“LIFE DOESN’T COME WITH A MANUAL, IT COMES WITH A MOTHER” ~ unknown
The woman who inspired Mother’s Day was a social activist in the 1800’s.
She was a woman defined by her faith.
She was a woman defined by her prayer life.
Her name was Ann Reeves Jarvis.
The Jarvis family, like many families during the mid-1800s, experienced frequent tragedy and loss. Ann bore thirteen children over the course of seventeen years. Of these children, only four survived to adulthood. The others died of diseases such as measles, typhoid fever, and diphtheria. These losses and extreme heartache inspired Ann to take action to help her community combat childhood diseases and unsanitary conditions
Ann was a dynamic woman who used the heartbreak and hardship of her life to bring God’s love and care to others, to promote friendship and health. In 1858, while pregnant with her sixth child, she began Mother’s Day Work Clubs in various towns in the area. These clubs aimed to improve health and sanitary conditions and sought to provide assistance and education to families in order to reduce disease and infant mortality.
During the Civil War, Ann urged the Mothers’ Day Work Clubs to declare their neutrality and provide relief to both Union and Confederate soldiers. The clubs treated the wounded and regularly fed and clothed soldiers stationed in the area. Ann also managed to preserve an element of peace in a community being torn apart by political differences.
She was a woman who showed God’s love to a hurting and wounded world in countless practical ways.
She was also a woman who taught Sunday school for twenty-five years and one Sunday her daughter, Anna, heard her pray this prayer:
“I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mother’s day, commemorating mothers for the matchless service they render to humanity in every field of life. They are entitled to it.”
Ann died on the 9th May 1905 and in 1907 Anna led a small tribute to her mother in the local Methodist church and dedicated her life to establishing a nationally recognized Mother’s Day.
On the 9th May 1914, the American congress declared the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. President Woodrow Wilson said “this day has been set aside as a time for public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country”.
God took Anne’s tragedies and grief and rewove them into something beautiful. Something that would be celebrated for generations to come. If we allow Him too, God can also reweave our tragedies, our heartbreaks into something beautiful. He can use our wounding and our healing to bring hope to others.
“God is the Master Weaver. He stretches the yarn and intertwines the colors, the ragged twine with the velvet strings, the pains with the pleasures. Nothing escapes His reach. Every king, despot, weather pattern, and molecule are at His command. He passes the shuttle back and forth across the generations, and as He does, a design emerges. Satan weaves; God reweaves.” ~ Max Lucado