Question: "What does it mean to be a godly mother?"
Answer: A godly mother is a woman who represents the heart of Christ to her children. She is continually aware of her influence over their lives and futures and makes sacrifices whenever necessary for their welfare. Godly mothers are first godly women. They are not one way at home and another way in public. Even when her children do not have a godly father, a mother can have a great impact on her children’s spiritual future. The following are some characteristics of a godly mother:
1. She knows God. A godly mother wants her children to be godly, and she leads the way. A mother cannot pass on to her children values and qualities that she does not possess. So the first step in becoming a godly mother is surrendering to the lordship of Jesus. Only then is her soul restored (Psalm 23:3), her life recreated (2 Corinthians 5:17), and her mind renewed (Romans 12:2).
2. She understands her role in marriage and the family. As part of sin’s curse, women struggle with wanting to control their husbands (Genesis 3:16). But God decreed that husbands and fathers should carry the weight of responsibility for their families (1 Corinthians 11:3). A godly wife will gracefully bow to that leadership and model for her children godly submission to authority. Even when husbands and fathers are not worthy of such respect, godly mothers do not bad-mouth them to the children. Divorced or single mothers can be godly mothers as they teach their children of God’s plan for marriage and demonstrate purity and wisdom in their own dating relationships.
3. She does not neglect her own health and well-being. Often, we equate personal martyrdom with humility and service, but it need not be that way. Godly mothers model for their children healthy self-respect and boundaries. A godly mother knows that wearing herself out acting as a slave to her children is not good for anyone. She will give selflessly to her children, but she will also carve out time to rejuvenate herself because she knows that, if she is not healthy, her children will also suffer.
4. She seizes teachable moments to instill biblical truths. A godly mother is not so focused on meeting physical needs that she neglects her real calling, which is to raise future disciples of Christ (Ephesians 6:4; Proverbs 22:6). Because she walks in close harmony with God, she easily directs her children’s attention to His work in their lives. She may say to the three-year-old, “See that beautiful robin? God, who loves us, made that bird for us to enjoy. Thank you, God, for your beautiful birds.” She may say to her pre-teen, “Honey, I’m sorry you didn’t make the team. I know it hurts, but remember that God has something bigger in store for you as you trust Him with even this disappointment.”
5. She models service to God and others. Children need reminders that they were created for God, and serving Him is their highest calling (Colossians 1:16). A godly mother will demonstrate this in her own life as she involves her children in serving others. “Let’s finish this so we can make dinner for the Smith family. They’re going through a hard time, and we want to remind them that Jesus has not forgotten about them.” Acts 9:36–41 gives us a glimpse into the life of Tabitha, who was known for her good deeds. When she died, many townspeople brought out the garments she had made for them as evidence of her kindness. A godly mother leaves evidence of her kindness, and her children are proud of her reputation (see Matthew 5:16).
6. She has a healthy self-image. Many women in our culture struggle with low self-worth due to childhood wounds or comparison with others. A godly mother has learned to see herself as God sees her. Because of this, she can demonstrate to her children the way a godly woman should present herself. Godly mothers see themselves as active participants in God’s work; they don’t try to gain attention or a sense of worth through dress or behavior or relational status. First Peter 3:3–4 says, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it 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.” A godly mother acts and dresses modestly. She models proper, God-honoring behavior to her children.
The Proverbs 31 woman is a picture of a godly mother. Although she puts her children and husband first, they are not her entire world. She develops her gifts and uses them to benefit her family and her community. She is a credit to her husband and a role model for her children. She lives with integrity at home and in public, and she presents herself honorably. Verse 28 gives us the result of her years of faithful mothering. After she has poured her life into them, “her children rise up and call her blessed.”