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Simone Boswell

The Reformed Banner: “The role that God has assigned to women is most glorious. God gives to women an exalted position, crowned with dignity and honour. It brings great blessings upon her and those around her. A mother’s role in the family is crucial. Without her presence the family deteriorates. She is the home’s heart and soul.”

Nancy Campbell: “Mother, you are a sculptor, sharing lives to affect nations. Your influence is greater than you realise. You determine the destiny of your nation. Not only do you influence a nation, but future generations! Not only do you influence future generations, but also eternity! When God gives you a little baby, you hold eternity in your hands! Your children come from God, and will go on to His eternal purposes in the eons of eternity. What a privilege we have been given as mothers to prepare them in this life for their future destiny!

Charles Colsen: “In times like these, we need to remember that God looks with favour on mothers who nurture small hearts and minds, and train up children to impact our world. What profession, and what job are more important than that? For truly, a mother’s work has eternal consequences.”


We indeed have been given an amazing privilege and responsibility in raising these children that God has given us. As we strive to do God’s will for us and our families, it is important that we stand back from time to time and have a look at the Big Picture. Some of us are big picture people – we look at the big picture, but get lost on details. This can make day to day life overwhelming as we struggle to manage the effects of not always planning carefully. Others of us are detail people – we get stuck on little details, and miss the bigger picture. This can make our lives stressful as we feel ourselves getting bogged down. In this article, I am looking at the bigger picture, and some do’s and don’ts that might be helpful to remember.


Do: We do need to learn from older, wiser mothers, with a biblical perspective. Our society lives in the ‘here and now’, and often doesn’t value age and wisdom. But there are many older, wise mums around – perhaps even our own mothers and grandmothers – from whom we can learn. We can ask them what they did with their children, and how they dealt with various situations. While it might be fun and convenient to hang out with our own peers, and we can learn much from them, we also need to search from wisdom in places other than our circle of friends.

“Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still. Teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.” Proverbs 9:9

“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20

Search out these older wise women. Many of them do not think that they are wanted or valued for their wisdom and experience, and many are just waiting to be asked. Perhaps you have tried, but cannot find a Godly older woman to learn from. There are many helpful books and devotional materials that are available. Elisabeth Elliot is one wise lady who has written many books and devotions aimed at teaching younger women to help us learn to draw on God’s strength and wisdom.

“The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.” Proverbs 12:15

Don’t: We are not to restrict ourselves and be unwilling to learn from others, even those we don’t expect to learn from! Read everything, and test against scripture. Just because someone else does things differently to us, or who starts with a different perspective, doesn’t mean we cannot learn from them. What we don’t need to be doing, is getting proud! If we read a book, we can take 90% and throw out the rest, or take 10% and throw out the rest – use what is wise and helpful. Sometimes we need to guard against being exclusive – God gives wisdom to those we don’t expect!

Do: As a mother, we will need to make some sacrifices – in work, in busy-ness, and in ministry. We are not the same person we were before we had children, and we cannot do everything. Our children, for a time, need to be our priority.

Ted Tripp: “Parenting will mean that you can’t do all the things that you could otherwise do. It will affect your golf handicap. It may mean your home doesn’t look like a picture from Better Homes and Gardens. It will impact your career and ascent on the corporate ladder. It will alter the kinds of friendships you will be able to pursue. It will modify the amount of time you have for bowling, hunting, television, or how many books you read. It will mean that you can’t develop every interest that comes along. The costs are high… God calls you to invest yourself in this way with your children.”

Elisabeth Elliot, in one of her daily devotions says that there is no such thing as quality time. All quantity time is quality time, she says. Raising a family means that we just can’t do everything. Squeezing in ‘quality time’, amongst our busy lives, is short changing our children. They don’t need to be doing loads of activities, or going to playgroup or preschool every day. They need us. They need our time. Of course, there are times in our lives when we need to make very difficult choices, that may impact our children. But we also need to make sure that we are not pursuing ourselves, our work, our ministry at the expense of our children.

Don’t: On the other hand, we also don’t want to sacrifice so much of our lives for our children, that we become worshippers of our children. Sometimes parents, and particularly mothers, can sacrifice their marriage, friendships and ministry, in order to become child centred. We can’t get so caught up in doing the best for our children, that we lose out on relationships with those around us – our husbands, our extended family, and our friends. They will still be there when our children have grown and left, and if we haven’t nurtured those relationships, we might find ourselves feeling rather lonely. When we find time for those around us, we are modelling to our children how to have healthy relationships, while maintaining a solid family life.

Do: Do enjoy your home and being a keeper at home. Part of being a ‘career parent’ – a parent who chooses parenting as their career, rather than a job outside the home – is investing in the care of our homes. We should strive for  beauty, order, cleanliness and a haven from the world. When we realise that we can have significance in being a mum (not outside the home), we can relax and enjoy what we are doing. We can make our homes a base – somewhere to come back to, not somewhere to get out of. Somewhere that is comfortable, not  uninviting. Somewhere that is lived in, not abandoned. Somewhere our children, and our husbands want to be.

Don’t: We sometimes need to avoid the trap of worshipping our house. We can’t make our houses so important, that they come before the family, or our friends. If we don’t invite people around, because we are concerned that our house might get messed up, if we don’t allow our children to play in the house because we don’t want it messed up, if we can’t reach out to others for fear of them encroaching on our house, if we can’t bear to stick up our children’s precious art work for fear of having things on the wall, if we spend every moment of the day scrubbing and cleaning after our children, if we don’t have time to spend with our children because we are too busy keeping the house clean, if our children are anxious about making a mess, if we are buying items of furniture that aren’t allowed to be used for fear of getting them dirty… we need to rethink our attitude.

“Some houses try to hide the fact that children shelter there,

Ours boasts of it quite openly, the signs are everywhere.

For smears are on the windows, little smudges on the doors.

I should apologise, I guess, for toys strewn on the floor.

But I sat down with the children, and we played and laughed and read.

And if the doorbell doesn’t shine, their eyes will shine instead.

For when at times I’m forced to choose the one job or the other,

I’d like to cook and clean and scrub, but first I’ll be a mother.”

(anon)

Of course, we are not to leave our homes to go to pot – balance, balance!!

Do: Protect your children from unhealthy influences. Every family will think this one through, and work it out a little differently. Some will be happy with whatever is around them, and others will want to put some boundaries into the lives of their children. For some this might affect the type of schooling they choose, the movies, videos, TV shows their children watch. The books they read, the friends they hang out with, the time spent with other families and family members. It is very wise to be aware of the environment in which our children are immersed, and the effect it can have on them. While every family is a little different, there are some guidelines in the bible.

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure. Whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable  - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

Don’t: Smother them and not allow them to fail. As they grow, there are going to be times when they need to be allowed to make some choices that end in difficult situations, from which they learn valuable life lessons. There are going to be times when they are hurt, or see the negative side of others. They are going to need to understand the consequences of their actions. We cannot protect them from everything, and we need to, at some point, allow them to grow up. We cannot protect them for ever. Things are easier when they are young – we have much more control over their environment. But keeping control for too long will be frustrating to them, and possibly not helpful in the long term.

Finally…

Do: enjoy every stage! Work hard towards your goals with your children, and train them diligently. Love them, cuddle them, savour every precious moment with them.

Don’t: Get so caught up in training goals that you forget to enjoy them and spend fun time with them (when was the last time you laughed with them? Had a spontaneous day? Broke the ‘rules’?).

The ultimate goal with our children, is not to have perfect children. They won’t ever be perfect – after all, they don’t have perfect parents! We want to spend eternity with them in Heaven. We can have  beautifully trained, obedient children in beautiful tidy homes, but if they don’t know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, then we may have focused on the wrong things. Of course, we cannot determine all their choices, including spiritual, and they will need to make their own decision to follow Christ, but we need to make sure that we haven’t focused on all the outward things, at the expense of their hearts.

What an awesome privilege it is to raise these children that God has given us. And what an awesome responsibility.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9


“There are little feet that follow in my footsteps every day,

Their little voices echo so much of what I say.

Sometimes I’m not too happy with all the things I see,

Then I begin to realize that they’re imitating me.

My patience seems to falter and I speak with too much haste –

‘Til I hear my Saviour speaking when I look into each face.

“Oh God, please grant me wisdom as I train each little one,

Help me set a good example, as You Yourself have done.

I would not ask for riches, or that they famous be,

But may each find Christ as Saviour and live each day for Thee.”

(anon)