Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Case for Mothers

As a mother, my job is always changing.  What my children need from me as infants changes when they are toddlers.  My toddlers needs are different from my little kids needs and my little kids needs are different from my teenagers.  What has surprised me the most are what my adult children need. 

When my children were little my job as mother was all consuming.  They needed me for everything.  I fed them, I taught them and I discipled them.  I read stories to them and prayed with them and tucked them into bed.  I thought they would be little forever and that I would spend the rest of my days wiping noses and drying tears.  Suddenly, they were big. As their world began to expand, I became their touchstone, their sounding board.  Their questions began to get "bigger" and their observations more discerning.  They didn't need my constant physical attention, however they needed much more of my emotional energy.  They needed me to see them and hear them - not what they seemed to be on the outside, but who they really were, on the inside.  They needed me to encourage them and to chastise them.  They needed me to constantly turn their hearts back to the Way.

And now I have grown children.  Maid Elizabeth and I are close - we talk about everything - hopes, dreams, disappointments.  We share our laughter as easily as we share our tears.  Master Hand Grenade, however, has taken me by surprise.  He has taught me so much about  being a mother.  Master Hand Grenade has taught me that young men need a woman in their life.  He seeks me out to talk about life's challenges and disappointments.  He wants my opinion about the qualities to look for in a wife.  He wants to know what I think about the music that he likes and the movies he watches.  Sometimes, he doesn't want my opinion at all - he just wants to talk, to vent, to connect.

And Master Hand Grenade is not alone.  Most of the young men I know, whether the sons of friends or the checkers at the grocery store, want the input, the encouragement of a woman.  A few weeks ago as Miss Serenity and I were checking out at the grocery store, the young checker (he was about 24) began talking.  He told me that this is not were he thought he would be at this point in his life.  He said that he had gone to school and had hoped he would be a mechanic somewhere but he hadn't been able to get a job.  He said he had talked to the manager at the mechanics shop across the road, but he hadn't gotten back to him.  I asked him if he has a resume (which he didn't) and encouraged him to make one.  I told him to visit the shop about once a week and enquire about a job (that would let them know that he was serious).  I told him to make sure that he did the best job he could while working at the grocery store so that his employers could give him the very best recommendation.   That young man spent about 15 minutes talking - about his life, his future, his dreams. 

Miss Serenity was a little put out.  "You are my Mom, not his!"  She stated rather vehemently.  "He can't have you!".  In that moment, I understood Master Hand Grenade a little bit better.  As a young man, he needed feminine input, counsel - just as the checker in the grocery store had.  He needed a mother. I've found that my job doesn't stop when my children are grown - it's just getting started.

As I pondered the relationship between young adult men and their mothers, I thought of King Lemuel and the prophecy of his mother.  When King Lemuel was young (probably about Master Hand Grenade's age) his mother spoke into his life.  She gave of her wisdom to encourage and direct her son.  Mothers, let us continue in our feminine duty and strengthen and encourage all of the men God has given us.

This is how I will instruct my son - as King Lemuel's mother instructed him....

The words of King Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.
What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?
Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.
Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.
Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and please the cause of the poor and needy.
Who can find a virtuous woman?  for her price is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
She perceiveth that her merchandise is good:  her candle goeth not out by night.
She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
Proverbs 31


  1. The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.

  2. This was GREAT!! My daughters and I have memorized Proverbs 31, but a funny thing, I have not used it to point my son to the kind of wife/helpmeet he needs. Thank you for the reminder, that this was originally written for a son.

  3. As a single man, I have had some strained years in relating to and communicating with my mother. Recently those strains have eased and we are able to communicate much better than we used to (we live several hours apart and have for years). I am glad to hear you have maintained your relationship with your children as they have become adults.

    As young men get married, how much of their feminine input do you think should come from their wife instead of their mother? I have heard that this transition is why it is important for a couple to leave their parent's house so they can cleave to each other. Have you prepared yourself (and them) for when Master Hand Grenade and Maid Elizabeth get married and head out on their own?

    1. Jonathan;
      One of the reasons mothers should have such input in their children's lives is so that they are able to make Godly decisions in choosing a spouse. As a mother, my role will entirely change when my children marry. Master Hand Grenade's wife will become the voice in his ear - and that is right and good. Maid Elizabeth will leave her father's house and cleave to her husband. Sir Knight and I will support and encourage our children and always point them back to God and their spouses. That is our job.

      I am prepared for my adult children to sprout their wings and fly. It is my prayer that Sir Knight and I have raised them well. We have raised them to think and to pray and to follow Christ. With great joy I will welcome my future daughters-in-law as the helpmeets of my sons. I know that my voice will be replaced by my sons wives - as it should be.

      Maid Elizabeth will be a wonderful wife. She will be her husband's wife first and her mother's daughter second (both will come after being a daughter of the King). She is ready - and I can't wait!


    2. I'm glad that you have prepared your children (and yourself) to be ready for this transition when it comes - I have seen many parents who have not been prepared for it and it made the beginning of married life harder for their kids.
      I am gladdened to see a family who is consciously thinking about where they are going and planning for the future like this. You set a good example and a hard act to follow. I pray that some day I could find a wife who has been prepared for marriage like Maid Elizabeth has been.
      God Bless & may you find quickly find Godly spouses for your children.

  4. Enola Gay, Thank you for this wonderful reminder to not forsake one of the most important jobs as a mother. I've got 3 little girls aged 4 and under, with baby #4 on the way, so I'm in the stage of being physically needed 24/7 and I get discouraged and tired from the demands of my duties. The Proverbs 31 woman is our example and she sets a high standard! Sometimes it's good to be reminded and prodded on! :) Like you and Maid Elizabeth, I cherish the memories I have of sharing dreams and hopes and opinions with my mom before I left home 8 years ago. Your daughters will remember their growing up years very fondly I'm sure! Thank you for being a good example to us in your writing and following the Titus 2 example!

  5. Enola, we've seen the same thing. We have two daughters, 26 and 24 and one son who is 21. The oldest and youngest share an apartment in a city about 40 miles away. The 24 year old moved back home after college two years ago and will be leaving again in a few weeks when she begins her life as a wife. The girls talk and text with their Mom almost hourly.

    My son is a bit of a prodigal. He and the oldest daughter both have a rather rare medical condition that amounts to a 'hidden disability' that comes (severely) and goes. Fortunately most kids essentially 'outgrow' it by age 30 and both are seeing some improvement. Because his disability was not visible from the outside, some of our church family labeled him as 'lazy', as his problems being 'all in his head', and other such hurtful things. As adults this was heartbreaking for D and I, as a teen it was beyond his young ability to cope. This attitude from those that should have been lifting him up and supporting him put him off the Way for awhile.

    From about 18 up until a few months ago he wanted very little do to the Christian life in which he was raised. He never really got 'wayword' but he was definitely disconnected. After a many months of difficult prayers on the part my wife, our extended family, some dedicated prayer warrior friends, and me, he is making his way back. His path back started as a reconnection with D (my wife, his Mom) in a way that both thrilled and surprised her. As 'Dad' I had my part too, but I really think it was the quiet strength, loving guidance, and deep connection that he got from D that helped him find a level of forgiveness for those that hurt (and are still hurting) him and his way back into a real relationship with Christ. We feel grateful, blessed, and very relieved.

    The presence of a Godly woman in a man's life at any age is a gift of incalculable value. Your sons will be blessed for all you have done.


  6. I remember myself as a younger woman. I don't know how I would have related to a mother if I'd had one at that time in my life; I do know that, a great deal of the time, what I needed and wanted from my father was very similar to what you describe young men needing from their mamas.

    You've done a good job. I'm very glad you're around for your kids, and grateful to have your musings to inform and guide me in my own journey.