Life’s Greatest Influences Day 1: The Influence of a Mother
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. (Proverbs 31:28, ESV)
He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the LORD! (Psalm 113:9, ESV)
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. (Proverbs 31:25, ESV)
My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you. (Proverbs 6:20-22, ESV)
A person’s earliest memory often includes their mother. Perhaps your first memory is of your mother feeding you, consoling you, or holding you. I was well cared for by my mom long before my birth, and that fact alone has made me a different person than if she had not taken good care of me while still in the womb. Our mother typically is the most influential person in our lives as we mature and develop. Whether for good or for bad, our mother greatly shapes who we become.
This is true even if one is not raised by their biological mother. In fact, both the biological mother and the adoptive mother have a significant impact on a person. Some may have ill feelings toward a mother who chose not to raise them, or they may see the gift their mother gave them in acknowledging their inability to raise them well and putting them in the care of someone more capable. Whatever the case may be, the woman who raised you had a huge role in who you are today.
My mother had her own unique way of shaping my life. From my earliest memories, I knew my mom loved me and cared for me. She was not overly expressive in voicing her feelings, but her actions proved that she deeply loved me and wanted the very best for me. My mom was a Christian, and she made sure we heard the gospel, attended church faithfully, and had a foundational knowledge of Scripture. This would prove to be an invaluable gift to me—an example that gave me my own hunger to know and serve the Lord. Having a mother who reads Scripture to her children, prays with and for them, and who lovingly demonstrates care for them is a privilege, and I am thankful that mine did.
As I’ve grown up, I’ve often gone to my mom with my troubled thoughts and life decisions. She’s offered me sound advice, challenged my thinking, and held my hand through some of life’s more difficult moments. In short, she became my friend once I became an adult. A mother’s role in her children’s lives should be one of authority as she teaches them and molds them. A mother has great opportunity to pour encouragement into her children and teach them to make wise decisions. Her kids look up to her and learn how to be a mother and a wife from her example. As either a mom or a wife, this should challenge us in each role, recognizing the responsibility we have in presenting the role in the best way possible—honoring God and giving our kids the security and example they need to see in us.
If you’re a mom, how you mother your children matters. They look up to you and are learning from your behavior. You will make mistakes, yes, but it’s okay to own your junk and apologize. If you can admit your wrongs and ask for forgiveness, it will teach your children to do the same. As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized the many mistakes I’ve made over the years, and yet my kids deeply love and respect me—that’s a gift, and one I greatly value.
There are lessons I’ve taught my kids along the way that I hope they remember long after I’ve taken my last breath. They especially include the need for a deep and personal relationship with Jesus. If I’ve done nothing else right, I pray that my kids will always, always remember that I loved Christ, that I longed for Him, and that I wanted my life to count for Him. I pray that they also know I love them with everything in me, and, while I made mistakes along the way, I hope my influence was mostly for their good and that they can overlook the areas in which I failed. We know our children are listening and watching, so let’s do our best to be a good example and raise our kids to be as Christ-like as possible—a sobering responsibility.