Over the past few years, I’ve become aware of this: my mom is one of the greatest assets I have in my life. Top 10 for sure; maybe top 5 or 3. And I’ve realized how rare and priceless a mother like mine really is. Among my closest Christian friends, two have mothers who are mentally ill. The mothers of two have died. Others have mothers who love and support them, but few have Christlike moms who are a rock in their lives. Whose wisdom, spiriutal maturity, selflessness, and godly character are a continual presence that can virtually always be counted on. Who communicate well, with the right frequency and in the most helpful (and least offensive) tone. But I, by the grace of God, have such a mother. More than being a true friend, my mom makes me tangibly feel that I have a piece of Christ with me in my corner at all times.
One way this has become evident to me is the increasing frequency with which I relay my mom’s words and wisdom (accumulated through being her daughter for 33 years) to my friends as advice pertaining to their situations – and that they appreciate and see as truth. Really this shouldn’t surprise me, since my friends have long been seeking my mother’s counsel from her directly – such is her mothering gift and influence that it spills over to othes beyond her own children. But sharing wisdom I’ve learned from my mom with others has revealed all that God’s taught me – and struggles he’s spared me that my peers face today – through the mentoring and training he provided via my mom.
Now that I’m a mother myself, I can see and appreciate all this more clearly. The gift my moms gave me is one I want to give to my kids – the gift of a Christ-focused, godly mom who takes her calling seriously. A mom who studies and knows her children, prays diligently for them, and understands the enormous blessing her presence, love, and attention are in their lives across decades. It’s a high, high calling.
My mother’s own mother wasn’t a believer and, truthfully, wasn’t a particularly emotionally mature or selfless person. My mom became a Christ-follower when she was forty and I was seven. So my siblings and I are the first generation raised as believers in our family. The legacy of Christian mothering that began in my mom now follows her, in my sister and me, as only the second generation.
But a “mothering legacy for Christ” perfectly describes what my mom started and is the fruit I believe God will leave through at her earthly life’s end. Everything she sowed in my siblings and me as mothering acts of Christlike love and faithfulness has been been used by God for good. Her efforts will impact generations. Nothing she’s given has been wasted. Reflecting on who God’s made me and what’s he’s grown in me as a result of my mother’s influence and attention has shown me firsthand the hugely influential role he’s given moms.
Paul refers powerfully to the legacy of mothering when he tells Timothy: “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Tim 1:5). Paul essentially credits Timothy’s character and faith to the spiritually-focused mothering work of Timothy’s mother and her mother. What a picture God paints through this statement of the influence, potency, and purpose of the mothering role! And what a thrill to be able to part of that type of legacy ourselves as mothers as we pour into our little ones.
So Happy Mother’s Day, fellow daughters of God and mothers of young kids!