I am so thankful to be a mother! Aren’t you? It is so wonderful to have precious little ones to love. Precious big ones, too! It is so easy to love those sweet blessings that God places in our arms. As a mother you feel that, surely, our children know how much we love them. After all, we devote our lives to caring for them. Hmm…. seems so simple; so easy to see. But many of us take for granted that the word “love” is being felt in our children’s hearts. We need to stop and make sure we truly love our children. And that they truly feel loved. For myself, it needs to be a daily task. I know there are many women who can teach me how to be a more loving mother; so my thoughts are written with my need for instruction in mind.
When we first become young wives we love our husbands and we feel so content, but we yearn for a sweet babe to hold in our arms. We pray fervently for a gift from God. This is a wonderful, God-given, desire to want a child of our own; to want a child to love and care for. We feel so much love that we know we have more than enough love to share forever. Sometimes we are given the gift of children not through our own wombs, but most thankfully with a full and grateful heart!
After our bundle arrives, our love pours out of us as we gaze upon our precious blessing. Oh, if only that look and those cherishing thoughts could exist through every childhood day and into that child’s adulthood! I know that giving love seems to come easier for some than for others. There are many who need to be taught how to love; for God’s Word shows the need of older women to teach the younger women to love their husbands and children. “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children” (Titus 2:4). God knew that some may need encouragement and help.
We need to continually build our love for our children through a concentrated effort. To not love is to neglect our children’s needs and we will meet God’s judgment on harming a child in any way. Loving our children is not an option or an act to be taken lightly.
There may be times that we will have to work harder to show our love. As with all humans, there are times when our children may not be very loveable. A great help in these times is to never lose sight of the fact that our children are truly God’s special creation; made in His own image; from His mighty hands to our feeble arms, given to us to grow into faithful followers of Him.
“For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (Psalm 139:13, 14)
As we care for this child thru good times and bad, thru weary moments and fearful times, we must keep an image in our minds of our Heavenly Father watching over our lives and our works therein. We must pray earnestly for guidance everyday. We must open the “Instruction Manual” daily. It is necessary for us mothers to continually check our own love for our Heavenly Father. Do we truly love God with all our body and soul? Do we strive to obey and honor Him everyday? The training of our children in disciplines and in love is best done by our own example and what better way for us as mothers to grow in love for our children than by reading about the awesome love our Father in Heaven has for us; His children!
As we love and train our young ones we need to keep in mind exactly what our training and our love will produce in our children in their later years. Proverbs 22:6 tell us, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This scripture is an important guide for all Christian parents. The saying, “‘Tis training forms the common mind; just as the twig is bent the tree’s inclined,” also comes to mind. We all remember the quote, “The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.” What a huge responsibility we mothers hold in our hands! We can build a child for God’s service or build a child who will serve Satan. What we say and do does affect our children more than we sometimes want to realize.
Mothers must hold a great amount of patience in their hearts. Mothers must train themselves to be calm. If mama speaks and acts calmly; children learn to speak and act calmly. If mama speaks and acts harshly; so will her children. Mothers must be the example to their children of gentleness, self-control, self-discipline and humility. I pray someday I will master all of these traits, but I do need to work on them unendingly.
In Betty Bender’s book “To Love A Child,” she writes: “To love our children as God loves requires wisdom from God. We should pray fervently every day to be consistent, fair, compassionate and, sometimes, even severe.” (At least according to the child himself, we’re severe.) God was severe at times with His children. In Hebrews 12:6, we read: “…the Lord disciplines those He loves and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son.” True love for a child puts his best interest first in all realms of his life. We develop him/ her physically with wholesome food, proper sleep and appropriate exercises. We develop him/ her mentally with stimulating activities, good books and a variety of learning experiences. We develop him/ her socially by seeing that he has association with others, people of all ages. We develop him/ her spiritually by training him/her with proper values from God’s Word.
As I mentioned earlier, I love being a mother! I can’t imagine anyone not loving all her children. I think discouragement is allowed to creep in when we dwell too much on ourselves: our time, our health, our hobbies, our feelings. The world is big on pushing the “me, me, me philosophy.” Many of us have to undo some bad teaching we were ingrained with and place our loved ones first in everything. Many are the stories we have heard of the loving mother who worked tirelessly and sacrificed much of herself to give her children their needs and security. Many are the tales of a mother’s sweet and gentle spirit that causes her children to stay on the straight and narrow. It can be done and we should ever strive to be the mom that our children will rise up and call blessed (Proverbs 31:28)—not for vainglory, but for a crown in Heaven.
I hope as Christian women we can encourage one another to count it all for joy! Love your children as Christ loves us. We should spend much time on our knees praying for their souls. Show them your love by your devotion to them. Show them by your love and respect for your husband. Laugh much. Smile sincerely at life. Give them your tender attention mixed with sweet affection. But never spoil them with too much worldly pleasure. I heard a woman once tell that you cannot spoil a child by holding him too much or by giving him proper attention. That is not where spoiling comes in. But think of a fruit in your fridge or cupboard that is spoiled or rotten and how it becomes that way from neglect or rough handling. So, too, a child will become spoiled or rotten from neglect or improper handling.
If a mother will give her young child a generous quantity of God everyday with lots of loving eye contact and physical touch, mixed with honest focused attention and with an unselfish devotion, surely her prayers will be answered that her child will feel loved. Love is an action, not a simple feeling. When we, as mothers, fine-tune our God-given, unique feminine qualities and use God’s unfailing instructions in righteousness, we can rest assured of a plan that will definitely work! May God bless us and guide us as we love our children.
By Susan Follis
Susan is a homeschooling mom in Ramah, CO and attends the Calhan church of Christ with her husband, Jim. She is the proud mother of six and grandmother of four. Susan enjoys learning everything she can about being a godly wife and mother. God has blessed her so richly! :o)