Proverbs 31:28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.
Proverbs 31:28 is my prayer. I would love for my husband and children to rise up and call me blessed but the truth is, “blessed” is probably not the first thing that comes to their minds on some days.
We’ve probably all heard the saying, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” It’s cute and we chuckle when we say it, but there is so much truth there. As the mother, we tend to set the tone for our home. Whether we work from home, work outside of the home, or are homemakers, we have a valuable role in our families; very often, we act as the thermostat.
Courtney tells us in Women Living Well that “…all women have a sphere of influence, whether it’s with their husbands, children, friends, coworkers, or within their church.” We don’t have to try to be women of influence, we just are. That can be wildly intimidating if we let it be.
I have swung on both sides of the pendulum: I have tried so hard to meet all expectations of a Mother of Influence that I have worked myself into a frenzy and ended up doing exactly the opposite of what I intended. I was frazzled and frustrated. On the other hand, if I am not intentional with the kind of influence I am on my family and I allow my emotions to lead the charge, my children pick up on that as well–and they emulate it!
What I am learning, and what I think Women Living Well exemplifies so beautifully, is that if I prioritize God first, my influence will be what it should be. If my husband and my children see me actively seeking God with my whole heart, see me studying God’s Word, and praying regularly, I am setting a tone and an expectation.
So often, I have compared myself to the Proverbs 31 Woman and felt as though I fell fantastically short. I don’t rise at dawn, I don’t sew, and I don’t purchase land that I have carefully considered. But, God has created me with certain gifts and talents that I can use and ways that I can serve my family. So often, I fear we hold ourselves up to some standard, whether it’s the Proverbs 31 Woman (a woman of noble character to be sure) or to other women in our lives who seem to have it all together. What we need to be doing is holding up Christ as our example.
While certain things we do can be wonderful and enjoyed by our families, truly the greatest and best example we can set is to love Christ with all that we are. We must live a life of faith worthy of the calling of Jesus Christ and allow that to influence our families (Ephesians 4:1). When we love Christ and seek to know Him better every day, we will love our husbands and our children better. We will love our friends and others in our sphere of influence more fully and sincerely. When our children are grown, they may have memories of freshly washed sheets and scrubbed floors (which are important to me as a homemaker), but I am confident that their greatest, most treasured memories will be of the time we spent with them, of the prayers we prayed with and for them, and of the attitude we carried regularly.
Christ was unhurried in His travels and His interactions with people. He sat down and shared meals with them, He listened to them, and He intentionally spent time with them. In Luke 10: 38-42 we see Jesus at the home of Mary and Martha, sisters who were both excited to have Jesus at their home. While Mary sat at Christ’s feet, soaking in His every Word, Martha “was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.” She even cried out to Jesus, asking that He tell Mary to help. Jesus gently explained to her that Mary chose the most important thing: To spend time with Him. I have heard Him whisper that to my soul many times. Frequently I get caught up in the everyday of taking care of my family and forget that the best way to serve those I love is by serving Jesus first.
Being an Influential Mother is not about what you do as much as it is about who you serve first. Loving Jesus and striving to serve Him every day is the greatest influence I can offer my family.
Mandy is a work-from-home wife and mom of 6 children ages 2-9 yrs. She and her husband Joe live in the Pittsburgh, PA area where they homeschool their 3 oldest. In addition, she acts as the coordinator for her local MOPS chapter and teaches preschoolers in Sunday School at her church. Mandy has felt a calling to the ministry of women– and moms in particular– since she started blogging in 2009 at www.SuburbanStereotype.com and later in 2012, with five other women, as the founder of www.DeliberateWomen.org, and she also contributes to www.FruitfulFamiles.com. The sense of community she discovered when joining the “mommy blogging” world was amazing and she envisions creating that same sense of community and acceptance in her writing and during speaking opportunities. Mandy feels that now is the time to step forward boldly in faith and demonstrate a life of love and purpose– and how that looks in everyday life as a wife and mom. It is her goal to be real and transparent–and break the cycle of Christians hiding their struggles so that they will look the part of ‘good Christians’– and allow others to see her imperfect life so that they will gain encouragement and acceptance for their own.
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