Yesterday we had a mini women’s conference at church encouraging us to seek after the blessing God’s Word holds out for us in inter-generational relationships. So, I’ve necessarily been thinking about the older woman/younger woman mentorship model from Titus 2. And the more I considered what a godly older woman looks like, the more I rejoiced in the good gift God gave me in my mother. We always hear about the major tools we have for Christian growth–the church, Bible study, and prayer, but we often overlook the important role of older women training the younger to live godly lives (pure and devoted to good works. Titus 2:14) in order to “make the teaching about God our Savior attractive” (Titus 2:10). So, happy Mother’s Day to my very first mentor–my mother!
(Here is the baby whisperer herself in action. My sisters and I always joke that our kids tend to take huge developmental leaps when my mother is around. She just coaxes it out of them somehow. I think Haven was talking in complete sentences here 😉
When I think of my mother, I think of this passage of Scripture:
I Peter 3: 4-6 Rather, it (feminine beauty) should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves.They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
I love how this passage begins with describing a godly woman as one who has a gentle and quiet spirit–virtues our society devalues as a lack of ambition or self-will, as acquainted with an outdated view of femininity, and as traits that find their roots in male oppression–but then concludes by praising Sara for a rather bold virtue–she does not give way to fear. She is courageous–not fighting and struggling and becoming anxious when things are out of her control, but one who who purposes to do what is right in the face of mounting pressures and temptations. How is that for strength of character? Her spirit is content during troubling circumstances.
I think this idea runs parallel with these verses from Proverbs 31:
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
A godly woman in not overly anxious about the future because she has not been idle and is prepared for trouble. At the same time, her trust is completely in God and she laughs in defiance at the things that might tempt her away from her source of strength–the fear of the Lord. (Prov. 31:30)
My mother has had her share of fearful circumstances, but I have yet to see her give way to fear. Instead she welcomes what God ordains with a controlled spirit, full of hope and faith in God’s goodness and in her secured future.
And so, Happy Mother’s Day to a courageous mom! You have taught me much by your words and by your example, but two lessons in particular stand out to me at this time in my life. I daily hear your voice echoing in my head reminding me to pray for wisdom. And when I am tempted toward laziness in my parenting or discouragement when I am tired and overwhelmed by my responsibilities, I hear you steadfastly reminding me that : “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” (Proverbs 24:10).
And these are the areas in which I have heard others praise you through the years. They say you are wise. They say you are strong. They say you are not easily discouraged. They say you work hard. And they are right! I first started noticing these character traits about you while I was in high school and would have friends over. I noticed that they would like to sit and converse with you. Even when I wanted to do other things, my friends were content to sit and talk with my mom. Your wisdom was apparent even to teenage girls. (and that’s saying something!)
I remember countless nights when I would go to bed complaining how tired I was and how I was dreading having to get up early to do my paper route and then go to school. You were compassionate, but you would often remind me to work hard in the face of adversity. I was too selfish then to notice how often you burned the candle at both ends to fulfill all your responsibilities. But now I can recall your washing dishes in the kitchen at midnight, talking late into the night on the phone with a struggling friend, or pouring over your Bible, commentaries and study aids at your desk to prep for your Sunday school, children’s church or high school girls’ Bible classes. You labored and continue to labor tirelessly and without complaint. I can still see the text to Hebrews 6:10 running across your screensaver at work. “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” What a fitting verse for one who has worked tirelessly and faithfully to serve God and his people.
So thank you for your contented spirit, your strength in adversity, your courageous faith in God, and for your years of accumulated wisdom. I couldn’t have asked for a better mother or a better mentor. I love you, mom. Happy Mother’s Day!
(Mom holding Haven at 4 days old)