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How Does a Godly Mom Look Like?

Since becoming a mom almost 2 years ago, there have been many new “firsts,” not just involving the growth and development of my child, but also my own growth and development as a mother. Growing up in church as a young Christian woman, the virtues of being a godly mother have been repeatedly extolled. I have also been blessed to grow up in a Christian home with faithful Christian parents, and seen the real-life examples from church aunties/sisters what godly women look like.

However, with motherhood comes this interesting phenomenon called “mom-guilt” – a feeling of guilt and shame where we question if we are living up to our expectations (or the expectations of others) in being a mother, specifically in my situation, a godly Christian mother.

Although the Bible is not a parenting book per se, it does have many examples of godly people that we can learn from. There are many examples of godly mothers in the Bible, but I do think the best example would probably be from Mary the mother of Jesus. After all, she was specifically chosen by God to be the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. That, by all means, was a very special and important task. Mary was described by the angel Gabriel to be “highly favoured” and that she was “blessed among women” (Luke 1:28). Here are 3 characteristics that I have learnt from her example:

Mary’s trust in God

What really stands out to me in the first few passages in the book of Luke is Mary’s total acceptance of God’s will and her trust in God to guide her through a strange and unimaginable situation. We know that Mary was betrothed to Joseph at that point. To become pregnant out of marriage would not only mean losing her betrothed, but she would also face social disgrace and potentially death by stoning as well. Nevertheless, she did not express any hesitation or misgivings, worrying about the potential reactions of her fiancé Joseph, nor of her family or neighbours who would eventually realize that she was pregnant while unmarried. Mary’s humble submission in allowing God to use her for His purpose is truly astounding.

Being able to become a mother is truly a wondrous blessing from God. To be entrusted with the responsibility of another life is an immense yet humbling experience. Yet on this journey of motherhood, there were many times when I felt worried about the future, especially in regards to juggling the other responsibilities and commitments I had in my life, and whether my husband and I would be able to cope with our new roles as parents. I also worried about the reactions from my superiors and colleagues when I decided to take on a part-time role at work and had to actively decline or step down from other roles that I was holding.

In this aspect, I have learnt from the example of Mary, that instead of worrying about what I cannot control, I should instead choose to fully embrace this new role that God has granted to me and trust in His ability to see me through any challenges that come along with it.  

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

Mary’s diligent faith

From Luke 2:41, we learn that Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. The distance is approximately 120km, and travelling during that time would take about 5-7 days one way! Apart from having to walk on foot, we can only imagine the amount of things they would need to bring along with them, in terms of essential items like food and clothing, in order to sustain themselves during the journey. Travelling during those times would also mean exposure to the elements and even to danger (wild animals or robbers) in certain places. This is vastly different from the multiple options of travel we have available now. Despite the amount of work and planning Mary would have to undertake to get herself and her family ready for this yearly trip (because we know that usually it’s the moms who do the crazy work of packing for a trip!), she did not make excuses to skip the trip but faithfully went with Joseph every year.

We also learn from the book of Luke in Chapter 2 about the event when Jesus, at the age of 12, astounded the religious teachers in Jerusalem with His knowledge and questions. Although we do not know how much of this was divinely given knowledge, as Jesus was both God and Man, I do believe that Mary played a significant role in nurturing Jesus with the knowledge of Scripture from a young age.

The role that a mother plays in growing the faith of a child cannot be underestimated. There were times, especially when my son was just a few months old, when worship felt almost pointless at times, as not only would his sleep/feeding schedule get disrupted for the whole day, I was not able to pay any attention to worship due to lack of sleep, or because I would be trying to soothe him or attend to his needs almost all the time. During those times, I was really thankful for the help and support from my family and other church members who helped care for Joseph where they could, such that my husband and I could have a bit of a break, even to attend bible class ourselves eventually.

From Mary’s example, I have learnt that how I keep up my faith will be an example to my children. If I want my children to have a deep and unwavering faith in God, I need to demonstrate what that looks like to them. That will mean choosing the action that pleases God, instead of giving in to what I want. Of course, there will be good days and bad days (especially when baby decides to wake up multiple times on Saturday night), but knowing that so long as we have done our best to put God first, He will provide and help us (thank God for the invention of caffeine!)

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Mary’s giving of her child back to God

We do not hear much of Mary when Jesus began his ministry proper, except for one account when Jesus’ mother and brothers wanted to speak with Him as He was preaching to the multitudes. Although we do not know if Mary followed Jesus throughout His whole ministry, I’m sure as a mother she would have done her best to keep herself informed of His latest travels and His well-being. It is not known whether she was aware of the growing resentment by the religious leaders who eventually sought to kill Jesus, but nonetheless, I’m sure as any mother, she would have worries about her eldest child’s safety. Yet Mary did not hinder nor try to dissuade Jesus from going about His preaching.

Later in John 19:25, we see that Mary was present at the cross where Jesus was crucified. We cannot begin to imagine the heartbreak and anguish she probably felt at seeing her child suffering in such a cruel way. Yet she did not attempt to thwart God’s plan by asking Jesus to free Himself or create a scene to avoid Jesus’ death. By this time, Mary perhaps realized and understood what it meant for her child to be the Saviour of the world.

Like most mothers, my child’s wellbeing and happiness is a top priority. My heart breaks a little every time I hear him cry due to an injury or when he falls sick. If I had a magic wand, I would want to create a stress-free trouble-free life for him. We see our children as precious gifts that God has given to us, but sometimes we forget that ultimately our children belong to God. Remembering that our children ultimately belong to God means that we are to approach our role as parents with a God-centered-view on our children’s lives – not merely focusing on what is good for them in this physical life, but also considering what is good for their eternal life. This is especially so when in Singapore, there is so much emphasis to give our children a head-start to education and intellectual development. Do we, as Christian mothers, place an emphasis on spiritual development and making sure they are also well-educated on God’s Word?

Giving our children back to God also means encouraging them to use their lives to serve God – even when it may not be the easiest path in life to take. That may look like bringing them to help in church activities instead of going for enrichment classes, encouraging them to use their holidays to serve in mission trips, instead of taking up that internship program that may lead to higher job prospects, or taking a firm stance against overseas studies in a place where there is no local sound congregation, even if it means a placement at a less eminent institution.

1 Samuel 1:27-28 For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord.” So they worshiped the Lord there.

Although Mary may not have grappled with some of the decisional conflicts that I face as a mother in the 21st century in modern Singapore, I do think that these characteristics of hers are something that we all can broadly apply to our own context in our unique journeys as Christian mothers. Whether we be SAHMs (stay at home moms) or working part/full-time, whether we have husbands of the same faith or not, whether our children are currently little babies or teenagers on the cusp of adulthood – I believe we can all aspire to be godly mothers and be encouraged by Mary’s example!

Wishing all mothers a Happy Mother’s Day!


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