Nurturing/ Teaching Courses
The Seven Godly Habits of a Blessed Mother (or auntie, grandmother, godmother)
Dr. Alex Tang
Sunday Sermon (Mother’s Day)
This sermon is dedicated to all mothers everywhere. Also to aunties, grandmothers, godmothers who may not be biological mothers but are spiritual, emotional and social mothers to all of us. God bless you. It is one of the toughest jobs in the world. It demands total dedication, commitment, on call 24/7, stamina, able to bear all sorts of emotional trauma, deal out tough love, and no resignation, walking out or retirement. If you mothers think your job ends when your child goes to university, you are sadly mistaken. It goes on and on. You will still worry about your child when they are married and have children of their own. Only now you have extra little ones to worry about.
How can one become a good mother? How does one be a mother that our children and husbands will rise up and call us blessed? Or in modern English, “Mummy, you’re the greatest.” Well, I am not a mother. But I have observed many mothers and I would like to describe seven godly habits mothers can develop so that they can be called ‘blessed’.
1. Look out for Number One.
When anyone says, “Look out for Number One”, they usually means look after themselves first. This means taking care of themselves, making sure they are safe and well provided for. That is ‘kiasuism’. As a mother, who should be number one in your life? Children, husband, job, yourself, God? And in which order or priorities. I would suggest that as Christian, God should be number one in our lives. We should be always looking out for number one who is God. We should always be looking to God. Look in your life now- who occupies the most time and demand the most in your life? Who do you concentrate most on? On who does your heart lies?
Sometimes, mothers concentrate so much on children that they do not have time for God. The little darlings are so demanding. They have to be fed and clothed. Must be nice and cubby. No mothers like to have a skinny kid because the mother in law or neighbors will comment. And there are tuition classes, piano classes and ballet classes to attend. Sometimes I think that all mothers should be given driving licence in the delivery room. You get the birth certificate and a driving licence because you spend so much time driving them around.
And then, there are exams. I am not sure who is more stressed at exams- the child or the mother. It is now an established fact that many mothers take leave during the school exam periods. They take leave to coach their children to pass the exams well and make sure they do not get sick.
God has a good way to remind the Israelites who is number one. During the time of wandering in the desert, God commanded Moses to build a Tent of Meeting or the tabernacle. Then He arranged the tribes of Israel around it. So every time they camp, they camp in such a way that God is always in the centre. God as number one. To the north will be the tribes of Dan, Asher, Napthali. To the south will be Rueben, Simeon, Gad. To the east is Judah, Issachar , Zebulun. To the west is Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin. So every night when the Israelites make camp, they will see the tent of meeting right in the centre. God as number one. (Numbers 2:2, 17-34)
What is the centre of your life? If you draw a circle to represent your waking day and subdivide it to represent how you spent your time. Does the picture created by the circle represent what you want to be the most important in your life?
With all these demands on their time and energy, is it any wonder that mothers do not have the time and energy to look out for number one. To spend time with God. You are as good a mother as your relationship with Jesus. If you are not walking with Jesus, then you are failing as a mother. You must get your priority correct and develop a habit of looking out for number one- be like Jesus.
2. Don’t Be a Supermum.
Stronger than a speeding locomotive; you should see a mother getting food for her children at the church buffet. Fasting than a speeding bullet; you should see a mother running when her child falls down. Multitasking is invented not by Microsoft but by mothers; You should see a mother getting her children ready for school, doing her housework and cooking dinner. Who is a supermum? Mothers want everything to be perfect: children, house and husband. Well you cannot have everything. Having children around and a clean house is impossible. Mothers have to recognize that they are not supermum. It is okay not have to save the world everyday. It is okay if the house is not perfectly clean. It is okay to let go and not have to control everything.
Good or blessed mothers have learned the habit to recognize that they are not supermum. They recognize that they have limits because they are human beings. And they have accepted these limitations. Then they are easier to get along with.
Recognizing that they are not supermum also cause them to depend on God who is the only one super duper being. Thus mothers who know that they are not supermum will come to the Lord in prayer for their children more often. They have faith that God will take better care of their children than they can ever do. The Psalmist knows this.
No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength.
A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;despite all its great strength it cannot save.
But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.We wait in hope for the LORD;he is our help and our shield.
This is especially true with working mothers. There is nothing wrong with mothers working. The Bible never forbade mother from working. Somehow working mothers have always felt guilty about working. So they try to make up for it in their free time as a form of compensation. They become supermum to compensate. No need to be supermum. Better a mother who is relaxed in a messy house than a mother who is so uptight in a clean house and with traumatized children.
3. Be a Forgiver.
One of the important habits mothers have to learn is how to forgive. To be able to forgive is very important for a mother as for all of us. Sometimes we take offence when none was given. Sometimes our children do not do what we expect them to do. Sometimes our spouse or in-laws do something that we do not like. Sometimes our friends of church members make comments that we take offense. Instead of bringing such things into the open and talk about it, we keep it in our hearts. Instead of forgiving, we harbor the hurt in our hearts and it poisons our souls. We became full of anger and bitter.
As a mother, what is worst is that we project our anger and bitterness onto our children. Either we use our children and force them to take sides or we begin to poison their souls with the same unforgiveness we have.
That is why one of the godly habits mothers must develop is the habit of forgiving. Peter must have thought he is very smart when he asked the Lord, how many times we must forgive someone who sins against us.
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
The late Pope John Paul II may have been very conservative in his doctrines but he had impressed me as a person. In 1981, John Paul was badly wounded in St.Peter’s Square by Turkish gunman, Mehemet Ali Agca. He later visited Mehemet in jail to forgive him.
4. Spend Money wisely.
Another godly habit mothers have to develop is to spend money wisely. In this climate of economic uncertainty, it is important that mothers know how to budget and be prudent in their spending.
Proverbs 31 describe a godly wife and mother.
She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.
One of the danger that mothers and fathers face is that we try to buy our children’s love. We buy them whatever they want, no matter how expensive. No matter how useless. The habit of spending money also implies we know where our heart lies. Jesus said we cannot serve God and money. A blessed mother serves God rather than money.
5. Drive Slowly.
Being a mother is being busy. There are so many things to do and mothers often have to rush around to get things done. After a while rushing became a way of life. I have noticed that some mothers tend to drive fast and recklessly as they hurried from on errand to another. That is why another godly habit of a blessed mother is to slow down. Mother tends to have the ‘overload syndrome’. Too many things, too little time. Mothers and the rest of us need to realize that we need to slow down. We need to slow down both for our physical and mental health. We need to made time for some silence and solitude and quietness in our lives. Have you noticed that we get restless on long weekends and holidays when we do not have to rush around? We are so used to the adrenalin high of rushing around.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
In our rushing around, we miss out on two things:
(1) We miss enjoying the present moment. We are already in the next moment, thinking of the next things we shall be doing that we do not realize that we missing out on the present moment. Life is a series of precious moments. As we look back in our life, we often remember precious moments: the moment our baby turns, when he walks, when she said her first word, when she tried to imitate you. Little precious moments we tend to miss if we are always rushing around.
(2) We cannot hear God when we are not still. Take the example of Elijah.
6. Be a Supermodel
Mothers are to be supermodels. Not the fashion supermodel but super –models for their children. Children learn most from their mothers, both boys and girls. It has been said that a person’s basic moral makeup and temperaments was formed in the first 6 years. And who are children exposed in the first 6 years. Mothers and maids. Children pick up values and thinking. These things are caught rather than taught. This process of learning is called modeling. That is why mothers have to be supermodel. Whatever values and thinking a child has in later adult life is formed in these early years.
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.
7. Be Yourself.
There is an old rabbinic story about one day we will be in the presence of God. And God will not ask us, “How was John?” or “How is your husband?” or “How is your son?” God will ask “How have you being?” And how would you answer? Can you answer I have been me? Or you answer truthfully (remember you are before God), “I have been trying to be like Jane who is a great mother” or “I have been trying to act like Pauline which gave us a parenting seminar”. God wants you to be you. He does not want you to be somebody else. As He said to the prophet Jeremiah, he says to you:
JER 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."
God doesn’t want Jeremiah to be Isaiah or Daniel. He wants Jeremiah to be Jeremiah and you to be you. And God has equipped you to be a good mother. No parenting seminars, techniques or books can make you a better mother. Only you can make yourself a better mother.
· Forget all parenting techniques
I am not saying that parent seminars, books and techniques are bad and you should not attend them. What I am saying is that the teachers are teaching what works for them-in their personalities, family situation and children. So learn the principles from them but do not imitate them.
· What works for you?
Learn what works for you and discard the rest. Only you can be the right mother to your children because you know yourself and you know your children. Be yourself. Don’t try to be somebody else.
The seven godly habits of a blessed mother are:
(1) Look out for number one
(2) Don’t be a supermum.
(3) Be a forgiver.
(4) Spend money wisely.
(5) Drive slowly
(6) Be a supermodel
(7) Be yourself.
The rest of Proverbs 31 informs us about a blessed mother.
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
"Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Soli Deo Gloria
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