Before I bought my first cell phone, I can remember this young man of about nine years old telling me that every mom needs a cell phone. In his mind, a mom needed a cell phone, because every child needed to have access to his or her mom. She was the person who needed to be reached in emergency situations. What the nine-year old really meant is that every child needs their mom to have a cell phone. However there is something else every mother needs, and it is not a cell phone. One of the most celebrated mothers in the Bible, Mary the mother of Jesus, reveals to us what every mother needs.
We all remember Jesus’ first miracle, turning the water into wine. Of course, it is mother who requests him to deal with an arising problem—the party had run out of wine. When Mary brings this to his attention, Jesus responded, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4). Instead of dealing with Jesus’ response, she instructs that whatever Jesus said to do, do it. Of course, Jesus got down to business—he turned the water into wine. She needed Jesus to solve the problem. Although the story is about Jesus, his revelation of him as the Messiah, the timing of his manifestation and work, and the need to have Jesus around because all of us do run out of stuff—the story also points to some theological truths about motherhood.
Mary reveals to us what mothers really need to do concerning this challenging job of mothering. A woman who has been called to be a mother can relate to the sacrifices of mothering. Countless mothers defer their dreams, neglect themselves and pour all their energy into the success and care of their children and their husbands. Most of us have experienced this love from a mother—some woman God sent into our lives to nurture us and to be with us unconditionally, to deal with our attitudes, and who has seen our bad, good, and vulnerable sides. Mothers do this even as their needs go unmet—not just financial, but their emotional needs.
Mothers hurt. Mothers struggle. Mothers cry. However, there is something we mothers cannot do without. It is not necessarily a husband, because there are plenty of single-mothers holding it down. Although it makes a single-mother feel real good when the man is stepping up and taking a load off her. Since mothers spend a great deal of time driving their children to school, football games, dance practice, golf tournaments and school recitals—it would seem that a mother needs a car. Some may think that every mother needs cooking utensils and cleaning devices. Mothers do lots of cooking and cleaning. But there are some mothers who cannot boil water. They are some of the best mothers one would ever meet.
If we look deeply into Mary’s exchange with Jesus concerning the absence of wine at the party, she lets us know what every mother needs is Jesus. Jesus provides them with the spiritual eye to recognize what their children can do, to use the best communication to get them to do it, and to have the patience not go off on them when they act like they are not going to do it. Although mothers are wise, problem-solvers, and the hardest working folk around, their first calling is birthing what the Holy Spirit has put inside of them and fostering the growth of what God has brought forth from their wombs. This is why every mother needs Jesus.
Like the Shirley Caesar story reveals, a mother’s love is like the love of Jesus—no charge. After the boy read off the bill for all of his chores, the mother responded with “…the nine months I cared for you—no charge.” For a mother to love like Jesus, she needs to have Jesus in her life. Jesus loves us freely. He died for us—no charge! Jesus—what every mother needs.