Community Property

A Mother’s Day Sermon

by Rick Stephens, a member of UUC who preaches from time to time.

Scripture: Luke 1:39-55

I’m not sure of all the various forces or accidents of timing conspired to have me giving a sermon on Mother’s Day, of all days. Aside from not actually being a preacher of any kind, I’m mostly a teacher. Rather than some kind of inspirational message, I usually had something more practical, or even utilitarian in mind for any specific class session. So, what might I have along those lines for this moment, this Mother’s Day? I have to admit to having so many thoughts, and possible directions I could go that I felt at times, a bit stymied.

One thought I had was that Laurie DeMott retired here after 38 years. So, I figured that would be somewhere around 38 Mother’s Day sermons, and since we have an archive perhaps I could find a “good” one. We do have sermons since 2015 on the website. But I thought if I lifted one of those for today someone here might recall it, tell Laurie, tell Lana, and worse, tell Deb. So I’m passing on that idea, but you should go to the website and click on sermons and then scroll to about page 7 where you will see, in reverse order, Laurie’s sermons—Sermons & Worship – Page 7 – Union University Church. I recommend it. So I had to come up with something else.

Have you heard of Chatgpt? As best I can tell, it is an AI, or artificial intelligence program that can actually carry on a kind of conversation, or a chat. You can also ask it to do more, such as write, or draft documents. So, I asked Chatgpt to draft a Mother’s Day sermon. It did! In about a minute! It wasn’t bad, and I’ve attached it to the copy of this sermon if any of you are curious enough to take a look. Actually, I asked it more than once with a twist, and even asked it to look up some cross-cultural and even funny sayings about Mothers. A cross-cultural favorite is Burma, what is now called, Myanmar—“One mother can take care of ten children, but ten children cannot take care of one mother.” A favorite from the funny list is, “Raising kids is like being pecked to death by a chicken…it’s relentless, but at least it’s not boring.” I attached all of it if you are inclined to take a look. While “not bad,” it felt kind of like cheating, and I felt I ought to at least put in a little bit of my own thinking, etc.

But before thinking too much, I also Googled Mother’s Day, and found all kinds of references, even some that might fit in a sermon, like Proverbs, both biblical and cultural. Do you know, that there are sites on the web that will tell you the

While I don’t know who decided that these were the best, or how they were ranked, I have to admit there were some good ones:

  • “It may be possible to gild pure gold, but who can make his mother more beautiful?” —Mahatma Gandhi
  • “Motherhood is the exquisite inconvenience of being another person’s everything.” —Unknown
  • “Motherhood is the biggest gamble in the world. It is the glorious life force. It’s huge and scary – it’s an act of infinite optimism.” —Gilda Radner
  • “God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.” —Rudyard Kipling
  • Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman without discretion. Proverbs 11:22

OK, that last one, while biblical, kind of spoils the moment, and it’s not exactly about Mothers—but it is kind of funny, and I found it on one of those Google lists. I guess the point is, not everyone’s experience of a Mother, or Motherhood, is all peaches and cream. Some of us didn’t really get to know our Mothers, or if we did, wish we hadn’t. And, some find Motherhood a real trial. While sad, it’s nonetheless real. At the same time, such experiences should not track us away from seeking the better, if not the ideal Mother. The scales clearly weigh in favor of Moms.

So this leads me to considering biblical Moms. As with Mother’s Day proverbs, Google also provides all kinds of Top Ten lists of biblical Mothers—though not all actually list ten:

I found something interesting in these lists. Eve, the first Mother, whose name means “life, living, or the mother of all living” showed on only one list. I think it’s possible that she gets a bad rap for the apple thing. It’s even the case that the name, Eve, is a Latin—Eva—and English translation, and not the original name, Chavah—“to breath” and Chayah—“to live or give life.” I’ve likely already exhausted my biblical insights, and certainly any scholarship I might offer. But my point is, Eve likely does not mean to everyone, everywhere, and throughout history just what we may have honestly believed all our lives. This doesn’t make our use of Eve somehow wrong. Only that, as with Mothers and Motherhood, there’s far more than meets the eye.

Now on the other hand, Mary appears in all three lists I noted. However, she ranges from 1st, to 4th, to 10th in rank. I don’t get this either, but I’m also not hung up on it. Typically, we think of Mary regarding Advent and Christ’s birth. Mary is also there at the crucifixion, but she is somehow not such a major player, nor is she after the resurrection. Of course, she is clearly prominent in certain faith traditions, most notably to many in the Catholic faith, as an intercessor on our behalf. But given Mary’s prominence, and the fact that it is only 222 days (give or take) until Christmas, I’m going to stick with Mary for now.

A friend and past colleague of mine, Rev. Ruth Huston, has always provided unique insights regarding women of the bible, in particular Mary. In a sermon entitled “Mary’s Song and Micah,” Ruth connects the prophet Micah (5:2-5a) who proclaimed both substantial criticism of 8th century BCE Israel, and its shaky standing among the Middle Eastern powers of the day—particularly the Assyrians—and offers for a much better future. Key to that, will be the rise of a new Davidic king, but from the most humble of origins—from Bethlehem. Whether King Hezekiah, King David, or Jesus as the target of prophecy we cannot tell. But the repetition of humble origins and humble or even damaged persons somehow serving as the stepping stone to great things is evident throughout the bible.

Mary, is no different, but it’s not just the humble origins pattern. It’s also a reversal of statuses that is at play in God’s work in the world. We’ve already read and heard again the scripture including Mary’s Song. But we have not opened it. Elizabeth, Mother of John, is prescient regarding Mary’s pregnancy, and when she hears Mary, the baby in her own womb leaps, signaling to both women that something very special is happening. And then, Mary breaks into song. My friend Ruth says it much better than I ever could in the following:

Imagine this–Elizabeth is greeting Mary, Hi Mary, how are you doing, the two pregnant women hug as best they can, come on in! And all of a sudden Mary breaks out into a song? It’s not as odd as you might think. I’ve witnessed this very thing on the Hollywood screen. (I)n “My Best Friend’s Wedding”–they’re all sitting around a table in a restaurant and they all break out into song, “I’ll Say a Little Prayer For You”–don’t you wish life were like that? At the theatre I was in, everyone started singing that song. They, too, wished life were like that. Mary’s song includes these words, “He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. . .” Notice the verb tenses? Already completed action, declares Mary. He has brought, he has filled. Yet these are still unfulfilled. I mean, we have eyes. Mary did too. But her trust in God was so strong that she could sing these words as if they were already accomplished. I also can’t help but think that God invites us to help fulfill God’s hopes. This is our work in the world—to ensure that they get fulfilled.

Could you see the combination of humble origins and reversal of fortunes? The point is that what matters are not the markers of status—economically, politically, socially, or culturally—but our relationships one to another. That love and peace far outweigh our definitions of position or correctness. And hope…not just hope, but optimism that God is not just at work in our lives, but is in charge. We have our responsibilities, but we should not be shy due to our origins or current status.

It really is a rather radical message, if radical means a force for change. And I cannot think of a more radical hope, or radical optimism, or radical courage than to take on the role of Mother. It is clearly full of risk, both physical and emotional. Over time it can be both joyful and tragic, full of success and failure. And in these days, the topic of such divisiveness regarding legal rights and cultural expectations.

Yet Mothers persist. The proverbs noted are remarkably consistent regarding the centrality of Mothers to us all. It’s not just the biological fact that we’d not be here without Mothers, but that Mothers and Motherhood, no matter how we may be specifically connected with the person or the idea, carries the radical ideas of a perfecting life, promised by God. Or, as Elizabeth said, “45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

Not a bad way to end a sermon, don’t you think? Sorry to disappoint, but I have just a bit more to say. This of a more personal nature.

Today, besides being Mother’s Day, it is also my Mother’s birthday. Had she lived she would have been 92—almost as old as Joe Fasano. Thinking of Mom always conjures images and feelings. Insert Photo 1–Here is one of my favorite photos of Mom, just the two of us. I was her first born, and I assumed I was also much more special than my brother or sister. I know that I wasn’t. But she allowed me to believe that now and then. Insert Photo 2–BTW, here’s another Mom, Dad, and just me—no brother or sister yet in sight. Oh, and one more photo—Insert Photo 3. I have a second Mom, or rather Mother-in-law. Many of you were blessed with these. In this case, her message was, “you are special…or else.” Insert Photo 4–And, while I’m at it, I just have to include my Mother’s Mother. She was a character, getting married at 17 and concluding the wedding ceremony along a country highway in Oklahoma because the wedding license was listed the wrong county for the wedding. Oh well, we all have such stories and family members, but I call this one, Boss Opal Blanch. Opal Blanch was her real name. And no, that’s not a cigarette. It’s a straw that she just picked up while waiting on a pizza one evening out with the family. Nonetheless, she looks all too familiar with it.

So, what is it that Mothers do that can work this kind of magic, by which we all think we are Number 1? Mom passed away at Christmas time in 2008 from lung cancer. We all knew this was coming, but somehow thinking of this happening at Christmas was just too much to consider. It would be inconsiderate of her to die then, wouldn’t it?

Just after Thanksgiving Mom went into the hospital, and from there directly into hospice care, which happened in our small town to be right there in the hospital. I flew home for several days to see her. This was at the end of semester crush between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I had all kinds of responsibilities and could not just stay there indefinitely. Furthermore, Deb and I were living in Bangor, Maine—not exactly convenient to Mom in Illinois. Instead, I managed three days…to somehow say goodbye. You see, while Mom was very ill, she was also very alert. Saying goodbye was going to be a real moment between to very aware people.

The first thing about my visit was that I had to kind of fight my way in for Mom’s attention. The volume of people wanting to see her was quite literally overwhelming. We had to manage that as best we could, but Mom always insisted on seeing whomever was there. You see, while Mom was my Mom, and my brother and sister’s Mom, and wife to my Dad, she was so much more than that. She was, in a real sense, “Community Property.” A fact repeated across so many societies and cultures. It wasn’t unique to Mom, but I had not realized it so plainly before.

In the evenings, however, we had time to ourselves. Dad understood this and orchestrated no visitors, including himself. We reminisced, and in spite of her condition, laughed, a lot.

  • I recalled her frantic, though very funny calls to a French operator on the occasion of Kelli, my sister, having been robbed in a Paris hotel. The French operator was either not getting the gist of what Mom was calling for or was otherwise nonplused about the circumstance. Mom’s frustration finally boiled over and she shouted into the phone, “This is America calling!” As if such self-evidence were enough to rectify the circumstance. I conveniently never forgot this episode and frequently recounted the event for various family and friends.
  • We remembered the three-day road-trip she and I took to California in the mid-1970’s, driving an unairconditioned 1969 Ford Falcon. I learned things about her on that trip that I had never known; some of which I was not sure I wanted to know; and others which will always remain between Mom and me.
  • And we talked of the simple experiences of our lives together and apart. On visits home after graduating college and marrying Deb, Mom nearly always made sure I was welcomed with homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and a steak dinner at Nuby’s, a local diner.

On the final evening I had not yet figured out just what to say. I wanted to say something profound, perfect, but I was drawing blanks. How do you tell your mother goodbye? The two of us were there alone in the hospital room, and I was avoiding the inevitable. Mom knew this and began to pray. What she did was pray for me. I can’t recall all that she prayed, as the emotions were pretty strong at that point. But I do recall her praying that I would find good cinnamon rolls along the way in life, and that my particular sense of humor—actually she said sarcasm—would be understood by my friends and community. When she was done all I could think about was that in our last moments together, my mother prayed for me, and that she managed to work in both cinnamon rolls and sarcasm into the same prayer, and that I was certain that at no other time in the experience of the human race, had two such concepts been so juxtaposed. I told her this, and we laughed together, one last time.

Now, just to clarify a point you might have missed. Mom’s prayer about the sarcasm stuff was that you all would be understanding, even more understanding of me! Not that I would somehow grow up, mature, etc. She knew my reputation in my old hometown, and she was looking after me, not just now but from the “great beyond.” I mentioned this at her memorial service and told the folks attending…“So this is on all of you who loved Mom. I will now expect better of you going forward…” You all here don’t know me in the same way, or maybe you do. But Mom’s prayer for your understanding of me will be likewise appreciated!

You see, even at the very last, Mom was still Mothering. She was not just looking out for me by praying for understanding on the part of others. She was still correcting and instructing. I was unfinished business, and she had both hope and expectations for the future. For all of us, may it ever be so.


Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

Mary’s Song

46 And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord
47   and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
  of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49   for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
  holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
  from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
  he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
  but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
  but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
  remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
  just as he promised our ancestors.”

Sermon Attachments

  • Rev. Ruth Huston sermon, 2015
  • “That is Mom” Poem by Ashlee Stephens-Drawz, May 13, 2023
  • Chatgpt Drafts
    • Mother’s Day Sermon
    • Motherhood Proverbs
    • Cross-Cultural Motherhood Proverbs
    • Funny Motherhood Proverbs
  • Erma Bombeck—Mother’s Day Column, May 12, 1974

Rev. Ruth Huston, Greenville University, Greenville, IL

Micah 5. 2-5a                                                                                     St. Paul’s

Luke 1.39-55 (Mary’s Song)                                                         4th Sunday Advent, 2015

In times of oppression, national crises, hopelessness, violence and aggression, a songwriter who sees the potential of a different reality writes a song that calls us into that reality. Listen to this one from 1915 at the beginning of WWI:

Ten million soldiers to the war have gone,

Who may never return again.

Ten million mothers’ hearts must break,

For the ones who died in vain.

Head bowed down in sorrowin her lonely years,

I heard a mother murmur thro’ her tears:


I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier,

I brought him up to be my pride and joy,

Who dares to put a musket on his shoulder,

To shoot some other mother’s darling boy?

Let nations arbitrate their future troubles,

It’s time to lay the sword and gun away,

There’d be no war today,

If mothers all would say,

I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier.

Or this one from Paul Revere and the Raiders in 1971, responding to injustice to our First Nations

They took the whole Cherokee Nation
Put us on this reservation
Took away our ways of life
The tomahawk and the bow and knife

Took away our native tongue
And taught their English to our young
And all the beads we made by hand
Are nowadays made in Japan

Cherokee people
Cherokee tribe
So proud to live
So proud to die

They took the whole Indian Nation
Locked us on this reservation
Though I wear a shirt and tie
I’m still a red man deep inside

But maybe someday when they’ve learned
Cherokee Nation will return
Will return, will return

Soulfly wrote Bloodshed in 2013, sounds like it came right of the OT prophetic literature!

Everywhere is bloodshed
Wasteland bloodshed
Everywhere is bloodshed
Wasteland bloodshed
Bloodshed wasteland
Bloodshed wasteland

Life, ravage skullduggery
Rage, dethrone the enemy
Die treacherous leprosy
Scorn the self inflict

Everywhere is bloodshed
Wasteland bloodshed
Everywhere is bloodshed
Wasteland bloodshed

Blood of the lamb touching the empty void
Slowly eats my soul
Drag down the black hole

Join the cult of dark hope
Swarm of deadly locusts
Beware of the prophecy
Rulers of reality

Chad Mitchell Trio in 1965 sang this song in protest to the Vietnam War

“Business Goes On As Usual”

Business goes on as usual,
The corn and the profits are high
And TV’s boom in every living room,
They tell us what deodorants to buy

Business goes on as usual,
Except that my brother’s dead,
He was 25 and very much alive,
But the dreams have all been blasted from his head

In a far-off land with a gun in his hand
He died in a war he did not understand
But business goes on as usual, as usual, as usual.

These are songs whose lyrics call us to a different reality. This morning’s gospel text is one such song, known as Mary’s Song, or The Magnificat. But before we get to Mary, I’d like us to look at the Micah text in its own right. If we don’t linger awhile with Micah, we won’t understand his message for his specific hearers, nor will we hear Mary’s song in all its radicalness. More importantly, we’ll fail to appropriate her song in our own lives of faith–we might even quit singing her song. So backward to Micah—then we’ll move forward to Mary.

Perhaps the Micah text sounded familiar to you when Katie read it for us so beautifully. In the Gospel of Matthew, the wise men cite this oracle to tell King Herod that the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem, so it’s become known as the Bethlehem oracle. Now, let’s remember that the prophet Micah’s main job description, like all biblical prophets before and after him, was to announce what God thinks and how God feels about what Judah was doing at that moment, in that particular historical context. As Walter Brueggemann teaches, biblical prophets painted an alternative picture that countered and challenged the priorities of their dominant culture. Their culture believed that Assyria or Babylon or Rome ruled—that it was they who called the shots. Their priorities and agendas are what mattered. But the prophets understood that these painted only of virtual reality. And it was the prophets who called Israel forward to the really real, reminding them that they had seen and smelled and touched another reality, another kingdom, another alternative that rejected the present ordering of things and energized people and communities by painting another way of seeing, toward which their community of faith could move.

So that general job description showed up more practically in their daily lives: for example, if the courts were corrupt and the poor couldn’t get a fair shake, the prophet would call them out and pronounce God’s indictment on the evil they did, as in Amos 5.10, “They hate the one who reproves in the gate and they hate the one who speaks the truth.”  If the employers didn’t give minimum wage, or withheld a wage, the prophet would call them out. . . If priests taught sacrifice without purity of heart, the prophet told them what God thought. If the rich elite spent too much time playing guitar and making music and eating too much expensive, rich food, while the poor didn’t have enough, the prophet called them out. Listen to this out of Amos 6, “Alas for those who lounge on their couches and eat lambs who sing idle songs to the harp and, like David, improvise on instruments of music.” or Ezekiel 16, “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. So I removed them, when I saw it.” Micah even railed against the merchant in the market with wicked scales and a bag of deceitful weights. Against Israelite exceptionalism, the belief that God loved them more than anyone else, listen to Micah again “they lean on the LORD and say Is not the Lord in the midst of us? No evil shall come upon us.” Boy, were they surprised. You can imagine the responses to these radical messages. Who of us wants our “stuff laid bare” as Adele reminds us in “Rolling in the Deep?” Talk about painting with a different brush!

Well, Micah is one such prophet who rides into town—or walks–in the 8th century BCE, probably under Hezekiah’s reign, singing a song of God with a radically different tune. A rural conservative, could have been from southern Illinois this prophet, who thought that the big cities of Jerusalem and Samaria were sin cities full of corruption and exploitation of the people, was concerned primarily with ethical issues, speaking out boldly in defense of shepherds and poor farmers whose lands were being taken by the rich. And he didn’t believe in the exceptionalism of Israel either. He didn’t think God would always protect them against every other nation. If the judges, priests, landowners, bankers and wealthy were gonna be corrupt, then God would destroy them. But after the vitriol and doom of chapter 3, this morning’s text declares a different hope for Judah–The suffering and humiliation of the present will pass away, “Jacob” will become “like a lion among the animals of the forest” (5.8) and Jerusalem will be restored. A new Davidic king (perhaps Hezekiah himself) will spring, like David, from humble stock in Bethlehem, but will become great to the ends of the earth because he rules in the strength of God. He’ll be one of peace. If the Assyrians come into their land and tread upon their soil, Israel will greet them with—wait for it–7 shepherds! Imagine. What a radically different response Micah preaches than the one that President Jerry Falwell, Jr. recently encouraged in his 100,000 member student body at Liberty University after the San Bernardino shootings.

“If some of those people in that community center had what I have in my back pocket right now …,” he said while being interrupted by loud cheers and clapping. “Is it illegal to pull it out? I don’t know,” he said, chuckling, as he pulls back his suit coat and taps his concealed weapon, “I’ve always thought that if more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in and killed them. I just wanted to take this opportunity to encourage all of you to get your permit. We offer a free course,” he said. “Let’s teach them a lesson if they ever show up here.” Perhaps President Falwell was absent the day his Micah professor covered Micah 5.2-5 and only showed up for the lecture on verses 6 and 7, not included in our lection this morning, but part of its context certainly.

This theme of “reversal of fortunes” is a well-established Old Testament theological confession that prophets like Micah consistently preached: those who are powerful and secure by human standards are not really powerful and secure by God’s standards. Likewise, there is the repeated affirmation that God hears the cries of oppressed people, and that the lowly and powerless are more likely to be open to hearing and seeing and experiencing God’s work in the world.

Luke 1.39-55 Mary’s Song

This reversal of fortunes comes to us loudly in The Song sung by Mary when she went to visit her cousin Elisabeth, and Elizabeth greeted her. Imagine this–Elizabeth is greeting Mary, Hi Mary, how are you doing, the two pregnant women hug as best they can, come on in! And all of a sudden Mary breaks out into a song? It’s not as odd as you might think. I’ve witnessed this very thing on the Hollywood screen. Remember in “My Best Friend’s Wedding”–they’re all sitting around a table in a restaurant and they all break out into song, “I’ll Say a Little Prayer For You”–don’t you wish life were like that? At the theatre I was in, everyone started singing that song. They, too, wished life were like that. Mary’s song includes these words, “He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. . .” Notice the verb tenses? Already completed action, declares Mary. He has brought, he has filled. Yet these are still unfulfilled. I mean, we have eyes. Mary did too. But her trust in God was so strong that she could sing these words as if they were already accomplished. I also can’t help but think that God invites us to help fulfill God’s hopes. This is our work in the world—to ensure that they get fulfilled.

Pretty radical stuff here. In the Kingdom of God there is a complete reversal of fortunes; the powerful and rich exchange places with the powerless and poor. And this reversal has already begun. We don’t have to wait until the end of time to witness it. It’s already in the Kingdom of God on earth. With the coming of Jesus the “reversal of fortunes” is underway. The world will never be the same after the birth of this child. In a real sense, Jesus will become subversive of the ordered power structures of the world. He will call kings and rulers and pharmaceuticals and oil companies and the NRA and the Church to accountability, cuz he’s the quintessential prophet and that’s what true biblical prophets do. And he will call for God’s people to participate in the reversal of fortunes that is involved in feeding the hungry and clothing the naked, of healing the sick, of doing justice in the world.

This is Mary’s song. Can you hear her singing it? She invites us to sing along with her, keeping the song alive. We sing Mary’s song when we reverse the fortunes of Syrian refugees (can’t you just hear Mother Mary singing some songs over those refugees?). We sing Mary’s song when we reverse the fortunes of the prisoners, especially black males. 12% of the American population is black, but 60% of male inmates are black. You know Mother Mary is singing a song up in here. Can we hear her? We sing Mary’s song when we reverse the fortunes of the disenfranchised voters who can’t influence the outcome of our current presidential elections. 158 households donate ½ of the campaign money despite there being 120 million households in the U.S. These contributors are mostly white, rich, older and male. Their money skews our elections towards that demographic. Oh, Mother Mary would be all up in the face of those 158 households. We can hear her singing and singing and singing her song on behalf of those other millions of households.

Mary’s singing her song and she wants us to join along. She can’t do it alone. We gotta help her sing her song. How will we do that this Advent?

That is Mom

When you fell off your bike and scraped your knee real bad,
She cleans it and hugs you and you’re no longer mad…

…that is mama.

When you swim in a race and are excited to win,
She’s there with a towel and her pride and a grin…

…that’s mom.

When you need your nails painted or new clothes for school,
She takes you shopping and to the salon because she’s so cool…

…that’s a nana.

When the kids at your school are awful and mean,
She listens and nods until you finally feel seen…

…that is mom.

When you want to learn to drive or play cards and have lots of fun,
She gives you keys and teaches rules, like how to tee-pee and run…

… that’s a grandma.

When you’re ready for college and to spread out your wings,|She helps pack and makes lists and organizes all the things…

…that’s a mother.

When you are tired and cranky from classes, exams and studies,
She lets you sleep, makes you food, and hangs out like best buddies…

…that is a mom.

When you graduate and feel ready to strike out on your own,
She sends care packages and gifts for your new apartment home…

…that’s mother.

When you meet the person you think you might someday marry,
She is welcoming and happy even if it’s a little scary…

…that’s mom.

When you’re planning that wedding and buying that dress,
She helps shop and do fittings and knows when to say yes…

…that is a mother.

When you walk down that aisle and dance all night after saying I do,
She bakes the cake, smiles for pictures, and says I love you…

…those are mothers, grandmas, and nanas.

When you face new life challenges, like a house flood or new pet,
She is there to provide wisdom and courage that through it you’ll get…

…that is Mom.

When you are finally going to have your own little one,
She helps you prepare the nursery, makes sure the laundry is done…

…that’s a nana.

When you’re knee deep in diapers and bottles and toys,
She takes over a while so you can have a break from the noise…

…those are grandmas and nanas.

When you need to clean but the kids kept you up all night long,
She brings soup, does the dishes, and sings the baby to sleep with a song…

…that’s a mother-in-law.

When you’ve had a long week and your head might explode,
She answers the phone and listens while you mentally unload…

…that is mom.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms, Mamas, Mothers, Grandmas, Nanas, Mothers-in-Law, and Aunties

Written by:         Ashlee Stephens-Drawz
May 13, 2023

Chatgpt Draft 1—Mother’s Day Sermon 5-14-23

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Today, we celebrate Mother’s Day, a special day dedicated to honoring the women who have brought us into this world, nurtured us, and raised us with love and care. It is a day to express our gratitude for the sacrifices and devotion of mothers everywhere.

As we reflect on the importance of motherhood, we are reminded of the many ways in which God reveals Himself to us through the love and sacrifice of a mother. From the moment a child is conceived, a mother is called to lay down her own needs and desires to care for the life growing inside of her. And when the child is born, the mother’s love and selflessness only increase as she devotes herself to meeting the needs of her child, day in and day out.

In this way, a mother embodies the love of God, who cares for us with an unfailing love and who sacrificed His own Son so that we might have eternal life. In the same way that a mother provides for the needs of her child, God provides for us, sustaining us with His grace and mercy.

But motherhood is not only about meeting physical needs. It is also about nurturing the soul, teaching children about the love and goodness of God, and instilling values that will guide them throughout their lives. It is about sacrificing time and energy to pray for our children, to read the Bible with them, and to model Christ-like behavior for them to follow.

As we honor mothers today, let us also remember the many women who have acted as mothers to us in different ways – grandmothers, aunts, sisters, and friends who have loved and cared for us as if we were their own. Let us thank them for the role they have played in shaping us into the people we are today.

And finally, let us lift up in prayer the many mothers who are struggling today – those who are grieving the loss of a child, those who are raising children on their own, those who are facing financial or health challenges, and those who are simply feeling overwhelmed by the demands of motherhood. May God bless them with the strength, courage, and grace they need to face whatever challenges come their way.

On this Mother’s Day, let us give thanks to God for the gift of motherhood and for the women who embody His love and care in our lives. May we honor them not only today, but every day, by living lives that reflect the sacrificial love of Christ.


Top of Form

Chatgpt Draft 2—Motherhood Proverbs


Motherhood is often referred to as the most challenging yet rewarding job in the world. Mothers play a vital role in shaping the lives of their children, and their influence can last a lifetime. Throughout history, many cultures have developed proverbs that offer wisdom and guidance to mothers as they navigate the challenges of motherhood. These proverbs encapsulate the values and beliefs of different societies and can provide insight into the roles and expectations of mothers.

This paper will explore some of the most famous motherhood proverbs from around the world and examine their meanings and relevance in contemporary society.

  1. “God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers” – Jewish proverb.

This proverb highlights the critical role that mothers play in the lives of their children. Mothers are often the primary caregivers and nurturers, and they provide a sense of security and stability that is essential for children’s development. It also emphasizes the idea that mothers have a special connection with their children, and this connection is rooted in love and a deep sense of responsibility.

  1. “A mother understands what a child does not say” – Jewish proverb.

This proverb emphasizes the importance of empathy and intuition in parenting. Mothers are often attuned to their children’s emotions and can pick up on subtle cues that others may miss. This ability to read between the lines and understand what is not explicitly stated is a crucial part of effective parenting.

  1. “Teach the child what you know, not what you don’t know yourself” – Native American proverb.

This proverb emphasizes the importance of modeling behavior and values for children. Mothers are role models for their children, and the way they act and interact with others can have a profound impact on their children’s development. By teaching children what they know and embodying the values they want to instill, mothers can help their children develop into responsible and caring individuals.

  1. “A mother’s love is like a tree; it can weather any storm” – African proverb.

This proverb emphasizes the resilience of a mother’s love. Mothers often face challenging and difficult situations, but their love for their children remains constant. The metaphor of the tree highlights the idea that a mother’s love is strong and enduring, providing a sense of stability and comfort even in the face of adversity.

  1. “Mother’s milk is the best food” – Chinese proverb.

This proverb emphasizes the importance of breastfeeding and the benefits it provides for both mother and child. Breast milk is rich in nutrients and antibodies that help protect infants from illness and support their growth and development. It also provides a sense of bonding between mother and child that is essential for emotional and psychological well-being.


Motherhood proverbs provide insight into the values and beliefs of different cultures and offer guidance and wisdom for mothers navigating the challenges of parenthood. These proverbs highlight the critical role that mothers play in shaping the lives of their children and emphasize the importance of love, empathy, and resilience in effective parenting. By understanding and reflecting on these proverbs, mothers can gain a deeper appreciation for the unique and vital role they play in their children’s lives.

Chatgpt Draft 3—Cross-Cultural Motherhood Proverbs


Proverbs are an important part of any culture’s linguistic heritage. They are short, pithy sayings that express a fundamental truth or piece of wisdom. Proverbs are often used to teach morals or lessons, and they reflect the values and beliefs of a particular culture. In this paper, we will explore cross-cultural proverbs related to motherhood, analyzing their meanings and significance.

Proverbs about Motherhood:

  1. “God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.” – Jewish Proverb

This proverb reflects the idea that mothers are special beings who are able to provide love and guidance to their children in a way that is akin to a divine presence. It emphasizes the importance of mothers in shaping the lives of their children and highlights their unique ability to nurture and care for them.

  1. “A mother is a blanket that never loses its warmth.” – Kurdish Proverb

This proverb compares a mother’s love and care to a warm and comforting blanket that provides protection and security. It highlights the idea that a mother’s love is constant and enduring, and that it provides a sense of safety and comfort to her children.

  1. “A mother is the first teacher of her child.” – Chinese Proverb

This proverb emphasizes the importance of a mother’s role in her child’s education and development. It highlights the idea that a mother’s guidance and teachings play a crucial role in shaping her child’s values and beliefs, and that this early education has a lasting impact on their lives.

  1. “A mother’s love is like a tree that never withers.” – Ugandan Proverb

This proverb compares a mother’s love to a tree that is strong and enduring, emphasizing the idea that a mother’s love is constant and unchanging. It highlights the idea that a mother’s love is a source of stability and strength for her children, even in difficult times.

  1. “One mother can take care of ten children, but ten children cannot take care of one mother.” – Burmese Proverb

This proverb emphasizes the importance of children caring for their mothers in their old age. It highlights the idea that a mother’s love and sacrifice for her children should be reciprocated, and that children have a responsibility to care for their mothers in their time of need.


Cross-cultural proverbs related to motherhood highlight the universal importance of mothers in the lives of their children. These proverbs emphasize the enduring nature of a mother’s love and the importance of a mother’s guidance and teachings in shaping the lives of her children. They also emphasize the importance of reciprocity, and the idea that children have a responsibility to care for their mothers in their old age. Overall, these proverbs reflect the deeply held beliefs and values of cultures around the world, emphasizing the universal importance of motherhood in human society.

Draft 4—Funny Motherhood Proverbs

  1. “A messy house is a sign of a happy family…or a lazy mom.”
  2. “Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the sidewalk before it stops snowing.”
  3. “Being a mom means never having a minute to yourself, unless you hide in the bathroom.”
  4. “I wanted to be the perfect mom, but I quickly realized that my kids didn’t come with instruction manuals.”
  5. “Raising kids is like being pecked to death by a chicken…it’s relentless, but at least it’s not boring.”
  6. “A child’s favorite word is ‘Why?’ A mother’s favorite word is ‘Because.'”
  7. “There’s no such thing as a perfect mom, but there are a million ways to be a great one.”
  8. “A mother is someone who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take.”
  9. “The best way to keep children at home is to make the home a pleasant atmosphere and let the air out of their tires.”
  10. “Having kids is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain.”

Erma Bombeck—Mother’s Day Column, May 12, 1974

“When God Created Mothers”

When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of “overtime” when the angel appeared and said. “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.” 

And God said, “Have you read the specs on this order?” She has to be completely washable, but not plastic. Have 180 moveable parts…all replaceable. Run on black coffee and leftovers. Have a lap that disappears when she stands up. A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair. And six pairs of hands.” 

The angel shook her head slowly and said. “Six pairs of hands…. no way.” 

It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” God remarked, “it’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have.” 

That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel. God nodded. 

One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, ‘What are you kids doing in there?’ when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say. ‘I understand and I love you’ without so much as uttering a word.” 

God,” said the angel touching his sleeve gently, “Get some rest tomorrow….” 

I can’t,” said God, “I’m so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick…can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger…and can get a nine year old to stand under a shower.” 

The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. “It’s too soft,” she sighed. 

But tough!” said God excitedly. “You can imagine what this mother can do or endure.” 

Can it think?” 

Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise,” said the Creator. 

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek. 

There’s a leak,” she pronounced. “I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model.”

It’s not a leak,” said the Lord, “It’s a tear.” 

What’s it for?” 

It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride.” 

You are a genius, ” said the angel. 

Somberly, God said, “I didn’t put it there.”