Most mothers are equipped with a few common tools of the trade:
- Band aids and hydrogen peroxide for the inevitable and frequent “boo boos.”
- Warm hugs and gentle words that comfort and soothe even the strongest pain.
- A smile that encourages and praises her children.
- An ability to disregard one’s desires to meet the needs of one’s children.
This is the stuff of Hallmark cards – the cards you likely gave just two days ago. It is the stuff of Mother’s Day. It is certainly appropriate to celebrate these qualities and characteristics. We are all grateful for these tools, and the others like them that I did not mention.
However, I would like to praise my mom (and other moms like her) for four other qualities that have rescued me from many sorrows.
These four qualities also serve as an example to all of you younger mothers.
#1. Fearing the Lord
Proverbs 31:30 explains, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.”
Mom, I am so grateful that you feared the Lord. You understood that God’s holiness was significant and motivating for life’s decisions. You understood that God was God and you were not. You understood why you, and I, so desperately needed Jesus.
Without Christ I would be forced to suffer God’s wrath on my own. That thought motivated you to share Christ with me. Thanks.
I was learning that I needed to love the Lord, but also to fear him. Prov 1:7 – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. You helped me understand that the amount of my wisdom would be in direct proportion to my fear of the Lord. What a great lesson to learn. This lesson alone has preserved me and helped my feet avoid many snares.
#2. Reading the Word
Psalm 119:105 explains that “your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 19 is a beautiful Psalm explaining the significance of God’s Word. Mom, thanks for caring about the Word, for reading the Word, and wanting to share insights from the Word even when I did not want to hear them. The same words that I did not want to hear in one moment became a life raft from a burning ship in another moment.
Mothers who help their children love the Word, equip them for life.
#3. Disciplining the fire out of me
Proverbs 22:15 tells us, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.”
Boy, did I have a lot of foolishness. I cringe to think back to my childhood and how I made choices. I was an idiot. I am sure there were moments where you and dad honestly did not know what to do with me. It seemed like I was beyond hope.
However, you kept at it (with some encouragement from dad!). You kept bringing instruction and discipline. I did not like it, nor want it, but you kept at it. In the end the Lord used it to bring foolishness (at least some of it … LOL) out.
Thanks for disciplining the fire out of me … I needed it.
#4. Warning me about evil
As children often do, I thought in categories that were mutually exclusive (up / down, black / white, tall / short, good / evil). Thus, anything that was not automatically evil was “good.”
You often challenged me about this type of thinking. You wanted me to think in different categories; the appearance of evil either is or is rapidly moving toward evil. In other words, there was such a thing as a “slippery slope” or “playing with fire.” In the beginning, I was too foolish to understand those connections. It was a hard lesson for me to grasp.
Thanks for keeping at it. Thanks for continually challenging me to think beyond the mutually exclusive categories and help me learn about the middle ground – a ground that every young man who wants to live for Jesus must learn to navigate.
I am sure that I viewed my mom in the “Hallmark” categories for many years. While I appreciate those things, I appreciate the spiritual lessons more. These four items are not in any card you’ll find at Walmart, but they are things I value.
If your story is similar, share this post with your mom. Tell her that you could have written it to her.
If you are new mom, while you grab the band aids, tell your kids about the gospel. When you give hugs, give them the Word too. And when you offer smiles, remember that discipline may need to follow in the very near future.