Mothers are important not only to the family but to society as well. Regardless of any challenges you may have faced in your relationship with your mother while you were growing up, she was given to you by God and played an essential role in your life. Even in Scripture, we find all kinds of mothers, and many of them show valuable characteristics of godliness. Timothy had a godly mother and grandmother who so greatly influenced him that he followed in their footsteps of faith.
When the apostle Paul wrote to encourage Timothy as he led the church in Ephesus, he described Timothy’s faith heritage this way: “For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well” (2 Tim. 1:5).
Mothers are characterized in many different ways based on external beauty, wealth, or accomplishments, but the most important quality of a mom is godliness. This doesn’t mean perfection, but she has a quality that serves as an important model for her children. No women will completely express every single one of these characteristics, but the ideal godly mother is one who is growing in all these ways:
- A godly mother prays and reads the Word of God. This is not an occasional practice but has become the habit of her life. She believes Scripture and knows its instructions will help her become a better wife and mother. In fact, prayer and Bible reading affect every area of her life—how she dresses, handles herself, and works. Her conversation, character, and conduct are rooted in the Word, and her children are a reflection of this.
- She is a mother who has learned to trust God for every need. Because she is praying, reading, and meditating on Scripture, she comes to know and trust God’s promises. She is confident that He will meet her needs, whether physical, material, or emotional. Instead of focusing on what she lacks, she speaks of God’s sufficiency in her life and is grateful whether He provides much or little.
A godly mother is generous. Even if she has little to share, she willingly offers it to others. Sometimes her generosity comes in the form of encouragement. Her desire is to offer words that build others up rather than tear them down. Her example of generosity toward her family as well as to others sets a pattern for her children to follow in her footsteps.
She is obedient to God. Obedience honors God and is also profitable for her as well as for her children and husband. She understands that she is obeying an all-powerful, omniscient, loving God whom she can trust. Her goal is to obey the Lord and leave the consequences to Him. There is no need to worry because she knows He can handle any situation. She brings all her cares and concerns to God and leaves them in His capable hands. Even when the issues are serious, she can sleep without being troubled by anxious thoughts.
A godly mother who trusts and obeys God gives her home an atmosphere of freedom, welcome, and love because she is not stressed by worry. Even difficulties at home cannot disrupt that peaceful atmosphere for long.
A mother who’s godly is forgiving. This is essential for every follower of Jesus and is clearly taught in the Bible. Those who refuse to forgive live in stress and tension that soon overflows into the home. Forgiveness is a vital part of family life because the close relationships inevitably result in misunderstandings and conflicts. However, living with a difficult person is no excuse for having an unforgiving spirit. Forgiveness can restore peace and eliminate stress and tension in the home. Furthermore, all believers are told in Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
A godly mother has an attitude of persistence. When something needs to be accomplished, she knows what’s required and keeps working until it is finished. Instead of waiting for someone else to do it, she jumps in to complete the task. Persistence applies to relationships as well as work. It’s easy to stop communicating or walk away from difficulties in a relationship, but a godly woman doesn’t give up. She keeps loving even when things are not going as she desires. Instead of giving in to discouragement, she turns to God in prayer asking Him for a pure heart and a forgiving spirit.
A mother of a young child is an example of persistence. No matter how many times she must get up in the middle of the night to care for that child, she does it. God has placed within the heart of a mother a willingness to do whatever her child needs. And a godly mother faces life’s demands without fussing, nagging, groaning, or comparing her situation with others’ circumstances. She is determined to be the person God wants her to be.
A godly mother is a servant. This is a quality we should all have as followers of Jesus because He was a servant. A mother with a servant attitude doesn’t live for herself, but for others. She serves her family in a variety of ways remembering that she is following in Christ’s footsteps. She doesn’t seek a reward or serve only when it’s convenient, or when she feels like it. She understands that in serving her family, she is serving the Lord.
She lives an orderly life. For family life to run smoothly there must be organization, especially when children are in school because there are schedules to keep and tasks to complete. Without order in a family, there is confusion, frustration, anxiety, tension, and stress. Furthermore, an orderly life is something children need to learn in order to function well as adults. That’s why it’s so important to model it at home because children tend to pick up attitudes and habits from their parents. They need to develop characteristics that will build and enrich their lives.
A godly mother is an encourager. Children need the encouragement of their parents so they will feel valued and loved. This begins early in life when a baby is held close and expands to include words of encouragement as the child grows. Sometimes this takes the form of challenging them to persevere and do their best.
A godly mother loves unconditionally. Her love is not conditionally based on the behavior of her children or husband but is given without reservation. By her example, she demonstrates to her children how they too can love at all times.
If you were blessed with a godly mother, what qualities do you admire in her? How has she shaped who you are today? Even though our mothers are imperfect, there is much we can learn from the special relationship we have with them. And if you are a parent, it’s important to decide what godly character traits you need to develop in your own life and to ask God to help you model them for your children. Because the question is not “if” you will have an influence on them, but what kind of influence it will be.
This article is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message “The Characteristics of a Godly Mother,” which airs this weekend on TV.