Motherhood: A Strenuous Occupation

Serving little ones as a mother is never an easy task in life. Mothers fulfill the incredibly powerful role of nourishing and protecting the infant human life in their bodies until delivering the child at birth.  The job is not finished at birth, intense as that process may be. In continuation of that role, mothers raise the children of the next generation. Birth brought the child into a hostile world. A newborn baby is not capable of surviving without a caregiver; God blessed them with a mother. Mothers, including adoptive moms, spend countless sacrificial hours guiding, encouraging and nourishing children into adulthood.

Mothers instruct their children by imparting wisdom and engaging the challenge to give them every advantage they can to accomplish life. Now add to that role, the extra burden of living in an extremely remote village surrounded by poverty and oppression—places where illness is rampant, and the availability of medication is sparse. Still, those mothers sacrifice their comforts for the benefit of their children. To raise a child in the impoverished communities requires energetic and zealous mothers searching for necessities for life.

In these places, choosing life takes courage and fortitude.Countless stories have been shared of how the women in our churches ran to Jesus for the safety of their children; when a witchdoctor claimed that the spirits demanded the life of a child for gratuitous favor or else you will suffer a curse. Sometimes the women stand in defense of children against drunkards for fathers and threats from other members of the community.

It is not just material, physical deprivation these mothers face, but lack of education and spiritual impoverishment. The seizure of freedom and absence of dignifying opportunities can produce forfeiture of hope. But mothers seem to rise above these hardships by the God-given love of a mother for their child. Often, I hear the stories of families who share that the first one to become a believer was the mother, and then by patience and prayer and the diligent witness of the pastor and the other men in the church, God eventually granted his grace to the husband and father of the family who then came to faith.

The church rallies around and gathers in support of the women in these dangerous and challenging circumstances. Older women teach the younger women how to survive and how to take advantage of any opportunity to provide a blessing to their children. Often these women in their distress call out to God, and he hears their pleas and provides his grace to restore unto them the refreshing energy to overcome their impoverished surroundings.

Mothers bring smiles—It’s not the material things in life that create happiness.  Having food is not sufficient nor is a house with chairs, couches, or beds. A mother that loves her child and wraps her protective arms around them, holding them tight when they are afraid is what brings hope, confidence, and energy to carry on in the struggle. God has granted mothers the ability to do this in every economic stratum and every place in the world.

The faith of a mother can influence a child, and God will use a mother to lead a child to know Jesus. The foundation of his mother and grandmother’s faith caused the Apostle Paul to give confidence to Timothy to stand firm.  “For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.”  (2 Timothy 1:5, NASB)

God has intended for parents to deliver instruction to their children. He does not leave this to just the fathers but includes mothers in this process.  He even gives a decree to children to pay attention: “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction. And do not forsake your mother’s teaching; Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head. And ornaments about your neck.  (Proverbs 1:8, NASB)The beautiful adornment of godly character can be established in every culture and every economic class. God has granted the power of mother’s everywhere to adorn their children with good behavior.

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction. And do not forsake your mother’s teaching; Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head. And ornaments about your neck.

Proverbs 1:8

The role that our churches play in the stability of the family is vital.The community sometimes gives a pass to bad acting fathers. A young boy recently spoke to me through our translator, saying, “Thank you for bringing a church here. My father was a drunkard and very mean, but now he has come to church, and the pastor led him to follow Jesus. Now my father is not mean, and sometimes he brings food home to my family.” This man had lived in the community from the beginning of his family relations, but no one had ever confronted him about his sin of drunkenness and not providing for his family until the church came and preached about sin and the need for repentance. This mother held on and kept her family together the best she could, now a faithful husband has joined her, and God has uplifted them.

We also learn from Scripture that a faithful mother is an example to pastors about how to shepherd the church. Paul gave us a standard of this caregiving and shepherding behavior in his interaction with the Thessalonian church. “But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.  (1 Thessalonians 2:7, NASB)  It did not require a long drawn out discussion of how a mother acts. He drew an analogy by expressing that pastors should be gentle and nourishing like a nursing mother. There is a natural tenderness as a mother cares for and nurtures her child. Pastors find a good role model by following this motherly pattern.

Mothers give life, strength and often provide the spiritual foundation to their children. No matter where they reside, what culture they live among, or the economic structure of their community, mothers have been blessed, equipped, and supported by God to raise children that bring joy and hope to the world. Mothers bring smiles and create happiness. Through the security of a mother’s love, gentleness, and wisdom; God leads children to faith. 

  • Pray for the ministry of mothers in our churches around the world. 
  • Pray that God will give strength to mothers so that children will grow in wisdom.
  • Pray for families to be blessed by godly women who will be virtuous examples of motherliness.