Quiet Mothers

Do we know such mothers, who carry their burden so quietly and patiently, without grumbling? Who are a silent light in their surroundings? Have we ever tried to look deeper into their silence - where it comes from? We would certainly often be surprised - and give them special recognition.

Mother’s Day is celebrated on one of the Sundays in May. There are divided opinions on how it should be celebrated. Flowers and large or small gifts are usually given, but whether it is really a day of remembrance and thanksgiving remains to be asked. Truly, our mothers who give themselves sacrificially to their families, and especially those who have endured years of hardship and borne much heartache with great patience, deserve to receive special recognition and thanksgiving at least once a year. We really owe our mothers a lot in this respect.

Being forgotten and cast aside hurts. But this is precisely what many mothers have to put up with as they grow older. We can hardly imagine how much suffering and pain weighs on dear mothers’ hearts! It is therefore not surprising if many mothers avoid the fake attention of their children on Mother’s Day. The flowers and gifts placed in their laps are not necessarily signs of love and appreciation. Such things can sometimes come from a guilty conscience, especially when the aging mother sits abandoned and forgotten in a retirement home all year long. And this brings us to the idea of talking a little about the “silent mothers” today.

I have often seen and admired silent mothers and have been impressed by them, but I had never really asked myself why they were so quiet. I now know that it wasn’t always their disposition but rather that their silence was due to various circumstances.  

For example, there was a woman living in our neighborhood whom I occasionally met doing her gardening. One day, she told me that she was going to sell her house and move in with her son. However, just a few months later, I happened to meet her in a retirement home. She was quiet, but she asked me to come to her room, which she shared with three other women. Here, a stream of tears burst from her, and I saw a mother’s heart filled with pain, betrayal, and brokenness.

A few years ago, I was about to leave for a trip abroad.  Someone I knew heard about it and asked if I could possibly visit his mother while there. I knew her from previous visits and gladly promised to see her. So it happened that one day I was sitting opposite her in her room where she lived in her children’s house. It was a wet and cold winter day and unpleasantly chilly in her room. But she said nothing about it. Not a word of complaint or accusation passed her lips. Behind this reticence, however, I clearly recognized a heavy mother’s heart. Finally, I was able to probe a little deeper into her silence. Her pension money helped with the payments of the house, but she was strictly forbidden to make the room any warmer. Compassionately, I tried to comfort her a little, and her grateful handshake and smile on her face are still very much in my memory. 

I saw another silent mother who had a large household. Every day, she was busy doing various hard tasks, for she had to care for her family and the animals. There were not enough hours in the day to complete everything, so she worked till late into the night. Her tireless self-sacrifice and caring efforts were often rewarded with unkind, rude words. She had to silently accept the moodiness and dissatisfaction of her often-agitated husband. A single word of dissent could lead to dire consequences. She learned to tolerate and carry these painful injustices and be silent all the time.

“Silent mothers” – and there are certainly not just a few!

In 2 Timothy 1:5, the mother and grandmother of Timothy are mentioned: “I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.” Both grandmother and mother had a strong faith, which they passed on to their son and grandson, and what an exemplary life of faith they must have led! Paul could point this out uninhibitedly and in grateful remembrance! Both of these women seemed to be “silent mothers.” We are told nothing about them being in the front ranks or of having any special standing. They had certainly learned “to be still in the Lord.” And this being still was outshone by the light of eternity. This quiet, light-filled life could obviously have an effect on others and create great blessings.

We desperately need mothers like this in our families and communities today! They are true “home missionaries,” and this is where the beginnings of an effective mission for this world lie. Mothers of faith and love provide the happiness for the children and the family! 

Someone said, “I know I lack the eloquence to express what fills my heart at the thought that God gave me a mother who prayed for me!”

We owe these mothers special thanks and high recognition, and that not only on Mother’s Day!

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