Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Isaiah 49:15 (ESV)
Mothers are not perfect. Mine sure isn’t. When she found out I was gay, she wanted nothing to do with me. She got very depressed and went to bed and cried. My father went to her and basically told her to get over herself. I was their son, they loved me, and they always would, no matter what. But, she has never accepted that I am gay, and still lives in hope that I will find the right woman someday. I keep telling her it will never happen, but she lives in her own little fantasy world sometimes. Needless to say, my mother and I do not agree when it comes to my sexuality. We also don’t agree when it comes to politics. For some godforsaken reason, she’s a Republican. So, we have a bit of a don’t ask, don’t tell policy. We don’t discuss my sexuality, and we do not discuss politics. We try to keep to that rule, but we both break it too often. She can’t help but making some awful comment about homosexuality, and I can’t help making some comments about how unchristian Republicans are and just how awful they are. (I cannot fathom why she supports Trump when he stands for everything she has always professed to be against. Me being gay, she has a problem with, but him being an unchristian asshole, she can accept???!!!) I firmly believe Jesus would never be a modern-day Republican, no matter what the Christian Right says, but I digress.
Every mother is flawed but just as my father told her that day to love me regardless, God’s love for us is unchanging and unchangeable. His generous grace and great compassion are for all time and throughout eternity. What the Bible is saying in this passage is: while a mother can forget the love she has for her child, God never will. The design of this passage is apparent. It is to show that the love which God has for his people is stronger than that which is produced by the most tender ties created by any natural relation. The love of a mother for her infant child is one of the strongest attachments in nature. The question here implies that it was unusual for a mother to be unmindful of that tie, and to forsake the child that she should nourish and love. With that being said, in the passage above, Isaiah was asking a theoretical question when he said, “Can a woman forget her nursing child?” Children and their mothers have the closest bond, and no one can break it. This passage praises mothers as symbols of amazing compassion, never forgetting their beloved children.
While my mother and I may have our disagreements, we do have a strong bond. It may not be as strong as before I came out, but it is still there. She is my comfort, even when she is not being comforting. That may sound odd, but when I was young, my mother often sang to us. Sometimes it was silly little songs like “Fishy in a Bowl,” “Do Lord,” or “Yes Sir, That’s My Baby,” though she had her own little version of that last one. However, the one I remember most is “You Are My Sunshine.” Even today, when I am sad and lonely, or having anxiety or even a full-on panic attack, I can remember my mother singing ‘You Are My Sunshine,” and I am comforted. Part of it has to do with the rhythm of the song helping to slow my rapidly beating heart, but it’s also because I remember the good times when my mother would sing this to me. For the most part, my mother has always been there when I needed her. As she has gotten older, she tends to focus more on herself, but she was a nurse for most of her life and spent her life taking care of others. Deep down, she is a caring woman; she just shows it a little differently these days.
I want to leave you with a different verse, because while we may see things very differently, my mother does still love me. I firmly believe that she always will. She can’t help but love me.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV)