Scripture meditation/Memorization :"...sent to strengthen [my husband and children], to encourage [them] in [their] faith, and to keep [them] from being shaken by the troubles [they] will go through. ~ 1 Thes 3:2&3 (personalized)
Near the end of 2010, I was doing a study on the Thessalonians and I came across the above verse in which Paul had sent Timothy to this group of people for the purpose of strengthening and encouraging them:
I felt the Spirit of God state to me "this is what I want from you towards your family in this new year". If there is any thing I have failed the most in, I fear it is this-being a good mother according to scripture. I know we all have felt this way...no doubt the Proverbs 31 Woman felt that way on her bad days...she was human after all.
I have never had the privilege of being a stay at home mom. My children grew up in home day cares while I grew a career out of financial necessity. So much of my childrens time was lost to "others". I regret that I wasn't stronger spiritually for my girls as a working mom. I only pray they have caught enough glimpses of Christ in my life to be drawn to it personally. Daily I pray that God will capture their hearts and change mine to be a stronger spiritual leader for them. So I personalized this verse above for that purpose and hence began my deeper look into being the Proverbs 31 Woman. Does this scripture not describe the role of a mother-someone who strengthens...encourages...protects...nurtures and facilitates a life of faith in God?
Donna Otto in a chapter "The Art of Motherhood" from Youniquely Women; Becoming Who God Designed You To Be references motherhood as the art of being a servant...a servant leader: "Children are a gift from God, and raising them is an act of service to Him. He's given you the authority-indeed, the responsibility-to teach and train them. You hold two positions: parent-in-charge and servant-leader".
She goes on to describe a servant-leader mother is not one that acts as a slave to her children but a mother who is in charge. I interpreted this mother to be one who demonstrates her relationship with her God to the extent it becomes their relationship with their God also. A servant leader grows and builds a childs God-given strengths. She helps them to excel at the talents and abilities God created in them. She prepares them for the good in life and for the hardships they may endure. Just like our verse up above...
King Lemuel's description of his mother in Proverbs 31 is fitting for the servant-leader mom. Taking from the Message version he describes her as:
diligent in homemaking.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
and keeps them all busy and productive.
She is diligent=intentional. She speaks=strengthens. She is kind=encourages. She is watchful=nurturer. She is directive=facilitator.
We may have failed miserably at times as a mother but just like in our personal walk with God and our failures to Him, we can seek forgiveness and strive to be more intentional in this journey. I don't imagine that the Proverbs 31 Woman allowed her bad times, her bad days, her bad attitudes or reactions to her family to rule her...to cause her to give-up in her role as a mother. You know she had to know and understand well the wise words of Proverbs 6:23
This month, lets start living more intentional as a mother. Seek daily to strengthen, encourage, and nurture our children towards the eternal. Find ways to grow their faith in God. Here are a few things that come to my mind...
- Lay a 3X5 card on their pillow or place it in their lunch sack with a special piece of scripture they can carry with them for that day or that week.
- Pray intentionally for them and let them know what you are praying for them.
- Let them see you in God's Word.
- React spiritually when they disappoint you. Too often we scream or cut down their action when we could instead talk it through by drawing out God's input in it. There are cleaver ways in doing this and with practice you can become very skillful in this with the rebellious child.
- Spend time with them individually and listen...just listen.
- Give out extra hugs and kisses this month....and don't let it stop with this month
A servant-leader mom...intentionally modeling her relationship to God...growing her childrens faith. Here are some scripture to mediate on related to this topic:
Ps. 34:8; 127:3; 139:13-14, 16;
Prov 19:20; 23:7
1 Thess. 2:7, 11-12
1 Tim. 1:5
As Beth Moore wrote in her study Jesus The One and Only, the ultimate legacy we can leave is that "She was just about God"...May we live lives that would cause others to be surprised to find us any other place than to "be found in Him" (Phil 3:9)