The Power of a Mother
By Barbara Russell
I will never forget the first time I realized the powerful influence I had as a mother over my children. It was both humbling and frightening.
I noticed if I got angry, so did they. If I was a complainer, so were they. If I was negative, so were they. If I found fault in people, so did they. If I was lazy, so were they. They were little clones and imitators of ME!
There were times when people would accuse me of something and my first thought was, “Excuse me! Why don’t you work on the BEAM that is in your eye and leave my little MOTE alone?” But the Lord showed me that was pride, and instead, I should be teachable and willing to consider the accusations placed against me as a blessing from the Lord to make me into His image. If I was not teachable, how could I expect my children to be?
I got to the place where if I saw an attitude in my children, I would ask myself, “Are they getting that from me?”
At first, I felt like a hypocrite when I would purposefully act in a different way than what I felt inside. But then I realized that wasn’t being a hypocrite. Rather, I was choosing to live BEYOND MY FEELINGS. I didn’t always feel like finding the good in someone, after they had just been critical of me. I didn’t feel like being cheerful when someone was complaining at me. I didn’t feel like being positive in negative circumstances. I had to remind myself of Philippians 4:8 often! This verse teaches that whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, if there be any virtue and praise, THINK on these things.
I am a self- motivated person who can tend to be very critical of myself. Therefore, I found myself treating my children in the same way. I could only see their flaws. My attitude changed, when I was reading Revelation and saw how Jesus responded to the 7 churches. He first commented on one or two things that the church was doing right, and then He stated what needed improvement. Another area that helped me was when I was grading my children’s book reports and the teacher’s guide said to first write at least one thing at the top of the page that they did well, and then write one or two things that they can improve on. If you praise and then correct, a child is more likely to respond well to the correction.
In the beginning, it was a challenge for me to praise instead of criticize; but after awhile, it became a habit, and it was encouraging to see the good affects it was having on my children (and husband). But I didn’t want to become unbalanced. I knew that only praise could produce a proud, egotistical child; and only criticism could produce a depressed or angry child. I found that the method of praise, followed by instruction, was a good balance.
My daughter said she will never forget when I learned this lesson. She was around 8 years old when I told her I needed to talk to her about something. Her first thought was, “Oh great! I wonder what I did wrong this time!” She was pleasantly surprised when I came into her room and began complimenting her. She was so accustomed to criticism that she was already becoming a depressed child.
How we were raised in childhood is so powerful! If you are a mother who feels like you were raised with a critical mother, it may explain the way you are, but it does not excuse the choices you now make as an adult and a mother to your children. We cannot change the way we were raised, but we can decide to make the right choices for our children. Give your insecurities, fears, and lack of self-worth to the Lord, so you don’t pass those traits down to your children.
Forgetting those things which are behind, press on to become the best mother you can be. Be teachable; be willing to change.
“Every wise women buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” Prov. 14:1
Sacrifice is Hard
By Malissa Custer
Do you want a godly leader in your home? A righteous husband, unmovable in his commitment and faith to God, who shows his children by example? A man who follows and supports his pastor with love? Someone who sets the direction of your home according to Biblical principles, and sees that you work together to carry it out? We, as wives and mothers, would overwhelmingly say,”Yes,” but do our everyday actions support this? When I wrote the article on how your Christian service changes when you become a mom I had a lot of response to it. It was surprising; the responses were actually all very similar. These moms and I chatted about our own struggles, but eventually it all led to the same subject, “If my life must change focus so much, doesn’t my husband’s too?” “How do you deal with how busy your husband is?” “Shouldn’t he be serving his family at home first, the church second?” I needed to know what the right answer was, which led to study and a lot of dialogue. I spent some time looking at the story of Noah and his life.
Genesis 6:8-10 8 “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. 9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.10 And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.”
His wife was never named in the whole story, but I know the Lord would not have spared her if she was wicked like the rest of the population. She raised her children to love God and their dad, even though they had no one else around them who did. Her service, though I’m sure it was of great assistance to her husband and a vital part of the process, was not important enough to the story to even be mentioned. I guarantee that her husband was all-consumed with the task at hand, and a lot of things, including his wife, were probably neglected on one level or another. No one reading this story would say, “Man, he shouldn’t have given his everything to the Lord’s work.” “His wife needed help at home!” Don’t forget that in Titus 2 it only commands that the young women be the “keepers at home.” Look at how it is listed.
Titus 2:4-8 “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. 6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. 7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, 8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.”
Something I found interesting in Proverbs 31:25 was the wording, “Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.” Every day she puts on the clothing of strength and honour, and the rejoicing won’t come until later. The virtuous woman has grit. Nobody said it would be easy for you to watch your husband swing in from work and swing back out to do God’s work. I’ve always desired for my kids to have a dad that was found doing as much as possible at his church, and I’m thankful for that, but I can admit that I’ve been frustrated many times when it inconveniences me. So, how do we find success in it all? What is the right and balanced perspective? Well, we have to be willing to sacrifice. Ask a missionary’s wife: a big part of her service to the Lord is sharing her husband, all the time. When she does it with the proper attitude, she can rejoice when God uses him to change a life. Did you know my husband is thankful and appreciative when I pick up the slack at home because he is swamped at work, and swamped with camp work? Do you think the Lord would be pleased with me, if I treated him poorly because he is serving the Lord, and this made my day more difficult? I don’t want him to feel like it’s either me or the Lord he can please, but never both.
Proverbs 21:19 says, “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.”
I also don’t want my husband to desire to be anywhere but with me! He’ll tell you that I am a jealous wife. I want to be his best friend, and I want him to want to be around me and the kids over anyone else. Don’t make your husband feel guilty for wanting to serve. You don’t want the other result: kids who grow up resenting the church because it takes dad away from home; a dad who never serves at church, because he doesn’t want to deal with the fallout at home.
Children learn best by example. Encourage your husband to be the best he can be for the Lord.