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What Does Mom Want?

Genesis 2:24


Mothers, take a deep breath and relax-my text today isn't Proverbs 31. Today, I'm not preaching on what it means to be an excellent wife and mother, instead, my primary audience is the children, not the mothers. Not everyone in this audience is a mother, but everyone has or had a mother, so we are looking at this holiday from the perspective of the child-not the mother.

Moms, when you're knee deep in dirty diapers, spilled oatmeal and bedtime stories, I'm sure it is easy to be so overwhelmed by motherhood that there is no time left to think about what you want FOR your children or FROM your children when they are grown. But from the time the nurse hands you that messy bundle of joy in the hospital, one thing is for certain-there will be a time when your children will leave home. Our helpless, fragile children grow up to become students, husbands, wives, doctors, mechanics, police officers and military personnel. The day will come when parents grow to depend upon those who once depended on us. That is the cycle of life.

Did you know that the first time the word "Mother" is mentioned in the bible it referred to the time when a child leaves home? Genesis 2:24 says, "For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." (NASB) Of course the subject of this text is the celebration of marriage, not the grief of the empty nest, nevertheless, motherhood is not mentioned until this verse. I suppose at this point in the sermon I could say things like, "enjoy your children while you have them because they'll be gone soon," or "stop and smell the roses while you can," etc. But that's not where I'm going with this. Instead, I want to explore these two questions, "What do Mothers want FOR their children"" And "What do they want FROM their children?"

I sent out a few emails to women that I respect and asked them these two questions. Because I chose godly women, I wasn't surprised by spiritual depth of their answers, though their passion and clarity did catch me a bit off guard. None of them treated this question lightly, it was something they had obviously spent time thinking about were happy to tell me what they want. 

What do Mother's want FOR their children? This is an emotion-drenched question. Mothers, by and large, want the best for their children. They want them to have choices and they want them to make good choices.

There is a sense in which the ultimate job of parenting is giving our children choices. The hospitals along the Mexico-USA border in San Diego deliver hundreds of babies to Mexican Nationals every year. Dr. Jorge Arce, an OB who practices in Chula Vista delivers about 100 of them every year. He said, "They drop in to the emergency room, they deliver and they leave." When they leave they take two precious things with them-their newborn child and their child's American birth certificate. According to Dr. Arce, most of the families he helps, as you might imagine, don't take any financial responsibility for the delivery of their child.

But not all the Mexican Nationals who deliver their babies across the border are poor. Many of them take full financial responsibility for their medical bills, but still choose to come across the border to deliver-people like Dr. Gabriela Nicolas. She had her first contractions while she was watching a movie. Nicolas, a psychologist, could have easily gone to her local hospital in Tijuana, Mexico to have the child, but chose instead to drive to a Suburban hospital in the US, where she gave birth within 12 hours. Why would she do it? One reason could be the quality of the care. Lauren Mack, from the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services said, "Those who have the ability to pay utilize the medical care in the United States because it's high quality compared to what's available to them in Mexico." Is that the reason Dr. Nicolas gave birth in the U.S.? No, she said, "I wanted him to have more choices." She has no desire to move to the U.S., but she wants her child to have that choice. (

Why do Mothers travel across the border when they are in labor? That's self-evident, isn't it? They want to provide a better life for their child-they want to give them choices. But mothers want more than choices for their children; they also want them to make good choices. Proverbs 10:1 says, "A wise son makes a father glad, But a foolish son is a grief to his mother." (NASB) In general, mothers want their children to make good choices. They want them to be healthy and happy-both of which to some extent are choices. They want them to marry well and have good family lives-to be loved-to love. They want them to live life to the fullest and look forward to each new day. Mothers want their children to be free of emotional scars and bondage and to drink deeply of love and joy. These things, they expressed to me with passion. They definitely want these things FOR their children, but the godly mothers that counseled me in preparation for this sermon wanted me to tell you something else. 

One mother wrote to me, "I want her to love the Lord and walk in His will. If she is out of His will, I want her to be miserable. I want for her to know that she is special because of the sacrifice that Christ made FOR HER. I want her to seek Him first in every decision." Another one wrote, "I would not shelter him from suffering. In the few extreme instances that I

have known true suffering I have never been closer to God, never more protected, and never more loved by Him." I didn't ask these mothers how they pray for their children-I wish I would have, that question would have provided us with rich insight, but one mother answered that unasked question anyway, she wrote, "I don't pray for riches or fancy houses for my child. I know if one is walking with God - He will provide everything."

What is so important that mothers are willing for their children to be miserable, if necessary, or suffer if needed, or do without things if need be? They want their children to be close to God and love His church. How's your relationship with God? Your mother cares about that-that is the number one thing she wants for you-yes she wants you to be healthy and happy, but more than that, she wants you to walk with the Lord.

But what does she want FROM you? I read three things over and over, usually the same words-time, love and respect. That's all she wants. She wants some of your time. She wants your love. And she wants your respect.

Before Elisha began his role as prophet, he went home to kiss his mother goodbye. (1 Kings 19:20) I have never been the kind of Pastor that says do as I say, not as I do. I try to live the kind of life that is a solid sermon illustration. I know, that as I sinner, I fall short, but at the same time, I am conscious that you are watching me to see how I live. Just as it was important for me to be at my Son's graduation from boot camp, it was important for me to spend a week with my Mom and Dad a few weeks ago-something I try to do every year. With everything they've done for me, they've earned my time, and I give it to them. Proverbs 23:22 says, "Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old." (NIV) Your mother wants your time. She's earned it. Whether you're still living at home or you're all grown up-if she is still alive, give it to her.

She also wants your love. Something I trust she has. However you communicate your love, make sure she knows you love her. But she wants more. She wants your respect.

Ephes. 6:2 says, "Honor your father and mother." ( NASB) and Leviticus 19:3 says, "Each of you must respect his mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the Lord your God." (NIV) My father and I have something in common, neither of us will tolerate our children showing a hint of disrespect for their mothers. Your mothers want your respect. More than likely, it is something they've earned.

On a day like today, the real meaning of Mother's Day can be lost in sentimentality. What do your mothers want FOR you? Among other things, they want you to walk with the Lord. What do they want FROM you? Your time, love and respect-that's all.

Perhaps the best Mother's Day gift you could give is to let her know, that because of her example, it is easy for you to follow God-then give her some of your time and show her how much you love and respect her.

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