Based on 1 Corinthians 13:
If a mother speaks with the tongues of teacher and preacher to her children, if she urges them repeatedly to behave and make good grades so they won’t embarrass her, she becomes merely a loud noise that can be gotten used to and ignored.
If a mother has read books on child psychology and has attended parenting seminars and is smart enough to help her child with advanced algebra but would rather do it herself than assist the child, she leaves a mark more damaging than a zero in a grade book.
If a mother constantly makes beds, picks up towels and books, and never expects her child to do anything, she inflicts on society one more undisciplined young adult who will expect a mate to take over her job.
A mother’s love is patient. A mother’s love is kind. She does not envy other mothers who have children smarter or better looking than her own. Nor does she continually boast about her children’s accomplishments. A mother helps her children to be the best they can be while accepting them for what they are instead of what she wishes they were.
A mother’s love gives her children at least the common courtesy she would extend to strangers. She doesn’t search their rooms or their lives for areas to criticize. She knows that there will be enough necessary correction without nitpicking. She refrains from continually bringing up long-past errors.
A mother’s love rejoices every time her children show maturity and wisdom. She resists the temptation to encourage immaturity that keeps them dependent on her.
A mother’s love protects her children—hedging them in from the evils of the world while preparing them to face it. A mother’s love trusts her children. She allows them more freedom and responsibility as they grow older and prove they can handle it. She trusts God with her children, knowing that His love is greater than her own and that He will keep them. She teaches her children right from wrong and prays that they will follow the right. Even when they don’t, her loves perseveres.
The pure unselfish love of motherhood never fails, but other loves will fail. Love built on expectations will be disappointed; for who can fulfill our every expectation? Love based on attractiveness will diminish; for the child will lose that disarming baby charm and enter far less attractive stages. Love that feeds on personal attention will starve; for the maturing child will need—and accept—less mothering.
When I was a young mother I talked like an expert, imagining I could mold my children into exactly what I wanted them to be. But when I grew older, I put such foolish ideas behind me. Now I know that my children are neither tools to bolster my ego nor idols to be put on pedestals. They are individuals, formed and equipped by God for His purposes. Someday I will fully understand those purposes and will know if I prepared them well.
A Christian mother’s life is guided by faith, hope, and love. A mother’s faith prepares her children and entrusts them to God. A mother’s hope looks expectantly to their future. A mother’s love grows stronger with each passing day. One day her faith will be dissolved in sight and her hope will be fulfilled, no longer needed. But her love will go on through the eternal ages. For the greatest of these is a mother’s love.
©1989 Vicki Huffman
Vicki Huffman is the mother of two and grandmother of seven. Her latest book, A Secret Hope (2010, Westbow Press), is a novel about women’s relationships, especially the mother-daughter relationship. (It would make an ideal Mother’s Day gift—order from online book retailers and tell Mom it’s on the way.) Follow the link to read the first chapter free on the Mentoring Moments site and find ordering information.