In our society, special days typically are days without meaning. Perhaps we might more accurately say that special days are days that had one meaning, but the meaning has changed.

In the past most special days were days of commemoration. The special day was a day set aside for the nation collectively to remember with appreciation some specific blessing or the people who made that blessing possible.

But how often do we as a nation actually remember? What are the criteria for a significant day of commemoration? Is it the memories? Is it the blessings given to us by our past? Or is the criteria a three day weekend with sales and unusual opportunities for fun?

Today is Mother's Day. It is the day designated to focus on the sacrifices of our mothers and to say thank you. There are two general truths I want you to consider. Truth number one: in every age, in every generation the consistently most difficult responsibility in our world is the responsibility of a conscientious mother. Truth number two: in every age, in every generation the consistently most powerful influence in a person's life is the influence of a conscientious mother.

  1. This morning we want to pray for mothers.

    1. We want to begin by praying for those who will become mothers. baby
      1. For a caring, godly woman who is unselfish and filled with love, there are few experiences that can equal the joy of bringing a new life into existence.
      2. The nine months before birth can be extremely demanding and most uncomfortable.
      3. Those months can be so demanding and uncomfortable that, if you only consider the difficulty, you could conclude no woman would ever choose to give birth twice.
      4. Yet, when a mother holds her newborn child in her arms for the first time and sees someone who is part of her but is also a true self, joy triumphs over difficulty.
      5. The woman who accepts the challenge of becoming a mother today needs to know the church prays for her.
        1. The challenges of motherhood have never been greater.
        2. Being a successful mother has never been more complex.
      [Dave Cogswell will lead us as we pray for mothers-to-be.]

    2. We also want to pray for the mothers of preschool children. preschool children
      1. From the moment a child is born, life dramatically changes for the caring, godly, unselfish mother.
      2. The change is so total, so dramatic, that her life will never be the same no matter how long she lives.
      3. Almost immediately, that change is evident; it is so evident that it may overwhelm her.
      4. Preschool children require an enormous amount of energy and stamina.
      5. Preschool children require an enormous amount of flexibility.
      6. Preschool children change the day-by-day schedule of your life and completely reorder your personal priorities as well as your priorities as a wife.
      7. Your preschool children bless your life in ways that you have never experienced, but your preschool children also complicate your life in ways you never experienced.
      [Steve Breedlove will lead us in prayer for the mothers of preschool children.]

    3. Now we want to pray for the mothers of preteen children. preteens
      1. When a mother's child starts to school, her world changes.
        1. Someone who totally depended on her no longer is as dependent.
        2. Someone she would watch and speak to is no longer there to see or to hear her.
      2. Suddenly, her entire schedule changes.
      3. Suddenly, her concerns change.
      4. Immediately she thinks about things she never had to consider before.
      5. As the child advances through the grades and develops as a person, schedules get more complicated, needs get more demanding, and Mom watches as the first signs of independence emerge.
      6. Now Mom not only faces the challenges presented by her child; she begins to face new challenges within herself.
      [Larry Todd will lead us in a prayer for the mothers of preteens.]

    4. Consider the mother of a teenager. teens
      1. Before her child became a teenager, she knew what she had--a child.
        1. No child is perfect, but a child understands Mom has authority and understands, "Things go better when I at least acknowledge her authority."
        2. A child knows peer pressure, but a child does not accept peer pressure as the governing authority of life.
      2. What I share with you is in no way a slam on teenagers.
        1. In the entire course of life, there is no age that is as difficult and uncertain as the teen years.
        2. The teenager is in that process that takes him or her from childhood to adulthood.
          1. In the teen years, Mom is not sure what her child is.
          2. Some days the teen wants the prerogatives of a child, some days the teen wants the privileges of an adult, and some days the teen does not know what he or she wants.
          3. A teenager's life is very complicated: the teen may have more knowledge than his or her parents have, but the teen has less experience and wisdom than he or she will ever have in all of life.
          4. That is why we have a special name for this time of life, and that is why every adult knows exactly what we are discussing when we talk about teens.
        3. For Mom, being mother to a teen is more complicated, more complex, and more demanding than being a mother ever has been.
          1. You are no longer the mother of a child.
          2. Fears change, communication changes, and different parenting skills are needed.
          3. In the same day, you have the high of feeling incredibly successful as a parent and have the low of feeling like you totally failed as a mother.
      [Brad Pistole will lead us in prayer for the mothers of teenagers.]

    5. Then it happens. graduate
      1. For eighteen years you have been a mother with a child living at home.
        1. You took care of health needs.
        2. You established and maintained schedules.
        3. You provided guidance.
        4. You kissed, and you hugged, and you encouraged.
        5. You managed crisis; you were cheerleader; you woke them up; you remembered appointments; you helped them meet project deadlines.
      2. Then there is a graduation, an entrance into college, an entrance into a career path, an engagement, a marriage.
        1. And your world is unalterably changed.
        2. You are still a Mom; you will always be a Mom.
        3. He or she is still your child, but he or she will never live at home again as a child.
        4. What time that he or she spends at home now will be as an adult.
        5. So your role as a mother changes yet again.
        6. You spent eighteen years as a mother preparing your child to be a young adult, and the time has come.
        7. Though you spent eighteen years preparing your child to enter the world of the young adult, that just may be the most difficult moment for a mother.
        8. It is a wise mother that knows how to be mother and how to turn loose.
      [Buster Herren will lead us in a prayer for the mothers of young adults.]

    6. This is a very painful day for several people.
      1. It is a painful day for all those women who wish they were mothers.
        1. Some circumstance beyond their choices or actions has not made it possible for them to be a mother.
        2. While they rejoice that others know the joy of children, they also grieve that they have not had that opportunity.
      2. It is a painful day for those whose memories are painful.
      3. May we pray for them also.
      [David Chadwell will lead a prayer for those who find today to be a painful day.]

No one influences your life as much as your family of origin. The older you become, the more your thoughts and behavior force you to confess the powerful influence of your family or origin.

The most powerful, positive parent you will ever have is God. No one can change your life as God can. No one can influence your life as God can. Will you let Him?

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 14 May 2000

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