It has been said moms are the architects of the next generation. There is no other occupation that influences the culture as powerfully as motherhood. God has called you to this ministry of motherhood and has provided tools to help you succeed. (Rhonda Stoppe)
The words of King Lemuel, the strong advice his mother gave him:
“Oh, son of mine, what can you be thinking of! Child whom I bore! The son I dedicated to God! Don’t dissipate your virility on fortune-hunting women, promiscuous women who shipwreck leaders
(Proverbs 31:1-2, The Message).”
When it comes to raising sons, moms matter. The Bible tells just how much they matter. Take, for instance, young Timothy. His most tender of years were in the hands of his mother Eunice and grandmother Lois. Timothy was homeschooled not only into becoming educated but in becoming a strong man of faith. These two Christian maternal figures raised young toddler Timothy by exposing him to the biblical truths of Christ and nurturing his faith into a mature Christian man.
But Eunice and Lois are not the only moms in the Bible whose legacy made a gospel difference in the lives of their sons. In fact, long before in the Old Testament, Proverbs 31 is the record of a mother who pens a beautiful poem that pictures the woman of godly strength. From her inspired mouth, the famous Proverbs 31 chapter is born. She dedicates it to her son, King Lemuel.
As she poetically articulates her charge, she not only composes a poem that epitomizes holy womanhood, but she also boldly addresses her son’s sexual purity and the gospel-centered passionate love, appreciation, and praise for the godly woman she prayed he’d eventually wed. It is a magnificent poem carrying divinely inspired words meant to arouse and fuel her son’s most intimate and pure love for his future wife. This faithful mother pens her seasoned advice, which was a biblical treasure chest of godly jewels—an oracle. The godliest inheritance she could offer to her son.
What comes to mind when you hear Proverbs 31? Far too often we treat this chapter like some sort of initiation into a Christian movement of godly womanhood—a spiritual ladder of the picture-perfect wife. Such an approach often leads women into a hopeless self-imprisonment of personal inadequacies and failures. But what if I told you that Proverbs 31 is just as much about virtuous men and godly marriages as it is about faithful women? Would you be able to open the text up and study it for its broader lessons and tips given to moms as to how to raise virtuous, honorable, loving men of God?
My Little Sons Eyes—The Special Gift of Beholding
“Mommy, I love you! You make me happy!” I heard his giggly voice one Sunday morning. In my frantic routine to get ready for church, I didn’t even notice his little body by my side, eyes locked on me dearly. His gaze is cheerful and reassuring. I smiled big at his little face all lit up by now. Obviously, his love confession made me tear up. He’s our son who came to us from an orphanage from the other side of the world. His tiny voice thundered in my heart a heartfelt joy, a true testament to God’s compassion on us all. He’s been watching me ever since we brought him home at age 2. At first, it must have been sheer curiosity of the unknown, but somewhere down the road, his sight turned into love for me.
Lemuel’s mother has taught me to make the most of my son’s sight. Through her verses, she has challenged me to give him something and someone to behold. “Her children arise and call her blessed,” she writes (28a). For children to grow up and call their mother “blessed”, they must have their eyes wide open to witness their mother in what she is and does. The Lord places each mother in the sight of her sons to be the visible carrier of God’s mercies and gospel defined traits. Her son is to learn by watching.
The culmination of beholding their mother’s faith in action is a mouth full of praises. Words of ode worth more than her resume, gifts, and daily battles. Lemuel’s mother knows that the description in Proverbs 31 was never meant to point to any one woman’s own strength, but rather to the very God women serve through their roles and giftings.
When grown children bestow “blessed” on their mother, like a golden crown on the dignified head of a queen, they acknowledge a faithful woman they’ve seen over the years serving her loving God. In the house and in the community. At schools and in the church. On trips and family outings. Countless seemingly menial acts of selfless serving and tedious chores. Maternal acts that were done in the name of the Lord she’s serving. And this is how Proverbs 31 should be read, with a spotlight on God, the One empowering each Christian woman to live out her faith daily, in practical ways.
Mother, if you have a son in your home, he is watching you. Regardless if you feel worthy of it or not, God made you so fascinating that the sight of your son is drawn on you. You are the first woman his eyes and heart are learning to behold. Godly womanhood that his eyes follow, admire, watch. The Lord has given us mothers, the gift of being held in our sons’ gaze not because we are that glorious, but because we have something even more glorious to which to point them: the God every faithful woman serves. As Christian mothers, we’ve been given the privilege not only to live out for them such faith and point them to Jesus, but also to train them to wisely discern, choose, and deeply love a wife after God’s own heart.
There is no doubt in my mind that my son and I have a special bond, a gift from heaven that allows us to connect in a very special way. The Lord gave our little sons not only eyes to gaze but also hearts to behold the precious deposit of godly womanhood and manhood.