Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, NC, a widely traveled evangelist, and the author of several books. His books are available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com

Motherhood is amazing and all of you mothers are amazing and your poise is unmatched and you are the most powerful and awesome things in the world…

And now that I have the standard Mother’s Day sentiments out of the way, please allow me to give you a very different kind of Mother’s Day column this year, because you and I both know that the reality of motherhood is often way more gritty than pretty.

Especially when one is a single mother or a struggling mother.

On this wonderful Mother’s Day Sunday, churches will be filled with families made up of a husband/father, a wife/mother, and children who along with the father adore and revere that mother of the home. There will be cherubic smiles, probably a fancy dinner for mom after service, and a near elevation to sainthood status of the matriarch in the midst.

But there will also be single/struggling moms for whom the day is very different. There will be the lady who either through abandonment or widowhood or even through her own poor choices is struggling to raise a child/children for the Lord on her own. She likely cried herself to sleep the night before just thinking of the next day, and then awoke to battles best faced by two parents when she is the only one there to face them.

I want you to know a couple of things, dear lady. One, I want you to know that through God’s power, you can do it. You can raise those kids to love and serve the Lord. You can make it through the next day and week and month and year and decade. You can see your kids safely to adulthood. You can succeed. Two, I want you to know that the most important mother of all time can relate to you.

Her name was Mary.

Everyone knows that Mary was a virgin when she conceived and bore Christ. Most everyone knows that, for a while there, she feared losing Joseph due to the pregnancy, she feared becoming a single mother. Few, though, likely know that she actually did.

Fast forward thirty-three years from the birth of Christ. The setting is a hill just outside of town, and the event is the murder of her son, Jesus. She is at the cross, in utter anguish of heart, watching her son die the most horrific death. Old Simeon had prophesied on the forty-first day of Jesus’ life that Mary would be there at the cross and that a sword would pierce her soul, and he was right.

But look at what Jesus said and arranged while hanging there:

John 19:26-27, “When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.”

This is how we know that Joseph was dead. Jesus had John, a disciple, take Mary into his home to live with him. John took care of Mary as a mother after Jesus was gone. So somewhere along the way, Mary had to bury Joseph. Somewhere along the way, quite likely many years earlier since men in that culture tended to mary much younger ladies and also tended to have a shorter life span, Mary became a single mother.

And before you think, “Well, even a single mother would have an easy time raising someone like Jesus,” let me show you something else.

Matthew 13:55-56 says, “Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us?” Jesus was not Mary’s only child; she and Joseph had at least six more children together after she gave birth to Jesus. This means that Mary likely ended up as a single mother while still raising pretty young children. Worse still, the kids did not get along – with Jesus! In John 7, the brothers of Jesus actually tried to get him killed. Mary had to bury a husband, raise a bunch of feuding children by herself, and see her firstborn child suffer and die.

She did pretty good for all that, don’t you think? And by the way, her feuding children (at least some of the brothers) not only came to love and believe in Jesus, they went on to write part of the New Testament. And Mary got to see her son after he rose from the dead. Mary spent who knows how many years seemingly fighting fear, heartache, frustration, and the nagging feeling that she was a failure.

So take heart, single moms and struggling moms; you are not alone. And if God chose to put his own son into a home where he knew there would eventually be just a mother, and a struggling one at that, then he must have an awful lot of confidence that such a lady can actually get the job done.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Pastor Wagner can be contacted by email at 2knowhim@cbc-web.org, and his books are available by clicking the “Store” link above.

Feature photo by Pastor Bo Wagner