There is a peculiar passage hidden within the concluding paragraph of the book of Proverbs, “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:” (31:28). Everyone is a child to someone, but only a godly mother has children who rise up and call her blessed, attributing gratitude to her and to God for her. I am blessed to be the child of a godly mother and father. The apostle Paul calls all people to give “honor to whom honor is owed” (Romans 13:7) and so in honor of my mother’s birthday, a godly woman exhibits these five characteristics.
Godly mothers are humble.
Perhaps no other example of humility shines brighter than Mary, the mother of Jesus. After an angelic encounter, Mary refuses to allow her newfound status of favor with God to manifest pride in her heart. Chosen to bear the Christ-child, Mary sings a song praising God for looking upon “the humble estate of his servant” (Luke 1:48). Though she will be called blessed for every generation to come, her only response is to praise God for His power, blessing, and holiness (1:49). A summary of the song points to themes of praising God for His miraculous provision, power, and sovereignty over the earth. In addition, Mary expresses God’s wrath towards the proud, and praise toward the humble (1:52). He scatters the proud in their own thoughts and brings down those of wealth, prestige, and power (1:51-52). Furthermore, he exalts “those of humble estate” and feeds the hungry but sends the rich away empty.
Godly mothers are humble, and even the blessings from God are received with a spirit of gratitude. A proud mother believes every good gift is the result of her labor, wealth, and influence. A humble mother believes every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17), and she refuses to allow pride to cast God away from the throne of her heart.
Godly mothers are nurturing.
“As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem” (Isaiah 66:13). A godly mother is nurturing just as God himself is nurturing. God is concerned for every part of our being, just like our mothers. Jesus teaches His disciples to ask for provision from God (Matthew 6:11), but not to worry about food or clothing because our Father knows our needs (Matthew 6:24-25). Godly mothers care for our physical needs while also relying on God for their needs and their own children’s needs.
Furthermore, God cares for our souls by providing us with peace through our faith in Jesus Christ (John 14:27), comfort in afflictions (2 Corinthians 1:4), and spirits of “power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). Godly mothers care for our souls by continually reinforcing, teaching, and even reproofing our misguided understanding of God’s provision for our lives.
This holistic nurturing of a godly mother includes respect to their husbands (Ephesians 5:33, 1 Peter 3:1), emotional love and support to their children, and prayer in all things for their family (Philippians 4:6-7).
Godly mothers are hardworking.
“Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates” (Proverbs 31:31). The reward for a godly mother comes after her hard work. In other words, the fruit of her hands is the reward for her labor. The works of her hands bring praise in the house and in the community. However, this also acknowledges the reality that godly mothers are hardworking. Providing food for her family, pursuing business ventures, and managing the household are only part of her work (Proverbs 31). Her work also includes child-bearing, child-rearing, marriage, and the spiritual development of her children. The list of demands are endless, but the godly woman awakens every morning knowing she is created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, to walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).
Godly mothers are disciplinarians.
A godly mother knows that discipline is first demonstrated by God. Proverbs 3:11-12 says, “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” Proverbs even further clarifies that discipline is an act of love, and a godly mother “is diligent to discipline” her children (Proverbs 13:24). Rewards of discipline include respect (Hebrews 12:10), consequences for disobedience, and the avenue to bring holiness into our lives. Godly mothers know that though discipline is unpleasant and painful in the present, it brings righteousness and peace to our children in the future (Hebrews 12:11).
Godly mothers are teachers.
“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck” (Proverbs 1:8-9). A mother’s teaching is a beautiful crown of wisdom adorned on the head of her children. Where does this wisdom come from? Solomon tells us “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). A godly mother teaches her children to fear the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom. A mother’s teaching is to be prized by her children, and they are to be carried as a faithful companion all through one’s life (Proverbs 6:20-22). The apostle Paul praised his young Christian brother Timothy for his sincere faith inherited by his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice (2 Timothy 1:5). Godly mother are teachers, and their teachings are rooted in the knowledge of the Holy One.
A Call to Honor
God calls us to honor our parents (Leviticus 19:3). I have honored my father through this blog, and now I honor my mother. She is truly a “woman who fears the Lord” and today she is to be praised (Proverbs 31:30). She exemplifies these five characteristics of a godly woman, and so many more. Her humility is noticed. Her nurturing is appreciated. Her hard work is noticeable. Her discipline was for my good. Her teaching is remembered. Today is a day to honor her.
Happy Birthday mom, I love you!