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What Is a Mother Worth?
Remembering my mother for World Magazine
I plan on writing a more lengthy tribute to my mother, who passed away last week, but I had the opportunity to write about her in my column for World this week. It’s appropriate in many ways because was Mom who gave me a love of words, Mom who taught me to read, Mom who always told me I’d be a writer. So here’s a few key graphs from the column:
The English writer Agatha Christie once said “A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.” This past Sunday, families paused and honored the mothers in their lives. But for me, it was a more personal and bittersweet holiday.
A week ago, my mother, age 69, passed away from complications with dementia, her family by her side. In the last days, we sang hymns, cited Scripture as she was ushered into eternity. Children rarely appreciate the gift of a good mother. It was well into adulthood before I began to appreciate the treasures she passed down: a stable family life, church attendance, a love of words, and a love of curiosity. I’m a writer, in large part, because Mom taught me to read, bought me good books, and urged me to think about how Christianity applies to the headlines we read every day in the newspaper. Most of all, she gave me the gift of knowing Jesus, having led me to faith in Christ.
At a time when family formation in America is increasingly weakened, when family bonds are frayed, when our major institutions are erasing the beautiful distinctions between men and women with ridiculous terms like “birthing persons,” Christians should not stop celebrating motherhood. We must double down on our insistence on the total irreplaceability of moms and motherhood.
Mother’s Day is more than a Hallmark holiday or a cultural marker, it is the opportunity to reflect on a creational ideal woven throughout the gospel narrative, from Isaac’s miraculous birth to the obedience of Mary in bearing the Messiah. Through a mother’s sin came death and through a mother’s obedience came salvation (1 Timothy 2:15).
Ultimately, it’s this gospel story where we find hope on Mother’s Day and all days as we listen to the words of Jesus who said to his grieving mother, “Behold your son” and to his disciple John, “Behold your mother.” Our earthly families point us toward our new family, the family of God, where we find new mothers and fathers, new brothers and sisters. It’s also where those of us who grieve the loss of a mom on Mother’s Day draw comfort. For because the Son of Mary rose again on the third day, believers too will rise again—and rise again to glory
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