If you have been blessed to be called “mom”, then you probably understand the joys and the trials that come with this special title. But how can we be godly mothers pointing our children to God and being an example of how to love and serve God?
Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a model to moms even today. So let’s take a look at some characteristics of a godly mother as we examine the life of Mary.
1. Mary Humbly Trusted God
Mary was a young, teenaged virgin when an angel appeared to her announcing she would birth the Son of God: “Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God’” (Luke 1:30). Mary had grown up hearing stories about how the Messiah would come and rescue the Jewish people from their enemies. She looked forward to His coming.
But I wonder if she imagined in her wildest dreams that she would play a direct role in the fulfillment of this promise. And even though the angel’s news probably surprised her, and she most likely felt some apprehension (if not fear) about his message, Mary responded in faith: “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
Like Mary, mothers need to trust God even when life takes unexpected turns or we don’t understand what God is doing or why. Mary knew that God’s ways and thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9), so He could be trusted no matter what.
2. Mary Praised God
When God invited Mary to be a part of His rescue plan for Israel, she was overjoyed. She praised God and broke out in song! “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name” (Luke 1:46-49).
Even though Mary didn’t have all the answers, she knew that God did, so she praised and thanked Him for His goodness to her and for keeping His promises to His people. As mothers, we can do the same: praise God and exalt Him for what He’s done, what He’s doing, and what He will do. This keeps our focus on Him as the answer to all life’s challenges.
3. Mary Prayed
After Jesus rose to life and ascended to heaven, the disciples weren’t sure what was next, but they obeyed Him by waiting in Jerusalem for the Promise of the Father (Acts 1:4). Mary was among the believers who waited as Jesus commanded: “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers” (Acts 1:14).
Mary could have been at home mourning the departure of her Son, but instead, she believed that He was going to do incredible things in the lives of the believers. She didn’t want to miss what God was going to do next, so she prayed and sought God with the rest of Jesus’ followers. Like Mary, mothers need to pray and seek God for His presence, His will, and His hand on their families. Here’s a morning prayer for your family.
4. Mary Treasured Special Moments
Sometimes life can get so crazy that we forget to stop and treasure the special moments. But Mary made a special point of doing this. Shortly after Jesus’ birth, angels announced to some shepherds that the Savior had been born. After they saw the baby, they were so excited about it that they told everyone what they had witnessed.
“And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:18-19). Even though Mary had a lot going on, she took the time to reflect on God’s blessings, provision and goodness, and moms today should make a point to do this as well.
5. Mary Supported her Son During Trials
Mary wasn’t absent during her Son’s most difficult days (trials, accusations, mistreatment and judgment). It might have been easier to hide from it all, distancing herself from the pain. But instead, she was with Him until the end: “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother” (John 19:25).
As godly mothers, we must embrace even the difficult things for the sake of our children. When our child comes home and shares he’s been mistreated or she’s dealing with a difficult situation, we need to comfort them, of course. And then sometimes we need to give them godly guidance how to handle the challenging situation, sometimes we need to intervene on their behalf, and sometimes we just need to listen and pray. We can’t shrink back in denial or fear; our kids need us to be present and full of faith during difficulties.
6. Mary Did What was Right
When the angel first appeared to Mary to tell her she was chosen of God to be Messiah’s mother, the angel said that Mary had found favor with God. How did she do that? She did what was right; she followed God’s ways. In Luke 2:22-24, we read about how Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple in order to follow the law God had given the Jews. They offered a sacrifice to God as they dedicated Jesus to Him.
Likewise, as godly mothers, we must strive to do what is right in God’s eyes so that we can be an example to our children. We won’t get it right every time, but that’s okay. And sometimes it will cost us to do the right thing, but it’s worth it. Our kids need to see that no matter what it takes, loving, serving, and following God is the right thing to do.
7. Mary Made Mistakes
Have you ever lost your child? Even for a brief moment, you didn’t know where they were? Or maybe as a child you got lost for a while. It’s terrifying, right? Mary was as human as you and I, and she lost Jesus for three days! So whose fault was it? Was it Jesus’s fault for not staying with the family? Or was it Mary and Joseph’s fault for assuming He was with the group when they left Jerusalem?
When they finally found Jesus (in the Temple), “his mother said to Him, ’Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.’ And He said to them, ‘Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’ But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them” (Luke 2:48-50).
Mary should have known where Jesus was, but she didn’t. She should have realized that He was missing sooner, but she didn’t. Christian moms will make mistakes too; we are human. Letting our children see how we make mistakes, apologizing, and learning from our errors are some of the best lessons we can teach them.
Perhaps you are reading this and thinking that you couldn’t possibly be as good a mother as Mary was. Or perhaps you are thinking of how you would have loved to have a mother like Mary, but didn’t. Well the good news is that the story doesn’t finish with Mary, but with her Son, Jesus. Jesus’ death on the cross gives us the power of forgiveness—forgiveness for our own failures, and the ability to forgive those who have wronged us. What’s more, Jesus’ death paved the way for the Holy Spirit to come and live in us and empower us to change and do better next time.
This Mothers’ Day, ask God to forgive you and change you so that you can follow Mary’s example as a kind and loving mother.