Scripture: I Samuel 1, 2:9a
I am thirty-five years old and I still need my mom.
When I was pregnant, there were days when I would just break down crying because all I wanted was for my mom to make me her spaghetti and meat sauce, to sit with me and stroke my hair and scratch my back while we sat on the couch and watched “Law and Order”.
There have been days when my mother, seeing me tired and worn, has bundled Elizabeth off to bed and sent me to mine. I would hear her in there, in the rocking chair or next to Bizzy’s bed, singing “Jesus Loves Me” to soothe her to sleep the same way she did me almost every night for the first part of my life.
If we are fortunate and blessed enough to have mothers who love us and care for us and are there for us, that is God’s hand in it. We are always our mothers’ children. We will always need our mothers.
And you know what else? Our mothers will always need us. Even when we are grown and gone from their homes and arms, our mothers still need us, too. In I Samuel 1, we read the story of Hannah, the woman who so desired motherhood and clung to her faith in God that she did something that would wrench every mother’s heart and undoubtedly did so to hers.
When the boy she had so prayed for, the boy God had promised her, was weaned, she kept a deeply-made promise that she had given God. God had kept faith with her and so she would keep faith with Him. She took Samuel to the Tabernacle and left him there. She gave her child back to God and completely over to His service.
Can you imagine that? A mother who had been empty-armed for so long finally getting the child she had longed for, having a few sweet, precious years with him, and then leaving him behind in the Tabernacle and returning home empty-handed once again?
Can you imagine how quiet that return trip home was for her? No little hand clutching hers, no little voice chattering and asking her questions, telling her about his day, the things he had seen and done. No warm little body nestled up to her that night. Can you even imagine how much she needed her son? But she knew God needed him more. The future of Israel depended on Samuel, on the anointings he would perform and the voice of God that would speak through him.
Our mothers always need us, just as we always need them. But, in their love, they are willing to let us go because they see that God has a place, a plan, and a need for us. Whether or not we fulfill that plan is up to us and our choices, but our mothers believe in it. In the world’s need for us and what we specifically bring to it. As much as they need us, our moms think the world needs us more. They open their arms and let us go while still leaving the door ajar and the hall light on just in case we need them.
And we will need Mom. We do need Mom. And she needs us, too.
She needs us to remember the lullabies, the recipes, the color of her favorite apron, dress, shirt, or hat. She needs us to remember her favorite flowers, that she loves stationary and extra-salty popcorn. She needs to remember that night that she stayed up late, hand-sewing an apron for your first home-ec class (the laces and trim were yellow with little flowers and it even had a cute little pocket). Our moms need us. They need us to remember what gives them joy, what bolsters their faith, what their favorite stories, poems, songs, and Bible verses are.
The priest Eli came alongside a yearning Hannah and encouraged her in her tearful prayers for a son. When God kept his promise and Hannah, in turn, kept hers, she lifted her voice once more in prayer in chapter 2, verse 9:
“He [God] guards the steps of his faithful ones…”
Our moms, whether biological or chosen, have been faithful to the call God gave them in raising and loving us. We are here because of them. We will always need them, yes, and they will always need us. They need us to now love them as they have loved us, with all fullness and recklessness. As we have children of our own, we remember the lessons our moms have taught us, the ways in which we needed them and in which our children now need us. Let us not forget. This Mother’s Day and every day let us take what our moms have taught us and the good they have believed in and striven for, and show them that what they have done was vital, important, and worth it. We all need to know that.
Let us not forget. Let us live it out.