The Hand that Rocks the Cradle (A Devotional)
by: Dave Frett of Safe Families for Children – Virginia. You can follow Dave and the Safe Families for Children team at https://safefamiliesofvirginia.blogspot.com.
“About this time, a man and woman from the tribe of Levi got married. The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She saw that he was a special baby and kept him hidden for three months. But when she could no longer hide him, she got a basket made of papyrus reeds and waterproofed it with tar and pitch. She put the baby in the basket and laid it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile River. Then the baby’s sister approached the princess. “Should I go and find one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?” she asked. “Yes, do!” the princess replied. So the girl went and called the baby’s mother. “Take this baby and nurse him for me,” the princess told the baby’s mother. “I will pay you for your help.” So the woman took her baby home and nursed him. Exodus 2:1-3, 7-9.
The significance of mothers has been greatly diminished in our culture over the last fifty years. In fact, the tremendous value and blessing of motherhood has been lessened, and in many cases, is looked down upon; yet, there is no more crucial and impactful role than that of a mother. Research asserts that the first five years of a child’s life are specifically important in the development of the child’s brain, with the first three years being the most critical in shaping the child’s brain design. That being said, while all the years of a child’s development are imperative, the first of these years are the most impressionable; therefore, who better to equip the child with biblical values than the very mother to whom God has given this child.
Throughout history the level of influence that mothers have had on their children has been astounding. Quite possibly one of the most influential mothers that many have never even heard about was Monica, the mother of Augustine. This profound man of early Church history can trace his spiritual fortitude to the impact that his mother exhibited. In an age where women were more to be seen than heard, this mother was willing to expose herself to the possibility of blowback from society and authority for the sake of equipping her son with the qualities and beliefs that would propel him in life. While Augustine was not the only child of Monica, she treated and prepared him as if he were her only heir. Monica sacrificed for many years to send Augustine to the very best schools, worked in wondrous, ‘out of the box’ way to advance his career, and even protected him from a dismal and damaging prospective marriage. More importantly though, she taught her son about Christ and focused his attention and energy on furthering His kingdom. Even as Augustine would temporarily turn his back on the faith of his childhood, he would later recount that the greatest difference maker was that of a praying mother. In fact, Augustine noted how his mother had wept more for his perceived spiritual death than most mothers weep for the physical death of their children. It was not till years later after hundreds of thousands of hours before God in prayer with tears rolling down her face, would Augustine repent and return, embracing with fervor his own personal faith.
Mothers have a unique and special bond with their children that fathers can only dream of or attempt to manufacture. Even though society has changed drastically in the last 60 years, attempting to minimize the value of the family as a whole, and more specifically working to devalue the significance a mother has in her children’s lives, the Bible reinforces how irreplaceable is the example and training of a mother.
While fathers are called and prepared to teach children valuable principles and lessons, mothers often teach those ‘soft skills’ that are unnatural to most men. Mothers model empathy, humility, compassion, and so many real life attributes of Jesus through the way they engage with others; and while not necessarily understanding or realizing the impact they are creating, the eyes of these youngsters are nonetheless observing and replicating their behaviors. Mothers are much more inclined to display mercy than their counterpart of fathers. More so, it is uncommon for a mother to turn away her child or to repay a wrong for a wrong. Isaiah expressed it this way, “Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne?” (Isa. 49:15). In fact, when it comes to God teaching us of His compassion, it is not coincidental that He elicits mothers as the illustration and not fathers.
One of the most preached on and significant examples of a mother’s influence and impact is found in II Timothy 1 where Paul reflects on, “I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you” (vs. 5). Godly mothers have the ability to teach their children the faith of God’s Word in the small everyday actions of the early, impressionable years that will lead them through the pathway of life. Both in the valleys as well as on the mountaintops, the personal faith of the mother is exhibited and passed along.
May mothers today never forget their value, influence and impact on the next generation. Always remember, the hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world. How will you impact the world by the way you influence your children? Use the time wisely – for there’s not much and it spends quickly.