What I Learned about My Mom from a Potbellied Pig

“Firsts” have a way of embedding themselves into your memory. First impressions, first experiences, first meetings. And the more startling the “first” is, the more effectively it wedges itself into your mind.

I was nine years old when I saw my first potbellied pig. It was at a petting zoo in Pennsylvania where our family was visiting some friends. Frankly, I thought the pig with his belly that barely cleared the ground was cute.

But in the same moment that I saw the pig, my dad’s friend spoke up with another first—an expression that I had never heard before: “Only a mother could love that face.”

I took a second look at the pig’s fat wrinkled face and silently conceded that maybe our friend had a point. We moved on to see the pigmy goats, but I kept thinking about the pig and about the expression I had heard.

Only a mother…

To that point, it hadn’t really crossed my mind that there may be reasons a person would have to work to love me. (Yes, I was conceited.) Neither had I considered that mothers have a reservoir of love that surpasses common reasons of endearment. In that instant, I realized how much of my mother’s love I took for granted.

I’m wiser to my own faults now than I was when I was nine. And over the years, there have been more than a few times that I have had reason to be thankful for my mom’s tender, unconditional love.

In fact, the amazing attribute about my mom is that she not only loves me, but she loves so many others as well—my siblings, nephews, brother-in-law, extended family, church family, young Christians, ladies in her Bible study, girls in her Sunday school class, people in her community who she is laboring to lead to Christ—even people who have resisted her love, but she gives it anyway.

My mom has patterned a love for me that I want to offer to others—a Christ-like love that points people to the Christ that develops it.

To this day, when I see a potbellied pig (which isn’t very often), I remember that statement about the face that only a mother can love. And when I hear that statement (which also isn’t very often), I think of a potbellied pig.

Actually, more often than I encounter pigs or hear about a mother’s love, I thank the Lord for my mom and for her unconditional love. And I ask the Lord to stretch the limits of my love for others.

Thank you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day!