“Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”Ephesians 6:2-3 NKJV
This Mother’s Day is more special than any other because my mother just turned 100 years old in March, and I still have to pinch myself. She has outlived everyone in her family and has won the longevity award. God has truly blessed her with a long and healthy life where she still walks without a cane and doesn’t look a day over eighty. She is one amazing woman.
People ask her how she has lived so long, and her answer is always the same: “No smoking or drinking, and living a godly life.” But I would add that she has always had a healthy fear of God–in the sense of deeply respecting Him and His Word. If I’ve heard her admonition once, I’ve heard it hundreds of times: “Always walk softly before the Lord.”
Lots of people live the same lifestyle, but they don’t live a long life.
Why is that? Good genes play a part, of course. But could it have something to do with God’s promise in Ephesians 6:2-3? How important is it to honor your parents–no matter what?
My mother’s parents struggled in their marriage, but they stayed together ” for better or worse.” Despite the hardships of growing up during the Depression, Mother always respected and obeyed them. As a twelve-year-old, her parents sent her to live with her maternal grandparents on their Kentucky farm. In hindsight, what a blessing that decision turned out to be. Her grandmother loved and affirmed her, nurturing that empty, hungry place in her heart. Most importantly, Mother attended a Christian boarding school nearby where she gave her life to Christ and studied the Word of God for the first time.
Her four years with her grandparents shaped her life and sealed her future.
Her grandfather read the Bible daily with his family and led them in prayer, thus planting Scripture in her heart. The farm became her forever home and her grandparents her forever surrogate parents. When she had to return to live with her own parents, her soul overflowed with the stability of a mother’s love and a new identity in Christ.
After high school, Mother married at eighteen and gave birth to a son at nineteen. A few years later, she experienced a tubal pregnancy, and her doctor advised that she would probably never have more children. Much to her surprise, I came along eleven years later. From the beginning, Mother and I established a bond that still endures to this day, and we have always been the best of friends.
Fortunately, I experienced an upbringing that was the opposite of Mother’s. She and my father were excellent parents to me, and they raised me in a Christian home where I met Jesus as Savior at the age of eight. That foundation turned out to be my source of strength when I became a single mother and raised my two young daughters alone. Today they are both strong Christian women who are prepared to pass on a godly foundation of love and stability to their future children. Our three generations overflow with loving honor for one another, and God has blessed us beyond measure.
Do you honor your mother?
It’s easy to honor a parent who treats you well and loves you, as was my experience. But a true test of honor comes when a parent doesn’t treat a child well. In Mother’s case, I witnessed episodes during her adult life where I would beg her to break ties with her emotionally abusive family. I hated to see her hurt over and over and go back for more. It made no sense.
At the time, I didn’t understand her motives because I didn’t come from an abusive home. But now, I see. Her healthy fear of God propelled her to respect and honor her parents, despite how they may have treated her. I firmly believe that she is a witness to the truth of Ephesians 6:2-3 and an encouragement to others to follow in her footsteps.
Jesus understands abuse.
Jesus also encourages us to obey God and live in forgiveness. From the cross, He asked the Father to forgive those who had falsely accused Him of blasphemy and had sentenced Him to death. Little did Christ’s enemies know that His death on the cross would become the supreme sacrifice for sin. This resulted in our free gift of salvation through grace and physical healing through His shed blood. His resurrection on the third day sealed our eternal life with Him in heaven. During the horrific suffering that Jesus endured, He honored and obeyed His Father all the way to death and purchased our redemption through His sinless blood.
Let’s take hold of God’s promise for a long, well-lived life.
This is one of the Ten Commandments with a promise we can count on. It benefits us in ways that we cannot imagine. As we celebrate Mother’s Day this year, let’s remember to shower our mothers with blessing and honor.
Strength and honor are her clothing;Proverbs 31:25-28a NKJV
She shall rejoice in time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Dear Lord, for those whose mothers have passed on, we pray for comfort as we bless their memory. For those who have a broken relationship, we pray for divine forgiveness and restoration. We thank you for our mothers and pray honor and blessing on them as we celebrate Mother’s Day. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.
Honoring Our Mothers by Karen Jurgens copyright 2022 All rights reserved