This past weekend was a solemn day in which children everywhere – whether still in primary school or grown – show their love for the woman who sacrifices so much for them every day. This woman is called “Mom.” Mothers have many roles and we see motherhood illustrated no better than in the life of the woman who was chosen to be the mother of our Lord, and in the life of Mary we see Six Roles of a Godly Mother.
First of all, a mother is a Life-Giver. After the angel spoke with Mary that she would be the mother of the Messiah, the One Who would save His people from their sins, she was told that her cousin Elisabeth had also conceived a child in her old age. Upon visiting her cousin, the child in Elisabeth’s womb leaped for joy when he heard Mary speak, and Elisabeth said, “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”
Only a mother can know the connection she has to her child even when he or she is still in the womb. A mother is not a mother when she gives birth, but when she first conceives she is a mother, giving the little one life from her own life, sacrificing things she may want to do for the little one’s health.
Second, a mother is a Watcher, for, upon “bringing forth” her son (the child was already her son before his birth) and hearing the shepherds relate all that had occurred, we read in Luke 2:19:
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
Whether it is in keeping a baby book or scrapbook, a mother is always watching her children grow up. She is always there for them as a prayer warrior, hoping, hurting, laughing, and waiting.
Third, a mother is a Worshipper. Upon conceiving her child, Mary sang out, “My soul doth magnify the Lord” (Luke 1:46). Then in Luke 2:21-24, she and his father brought him to the temple to dedicate him to the Lord “according to the law.” As a result, in Luke 2:40, we read, “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.” When children see and hear their parents worship, they learn to worship.
Most Christians today know the name R.A. Torrey. Yet, what many do not realize is that he was a very rebellious young man who did not believe in God. His mother, however, was a devout Christian who prayed continually for his conversion, often witnessing to her son. Eventually, however, Torrey had had enough and said to his mother, “I don’t want to hear about my sins and your prayers. I’m going to leave and not bother you anymore.”
As he left, she followed him to the gate and with tear-filled eyes cried to her boy, “Son, you’re going the wrong way, but when you come to the end of your rope and everything seems hopeless, call upon your mother’s God with all your heart and He will surely help you!”
After Torrey left home, though, he went deeper into the ways of sin until one night in a hotel room he was unable to sleep. Weary from his problems pressing in on every side, he reached for the gun that he kept in his dresser, intending to end his life. Yet, as he held the gun, he remembered the words of his mother and, convicted by the Holy Spirit, he cried out, “O God of my mother, if there is such a being, I need Your help! If You will give it to me, I’ll follow You!” In that moment his darkened heart was suddenly illumined, an immediate peace filled his soul, and later became one of the greatest evangelists in the history of the Christian Church, leading thousands to Christ. And such was the result of the prayerful concern and faith of a mother.
Fourth, a mother is a Protector. In Luke 2:48-51, we read that when Jesus was 12-years-old, his parents brought him to Jerusalem for the Passover and he stayed behind. When they finally found their child, Scripture records that it was Mary who first spoke up, saying, “Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.” They both had obviously been worried, but Mary especially since she is the first to speak. She seems to have been the one who was frantically running from house to house in Jerusalem asking strangers if they had seen the boy.
After this incident, however, we see that a mother is also a Teacher. Luke 2:51 says:
And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.
George Cornell once wrote that the most frequent response from every age group as to the “most positive influence on their religious faith” was the person’s mother. This is illustrated no better than in the life of the Wesleys. Susanna Wesley had 17 children, and yet spent 1 hour each day praying for each of them. In addition to that, however, she took each child aside for a full hour every week to discuss spiritual matters.
Last of all, a mother is also a Comforter Who Sometimes Needs Comforting. In John 19:26 at the cross, when Jesus saw His mother, He was moved with compassion for her and what she was going through. Therefore, He said to her, “Woman, behold thy son,” and turned to John saying, “Behold thy mother!”
The ancient church father John Chrysostom, who lived from A.D. 349-407, once wrote:
A mother experiences more than one death, even though she herself will only die once. She fears for her husband; she fears for her children; again, she fears for the women and children who belong to her children. … For each of these – whether for loss of possessions, bodily illness, or undesired misfortune – she mourns and grieves no less than those who suffer.