs, even tutoring, and being a counselor to the young.
- Is willing to be a spiritual mentor as she counsels you.
- Is a role model for you as she meets the needs of the children, youth and elderly who are within her circle of influence.
Praise the Lord for His marvelous gift of deep spiritual relationships in the Church that are possible through the love of God and the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.
So, who is your mother?
Or, perhaps the question is better phrased: “To whom can you be a ‘mother’ today?”