Proverbs 31:28, “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.”
Growing up, my sisters and I enjoyed taking this verse literally and on occasion, would suddenly stand up, look at our mother, and say, “Blessed!” While this always provided our family a chuckle, it was also a fun opportunity for us to recognize her and all she did for us as a family. Our father also was a great role model in thanking her, supporting her, and reminding us to do so as well.
When I was in high school, I was asked to share a tribute to my mom on Mother’s Day during a special church service. I pulled it out the other day to look back and see what I said all those years ago. It’s funny to see my high school point of view, but the truth of what I said then has stretched and grown along with me through college, marriage, and now my own journey in motherhood.
I’m sharing it today as a reminder to each of us – a reminder to honor our mothers, both our literal mothers and the mothers who have come alongside us in the church, mentoring and discipling us in Christ. Also, as a reminder to each of us to be that godly mother (again, either literally or spiritually) who pours into the children or younger believers in our lives. We’ve all heard about the “Proverbs 31 Woman” and she can be intimidating. But she isn’t meant to be a discouragement to us, as some picture of perfection we can never achieve. She’s an encouragement of the beauty that God can accomplish through us if we are willing vessels of His hands.
Throughout my years in the public school system, I have noticed that many teenagers hate their moms, don’t have one, or simply just don’t care. I am constantly reminded of how richly God has blessed me with you for a mother. You have been a pillar of strength for me during the struggles of growing up. Whether it was the hurtful things said to me in junior high, the confusion of adolescence, or just my latest project at school, you were there to listen, offer advice, and help me in any way possible. I know for a fact that I would not be the student that I am with the grades that I have if it were not for you, your encouragement, and your help. I know that you were the one who gave me the push when I was procrastinating, the one to listen and comfort without saying “I told you so” when I suddenly realized my paper was due in a few days and I hadn’t even picked a topic. Thank you for your understanding through my high school years as I strove to find the independence of becoming a young woman. You have allowed me the freedom to make my own choices, whether or not they were wise, and been there to correct me or comfort me when necessary. You have also been there to convict me when my life was not meeting God’s standards. I appreciate the reprimands and advice that you have given me, whether or not I seemed to at the time.
Most importantly, I thank God for His wisdom in giving me a loving Christian home to grow up in. You have been an example to me in your dedication to Christ and your discipline. You have convicted me countless times when I would walk past your bedroom to see you doing your morning devotions, which I had managed to forget that morning. Your prayer life has been an example to me also. I can’t count the times that I have heard you tell someone that you’ve been praying for them, especially me. I am humbled with the memory of your strength and reliance on God during Dad’s two brain tumors and all of the added worries and pains that came with them. Your commitment to your marriage, position as a mother, and relationship with God are a wonderful example to me, which I will strive to live up to in my own life.
I praise God for the upbringing I have had. You and Dad have raised me to be an obedient, respectful, and respectable girl with God at the center of my life. Thank you. I know there have been so many times when people have approached you and Dad and asked you what in the world you did to raise such wonderful daughters. I also know that your response has been, “It’s not us, it’s God. We’re just willing vessels.” Mom, I’m here today to say thanks for being a willing vessel. I love you, Mom!
The reality is, this letter of tribute applies to both of my parents. And as I look back and read this tribute, I laugh, because it sounds like my sisters and I were perfect little angels, and we weren’t! However, I know that God honored the faithfulness of my parents as they followed Him and did their best to raise us in Him. That encourages me today, as my husband and I do our best to follow God and raise our children in Him – may we always be willing vessels in His hands in our family and in our church family as well.
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