Mother’s Day Beginnings

Mother’s Day means many things to different people. Most of us view the date as a way to show honor to our mothers, often bestowing gifts and sentiments to them. But, originally, the day began for a very different reason.

The observance grew out of a movement known as the Mothers’ Day Work Clubs, designed to raise awareness of poor health conditions in communities toward the end of the Civil War. A social activist named Ann Reeves Jarvis, working alongside Julia Ward Howe, believed mothers would unite to help the less fortunate and hoped to unify them to work for world peace.

Her daughter, Anna Marie Jarvis, found her inspiration for Mother’s Day when she heard her mother say she wished one day someone might create a day just for mothers. Anna was motivated to carry on the social work her mother started. When the older woman died, Anna held a memorial ceremony on May 10, 1908, three years after her mother’s death, to honor the matron’s life work. A shrine was erected at Andrews Memorial Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia. Anna contributed five hundred white carnations for all who attended the service. This is believed to be the first official Mother’s Day observance.

As commercialization moved in and gifts of cards, candy, and flowers came to be associated with the celebration, Anna Jarvis lost her enthusiasm for the day she’d helped establish. Embittered, she is quoted as saying the printed card was a poor substitute for a handwritten sentiment to a woman who did more for her children than any other person alive. Candy was a pretense for the gift giver to help himself. Only the white carnation, in her opinion, continued to represent the purity of a mother’s love.

Anna Jarvis never married. Her birthplace, Anna Jarvis House, in Webster Taylor County, West Virginia, has been listed as a national historic landmark.

How sad it is that Anna died unhappy with the work she started. Her quest had a biblical basis. The scriptures are filled with references to honoring one’s parents. In Exodus 20:12 we are told, “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

However you remember your mother this week, know you are carrying out a command that the Lord established for each of us.

Happy Mother’s Day.


Acknowledgements: Wikipedia online encyclopedia, dltk children’s Bible lessons

Happy M-O-T-H-E-R’s Day

With thoughts of mothers and a special day to celebrate them this week, today I toast the real reason women are mothers—their children. Using the acronym we are all familiar with—M-O-T-H-E-R—with a nod to the original writer who gave us the song based on the same, I offer my own version.

M— is for the multitude of things you taught me—bandage a booboo, kiss a toad, clean  up puke, multi-task by cooking, cleaning, and loving all at the same time.

O—is for the odd phrases you would say—can cows really fly to the moon, can God see me in the bathtub, can you fix the kitty’s tail I caught in the door?

T—is for the thoughtful things you brought me—see my snake, want to hold my night crawler, look under the rock for the nematode.

H—is for the grateful heart you gave me—another rock, sweet. You picked my roses, how nice. No, I don’t want to pickle your crab in my hydrogen peroxide.

E—is for being ever forgiving—I lost your special seashell, I’ve never raised a son before, ask your father about girls, you don’t like Mexican food?

R—is for the rewards I’ve piled up along the way—your college diploma, a stack of handmade cards, a forgotten flute, a scrapbook full of memories.

Put them all together and you’ll find a child who has loved a mother, making this a truly memorable Mother’s Day.

I Samuel 1:27 (NIV) “I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him.”

Mother’s Day–Remembering When You Earned the Title

Thirty-seven hours.

When I think back to the Sunday I became a mother, the lingering memory is the stretch of time from beginning to end.  Before you gasp and send me a sympathy card, let me explain—not all of those hours involved labor.

Following a rupture of the membranes  in the afternoon, contractions began in earnest on Friday night.  By the time I called the midwife, the pangs fizzled like rain after a thunderstorm. At the birth center, the nurse tried to jumpstart the labor by having me drink Pepsi mixed with castor oil—not something I’d recommend. When that didn’t work, the staff sent my husband and I out to walk in the Saturday sunshine. We strolled past every vintage home, saw every unkempt lawn, and identified a zillion trees before we returned to the center, but still labor eluded me.

Convinced I was a lost cause, the midwife transferred me to the hospital Saturday night. To our surprise, my contractions resumed coincidentally with the signing of my admission papers. Exhausted, I slept my way to ten centimeters. The nurse woke me to push. I still remember my husband’s tired voice as he counted during each contraction—1…2…3…4…

Early Sunday morning we produced a beautiful baby boy. No pain meds, no surgery, nothing but a measure of true grit. I couldn’t call my friends because they were all in church. It didn’t matter. We drove home beaming, parents of a child who would grow to manhood and of whom I am proud to call my son.

I’m sure every mother remembers the day she earned the title. Whether by giving birth, adopting, or foster parenting, motherhood is an awesome responsibility. Within a mother’s influence lies the key to a hundred tomorrows. Civilization hinges on the quality of effort women expend raising their children. It’s not a task to be taken lightly and it’s full of rewards.

In Proverbs 31, God speaks of the virtuous woman. I’ve read the passage many times, wondering how many of us measure up—most of us would be bushed.

In verse 30, God concludes: “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing. But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates.”

Happy Mother’s Day.