If we were simply to view it from a cold, basic, unassailable, biological and scientific standpoint, a mother is a person who was born with a female reproductive system (uterus, Fallopian tubes, ovaries, cervix, etc.) and has given birth to another human being. Adoption obviously introduces a new and equally valid definition of the word, a person who was born with a female reproductive system and has legally taken a child in to be her own.
While we can derive an accurate definition of mother from these descriptions, though, mothers and motherhood itself are so very much more.
I have often observed, as have many greater sages, that if men were the ones giving birth, the human race would never survive. In fact, in any setting, if a guy somehow defied science and gave birth to a child, he would never have another, nor would any of his male friends, enemies or acquaintances. Once the blood-curdling screams of "I am dying! Make the pain stop!" was followed up by a nurse calmly saying, "You are at least two months from going into labor; stop whining," no guy anywhere would ever volunteer for the job.
Mothers, though, seem to be endued by our all-wise Creator with a supernatural strength to begin the job, followed up by years of tenderness and strength mixed together to complete the task of raising a child or children.
My own mother, still a tiny human, had and has fortitude that would put Wonder Woman to shame. She worked multiple jobs to keep a roof over our heads, put food on the table and kept the strongest-willed teenage boy in the history of the world in line. She made sure I was always in church, and she scared any bad friends away. She could go from "loving mother" to "psycho lady" in less than a millisecond as the situation required.
My dear bride has shown similar strength in her own unique ways. I watched her give birth to three children, with all of the pain squished together into a concentrated time frame. By that, I mean all of her three labors averaged about 10 minutes. We did not even make it to the correct hospital with our second child; we stopped at the nearest one we could find; the doctor caught my daughter like a football and then introduced himself and asked us to sign for permission to deliver the baby that he had just delivered. I have since often joked that if we ever do it again, we are going to the drive-thru window.
Dana has done an amazing job being a mother to our three children. Mind you; she was no June Cleaver. When our children came to her with boo-boos to kiss, she lovingly oohed and ahhed over them, then put her hand on the boo-boo and kissed the back of her hand. They bought that routine till they were well up into their early teens. Germophobia notwithstanding, she has agonized over them in prayer, gotten up in their faces and backed them down when they were being disobedient, rebellious or just plain dumb, and has sacrificed for them in more ways than I can count. She has been their "stalker mom," as they lovingly call her, making sure they stay out of trouble and steering them away from any wrong influences.
She has noticed things I have missed. She, like most mothers, has some innate sixth sense that allows her to know when any of them are troubled, no matter how much of a good show they are putting on.
When God gave humanity mothers, he gave us a precious gift indeed.
And so, mothers everywhere, may I try my best to give all of you a Mother's Day gift in this column? I know it will just be made up of words, but hopefully, it will be a helpful gift to you anyway
One, please know that you are incredibly valuable. I know that stay-at-home moms, especially in our weird days, get a bad rap, as if you are somehow lazy or not too bright. Please feel free to ignore the utter goobers who say or imply such things; there will never, ever be a higher calling or more important task than that of raising the next generation to be good and godly citizens. Mothers everywhere, whether stay-at-home moms or moms who somehow manage to do it all, including working outside the home, are heroes.
Two, please know that the effort generally pays off in later years. I know that during the early years of your children's lives, you often feel like a colossal failure. Trust me; you aren't. Keep holding the line on everything that matters, and keep being an actual parent even when they scream, "I hate you!" I have seen more rebellious kids than I can count grow up to revere the mother that they once reviled.
Three, please know that the very God of heaven notices what you do and will reward you accordingly. He could have made a world of men and made children come from plants as fruits to be picked and then raised by the men. But he specifically chose to make the very existence of the next generation dependent on mothers. And he himself, when he came to Earth in the flesh, had an earthly mother but not an earthly father. Yes, Joseph stepped up and helped to raise him in his household, but Mary was the only biological parent Jesus ever had. And it was Mary, his mother, who was not only at his manger but also at his cross. And it was Mary, his mother, to whom he spoke some of his very last words while hanging there.
Happy Mother's Day, moms everywhere, and thanks for what you do.
Bo Wagner is pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, North Carolina, a widely traveled evangelist and the author of several books available on Amazon and at wordofhismouth.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.