Mother’s Day is a special time of praise for the ones who gave us life and pointed us to the future. In fact I know eight women who have given birth since the last Mother’s Day, six of which were boys and two of those boys are my grandsons. But I want to speak for just a moment to those who aren't moms, or to those who are moms but your children are no longer nearby.
Paul coined a phrase in Romans 16 about a woman that had been important to him. She was the mother of his friend, Rufus, who was (most likely) the son of Simon of Cyrene — the man who was compelled to carry the cross of Christ during his walk to Calvary. Paul says of her, "Greet Rufus, whom the Lord picked out to be his very own; and also his dear mother, who has been a mother to me." (Romans 16:13)
Dear ladies you have the opportunity to be "like a mother" to certain persons in your life. I'm talking about giving them the kind of care that no one else is giving them, to look after those whom no one else is looking after, to give your heart to those who need "a mother's heart" in their lives.
In Mark Buchanan’s book, Hidden in Plain Sight, he writes about a woman from Rwanda named Regine. This woman's only son was killed. She was consumed with grief and hate and bitterness. "God," she prayed, "reveal my son's killer." One night she dreamed she was going to heaven. But there was a complication: in order to get to heaven she had to pass through a certain house. She had to walk down the street, enter the house through the front door, go through its rooms, up the stairs, and exit through the back door. She asked God whose house this was. "It's the house," he told her, "of your son's killer." The road to heaven passed through the house of her enemy. Two nights later, there was a knock at her door. She opened it, and there stood a young man. He was about her son's age. "Yes?" He hesitated. Then he said, "I am the one who killed your son. Since that day, I have had no life. No peace. So here I am. I am placing my life in your hands. Kill me. I am dead already. Throw me in jail. I am in prison already. Torture me. I am in torment already. Do with me as you wish."
The woman had prayed for this day. Now it had arrived, and she didn't know what to do. She found, to her own surprise, that she did not want to kill him. Or throw him in jail. Or torture him. In that moment of reckoning, she found she only wanted one thing: a son. "I ask this of you. Come into my home and live with me. Eat the food I would have prepared for my son. Wear the clothes I would have made for my son. Become the son I lost." And so he did.
Buchanan says, “Agape lovers do what God himself has done, making sons and daughters out of bitter enemies, feeding and clothing them, blazing a trail to heaven straight through their houses.”
What an incredible story. It's hard to imagine this kind of love. It's hard to imagine being in a position that requires this kind of love. What is significant about this story is that Regine replaced the loss in her life with love. She gave away her heart.
You may not be called on to give in such an extreme capacity — but there are those to whom you can give your heart. There are those who need your love, who need your care, who need your encouragement. Like the mother of Rufus was a mother to Paul — you can play a special role in the lives of others.