The value of mothers cannot be overestimated. An old Spanish proverb rightly says, “An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.” The powerful influence of mothers on the lives of their children lasts a lifetime and outweighs the impact of all other mentors.
Phil Whisenhunt correctly called motherhood the most important occupation on earth. He said, to be a real mother to children “does not have much glory; there is a lot of grit and grime. But there is no greater place of ministry, position, or power than that of a mother.”
Though the Bible was written mostly by men, and during ancient times, it was pretty much a man’s world, God’s Word reveals high praise for the position of mothers and elevates the role of women. It gives many examples of wonderful mothers.
Hannah, the mother of Samuel was a great, self-sacrificing mom. After many years of barrenness, in answer to sincere prayer, God gave her a son (1 Samuel 1). Hannah promised God she would give her only son to Him for full-time service. This act required great faith because Eli, the High Priest, had done a terrible job raising his sons ( 1 Samuel 2:12-17, 22-25). But because she trusted Him, God gave Hannah three more sons and two daughters (verse 21). Her son, Samuel, grew to become God’s man, leading Israel to worship and follow God; mediating, teaching, and praying them through difficult times; and anointing the first king of Israel, and King David as his successor.
Of course, Mary, the mother of Jesus is an amazing example of motherhood. The New Testament shows her always to be gentle, submissive to God, and faithful. Mary gave birth to Jesus under totally unique circumstances and under severe judgment by people. Yet, because she sought to please God, she was not deterred by the hardship. After rearing Him to love and serve God, Mary watched while He was persecuted, tortured, ridiculed and abandoned. As Jesus hung dying on the cross, His love for His mother was so strong, He arranged for her keeping (John 19:25-27).
Another great example of motherhood was Jochebed, the mother of Moses. She defied the command of Pharaoh and hid Moses three months, until deciding to launch him into the Nile, in a small boat, with his sister, Miriam, watching from the riverbank. Because of her strong love and teaching, when Moses came of age, he “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt” (Hebrews 11:24-26).
One other powerful example of motherhood is Eunice, and her mother, Lois, mother and grandmother of the young preacher, Timothy. The apostle Paul stated that both women had “sincere faith” which they sought to pass on to their son and grandson. Apparently Timothy’s father was an unbeliever (Acts 16:1), so the duty of communicating God’s truth to the young boy fell to his mother. We know Eunice and Lois were successful, because Paul encouraged him to “continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14-15). The young preacher Timothy learned the truth of God, as many since, at the knees of a godly mom.
So, how can busy mothers be effective, leveraging their position and power, to influence their children for the glory of God? Sara Horn, founder of the military wives’ ministry, Wives of Faith, and author of “My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife,” shared three suggestions in an article in Focus on the Family, July 5, 2017. She suggests that mothers:
Because influence begins with availability—you must be intentionally available—fully present. Moms cannot influence a child they are not with. However, it is possible to be in the same room as your children and not really pay attention to them. Sara suggests moms consider sitting next to their kids when they’re watching a movie, working on a project, or inviting them to help cook dinner. A mother’s presence in her children’s lives means more to them than anyone can imagine. An available mom when your kids are young also sets the foundation for relationship in years to come.
Be A Godly Example
Your children constantly watch you. They don’t just notice when you do things right; they notice when you mess up, too. Moms need to apologize when they lose their temper. They need to watch their attitude and words when dealing with their children—and with other people. You need to teach and practice grace, frequently and often. Moms need to allow their kids to see their relationship with Christ as authentic and real. Kids need to know Jesus makes a difference in what their mom does and says.
Be An Encouragement
For moms, it’s often easier to spot the flaws in their kids than to be sensitive and aware of what they are doing that is good. Make a point to encourage your children in what they do right and not just correct them when they do wrong. Sara says it is best for moms to be direct in their actions but cautious in their reactions. This will help their kids believe that their mom will be their lifelong cheerleader.
As a mom, just think about the impact your choices have on your children. Proverbs 31:26 tells us that a great wife and mom, “opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” There are no perfect moms, but as much as possible, if you will let wisdom and kindness come out, when you open your mouth, your children will “rise up and bless you, and your husband will praise you” (verse 28).