Are you a godly mother? What does that mean exactly? Does it mean you have to wear skirts or dresses all the time, never raise your voice, carry a Bible with you constantly, and quote Bible verses as you carry on any conversation with your child? Does it mean you get rid of your TV set, tune in to only the Christian radio station, go to church every time the door is open, volunteer at the nursing home and homeless shelter once a month, and pass out evangelistic tracts each time you go grocery shopping?
I’ve been pondering that question often in the past few months. A conversation with a friend got me thinking about it. She told me that she had recently stopped being involved in her church’s music ministry. Her daughter is a teenager and my friend really felt like she needed to be more available for her. She had been getting so busy that she snapped, “What?!” every time someone in her family wanted her attention. She said that she felt much more relaxed with less responsibilities and she was glad she could spend time with her daughter. My friend went on to share that she had a good friend in high school whose mother was very involved in different ministries at church. Everyone always commented, “Oh, you have such a godly mother!” but this friend confessed to my friend, “She wasn’t a godly mother to me.” That little phrase has stuck with me and I doubt that I’ll ever forget it.
I find myself thinking about it when I go scurrying around trying to get things ready for our MOPS meetings at Bentheim Church. It nags at me as I prepare for praise and worship night at GEMS. Erin and Allie see me up front leading the songs and sharing devotional thoughts with about 50 girls once a month. They also see me at home – in my good and bad moments. “She wasn’t a godly mother to me.” Will they be whispering that thought to their closest friends when they get older?
I don’t think I’ve really come to a complete understanding of what it means to be a godly mother, but God has been working on my heart in this area, and I’m anxious to learn more from Him as He continues to teach me. As I write, it occurs to me that being a godly mother is not always apparent to the world around us. People may think that someone who is involved in many activities at church is very godly, but at home she may be terribly impatient and cross with her poor family. On the other hand, we may see someone who doesn’t seem to get involved in very much at church, but she may be doing exactly what God wants her to be doing at home with her husband and children.
Another friend of mine went through training to be a counselor at a crisis pregnancy center here in Holland. She helped once a week for a while, but when I talked to her a few months later she said that she had stopped doing that. My first reaction was to think, “What a waste of time, she trained for that and now she’s not doing it.” I had to stop and think, though, when she explained by saying something like, “Sometimes you have to stop doing the good things, so you can do the best things.”
I have learned from the wisdom of my two friends. This school year has been a bit too busy. I’ve made commitments to lots of good things. I felt like I had the time and the desire to do them when I said “yes” to them last fall, but now I’m realizing that I’ve overcommitted myself. I’m barking, “What?!” when someone in my family asks for my time. I’m feeling a little resentful at times when I feel guilty for taking time to relax and read a book. I’m realizing more and more that my oldest daughter needs more of my time or I am going to lose her. Tonight as I worked on this web site, she came into our room and rode the exercise bike a little bit. She felt like talking, and I forced myself to stop typing, look at her, and really listen to her for a while. It was good for both of us. We need more of that. Too often I stop her when she feels like talking, and tell her I “have to finish this first.”
My responsibilities this year have also contributed to my neglect of The Nest. I feel strongly that I want to be available to help moms with their anger problems, and yet my actions do not show it. I’m spending my time on lots of good things instead of the best things – loving my family and doing what God has called me to do at this time in my life.
I guess I’m coming closer to an answer for the question, “What does it mean to be a godly mother?” For now, let’s just say, “Practice what you preach, love God and your family, and be willing to let go of the good things so you can spend enough time on the best things.”
© Robyn Mulder 2003, therobynsnest.org