Mother’s day always fills me with a mix of emotions. On the one hand I am filled with joy and thankfulness for my husband and children that God has given me. They are my most precious gifts. On the other hand I am filled with sorrow thinking of all those who long to be mothers and those who have lost babies and children. Mother’s Day can serve as both a joy to some and a sadness to others, longing for what has not yet come or mourning what has been lost. Whether you are a mom in the trenches, longing for a child, mourning the loss of a child, or all three of those, there is hope, comfort, and strength in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I hope this Mother’s day, regardless of where you are that you would find joy, peace, and comfort in Christ; the ultimate satisfier of our souls.
That being said, in this article I would like to touch on the value, purpose, and attributes of a godly mother that every mother should strive to champion. As Charles Spurgeon said, “I am sure that, in my early youth, no teaching ever made such an impression upon my mind as the instruction of my mother; neither can I conceive that, to any child, there can be one who will have such influence over the heart as the mother who has so tenderly cared for her offspring.” As I have discussed in a previous article, the value of mothering is so great that the amount of time we spend with our children can be used as a means of grace to lead our children out of sin to godliness (1 Tim 2:15).
Our purpose as mothers is to teach our children the commands of God faithfully and continuously. Deuteronomy 6:5-7,
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Notice that the writer does not say to be concerned about external trivial things but to be concerned about the commands of God and teaching them to our children from the beginning to the end of the day.
Contrary to popular modern thought, motherhood is hard work. Being a mom is not supposed to be easy, it wasn’t designed that way. Anything in life that’s worth doing is not foreign to effort and strain. Our culture has created this idea that everything is supposed to be easy, convenient, and comfortable; this is an unbiblical idea. Christ himself promises that in this world we will have trouble. I’m not saying it is wrong to be comfortable. I am saying that we shouldn’t be surprised when things in life are difficult. We should turn to Christ and trust Him with the understanding that it is ultimately for His glory and our good (our good is becoming more Christ like Romans 8:28-29). Especially as a Christian mom, it is not our job or purpose to make ourselves and everyone around us as comfortable to the greatest extent possible. Our calling is to preach the gospel. Honestly, I actively try to make my children and myself feel uncomfortable. I want to be disgusted over my sin and I want my children to be as well.
Therefore, my first attribute of a godly mother is a hatred for sin. A Christian mother should have a natural distaste for sin. Now I know what you’re thinking “What about when I don’t have a hatred, but a love for my sin?” The answer is but the same as in previous blogs, to ask God to continue the work He did at regeneration and to change our desires to love the things we used to hate and to hate the things we used to love. Our passage from Deuteronomy commands us to know and meditate on God’s commands all the day. One great reason the commands were given is to force us to recognize when we are not living in accordance with those commands. The Holy Spirit uses the Scriptures to convict and remind us that we are not living up to God’s standard. Now I do not want my children to feel paralyzed over their sin but I do want to encourage them to confess their sin, bring it into the light, find forgiveness in Christ, and ultimately forsake their sin. I want this to come from a genuine heart change by Christ. The last thing I want to do is raise a bunch of little Pharisees, which I find myself doing from time to time. We can become so focused on behavior modification that we forget the more important work done in the heart. We know from the overflow of the heart the mouths speaks (Matthew 12:34). A true heart change will lead to a change in word and deed; which leads me to my second characteristic of a godly mother, prayerful.
A godly mother will earnestly pray. We must pray for our children’s hearts as well as our own. We can’t force our children to have a desire or love for Christ that is not genuinely there. We can and should require obedience to God’s commands from our children, but we cannot give them a love for God or the desire to obey. Thus, we must pray diligently for our children’s hearts. We must pray that God would give them godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10) leading to repentance, not just a worldly sorrow characterized by being upset that he or she got caught. Only God can change a sinner’s heart. Too often we parent as if we can change our children’s hearts; newsflash we can’t. So we must pray and trust in God’s sovereign will.
The third attribute of a godly mother is love. A godly mother should be characterized by love. Love is defined in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. We should demonstrate this verse in how we treat our husbands and children. Mothers should exemplify the caring and loving nature of God. Not to say Fathers should not or cannot be loving and caring, but to say that God has given women a natural inclination for nurturing and that should be exercised. The command to mothers to love includes being submissive to their husbands. As love is the foundation of any intimate relationship, marriage is the foundation of the family. Paul, in his letter to Titus (Titus 2:3), and Peter in his letter to the exiles (1 Peter 3), commands wives to be submissive to their husbands. When wives submit to their husbands, they are being obedient to God. When children see God’s design for marriage being played out imperfectly before them, they see Christ. They can see firsthand how Christ loves the church and how the church submits to Christ’s rule, reign, and authority. That is why it is important. A loving marriage can be one of the best things parents can give their children. The natural hierarchy of the family produces blessing. Even when unbelievers follow these models, natural blessings follow.
Now of course these attributes are not exhaustive. However, they are all attributes and disciplines Christian moms should aim for. Like I said earlier, when we struggle to be obedient in these areas we should flee to Christ in repentance, faith, and prayer, praying that He who began a good work in us will carry it out to the day of completion (Philippians 1:6).
Rachel is a wife and mother of four young children. She has a love for listening to expository preaching, theology, and doctrine. She desires to make Christ known through her marriage, parenting, and in every word and deed.