On this Mother’s Day I pray that all the women among us will be blessed. Some of us may have children we birthed biologically, some of us may not. I believe, though, that all of us are mothers in this world. I have known many women who have lovingly mothered children even without having children of their own. Thanks be to God for all mothers!
Birth mothers certainly have the first and greatest opportunity to love, encourage and inspire children, but not all of the women I have known in my life who have mothered children were birth mothers. Some of them were ones who also nurtured the seed of love and hope within children; partners with birth mothers in hoping for the best for the children God blesses us all with. Thanks be to God for other women in our lives who also loved us with a mother’s love.
I remember Miss Gilmore, a high school teacher who never married and never had children of her own, but who made us all her own, devoting time to us beyond the classroom and helping us to do things we had never thought of – a documentary play, imagining a renaissance for our life time, figuring out how to climb whatever walls separated us from a possible future of hope. She was kind and loving, but also expected the best from each one of us just like a good mother.
I’m also grateful for women who are willing to share their children with other women. I remember a woman who when I lay in deep despair on a hospital bed having just lost my second child, came to me, embraced me with merciful care and told me how much her children loved me. A woman blessed with children blessing a barren woman! It was such an incredible and healing gift. It has been a long time since I last saw that woman and her children but I have never ceased praying for them.
Sisters, we are in this together! Together we can lift up generations of children who are loved and cared for and encouraged to believe that they are beloved of God, all created in the image of God with God’s own spirit within them, able to do more than they can imagine through the help of God. It starts with our together daily coming before God praying for God’s caring mercy for our children, all the children of the world.
The Syrophoenician mother has always inspired me; when her child was ill and without hope, this mother goes to Jesus and begs him to heal her child. When Jesus tells her that she has to stand in line behind the people of Israel, the chosen ones, because she was a foreigner and considered a pagan, she does not give up. Instead she speaks truth: even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall under the table. I hear her saying that even a discarded crumb of God’s grace has sufficient power to heal. Jesus is amazed by her persevering love for her child and spiritual wisdom. So much so that he declares that her faith is great! He heals her child affirming that she is a good model of faith and motherhood.
On this Mother’s Day I am so grateful for my birth mother, Rebecca, who has always loved me with an unconditional love, and for the many other women who have loved me with a mother’s love. I am giving God thanks for mothers who have shared their beloved children with me, teaching me how to share my own child with others. And thanks be to God for our sister the Syrophoenician mother and spiritual mothers like her who remind us that being good mothers starts with bringing our children, all the children, before Jesus in fervent prayer and persevering love.
With deep love for all of you, sisters!
Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño
Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop
The United Methodist Church