Monday, May 15, 2006


Church as Mother: There is a community of people called church and they are the community of mothering.

It's 'MOMSense'- and in its simplest definition it means love.

Obviously God and His attributes are both male and female, as is the expression of the church. Today we’re not really looking at the masculine form of church and God, but more the feminine form via mothering. I have to admit, I’m a schmaltzy kind of guy.

Just last week Anola & I had a night where the kids were away at the farm so we decided to watch a movie. As a big fan of ‘chick flicks’, my first suggestion was Saving Private Ryan. Nope. Then I said, ‘how about Band of Brothers, the story of Easy Company in WWII?’ Nope.

Then I thought a little Mel Gibson would get Anola’s approval. We Were Soldiers? Nope. Braveheart? Nope. Gladiator? Nope.

So I switched genres & suggested Cinderella Man, after all it has a fairy in the title. Nope. A Perfect Storm? Nope. Castaway. Nope. After exhausting virtually every movie imaginable she finally came to agree on one: Signs.

So you can see I’m really biased to the feminine side. Well, for all of us who grew up with mothers, here’s to their great wisdom and insight.

I used to have answers now I just have kids…Phil Callaway

Calvin and Hobbes cartoon in which Calvin approaches his mom and his asks, "Mom, can I go outside?" His mom says, "No."
"Why not?" Calvin asks.
"You'll get soaked."
"What's wrong with that?"
His mom says, "You could catch pneumonia, run up a terrible hospital bill, linger a few months, and die."
Calvin takes a look outside the window and says to his companion, "I always forget, you ask a mom, you get a worse case scenario."

That's MOMSense!

Then there’s the guy who calls his mom and asks how she's doing.
She says, "I'm weak."
"Why are you weak?"
She says, "Because I haven't eaten in 32 days."
"Mom, why haven't you eaten in 32 days?"
She says, "Because I didn't want my mouth to be full of food in case you should call."

You couldn't fool your mother on the foolingest day of your life if you had an electrified fooling machine. Homer Simpson

That's MOMSense! Many times I thought I'd fooled my mom, like buying a mouse when I was in Grade 10 only to have it chew through every box I could put it in before releasing it to the cruel world of outdoor cats. Mom's usually know what we're up to but give us the space to 'save face', knowing they'll be there to pick up the pieces.

Mother's love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. Erich Fromm

That's MOMSense.

My mother loved children - she would have given anything if I had been one. Groucho Marx

A mother takes twenty years to make a man of her boy, and another woman makes a fool of him in twenty minutes. Robert Frost

That's just what women do to men.

Mother is the bank where we deposit all our hurts and worries. Unknown

That's MOMSense.

Galatians 4:19
My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you...

That's MOMSense in action in the early church.

Mothering is a characteristic of God Himself. Because MOMSense is ultimately about love...

A chIld’s capacity to love is generally formed within their first 2 years of birth, & more often than not, a mother is what nurtures that capacity. They form the ability to add language and meaning to actions that show the divine nature so clearly: taking care of and loving a helpless baby, getting nothing in return, simply because the baby is created in their image-created in the image of God.

Children are a blessing: they can transform you. They teach us what love, devotion and sacrifice mean in a way that no other experience can. They help us to distinguish what's important from what's not and what's lasting from what's temporary. In other words, they make us better people.

We can also reverse that idea: mothers are a blessing: they teach us what unconditional love, devotion and sacrifice mean in a way almost no other can. They help us form the very capability to love, to distinguish what’s important and what’s not. They make us able to even become better people. That’s a God trait, because it’s what God does and its based on and through love.

Would love be all you needed as a mother? Or as a Christ follower?

Or would you think that you needed something else? Would you think that you needed forgiveness? Would you think that you needed medication just to make it through another day? Would you think that you needed to run? Would you need a reason, an answer to the question “why”? What would it take to get to the point in your life that love was all you needed?

One of the interesting things we see about Jesus’ encounters with people is that he moved their hearts away from preconceived notions of how life was supposed to be. He would frequently start conversations with “Now, you have heard it said, but I tell you.” He would tell stories where the heroes were a surprise to everyone. He made it clear that in the Kingdom of God things were opposite, “the first will be last and the last will be first.” He would look into the eyes of the crowd and rip away their preconceived notions of how life was to be.

And then in the void he would place love; “don’t retaliate, take a step closer and turn the other cheek”, “sure she could have given that to the poor but pouring it on my feet is beautiful”, and ultimately in his own life; “not my will Father but yours.”

It seems that in the economy of love you must leave your picture of what life is supposed to be behind. The question is: “What in your picture of life do you believe must be there for life to be okay?” Or to put it another way: “What preconceived notion of the “perfect” life is robbing you of the chance to experience and share unconditional love?”

It seems that for love to be all you need you must believe you need nothing. That's MOMSense.

It took a magazine story in 2002 to completely change the trajectory of Kay Warren's comfortable suburban life. Then 48 and the wife of Rick Warren, author of the bestselling book The Purpose-Driven Life and pastor of Southern California's megachurch, Saddleback, Kay was a busy "soccer mom" of three who dreamed, once their nest was empty, of sharing a platform with Rick and ministering to pastors' wives.

Then one day Kay picked up a news magazine and was arrested by an article on AIDS. When she read that 12 million children were orphaned in Africa due to AIDS, "I realized I didn't know even one orphan. I couldn't imagine millions of them anywhere," she admits. "That number haunted me. My life's never been the same."

Thast's MOMSense: being wrecked by love for others, especially those less fortunate or the needy.

Since that "divine appointment," Kay, now 52, has become a woman on a mission. Despite being treated for breast cancer in 2003, in the last four years Kay has visited Africa five times plus six other countries.

A question was asked to Kay, "When you were diagnosed with breast cancer, did you ever wonder why?"

"I struggled with the "why now," with God's timing and call on my life. I struggled with my faith, too. Although I had the best medical care available and a loving, supportive family, I thought of all the suffering people who didn't have any of those things. 'God, your system stinks,' I told him. 'Why would you create a universe in which people suffer such horrible things from the day they're born till the day they die?'

Fortunately, I had great people around me who listened to me and cried with me. They didn't give me pat answers; they let me wrestle that one to the ground with God.

Kay had a comunity of mothering helping her through the journey of cancer.

So when people ask, "What's the answer?" I don't have one. What I do know is that I'd rather walk with God in the dark than walk one step in the light without him. In many ways, I understand less about God—but trust him even more. It's a paradox.

That's MOMSense.

My own mom is a loving person; she hasn’t learned a great deal of the Bible but has a PhD in loving others.

Last week I mentioned the four-part article on Graham Andrews struggle with depression. In the final article his mom shared these insights,

One of the most anguishing times of my life was when you were curled up in a fetal position and I had my arms around you and you were saying that you didn’t want to live anymore. There’s no way that I can put my thoughts into words about that because it was all emotions at those times. I knew you had to do it on your own, but I also knew that I had to be there for you. I often come back to the idea that I should have been able to protect you. I know now that that wasn’t the case, but it doesn’t stop me from going there.”

The first thing you deal with as a parent is in some way you feel responsible. For the most part, though, you have to realize that you did the best you could with what you had. And it was big challenge to get to that point.” Graham Andrews dad

I don’t think there’s anything I would have done differently. Because I felt my presence there at that time kept you alive at your lowest.” Graham Andrews mom

That's MOMSense.

Why leave your child's life to chance when you can give it to God?

Being a perfect parent doesn't matter. Being a praying parent does.

Whether your child is three or thirty-three, it's never too late to discover the joy that comes from being a part of God's work in your child's life.

Praying not only affects us, it also reaches out and touches those for whom we pray. When we pray for our children, we are asking God to make His presence a part of their lives and work powerfully in their behalf. That doesn't mean there will always be an immediate response. Sometimes it can take days, weeks, months, or even years. But our prayers are never lost or meaningless. If we are praying, something is happening, whether we can see it or not. The bible says, "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. All that needs to happen in our lives and in the lives of our children cannot happen without the presence and power of God. Prayer invites and ignites both.

Lamentations 2:19
Pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord. Lift your hands toward Him for the life of your young children.

Ultimately we must all realize that our hope is in Christ alone, and that's the ultimate MOMSense.


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