Abraham Lincoln said, “I regard no man as poor who has a godly mother.”
I heard this quote today and began pondering its meaning. Why would a godly mother make such a difference in a man’s life? What benefit—surpassing riches—would a godly mother give? A man can become a Christian as an adult, or even as a child, without a godly mother and still have Jesus for all time. So why is a godly mother of any importance to a grown man?
As I thought this one through, I realized it’s because a truly godly mother models a tender loving God to her children. A godly mother shows Jesus to her children. Jesus had extremely high standards, yet He was so full of mercy, so full of compassion, so full of acceptance and love. He had high standards but showed us the way to reach them—through understanding that there was no way we could; only He could. He asks us to quit striving and simply rest in Him, allowing Him to fill us with strength.
A godly mother teaches her children to recognize their frailty and inability, and in seeing it, how to depend upon Jesus. I’m fully convinced that a godly mother isn’t perfect. We must show our children how to live out their faith. If we modeled perfection, our children would be very discouraged when they entered the world and found out they weren’t perfect. They might wonder what to do.
I think it does our children a disservice to pretend we are perfect—with no bad thoughts, no bad deeds, no sin, and no weakness. A godly mother isn’t perfect but she’s honest. She’s real and frank about her imperfections, her sins, and her fears, modeling for her children repentance, prayer, and dependence on Him for transformation. Yet, above all, a godly mother is merciful, accepting, and compassionate toward the weaknesses and sins of her children—and of herself. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Many of us have a hard time being merciful and compassionate toward our children because we don’t fully grasp God’s merciful compassion toward us. We often feel we don’t “measure up” to the standards we believe we should reach. We think God would be more pleased with us if we were doing things better.
The sad truth is, we have it all wrong. You see, God adores you, delights in your presence, and enjoys you totally even though you messed up this day, this week, perhaps this whole year. You are a child of God. You stand before Him clean, for you are IN Christ. He’s not shaking His head saying, “How many times do I have to tell you?” He knows exactly when you’re going to stop doing this or that thing. He looks at you and sees the finished product, not the work in progress you are right now.
He’s so much bigger than that.
God wants you to spend time with Him, for you are His and He wants you to know how loved you are.I know that when we grasp God’s great love for us, we feel free. Free from the rules, the stifling standards of perfection, the striving, and the fear and insecurity that plague us. Knowing, really having a heart knowledge of God’s precious love for us, makes us feel secure and peaceful. And that peace will fill us with God’s love for others, especially the darlings He placed under our care.
Let me share a visual that helped me grasp this. Cup your hands as if you are holding a tiny kitten. Imagine gazing upon the kitten feeling tenderness and love for it, just adoring the cute little thing. If you don’t like kittens, imagine something else tiny, cute, and darling in your hands.
Do that now.
Okay, now imagine you in those hands and God holding you with that same amount of love and tenderness. The fact is, God does that but with immeasurably more tenderness and love for you. And He does it every minute of every day.
Oh Lord, let me being rooted and firmly established in love, able to comprehend the breadth and width, height and depth of Your love that surpasses knowledge, so that I may be filled with all the fullness of God. May I overflow with Your love for me, pouring out on my children the abundant acceptance they so long for. Forgive me and cleanse me of my stern, selfish, striving pharisaical mothering. Allow me to be full of You. Please make me a godly mother.