3 Ways My Mom Reminds Me of Jesus
by Debbie Holloway
“Her children rise up and call her blessed…” (Proverbs 31:28).
I've got a good family. And while I love all my family members so much that it hurts, and in vastly different ways, it's May, so I've been thinking a lot about my Mama. I have always known my mom was the actual greatest, but the older I grew, the more I began to recognize really concrete reasons for it. How much I had learned from her. How much her example has shown me about being a wife, or dealing with kids. How to keep a good face and a good heart when you’re in uncomfortable or distasteful situations.
Some of the things she’s imparted to me may seem small, or silly. When I’m outside and it’s sunny, I always think about soaking up Vitamin D. I never let my students get away with using the phrase “the reason is because…” in their essays.
But more than those little things, my mom has made such a big impact on me because she reminds me of Jesus. Here are three Christ-like messages she has ingrained in me (whether by her words or simply her actions):
“You are Always Loved.”
Of course my mom loves me. I suppose for most of us, that’s a given. But it makes such a difference when she tells me that every time she sees me. No matter what mistake I make, no matter how grumpy I am, no matter how grumpy she is, I know that nobody will ever love me as much as my Mama loves me.
I have a unique relationship with my mom because I was her first daughter, and one she had wanted and prayed for many years before my birth. Whenever we’ve gone through a rough conversation, or even if I’m just feeling downtrodden, she’s never hesitated to remind me that she has loved me and wanted me since before I was even born. And I know that my mom never stops praying and hoping for her children. This persistent, unrelenting love reminds me so much of Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15:
"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.'”
This portrait of God that Jesus paints is simple: God loves you so much that he will never give up on you. Likewise, my mom is a mom who never gives up on me.
“You are Always Welcome.”
I used to assume that all families pretty much work like this, but the older I get, the more I realize how rarely we exhibit true, pure, hospitality even to our closest family members. Growing up, outsiders were routinely welcome to join us for meals, for sleeping over, or for jam sessions. Every time I talk with my mom, she reminds me that I’m welcome to pop by, expected or not, anytime I want. If I ever need something, or even just need to talk, I know she’s there for me.
But more than just welcoming me into her home, my mom welcomes me into her heart and life, totally unconditionally. Sure, she taught me manners and morals, and hopes and expects I’ll live by them. But none of her children has turned out perfect. And she has never given me ultimatums on our relationship, or implied that I would be kicked out, unwelcome, or treated as an outsider if I said certain things, dressed a certain way, hung out with certain people, or even believed certain things. She lets me live my life, and I know she’ll always be a phone call away. She’ll always leave the front door open when she knows I’m coming over.
Just like the Father in the parable of the prodigal son. The son had rejected his father, thought of nothing but instant gratification, chased empty pleasures, and eventually returned home broken. What was the father doing, all this while?
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him… [And] the father said to his servants, 'Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found' (Luke 15: 20-24).
No conditions. No interrogations. Just a warm welcome home.
“You Will Always be Fed.”
Does this one seem silly, or out of place? It doesn’t to me. My mother was the first one who showed me what the ministry of feeding can look like. Sometimes a person just needs to be offered a hot meal, whether that person is your child, a guest in your home, or an underfed person standing on the street corner. This attitude of abundance and generosity is imprinted all over my childhood memories.
Food brings life to the body. Think about how often God worked on Israel’s hearts through food! He gave them manna in the wilderness. The most sacred Jewish holiday, Passover, is a meal of bread and herbs, symbolizing the oppression of Egypt and the God who was big enough to free them from it.
And then the Lord’s Supper.
Whoever eats of the bread and drinks of the cup proclaims the Lord’s death until he comes.
Implemented in an upstairs chamber 2,000 years ago, it started off as a Passover meal, but was given fresh significance. We still practice this new sacrament of bread and wine in churches, every month, every Sunday, every day – to remind ourselves that God sustains. God provides. Jesus fed thousands with loaves and fish, and God feeds us with his Spirit. And one day, we will join him at the greatest bridal feast of all.
Where we will be fed.
We will be welcome.
And we will be loved.
That’s what I see reflected in the life of my sweet mother. That’s why she reminds me of Jesus.
The Characters of Christmas is a podcast created to help you take a fresh look at the Christmas story by getting to know the minor characters that played a part in Jesus’ birth. It is the companion to Dan Darling's book "The Characters of Christmas: The Unlikely People Caught Up in the Story of Jesus."