- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Moms and Blessings
Have you ever noticed what happens when a television camera pans the cluster of college football players on a field's sidelines? The young men, most of whom are experiencing their first taste of national attention, call out two words. Those words make a woman's heart skip a beat, swell with pride, and melt in a puddle of love. "Hi, Mom!" the guys shout, following the greeting with wild waves and big smiles.
An inexplicable bond exists between a mother and her child. While a child is being knitted together in Mom's womb, the mother's very blood is pumped from her heart to her child's. And even though the umbilical cord is severed in the delivery room, an invisible cord holds them together for the rest of their lives. Elizabeth Stone aptly explained that bond when she said, "Making a decision to have a child—it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body."
And while the mother's heart is vulnerable to every pang her child experiences, that woman also realizes that God has placed another's soul in her care and given her the privilege, for a few fleeting years, to shapethat soul. What will we mothers do with those years? How will we invest the time? Who can help us to know what to do?
I've often been interviewed in my role as a spokeswoman for The Proverbs 31 Ministry Frequently I'm asked if I think the wife of noble character described in Proverbs chapter 31 is one woman or several women pooled together into a depiction of some sort of supermom. Interviewers also ask if I think the verses exemplify a typical day for Mrs. Worth More Than Rubies or a lifetime of accomplishments. I believe that she is one woman and that the listing of her achievements spans her life. Verse 28 leads me to those conclusions: "Her children rise up and call her blessed" (RSV).
I don't know about you, but I haven't heard many preschoolers bless their mothers for devoting arduous hours to potty training, for washing a favorite Mickey Mouse T-shirt, or for staying up all night cleaning throw-up. A child is more likely to rise up and call his or her mother blessed when that child is a young adult and realizes the sacrifice, hard work, undaunted love, tender affection, and wisdom that Mom has poured into his or her life for eighteen to twenty-five years. And sometimes that realization doesn't come until a child has a child of his or her own.
When I became a mother, I wondered what exactly the Proverbs 31 woman did to cause her children to rise up and bless her. To find some answers, I've observed mothers through the years, listened to what grown children have to say about their mothers and prayed that God would give me wisdom in raising my own child. Being a Great Mom, Raising Great Kids consists of seven mothering characteristics I've seen again and again in blessed mothers.
King Lemuel's mother, who wrote Proverbs 31, started each verse with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet to help her son remember the essential elements of a model wife and mother. In keeping with that teaching style, each of the following seven sections begins with a word formed from a letter of "B-L-E-S-SE-D." In each section, I've included some practical ideas to help you implement the specific quality discussed and a story about a mother who expressed that quality well. And at the end of the book, you'll find fourteen Bible studies, two for each section. These studies will help you seek the Lord for ways He wishes to affirm you as a mother and for ways you could make some adjustments. You might want to gather together a group of other mothers who long to hear their children call them blessed.
My prayer for you, dear mother, is that you will not grow weary in doing good, but that this book will encourage you to keep doing what you do well and to make alterations in areas that need improvement. Most of all, I, like you, pray that one day your children will rise up and call you blessed.CHAPTER 2
An Immovable Landmark
On February 4, 1984, my world changed forever. After twenty-three and one-half hours of blood, sweat, and tears, of heave-ho-ing, of pushing and pulling, Steven Hugh Jaynes Jr. came screaming into the world, and I became ... a mother.
But somehow, in the bustle of leaving the hospital two days later, someone misplaced the owner's manual. After all, this was my first child, and certainly he came with instructions!
I had taken a short class at the Red Cross on child care, but I knew immediately that this experience was going to be very different from that six-week course. Steven was not made of durable plastic but of delicate skin. I couldn't leave him on the counter and come back after a fifteen-minute coffee break. And he didn't lie perfectly still while I practiced changing, feeding, and burping. He wiggled endlessly. The first time my husband, Steve, and I changed Steven's diaper, it took four hands and eleven minutes. Even then, we didn't get the tabs straight.
An eternity seems to have passed since the day we drove home from the hospital with Steven, who was lost somewhere in his oversized car seat. Now he is the one driving, and I'm the one strapped in the backseat. It has been an incredible ride! I never did locate that owner's manual, but I've discovered helps along the way. I've learned from godly women who have gone before me, from fellow travelers who are journeying down the road with me, and from my heavenly Father, who enfolds, instructs, and encourages me.
Just as God's Word has been a light to my path, I've come to realize a mother is a light to her children. I've lived in North Carolina all my life and love its sandy beaches and irregular coast. Dotting the ragged shoreline stand seven stately beacons of light. The majestic, sweeping lanterns light the way at Bald Head Island, Ocracoke Island, Cape Lookout, Bodie Island, Currituck Beach, Oak Island, and Cape Hatteras. These sentinels' distinctive designs of black-and-white diamonds, stripes, or checks tower skyward some two hundred feet, serving as landmarks for navigation. To the mariner, the lighthouse is a symbol of integrity, constancy, reliability, and aid.
A mother whose children rise up and call her blessed is much like a stately lighthouse. She has a solid foundation in Jesus Christ. Her walls of faith are constructed to withstand the storms of life, and her primary function is to house the light of Christ. This mother is an immovable constant in her child's life, a landmark along life's journey, and a guiding light that points her child to the safe harbor of home and eventually out to sea.
Mothers used to look like my Grandma Edwards. As a child, I was sure she always had been old. She wore funny, baggy underpants and an unattractive undershirt to match, styled her gray hair in a long braid that wound around her head like a crown, and loved to watch Perry Mason, eat peanut butter crackers, and drink Coca-Cola from a chilled glass bottle. She never drove a car or frequented a shopping mall but spent her days gardening, canning, and sewing.
Mothers and grandmothers no longer spend their days like my Grandma Edwards. They are on the go, with schedules that would make the best air traffic controller's head spin. But they remain the still-point in their family's vortex of activity, the landmark each family member always returns home to.
Recently I attended a barbecue dinner with five hundred tourists in the Rocky Mountains. Across from me sat a family of four from Birmingham, Alabama: a dad, mom, and two little girls, ages eight and ten. We all introduced ourselves and began the friendly banter of "Do you know so-and-so?" and "What do you do?"
At one point in the conversation, someone asked Mary what she "did." With downcast eyes, she shrugged and said, "Oh, I'm just a mom. I don't have a job."
Immediately the hair bristled on the back of my neck, and sirens and lights went off in my head. "Just" a mom? I assured Mary that she had the most important job in all creation: to create order out of chaos; to ensure the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of her two little girls; to bring continuity to her family in a fast-changing world; and to shape the individuals who would contribute to our future as a community and a nation.
I think Mary was sitting up just a little straighter by the time we finished our conversation, and I don't think she'll ever use the words "just" and "mom" in the same sentence again.
Mary didn't know it, but if she hadn't responded to my initial tirade on motherhood, I was ready to launch my second missile, which was to unpack that little word "mom." What exactly is a mom's job description? She's a wife, mother, friend, housekeeper, interior decorator, laundress, gourmet chef, short-order cook, chauffeur, painter, wallpaper hanger, seamstress, nurse, guidance counselor, internal affairs CEO, financial planner, travel agent, administrative assistant, disciplinarian, preacher, teacher, tutor, spiritual adviser, dietician, lecturer, librarian, fashion coordinator, private investigator, cheerleader, manicurist, pedicurist, landscaper, hair stylist, psychologist, plumber, computer programmer, automobile maintenance expert, referee, and gift purchasing agent for both sides of the family. She might not receive a salary, but the fringe benefits are invaluable: hugs, kisses, and buckets of love. And, she hopes, one day her child will call her blessed.
Even though moms change hats from one minute to the next, we can assure our children that our love never changes, our support never tires, and our commitment to being a beacon remains unmoved. In that way, we're still like my Grandma Edwards.
Not only is the mom a constant, but she also is a guiding light to her children. To fulfill that role, she must be present, available, and approachable. Sometimes this involves sacrifice. My neighbor Patty faced the realization that she wasn't being the guiding light in her children's life, and she had the courage to make a change.
While I was twenty-eight and learning to do cross-stitch, Patty was doing a little cross-stitch of her own as one of our city's most sought-after emergency room surgeons. I heard a doctor once say, "If I woke up in an emergency room and saw Patty Thomas's face and busy hands working over me, I'd just go back to sleep and rest assured that I was in the best hands possible."
Patty and her husband had their first and second sons while she was doing her residency in medical school. Her third and fourth children came along when she was working full-time in Charlotte's busiest hospital. But something happened to Patty as her first two children went off to elementary school. The Lord started doing a little heart surgery of His own.
Patty's first child was entering second grade, and she realized that she didn't know him very well. She had missed some of his milestones such as first words and first steps. Actually, this little boy knew his grandmother better than he did his mother. And as her fifth child began to kick inside her tummy, she decided that she never wanted to be a "stranger" to her children again.
So Patty made a change. She quit her job. She put away her surgical tools and began to master Lego castles, puzzles, and science experiments. She memorized state capitals, reviewed her ABCs, and gazed into her children's eyes. She took the torch from her mother and became the guiding light in her children's lives.
Now Patty is doing more than sewing people back together in a sterile operating room. She is knitting hearts, bandaging skinned knees, and kissing away tears. She is shaping and molding the now seven Thomas children to become a generation who love the Lord and influence the world for Christ.
Patty is working on her Ph.D. in motherhood. Like all other residency programs, the hours are long, the pay is low, but the rewards are immeasurable. If you asked Patty what she gave up, she would say, "Very little." Being a doctor can't compare to the joy she receives being the primary influence on her children and being the guiding light that leads them down the path of life.
Not every mother can quit her job and stay at home with her children. That doesn't mean a mother who works outside the home is an inferior or inadequate mom. But it does mean she has to be even more masterful and intentional in how she uses the time with her children. The personal sacrifices she has to make are great.
Of course, every mother is a working mother. Can we be overqualified for the job? Overtrained? Is our talent ever wasted? I don't think so.
When I was asked to speak to a group of high school girls about motherhood as a career choice, one of them asked me, "If I'm going to just be a mother one day, why do I even need to go to college?" I assured her that no amount of education or training would ever be wasted in this job. Besides, she needed not look at the job as being "just a mother" but, as one woman said, as "socializing homo sapiens into the dominant values of the Judeo-Christian tradition in order that they might be instruments for the transformation of the social order into the kinds of eschatological utopia that God willed from the beginning of creation."
In light of that answer, the high school student responded, "Oh."
A mother draws on every ounce of life experience: academic, relational, and spiritual. No matter what her educational achievements, social position, or financial status, no other accomplishment is greater than to have children who one day rise up and call her blessed.
President Theodore Roosevelt said it this way:
No other success in life—not being President, or being wealthy, or going to college, or writing a book, or anything else—comes up to the success of the man or woman who can feel that they have done their duty and that their children and grandchildren rise up and call them blessed.
I believe the home is the place of greatest ministry. And no position is greater than that of a mother who is a beacon, guiding and thus protecting those who are in her home.
The mother who provides a guiding light to her children is much like the good shepherd in Scripture. Jesus tells us the difference between a good shepherd and a hired hand in John 10.
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand ... (verses 11-13)
The shepherd is willing to lay down his life for the sheep. But the hired hand runs away because caring for them is only his job. We can't expect a day-care worker, preschool teacher, or baby-sitter to care for our children as lovingly as we do. That's not to say that we're never to utilize the help of others, but we do need to recognize the limitations of their hearts.
Four hundred years before Christ's birth, Socrates wrote, "Could I climb the highest place in Athens, I would lift up my voice and proclaim, 'Fellow citizens, why do you turn and scrape every stone to gather wealth, and take so little care of your children to whom you must one day relinquish all?'" Why indeed? When we invest time in our children today, we reap the dividends for the rest of our lives.
I'm considered "directionally impaired." In other words, I get lost in my own neighborhood. I do fine with "turn left" or "turn right," but I can't handle "go east" or "go west." Once I do finally reach my destination, I break out in a cold sweat as I anticipate following those same directions in reverse to go back home. For me, just forget the map, don't tell me east or west, simply tell me some major landmarks along the way.
A mother who is a beacon to her children is like a landmark on life's journey. If a child becomes lost, he knows he can search for the landmark to show him the way home. If he searches but can't find his landmark, his wanderings can have devastating results.
My friend Mary told me about the emptiness she felt as a child because her landmark was often missing. She recounted an awards ceremony she attended when she was in the eleventh grade. The memory was so vivid that, even after twenty-five years, she could recall what she was wearing: "lavender bell bottom hip huggers, bubble knit short sleeve top, Dr. Scholl's wooden sandals, and a blue bandanna tied around my head of long stringy hair." This was accepted attire for teens in the seventies, except for days when a special awards or recognition assembly was held.
As Mary sat in homeroom that day, the principal announced over the intercom that an unscheduled assembly would take place at eleven that morning to recognize students inducted into the National Honor Society. That's when she understood why so many of her friends were dressed a notch above the norm. Their parents had received the traditional warning call the night before and had made sure their kids had washed their hair and the frayed jeans had stayed in the drawer.
Excerpted from Being a Great Mom Raising Great Kids by Sharon Jaynes. Copyright © 2000 Sharon Jaynes. Excerpted by permission of Moody Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
2. An Immovable Landmark
3. Glowing Features of a Beautiful
4. Monica: A Beacon of a Mother
Section 2: Be a Listener
Listen with Your Whole Being
6. Time to Listen
7. Susanna Wesley:
A Listening Mother
8. "A Mother's Day Confession"
Section 3: Be an Encourager
8. Becoming Your Child's Chief Cheerleader
9. Cheers or Jeers
10. You Win Some, You Lose Some
11. Catherine Carmichael:
An Encouraging Mother
12. "I Have a Mother Who Prays"
Be a Self-Esteem Builder
12. Joining the Construction Crew
The Foundation: Unconditional Love and Acceptance
14. The Framework: Capable,
Valuable, with a Sense of Belonging
15. Adding Insulation, Lock, and Bolts
Nancy Hanks Lincoln: A Self-Esteem-Building Mother
Section 5: Be a Seed
17. Tending the Fields
18. Sowing Seeds of Scripture and
19. Planting in Season
20. Sonya Carson: A Seed-Sowing Mom
6: Be an Example Setter
21. Someone's Watching You
22. The Fruit
Doesn't Fall Far from the Tree
23. Mary Ruth Diffey: An Example-Setting Mom
7: Be Diligent
24. Don't Give Up
25. Don't Give In
It All to Him
27. Ruth Bell Graham: A Diligent Mother
28. Just a Mom,
29. A Mother Counts Her Blessings
Posted June 21, 2013
What a great read. This book is a great resource with great insight and ways to connect and pour love into your children. The author is knowledgable, witty, and insightfulWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 20, 2013
Posted May 10, 2012
No text was provided for this review.