Every Mother’s Day we think about all of the wonderful things our mothers do for us. We're celebrating everything they did right, and we are grateful, but there are some things that a mother cannot do. Psalm 139 is all about mothers and kids, and a God who knows them, loves them, made them, and has plans for them. Here are some truths the Psalm tells us a mother cannot do.
1. A Mother Cannot be Everywhere.
As much as I would love to be omnipresent, and as much as I've tried, it's not possible. We cannot always be there for our children, because we're not God.
I was looking after my daughter's two year old many years ago. I couldn't find him, and I was panicked. Judy had said, "Just stay on him; don't let him out of your sight." I tried until I dropped into bed and then collapsed in a heap. I was lulled into this false sense of security, and then I realized that Drew had disappeared, so I started frantically looking for him everywhere. I found him doing something he shouldn't have been doing, and I pounced on him saying, "What are you doing, Drew? Naughty!" His eyes got bigger, and he said, "You's everywhere, grandma!" Omnipresent Grandma!
I haven't been able to be "everywhere, grandma." But as a child of God, you can look to heaven and say, "You's everywhere, Father!" because He is and He will be, and He has been. In Psalm 139:7 David says, "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?" When I want to help my child, I tell them, “It doesn't matter what you've broken or what you've done, what matters is God is here for you!”
When you've broken something precious to Him, why don't you run to Him and say, "Papa, I’m sorry?" We can't always do that for our children, but we can turn them in the right direction and say, "Run to God, little one,” because He is everywhere you are.
2. A Mother Cannot Really Understand Her Child.
"You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar" (Ps. 139:1-2). We cannot read our children's minds, though we like to try. Children learn very early on to say one thing and think another.
God is the only one who completely understands and knows our children. There's never a thought He doesn't know before they think it. There's never a moment when they're unknown to Him. He cannot "un-know" them, for He has always known them. He knows them thoroughly; they're like a glass beehive. Other people see the bees, but they don't see inside of the hive. God knows what's happening inside. Our children's routines and most pressing needs are noted by the Lord. He knows their motives, what choices they'll make before they choose, and He never ever has them off His mind─ever. What a comfort as a mother!
He knows what's best for our children, every day ordained for them is written in His Book before one of them came to be, and He has a good plan for them even though we may not always see it.
3. A Mother Cannot Clean a Child Up on the Inside.
David says, "See if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way" (Ps. 139:24, AMP).
During soccer season our kids come in, and often they're head to foot in muck. We clean them up, but we cannot clean them up on the inside. David, who wrote this psalm, knew all about this. "I was a sinner from birth,” he says after his sin of adultery with Bathsheba (Ps. 51:5). David takes ownership for sin. "Against you, you only, have I sinned and done this evil in your sight" (Ps. 51:4). He knew that only God could clean him up on the inside. And it's the same for mothers. We cannot fix our children's sin problem. That's God's job and the child's responsibility to go to Him in repentance.
As moms, we are not responsible for our children's actions. We can warn them about the consequences of their choices and point them in the right direction, but ultimately it's their decision. We can say, "If you find yourself on the rooftop, get off!" And we should say that, but we can't make them come down when they see Bathsheba. They have to do that by themselves by turning to God from their sin.
4. A Mother Cannot Produce a Perfect Child.
I remember our youngest son Peter saying to us over supper, "We had to do this self-image quiz at school, and I had to say what I liked about myself.” I asked, "What did you say?" He said, "Well, I just said, everything.”
You cannot produce a perfect child, because there's never been a perfect mom. "But what about Eve? Doesn't it say in Gen. 3:20, ‘she's the mother of all living?’” She was a perfect, sinless woman for a little while, but she was never a perfect mom, because she became a mother after the Fall. You can't produce an "unfallen" kid when you're “fallen"!
God had one rule—don't eat the forbidden fruit—and she and Adam broke it. There would be no perfect people anymore. Eve wept bitterly, she couldn't "un-sin" herself. Then along came imperfect children, Cain and Abel. Even though we were made in the image of God, there is now a broken image.
How come God, the perfect God, would want to be involved with imperfect people? Why didn't He just start over and make another world elsewhere? Because, He is still in the "remaking" process. He's not finished with us yet! He's rolling back the effects of the Fall.
Mothers cannot do that, but God can! One day, you and I will be made like Christ, and we will never want to sin again; we will be perfect─and so will our children.
5. A Mother Cannot Have the Same Baby Twice.
"You created my innermost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb" (Ps. 139:13).
One day Nicodemus came to see the Lord. Jesus told him, "You need to be born again."
Nicodemus said, "Can I enter my mother's womb and be born again?”
Jesus said, "No. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit" (John 3:6). Jesus explained why He had come; He was going to die on a cross and anyone who would believe in Him would be saved. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
Mothers can't spiritually birth their children. They must be individually born again by the Spirit. God is the only One who brings regeneration and new birth to our children.
6. A Mother Cannot Kiss Every Hurt Better.
If you ever had a child who is hurting, what do you want to do? It doesn't matter how old they are, you want to kiss their hurt and make it all better. A mother can kiss some hurts better, but not the big ones─only God can do that!
God loves our children more than we could ever love them. He is able to comfort them when we cannot. He is strong enough to lift them when our strength is gone. "'As a mother comforts Israel,' says God, 'So will I comfort you'" (Isa. 66:12-13). The word for comfort here means "cradle." When you see a mother comforting or cradling her child, God uses that picture and says, "That’s what I'll do for you!"
Remember, you’re not a perfect mom, but God's a perfect God. He will perfect you and your children if you ask Him to─in His perfect timing. Know that you cannot be everywhere, or clean them up from the inside, but God can. Know that He loves you and knows your child far better than you do; He died for them.
So, what can mothers do? You can pray! In prayer you can place your child into the arms of God, and He'll hold them close by the power of His love. By placing them in God's arms, you allow Him to do what you can never do, because mothers cannot kiss every hurt better─but you can pray and God will do the rest!