I would like to share a story with you about a mother’s love, which I recently came across after logging back in on Facebook. It deals with our response to difficult things in our lives. It has been shared on Facebook thousands of times since first being shared in 2015. And it is a great example of a very wise and loving mother. It is entitled:

“A Carrot, an Egg and a Cup of Coffee”

A young married daughter went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed to her that every time a problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother asked her to follow her to the kitchen, where she proceeded to fill three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word. In about twenty minutes, she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?”

“Carrots, eggs and coffee,” she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, “What does all of this mean?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity … boiling water and each reacted differently. “The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting,” she said. “However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.” Continuing, the mother said, “The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after being subjected to the boiling water, its inside became hardened. But the coffee beans are unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed … the water!”

Taking her daughter’s hand and looking at her lovingly, she asked, “So which are you? When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?”

Okay. So think about this story and ask yourself: Am I the carrot, the egg or the coffee bean?

The mother’s love showed that love is an action. She realized her daughter’s need for comfort, and to learn from a position of wisdom.

By the way, there are definitely times when a mother’s presence and wisdom are needed, such as the time our second-grader came home from school and asked me (an English teacher), “How are babies made?” My answer was, “You just change ‘y’ to ‘i’ and add ‘es.’”

A better example of asking was when I asked a group of my grade-school children at a parochial school where I was the principal: “What does love mean?”. Many of them gave examples using their mothers and grandmothers. Here are a few examples I’ve kept of their answers:

Kristin, age 8: “When my grandpa got arthritis, he couldn’t bend over and clip his toenails anymore. So my grandma does it for him all the time — that’s love!”

Elaine, age 7: “Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.”

Christy, age 6: [This is the little lady that we all thought had a great start on becoming a Mother of the Year someday.] Christy’s next-door neighbor was an elderly woman who had just lost her husband. When Christy saw the woman crying on her front porch, she went over, climbed onto her lap and just sat there. When Christy’s mother asked her what she had said to the neighbor, Christy said, “Nothing, I just helped her cry.”

Wow! Now don’t tell me there’s not a tear in your eye.

Prayer: Father God, I thank you for showing your children, through our mothers and grandmothers, the kind of love you have for us. Now I ask that this love would live in and through us so that we may show others the same kind of love more often to our families and others.

If you need to understand love better, read 1 Corinthians 13, “The Love Chapter” in the Bible. The focus of this love chapter is agape love. Agape love is an act of the will and is not based on feelings or circumstances.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mothers.

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