CARD CARRYING MOMS
Ed & Lisa Young
May 9, 1999
ED: This is about the time of the year when the masses make those mad dashes to pick up Mother’s Day cards. Do you know what I am talking about? Just think about it. Over the last forty-eight hours untold millions have been spent on these colorful and interesting pieces of paper. There are Mother’s Day cards for all different types of moms, for expectant moms, new moms, middle-aged moms, step-moms, old moms and grandmoms. I think that it is obvious that illustrators, design teams and copywriters have spent large blocks of time trying to come up with different characters and illustrations and quips and quotes and cliches that put our expressions regarding this position on paper.
It is also interesting and rather humorous to watch people shop for cards, Lisa. Some people are the quintessential card readers. They have to go through dozens and dozens and dozens of cards until they find the right one and then they buy it. Others just walk in and the first card that catches their eye, they grab it, pay for it and bag it and are gone. You can pretty much walk in any card store, even right now, and I think that you would see a kaleidoscope of people from different cultures trying to find the ultimate card. I think that Mother’s Day cards are great because the commemorate this special day.
LISA: It was in 1914 that President Woodrow Wilson first acted to establish Mother’s Day as a national holiday. Since that time, on the second Sunday of May each year we exchange gifts and send cards to commemorate the ministry of motherhood. I like to send and receive a variety of cards. Usually I give my mom a sentimental card, a card that expresses the memories and wonder of my childhood. I usually receive from Ed a encouraging card, a card that tells me that the job I am doing is important and that I am doing a good job. His card is kind of like a high five card.
I also enjoy receiving humorous cards. Laughter has a way of cutting through and buffering those tense and tired moments that mothers often have and share. One card that my sister sent to me this Mother’s Day says: “A Mother’s Day Riddle. Why did the mom cross the road? No one could tell really. She was mumbling to herself about peace and quiet. She circled the block a couple of times and came back a lot happier. Happy Mother’s Day, love Laurie.”
When I went this last week to purchase the four cards that I needed to send, I went to Kroger. My sister in South Carolina went to Wal-Mart and this is one of the ones she picked out. Do you know that the card that I sent her was the exact same card! When we each received our cards we had to laugh. She said it just goes to show that great minds think alike.
ED: Lisa, you are a great mom. I think, also, that my mom is a great mom. If I could give you, Mothers, a hypothetical situation I would take you down this track. What if the God of the universe ticked out a Mother’s Day card especially for you? What do you think it would say? Well, we don’t have to do a lot of guesswork or speculation. The Bible is packed full of sentences and sound bites and word pictures, cards, if you will, tailor-made for every mother at every stage in life.
Today Lisa and I want to spend the lion’s share of our time talking about several critical components of the cards that God has penned to moms. The first you will see on the side screens. God’s touch. The task of motherhood, is a difficult one yet one that is highly rewarding. Also we will talk about a mother’s trust. Before I turn to Lisa to talk about God’s touch, I want to do something a little weird. I want to say Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom in Houston because I believe that she is on the phone right now.
MRS. YOUNG: Hi, Ed.
ED: Hi, Mom. That’s right. You are hearing the voice of JoBeth Young, live from Houston, Texas. Mom, I wanted to say Happy Mother’s Day to you because I have several of my closest friends here and I want us to say together Happy Mother’s Day to JoBeth. (Together) Happy Mother’s Day.
MRS. YOUNG: Thank you. Thank each one of you for that great Mother’s Day greeting.
ED: Well, Mom, people have probably figured out that you grew up in the north by your accent, maybe in Manhattan or Brooklyn.
MRS. YOUNG: I can’t cover up what I am. Mississippi, Carolina and Texas.
ED: Mom, what’s it like being my Mom?
- YOUNG: Hey, she skipped church this morning so she could do this, Ed.
ED: Oh, no. I didn’t plan on that. That’s my father, there. Hi, Dad. How are you doing?
- YOUNG: I’m fine, son, how are you?
ED: How did the services go down in Houston today?
- YOUNG: Well, they went just fine. We preached your sermon just as clear as a bell.
ED: My father is also a pastor, of a church in Houston. It is a small one, that has about 30,000 members. Well, Dad, so what did you talk about in your Mother’s Day message?
- YOUNG: I just talked about what a great Mom you have.
ED: I do. Do you and Mom have any advice you would give all of the Fellowship congregants here? We are hanging on every word. We cannot wait to hear.
- YOUNG: JoBeth can tell you exactly about being a mother.
ED: OK, let’s hear it.
MRS. YOUNG: Well, one thing I want to say to the mothers present this morning is that you are setting a wonderful example for your children. Whether they are young or older, the fact that you are in a worship service today says that the Lord is first in your life. I do wish all of you a Happy Mother’s Day. Thank you, Ed and Lisa, for giving me this call.
ED: Mom, I love you and thanks for being a part of this service. That was a little surprise with Dad coming on there. It kind of threw me.
MRS. YOUNG: It kind of threw me, too.
ED: It kind of scared me. Anyway, have a great day and Happy Mother’s Day.
MRS. YOUNG: Thank you. I love you.
ED: I love you, too. That’s Mom from Houston. You know, Lisa, I think that you know what it means to have God’s touch on your life and God’s tug at your heart. Why don’t you talk to us about what that concerns.
LISA: I had the desire to be a mom at an early age. God, in His perfect timing and in His supernatural way touched my heart and touched my life and brought this desire into existence. He called me forth, as He has many of you, for this job called motherhood. For some, it has been done through a labor-intensive nine months and for others it has been an anxious wait for an adoption to go through. Still others with the mere mention of the words “I do” have been placed in the roll of a mom. Whatever the circumstances may be, God has touched you and called you into this position for His purpose.
I am reminded of a story in the Old Testament about a woman named Sarah. She was an older woman and for years had had the desire to be a mom. God fulfilled that desire by making her the mother of a nation, beginning with her beloved son, Isaac. What a mystery it must have been for Sarah. She had waited and anticipated and even given up on the desire that God had placed in her heart. Yet, He chose to answer that in His timing when she was much older.
Then I rush to think of God’s ultimate plan for the ultimate mom in the New Testament as we look at the life of Mary. God breathed life into this young Jewish girl’s womb and caused her to be the mother of His only Son, Jesus. What a mystery it must have been to Mary. She was engaged to be married to Joseph, yet she was chosen, touched and called forth to be a mom.
Indeed, it was a mystery to me and it still is a mystery to me as I think about the awesome responsibility that God has placed on my heart to be a mother. He has a specific purpose in mind. It often overwhelms me as I contemplate the enormous responsibilities and the excruciating demands of being a mom. There is no way that I could tackle such a task if I didn’t know that God had touched me, has confidence in me and would be with me every step of the way.
ED: Talking about God’s touch, I think we also have to move to the task. As I said a second ago, the task of motherhood is something that is huge. Motherhood is more than just child birthing, changing diapers, car pooling, coaching, counseling and all the things we alluded to in the drama. Lisa and I have the opportunity to talk to a lot of mothers in different stages, different seasons of development. A lot of them are doing life at a Mach 2 type pace, which is part of the package. And sometimes it is easy, Lisa, to get moving so fast that you run right past God’s purposes and directives for motherhood. And God, in His word, in this ultimate card, tells us to become card-carrying moms. Well, if women are to become card-carrying moms, you have to do something that God encourages every believer to do – pray. Prayer is the ultimate task of a mom.
I think of I Samuel 1. I am reminded of Hannah. She was going through what many people are calling the epidemic of the ’90, infertility. She was childless, barren. Her friends and peers were making fun of her and ridiculing her. She was devastated. Her heart hurt. She wanted to involve herself in the ministry of motherhood but she couldn’t. The Bible depicts her, though, as a woman of prayer. She was a woman who expressed her emotions and feelings to God. When she did so, God cared, listened and understood.
Well, those are powerful words, Lisa, for every mother here. I know that we have moms who may be facing a kind of scary season in their lives. Maybe we have some single parent moms, who feel like they are juggling here and juggling there and don’t know how they will keep all the balls in the air. Maybe some other moms here are facing the empty nest thing. Maybe others have some preschoolers pulling at their skirts every day and are wondering how long that season will last. Maybe others are dealing with a rebellious teen or something of that nature. I have got some encouraging words for you. In fact, they are words from Jesus, Himself. Matthew 11: 28. “Come unto me all of you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.”
Maybe you need to seek permission from Psalm 62:8, “Pour out your heart to God.” Moms, are you doing that regularly? Are you pouring out your heart and your emotions to God? Prayer is huge. Tackle that task in a tenacious way. And, Lisa, you came up with something that I really like called the prepositions of prayer. Why don’t you share that with us?
LISA: OK. There are three prepositions of prayer that we have come up with for this message. The first prepositions is about, the second is for and the third is with. The first thing we can do is pray about the circumstances. Whatever it is you are going through, be it infertility, the empty nest, a rebellious teen, attitude problems, discipline problems, your children’s friendships, whatever the circumstances, pray about them. I know that in our household, even in a pastor’s home, there are attitude problems. Sometimes the attitude problems belong to the children. Sometimes the attitude problems belong to the moms and to the dads.
Oftentimes when crossfires are going on, and the attitudes are raging here and there, I know I have prayed about these type of situations beforehand. But when they occur, if I will stop and pray, God will show me how to act appropriately and effectively with my children.
Secondly, pray for your children. This is so vital. Pray for their understanding of what a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is all about. Pray for their health. Pray for their friendships, for their mission in life according to how God has wired them up. Pray for their mate. All of these things are important.
ED: God hammered this point home in my life pretty strongly several days ago. Our three youngest, one seven and the twins four, were rummaging through my briefcase and pulled out a little book. They asked me what kind of book it was. I told them it was my prayer journal. I have been keeping a prayer journal since I was about 17 years of age and I actually write out my prayers. They asked if I meant I used it to pray. I told them I just wrote and asked God for help and guidance. Then each one wanted to see his or her name in the journal. “Show me my name.”
I was able to thumb through and find their names mentioned repeatedly. Although it was written in cursive, I could point to their names. When this whole interchange was going on, by their body and through their words, I could see they understood they were important, that they really mattered to me because I spent time praying for them. I don’t lie awake at nights wondering about how much money they will make one day or how big their corner office will be. What I worry about, and what Lisa and I talk about, is how much they will love and honor God and His church and His ministry and His gifts.
LISA: The final preposition is with. Pray with them regularly. We have a couple of times that we choose to incorporate prayer in our lives; meal time, bedtime or just any time. Meal times are especially interesting in the Young household. We try to sit down for a meal four nights a week. And on those four nights we try to have meals that actually come out of our oven. It is often hectic and maybe a good case for eating out. We work hard to get the food on the table and then everybody sits down. It is loud and noisy. All of a sudden there are fights about who is going to pray. Many times our children are grounded over prayer. My turn. No, my turn. It can be very interesting.
But we have come up with a system so that we have designated nights. I know that seems very picky but it alleviates a lot of tension. Mealtimes are huge. We pray when we go to a restaurant. The waiters and waitresses either wait or they put the food down while our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed. But it teaches our children how important prayer truly is. Another time is bedtime. Ed tends to lead out in this area.
ED: I do. And I have found out that bedtime is a great time to pray. They are settled down. You can kneel down with them. You can ask them what is on their heart and mind. They may say, “I’ve got a little scratch here.” And we will pray for that. Or, “my friend lost his basketball” or whatever. And we will actually pray for those things. There are some funny things that occur. Some of our children will confess the sins of their siblings. It is interesting. The other night Laurie was praying, “Dear Lord. Help EJ and forgive him because he came into my room and took my Barbie and ripped her head off.”
LISA: We also make it a practice to pray any time. We want to teach our children about what the Bible says regarding praying without ceasing. It often sounds like our lives are hectic and they are. I think that the children often fight to pray at the table not because they are spiritual giants but they like to hear themselves talk. And I don’t know where they got that! But maybe some day that will lead into the spiritual giant thing.
When we are on our way to school in the morning and maybe one is complaining about not be on time, and another is complaining about having had to get out of bed early, it can be a little tense. Sometimes just to calm things down we will pray on the way to school. Just recently LeeBeth had a speech that she had to give from memory. It was quite lengthy and she was nervous about it. In order to calm things down in the car and give her some peace of mind, we prayed while we were driving to school. I didn’t close my eyes. I kept driving, but we did pray and it completely changed the tone of our drive knowing that God was right there with us. Sometimes we don’t recognize that, but prayer does that for us.
ED: It is not enough just to pray. Prayer is our lifeline as believers and as moms who love Christ. But Jesus told his followers to watch and pray, to pray and watch. We don’t just pray for our children, or pray with them regularly and stop there. We have to use our common sense. God has given us several things that are relatively obvious which can help us in the child rearing process. The first is the local church.
I challenge you, Moms, just like I challenge every parent here to have your children here when there are certain activities available. You have a place here that highlights and underlines the transcendent values you are teaching them at home and the church is the entity. So if you have a preschooler or a child in the first through the fifth grade, we have something called Adventure World. There are many activities out there where we teach the Bible in an age appropriate fashion to these little ones.
Also, if you have a junior high or high schooler, make sure that they are involved in the Edge Student Ministries. We have discipleship courses for them. We have mission trips for them. In a few weeks, I will lead a Beach Retreat just for them. If you haven’t looked around lately, our world is going nuts. And the church is the answer. We have what these little ones need and if they don’t incorporate this while they are young, once they hit thirteen or fourteen it is just up in the air. Now and then you will hear about kids doing a 180 later on, but the church is there for them when they are young.
And sometimes, Lisa, when we talk to parents, they will say, “Well, my child just doesn’t make friends very easily and he or she will not know people.” Join the club. I am an extravert and I don’t easily walk into a room and say, “I’m here. Ok, I want to meet some friends.” That is when parents need to model this relational stuff. As I kind of run through our relational Rolodex and look at some of the couples we are close to, I see we are close because one of us took the relational risk. And we have to teach our children the same things because they will be richly rewarded.
LISA: The time I spend with God in prayer truly shows me how to prioritize the tasks in my life. Another one of those tasks is my relationship with my spouse, Ed. God has shown me that one of the most important things that I can teach my children is the relationship He has set forth with our marriage. I need to model to them and for them the love that we share because of God’s love for us. Whether it is conflict resolution, how to set aside time to spend together, whatever that might be, God has shown us that it is a huge priority for us to show to our children.
ED: So goes the marriage, so goes the home. It sets the tone for everything. Our children are watching us. Right now we are on stage. Well, we are on stage, moms and dads, in our marriages. Many times our little ones when they grow up and begin the spouse selection process, they will try to find a mate like the one they saw modeled in the home. It is kind of scary, isn’t it.
LISA: And we know that we don’t live in a perfect world. There are a lot of single moms and single dads out here that don’t have that relationship within the confines of the home. But that is what the extended family is all about. And that is what the church family is all about. And hopefully here at Fellowship Church you can bring your children and they will see other relationships that are authentic and that will demonstrate what a husband and wife relationship is all about.
ED: Lisa, we have talked about God’s touch and the task, and the task is huge. A mother’s trust. Where would you go with that one? When I think of God’s touch in my life and the task that He has set before me, I feel overwhelmed with the responsibility. So I have to trust God. I have felt overwhelmed before in my life with jobs, motherhood is certainly the largest one. But I am quickly reminded of a job that I had, actually my second paying job after I graduated from high school. I spent the summer in Houston where Ed’s family was and I landed a job at an independent oil company in downtown. I remember thinking that it would be great, a receptionist job. I knew how to talk on the phone, what could be hard about that? Sunday afternoon prior to my starting Monday, Ed’s mother drove me to downtown Houston to show this South Carolina kid how to maneuver the highways, park in a paying parking lot and get to that high-rise office building. It was nice that she prepared me for what was going to take place. But nothing could have prepared me for the moment that I walked into that pristine office and looked down on the desk and at the telephone which had more buttons and lights and bells than I had ever seen. I just shuddered to think that it would ring and I would be responsible for answering it and getting the caller to the appropriate office. I thought it was too confusing, that I could never manage it. Well, motherhood is confusing. I needed help with that job and I need help with this job. I trust and know that God is right there with me.
Motherhood is confusing even on the smallest level with day to day activities. I can remember a recent point of confusion. When children are infants and would get up in the middle of the night, emotional and out of sorts, I can remember rocking them, holding them close and singing hymns and lullabies to them. I don’t have a great voice. You have never seen me up on stage with the praise team and you never will. But it seemed to work for them in the middle of the night. Just recently we were driving in the car with the children and a song came on the radio that I really like. I started singing but I guess it just wasn’t as soothing any more. It was the same voice but my oldest daughter said, “Mom, do you have to sing?” Now what’s up with that? It is pretty confusing. It worked at one point but now it doesn’t.
Well, whether it is something small like that or the larger things that can be confusing, I trust that God is with me every step of the way. He promises in Isaiah 40:11 that He will gently lead the mothers with their young. I have to trust God and know that He is there with me. That trust becomes real when I seek Him every day.
This week on Tuesday I received an early Mother’s Day present from my son, EJ. He had been at the neighbor’s house and made a gift for me. He had it wrapped in a long red package, and in his handwriting he wrote, I love you, Mom, EJ. I opened the present and took out a necklace he had made for me out of string, a button and some alphabet beads. This necklace spells out Seek Him. No greater present could he have given me than those words of God. I trust that if I seek God every step of the way, no matter what confusing thing I face or how inadequate I feel, I can trust that he is with me. On this Mother’s Day, and every day that follows, there is no greater comfort, no greater gift, no greater card that I could receive.
ED: Well said. Moms, this weekend we want to step aside and encourage you and tell you that we love you and you matter to us. You are huge here at the Fellowship Church. You carry such a heavy responsibility and our prayers go with you.
As many of you know I love athletics and I talk about it often when I teach. It is kind of astonishing, though, that we as Americans are not shy about giving standing ovations at the Stars game, the Cowboys game and now and then at the Mavericks game. But we don’t really give standing ovations very often to our moms. So I want to do something I have never done here before in the history of our church. If you are a mom in any season of motherhood, you remain seated. The rest of us, let’s stand and let’s give them a standing ovation.