Ambrose Bierce once provided this definition, “Sweater, n.: garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly.”
As we enter this season of honoring our mothers, may I remind us all of the singular tenderness and graciousness they bring to our families and churches. These unique sensitivities include the following:
- Empathy-When we want someone to share in our feelings, every child scampers to its mother.
- Thoughtfulness-Only a mother can give the attention to detail that ranges from her primary boy’s first packed lunch to an adult daughter’s wedding plans.
- Patience-The context of motherhood is not measured in work hours or weeks; it demands the best years of a woman’s life-body, mind, and soul.
- Forbearance-A mother faithfully, with superglue-like tenacity, ministers to those she knows will continue to disappoint, fail, offend, and even at times forget her.
- Hospitality-Only a mother can make not only her own family but a complete stranger feel at home with her food and every other resource at her disposal.
- Fortitude-In the ultimate irony, a mother who is most sensitive is also most able to persist in the midst of epic physical and emotional pain.
May I ask you to contrast the “strange woman” of Proverbs 7 with the “virtuous woman” of Proverbs 31. It is striking to me how many differences fill the chasm between these two female categories. There are two main ones I draw to your attention.
- The strange woman is idle and devouring youths (7:22-27); the virtuous woman is industrious and mothering youths (31:13-27).
- The strange woman is “loud and stubborn” (7:11); the virtuous woman is sensitive to the poor and needy (31:20).
There is nothing more unnatural and destructive than a hard woman. There is nothing more Godly and honorable than a soft, assertive lady who provides warm love to those in her family and ministry.
Proverbs 31: 28 declares, “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.” Why should our moms receiving such lofty blessing and praise? Our motivation is ultimately found in a mother’s spiritual sensitivities that put “the heart” in all of our relationships. As a son, I am so thankful for a Godly mother that continues to invest much prayer and encouragement into my life, family, and ministry. As a husband, I am forever indebted for the daily love and conscientious sacrifice that my wife pours into the boys and me. May the Lord truly bless our mothers and give us wisdom on how to encourage them!