Another Mother’s Day is approaching.
This time of year always finds me reflecting afresh on motherhood; especially on my own precious mom and the role I am now called to as the mama of four little kiddos (and one soon to be born). I’m often unaware of the many facets of my life that have been shaped by my own mother until I find myself harkening back to her example or defaulting to it without a thought. Some of the highest praise I’ve ever received is, “You remind me of your mom.”
I don’t know if – this side of eternity – the impact of a godly mother can truly be measured. But this I know: it is a gift beyond comprehension.
Both my husband and I have incredible mothers (and I’m not just saying that). Their children truly do rise up and call them blessed (Proverbs 31:28). They have invested into us for God’s glory in a myriad of ways which would take far too much time to recount in a blog post. However, I do want to dedicate this entry to these women and share some of the most foundational lessons I have learned from their lives.
1. Seek First God’s Kingdom
Some of my most cherished memories of my mom are finding her before sunrise, kneeling in our living room with a Bible and notebook in front of her, a candle flickering nearby. The quiet, peaceful scene wasn’t just beautiful to look at, but without words communicated where her hope lay: In God. She was (and still is) daily at the feet of Jesus, seeking Him with all her heart.
She taught me through her life that there is never a time – including motherhood – when you are too busy to seek the Lord. In fact, she demonstrated that this is a lifeline for Christ-centered motherhood. How does a mother of 8 go through her days with joy, with peace, with wisdom, and with grace? By relying on the strength of her God, who has given her this task. She encouraged me to seek Him moment by moment in His Word and in prayer long before I was a mother myself.
But now that I am a mom? I understand on a deeply personal level just how right she was. And this example is one I pray I impart to my own children by my lips and life just as she has done for hers.
2. Serving Brings Joy
In a culture inundated with an emphasis on putting yourself first (especially for moms), my own mom demonstrated a different reality: that true joy comes from loving and serving others for the glory of God. She showed me and my siblings that following the example of our Savior – who came to serve rather than be served – is what will bring lasting, eternal blessing.
Did she rest? Yes. But was it in a selfish way? No. It was always for the purpose of being able to love and serve others more readily in whatever capacity she was called to.
There’ve been countless times my mom has been called to serve many people beyond “just” her family (in quotes because caring for the basic needs of 10 people is no small feat), and even when she is physically weary afterward, her internal joy seems only to increase. She delights to serve others in Jesus’ Name, and this example is infectious.
1. A Gentle and Quiet Spirit is for Every Personality
Often when we think of a woman with a gentle and quiet spirit what comes to mind is literally a quiet person; they don’t talk much, they are mild in their demeanor, and so on. But I’ve learned by the beautiful example of my mother-in-love that personality has nothing to do with the state of someone’s spirit.
If you know Mom Cofer, you know that she is vivacious, lights up a room with her presence, and has a bold personality. Yet, she is a perfect example of a gentle and quiet spirit. It is so obvious that her soul rests in the Lord, and when she interacts with others she is full of kindness, compassion, and graciousness. She forgives freely and loves tenderly.
I’m naturally quite a bubbly person, and in my late teens-early 20’s I struggled with whether a gentle and quiet spirit was compatible with my God-given personality. But when it dawned on me that my mother-in-love was full of life and of gentleness and peace, this helped me understand to a greater degree that every personality God has created can be marked by these traits; that the more we embrace God’s pattern for womanhood, the more pure and sanctified our natural personalities will become.
2. Do the Hard Things
Mom Cofer has an eye for all things lovely. She dresses with class and beautifies the spaces she inhabits. When you observe the way she cultivates herself and her home it might be tempting to think she is used to a life of ease. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. She has walked through some of the most painful, difficult, situations anyone can face. She has chosen obedience again and again even when it meant walking the harder road. She has given up the most basic of conveniences to share the gospel with others, been willing to be misunderstood for the sake of what is right, poured out everything when she received nothing in return, and almost lost one of her children under tremendously hard circumstances; all under a life of surrender to the Lord. And I believe this is one reason why such beauty emanates from every aspect of her life.
When I am walking through a tough situation, whether in a relationship or in motherhood or in any other sphere, she is always one of the first people I turn to for counsel because I know she will “shoot straight” with me. She has gently challenged me to forgive or to humble myself and seek forgiveness, to persevere when I want to give up, and to remain faithful with whatever God puts in front of me even when it means heartache or sacrifice. This holds such weight because I know what she has walked through, and I see the fruit of this kind of hard obedience in her life. I deeply trust her heart for honoring the Lord, and trust that she will point me toward Him, too.
How I praise God for the example of these two women I am privileged to call my mothers. I know I am not the only one, related to them or otherwise, who would testify to their love for God and others and their daily faithfulness to pursuing Him.
A Note of Encouragement
You may be reading this coming from a similar position, with a mother (or mother-in-law) who love the Lord. You also may be reading this coming from a very different background, with an unbelieving mom or one with whom you had a strained relationship. I’ve talked with a number of women who feel keenly the void that’s been left by not having an example they desire to follow as a wife and mom in their own mothers. If that is you, I want to encourage you with this: your biological heritage does not dictate your spiritual one. You have the opportunity by God’s grace to raise your children for His glory, not falling into the same sin patterns of your foremothers. You are indwelled by the Holy Spirit who will “teach you all things” (John 14:26). And you are now part of the eternal family of God, full of older women who can provide wisdom, counsel, and guidance as spiritual mothers. Seek them out. Invite them into your life. And ask the Lord to help you forgive the shortcomings of your own mama and praise Him for the good things she passed along to you.