Mothers’ Day can be one of the most wonderful days of the year. 

Or not.

It can be one of the most challenging. There are those who have strained relationships with their children and may not even hear from them on this day, which only accentuates the pain. Worse, there are mothers who have lost their children to an early death.

Then there are those who have never had children, those who have a difficult time getting pregnant, or those who have lost babies in miscarriages as my wife has five times. 

Let's not forget those who have had an abortion and still face the pain of their decision. 

This can be a very tough day for more than you know. 

I have two words of encouragement.

To the men and boys in this world...  "Love the mothers!" 

First, love your own. If you ignore your mother on Mothers’ Day (and I know some by name who will, intentionally), you are in danger of associating yourself with the lowest of the low and the worst of the worst. I don't care if your mother hates you (which she most likely does not since the umbilical cord is never quite completely cut), the Bible says to love your enemies. You are without excuse.

Next, love the "other mothers" of this world. Be appreciative for the often thankless job of motherhood. Even after their children leave home, the moms of this world carry more fervent prayer power for their children than anyone else on the planet. 

For all the women of this world, especially those facing a difficult day on Mothers’ Day, I would like to humbly present an alternative, a hope that will help fulfill your call to motherhood, a challenge to joyously serve with your gift in the kingdom of God.

Within every woman is the ability, the call, and the need to be a mother. You were born with the potential of motherhood. There is plenty of opportunity for you to pour out that gift in a loveless world.

There are three kinds of people in the world. 1) Those without their mother, 2) Those who have their mother, but one who doesn’t believe in the Lord or has very little positive influence, and 3) those, like me, who have been blessed with a great mother who loves and leads with the grace and the strength of the Lord.

The fact is all three kinds of people need "other mothers" in their lives. It was never God's plan for anyone to only be influenced by just their parents. 

There are most likely many people - both children and adults - in your life right now that need the love and encouragement only a "mother" can give. You have the gift of unconditional love and nurturing. Pray for God to lead you to the people in your world who need that gift. 

It could be your next door neighbor or a nephew or niece. It could be a foster child or even a child in need of adoption. What about the child in school who could use a tutor or a big sister?

The need right in front of you is that of your church's Sunday School. There are scores of kids waiting for you to love, encourage, and teach them things about Jesus Christ and His love, while you’re wondering how God might use your gift of motherhood. 

As stated, I have been blessed with the most incredible mother, a wonderful mother-in-law and a wife who knocked motherhood out of the park. Yet, especially in my younger years, I was greatly influenced by at least fifty other mothers - maybe one hundred or more. Some of these were relatives, school teachers, nursery and Sunday School teachers. Others were the mothers of my friends, or the women who had no children but mothered the children around them anyway. 

My earliest recollection of this was one of my first days dropped off in the toddler's class on a Sunday morning at church. I was so young I have very little memory of that phase of my life. But that morning was so traumatic, I remember it implicitly.  As my parents dropped me off at the door of the classroom, I went into panic mode and began to scream and cry. For a child, it was like being left behind or abandoned. 

Fear gripped my little heart as I thought I was in danger... for about one minute. Then Alice Revis picked me up and held on to me as tight as a momma bear. She had a smile on her face that could sell ice to an eskimo. She had a strong but soothing voice that just took over the atmosphere of the room, including my emotions. That day, Ms. Alice was my mother, and the mother of every other kid in that toddler class. She exuded joy and laughter. It was infectious. 

After that, every time I saw Alice Revis, even when I became an adult, I looked at her with a kind of admiration and affection a child would have for his/her own mother. I could grab her and kiss her. I knew I could trust her. I knew that she was special. All she did was love me a few moments every week. She was simply herself, and used her gift of mothering. 

When I was a teenager, I worked in a clothing store. My boss's name was Jack Marley, and he was also the mayor of our little town. His wife's name was Nancy, and she was a mother of three. But more than that, she was a mother to the whole town. I had the privilege of being one of her projects. She listened to me, gave me her strong opinions, and even sweetly corrected me when I needed it. Recently, after all of these years, she received an award for being "Woman of the Year" in that same town. She continues to be a mother to her community, even though her kids are as old as I am. The gift just keeps on giving. 

Jesus called this out in Matthew 12:46-50. He was speaking of all believers, when He said, "Whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother." Even Jesus recognized the gift that lies within every believing mother. And He Himself was not one to reject it.

Happy Mothers’ Day!