This article by Rob Flood was taken from www.familylife.com.
Our appreciation for our mothers often experiences both ebbs and flows. When you were 5, your mother knew everything. When you were 9, you had your doubts. As a 13-year-old, you were certain—she knew nothing. In your senior year of high school, you thought you didn't need her anymore. And then all of that changed as you grew older. When you planned your wedding, you didn't want to make a single decision without her. (Well, perhaps one or two.) And then you had children.
Whether your appreciation for your mother is currently in ebb or in flow, you certainly have a deeper appreciation for what your mother went through and what she had to endure as a parent. And, as Mother's Day approaches, pangs of "What should I do for my mother this year?" echo through the minds of adult children everywhere.
Rather than settling for just an arrangement of flowers or a new pair of earrings, how about a gift that will keep giving throughout the whole year? How about giving the gift of honor? Cultivating a relationship of honor with your mother will be a priceless gift. But that's not all. God promises blessing to those that honor their parents: "...so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth." (Ephesians 6:3).
Here are ten ideas to both give and receive a blessing.
1. Seek to understand her as a mom. Motherhood is not turned on and off like a light switch or a kitchen faucet. It is a calling that lasts a lifetime. You never cease to be her child; she never ceases to be your mother. When you scraped your knee on the playground, she was deeply concerned. When you were hurt by your friends in high school, she was deeply concerned. Now, as an adult, when things happen to you or around you, she will still be deeply concerned. Learn to appreciate it. Share prayer requests when appropriate. Keep her plugged in. Be willing to embrace the reality that Mom is still Mom, regardless of your age. Doing this will bring her honor.
2. Seek to understand her as a woman. God made your mom a mother. However, He also made her a woman. She feels the feelings other women feel. She has the strengths other women have. She has the needs found in other women. When communicating with her, don't relegate her to something less than she is.
Treat her with the honor due to women. Think of her as a woman. If you are her daughter, speak to her in the same way you want to be spoken to: with consideration, with patience, with understanding. If you are her son, treat her with respect; do not raise your voice at her; give her room to process her feelings as you would the other important women in your life (your wife or daughters). Doing this will bring her honor.
3. Seek to understand her as a person. I remember well in elementary school any time I'd see a teacher in the grocery store or the mall. They just didn't seem to belong there. They belonged in school. In my view, I suppose I thought that teachers powered off when I left and powered up when I got there. I never realized that they were real people.
Your mother is a person, too, with parents, siblings, friends, interests, hobbies, etc. Being your mother is important to her, but it is not all she is. She is a whole person who is just as multi-faceted as you are.
Acknowledge and embrace your mother's personhood. She came from a home and a time period of history. She has been shaped by the events of her life. Encourage her individuality. Ask her to tell you about her parents. Ask her to share some of her youth with you. Give her room to express who she is and how she got where she is. Offer to join her in something that is important to her. Doing this will bring her honor.
4. Seek to understand her as less than perfect. We often have storehouses of grace for people in our lives. We extend it numerous times each day. At the same time, we often have a standard of perfection for our mothers that would intimidate Mother Teresa. When your mother falls short of that standard, many of us have developed the habit of harping on it and magnifying it. She, like you, is less than perfect. She has quirks in her personality and tendencies toward certain types of sin—just like we do. Lower your standard for her. Give her room to be less than perfect. And, when she is, consider taking a trip to your storehouse of grace and tossing some in her direction. Doing so will bring her honor.
5. Speak well of her. This does not mean excusing issues that need to be discussed. This just means when you speak of her, speak well of her. Do not slander her to friends, siblings, or your spouse. You do everyone a disservice when you slander your mother. You disobey God; you harm her character; you taint how others perceive her; and you further ingrain a rejection of her—all because of speaking negatively about her.
Choose to speak well of her to others. Speak words of encouragement when they come to mind—don't let the opportunity pass. If no words of blessing come to mind, pray in silence until the Lord brings them to mind. Do not feign affection if there is none there; however, resist the temptation to slander her. Doing so will bring her honor.
6. Remember her. When we leave our parents and cleave to our spouses, a great union is created. However, we often fail to recognize that a great void is left behind. When you left home, you left a person somewhere behind you who poured her whole life into developing you and caring for you.
Now you're gone. Don't forget to turn around regularly and share your love, your concern, and your gratitude. Call her. Be sure that you initiate some of the calls, not waiting for the times she calls you. Switch it up as well. Send a card or an e-mail (flowers never hurt, either.) Doing so will bring her honor.
7. Help her understand her role in your family. Many mothers need help in this area. Help her understand the importance of time alone with your spouse. Help her understand areas where her input is valued and welcome. Help her understand areas where it is not.
Be sure to discuss this with your spouse, whose insight into your mother and your relationship with her can be invaluable. Sharing your desires for her role in your family may expand her involvement; it may reduce her involvement. This may produce short-term tensions and discomfort. In the long run, though, doing so will bring her honor.
8. Anticipate her concerns. For as long as I can remember, my mother has always been concerned about my security. Am I safe? Am I alright? To her defense, I was always the pitcher on the baseball team, the goaltender on the soccer team, and the quarterback on the football team. I liked the risk and responsibility, but she hated it.
As an adult, I can expect her to have these same concerns for me. There are times she'll ask me about my well-being. There are other times when I anticipate her concerns and inform her of my well-being. Each time, she has appreciated my speaking directly to her concern, even before she asked about it. Your mom may have vastly different concerns from mine. But this much is sure; if your mother has children, she has concern for them. Anticipate them. Let her know that you understand her. Initiating conversation on her concerns will help validate her feelings and calm her heart as well. The little bit of effort can go a long way in expressing love for her. Doing so will bring her honor.
9. Help her be a grandmother. If you live close to your parents, this may not be as much of an issue. However, if you live away, there is little doubt that your mother wishes she could see your children more. Of course, make an effort to visit when possible. When it is not possible, there are still other ways to honor her as a grandmother. Send pictures (especially candid shots through e-mails.) Have the children create cards and send them. Train your children to speak to their grandmother—even the teenagers. Talk about her with your children often. Help them to think of her each week. These are little things that go a long way to bridge the gap that the distance has created. Your effort will be appreciated. It will help her connect to your children. Doing so will bring her honor.
10. Desire to honor her. The suggestions listed above will not be very helpful unless your heart desires to honor your mother. The tone of your voice will give you away. If you struggle with desiring this, then begin praying to God. Ask Him to place that desire in your heart. Ask Him to reveal His heart as it relates to honor. Confess the sin He brings up in your mind. Change your actions and attitudes to better align with His directions and intentions for you. Do not give up on this. Every step you take, no matter how small, better honors God Himself. Your walk with God will benefit. Your marriage will benefit. Your children will benefit. In the end and through the process, your mother will benefit. God will smile on the change in you. Doing so will bring Him honor.