WHEN I was a little girl I longed to give my mother something wonderful on Mother's Day. I remember watching shows on television where women won things like mink coats and beautiful modern appliances. I wished I could give my hardworking mom things like that - things she had never had and that I worried she never would have. ''When I grow up,'' I thought, ''maybe I can buy her those things.''
But when I told her my plans she only smiled and told me that all she really wanted was for her children to be happy and good. And I knew, despite her personal needs and family needs, that she meant it. Her unselfish love is the quality I remember most about my mother.
I never was able to give her a mink coat or other expensive material things, but as I grew up I was able to share with her a deeper and more understanding love - a love that changed both of us and that has been a great and lasting gift.
This new sense of love we each discovered through Christian Science. It came at a time when the family was in dire need, and the structure of the family seemed to be crumbling. There was great inharmony and financial strain, and even more heavy responsibilities fell upon my already overburdened mother. I longed for a way to help, but my best efforts seemed frustratingly inadequate.
Christian Science, however, impressed me with its message of hope, its message of God's tender love - and its practicality. I treasured the explanation it gives of God as Father-Mother, with all the tenderness and caring that name implies. And I loved how Christian Science reaffirms and magnifies to people today the Bible's teaching that God is Love, n1 entirely good, just, and omnipotent.
n1 See I John 4:16.
In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, states, ''Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation.'' n2 Surely this deep and all-powerful love of God could not express itself in unjust burdens and a life of heaviness.
n2 Science and Health, p.332.
My mother and I often talked together about this fact, and about the many other ideas we were learning through our study of Christian Science. We began to see that as God's offspring we weren't each other's source of love, help, or comfort. God is the one ever-present source of all good, as Christ Jesus made clear.
We realized, though, that we needed to actively appreciate that fact, and continually affirm God's presence and control in our thinking and actions. We had to identify ourselves correctly, not as struggling mortals separate from our creator, but as free and complete spiritual beings, His very outcome.
Whenever I was tempted to think sad or limiting thoughts about my mother, myself, or other members of the family, I stopped and began more prayerfully to identify us all as belonging to God. I denied that there could be any good or bad luck regarding the family's potential for improvement, since God rules according to the divine law of good, not luck. I affirmed that in his true individuality, each one of us expresses love, intelligence, and strength.
''Man and woman as coexistent and eternal with God forever reflect, in glorified quality, the infinite Father-Mother God,'' n3 Mrs. Eddy writes.
n3 I bid., p. 516.
In subsequent years my mother's life took a decided upswing, and she found herself breaking all kinds of barriers. Educational opportunities and new, much better employment opened up. She relocated to a modest but very lovely and convenient home that was a spot of welcome and help to others.
I especially remember her holding her head high, and walking brightly and joyfully with a radiant countenance. No one could have given me any gift that could have made me any happier than to see my mom ''happy and good'' - which was all she had ever wanted for her children!
What a gift God's love is! It is a gift we can all continue to share, and it just gets better the more it unfolds in our thought and living.
A few years ago, when my mom passed on, I was immediately comforted and strengthened to know that God's love continues to bless her, and me, and everyone. Now, every Mother's Day (and many times in between) I rejoice in all we continue to share, and I pledge to keep giving and receiving the undepletable gift of God's love, which is here for everyone. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights. James 1:17