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Portrait of a Mother

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Annette LaPlaca
Diapers and middle-of-the-night feedings. Crushed Cheerios in the rug and Legos underfoot. Play groups, pillow fights, bedtime stories. Runny noses, bumped heads, skinned knees. Tickles, hugs, kisses. These are a mother's world.

And so is round-the-clock training--twenty-four hours of teachable moments. How to tie shoes and how to share. How to give and take with peers and how to respect authority. How to handle disappointment and how to reach for the best. How to love well and live morally. The old Marine motto applies to motherhood: It's the toughest job you'll ever love.

Fortunately, there are resources available for moms in search of parenting direction, the most treasured being God's wisdom found in His Word, the Bible. The book of Proverbs is a practical and philosophical manual of advice from a parent to a son, and it sets a high standard for both parents and children.

"The wise woman builds her house," teaches the book of Proverbs, with tools of understanding and wisdom instead of boards and bricks (14:1; 24:3-4).

"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it" (22:6) is another promise of Proverbs. Then the book points to discipline as a parent's tool for bringing "delight" into the parent-child relationship (22:15; 29:17).

The last chapter of Proverbs includes a description of God's ideal woman. She's a woman who works hard all day long for the good of her family (31:13-19). She provides food, clothing, and warm coverings for her children (31:15, 21-22). She herself is clothed with "strength and dignity" (31:25). And when she speaks, "she opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue" (31:26)

And the end result for this Supermom? "Her children rise up and call her blessed" (31:28). Wow! What mother doesn't hope for some distant day when her children shower her with love and grateful acknowledgment of all she's done for them? That fantasy becomes reality for this woman.

But what about you? Does this seem like an impossible standard? Does it make you want to stay in bed with the covers pulled over your head? You're not alone. NO mother is perfect. And EVERY mother feels overwhelmed at times with the challenge of bringing up her children.

The good news is that God doesn't hold up a perfect model of Christian motherhood and then abandon moms to fail to live up to it. God is not only the "founder" but also the "perfecter" of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). In fact, He's ready to give mothers the ultimate secret weapon for childrearing: Himself! He Himself promises to stay with you every step of the way, to give you wisdom and strength and direction at each stage of the parenting process.

So how can you plug into God's parenting support group? If you don't already have a personal relationship with God, that's the place to begin! The Bible teaches that friendship with God is available to everyone who acknowledges Jesus Christ as Savior and is willing to make Him Lord of her life. You might pray something like this: "God, I know that I am a sinner and can never live up to Your perfect standards of holiness. I am sorry for my sins, and I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross so that I could have forgiveness and be born again into God's family. Come into my life, and help me to live for You. Amen."

As you get to know your heavenly Father, you'll find yourself growing in wisdom gleaned from His message (the Bible), from the influence of the Holy Spirit (God living within you), and from your friendships with other Christians (fellowship). That godly wisdom will greatly influence your parenting skills and decisions--in other words, it will help you "build" your house.

The end of the book of Proverbs says "a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised" (31:30). When you belong to God, you have everything you need to be the kind of mother whose children "rise up and call her blessed" (31:28).

2002 Good News Publishers. Used by permission.
Translated by permission of Good News Publishers
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