As we celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend, allow me, as an unbiased observer, to champion an often overlooked attribute of motherhood – commiseration. According to Merriam-Webster, commiseration is ‘the expression of sorrow or compassion for another’. Mothers hurt when their child is hurt, cry when their child is crying and empathize when their child is suffering. My experience as a child and as a parent tells me that that mothers and fathers are frequently diametrically opposed when a child is sad: typically, dads are fixers and moms are feelers. We certainly can appreciate the fatherly instinct of making things right, but there is nothing like the motherly comfort of hearing, “It’ll be alright.”
Mothers are a gift from God when a child is suffering. They will comfort the 4 year-old who just showered mom’s lap with intestinal juices. They will cry at parent-teacher conferences because the educational system is in danger diminishing the potential of her child’s young mind. Mothers understand the fragility of the teenage heart during a break-up. Even well into adulthood, when their babies have babies of their own, they will encourage from a distance their son or daughter when they hear of the pain of a troubled grandchild.
Mothers are the ones who make sure that their children know that they will never be alone in the dark. They are willing to lie down at bedtime and sing lullabies when they are small and they are willing to wait up through the night when they are ill. They are the ones to whom little voices cry out in a thunderstorm and to whom big voices call when they get fired. Personally, I am blessed because when I need a word of comfort there are two places I can turn: to the mother of my children and to my own mother.
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” Isaiah 49:15 (NIV)
God uses as an illustration of His steadfast love the compassion of a mother. Isaiah’s words, if I could paraphrase them, are saying that while it might be possible, however logically remote, that a mother might forget a presently nursing baby, God will never forget us. God’s commiseration is exemplified by our moms. If you desire to know the heart of God for His children, talk to a nursing mom about hers!
I hope that you have the opportunity to spend time with your mom this weekend, if only via technology. I hope you have a chance to acknowledge all the times she suffered beside you.
For those who will be mourning the loss of Mom this weekend, may the truths of Isaiah 49:15 uplift your spirit.
If you are a mom, let me say this so that you hear it at least once – Thank you so much for all you do. If you are a mom with children still at home, please know what a precious calling you have and know that your commiserating is accomplishing much more than you can imagine.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!