In the last two years I have gained a great appreciation for motherhood. As a single parent you soon learn, you can’t do it all. Earn a living working a full time job, especially ministry. Keep up with the household chores. For me to rear two very active children by myself was a challenge. And even find time for your own personal needs. One quickly learns to prioritize your needs!
Dads have a very special role in the life of the family, but mothers too have a special role, that cannot be filled by the father. I can be there for Brooks and Jonathan, but I can’t replace their mother. Vickie had a way of being tender and sweet, that I could never begin to fulfill. There is just a difference in the way men and women think. It doesn’t make one right and the other wrong, it is just different.
A mother was concerned about her only son going off to college. She wrote the following letter to the college president: Dear Sir: My son has been accepted for admission to your college and soon he will be leaving me. I am writing to ask that you give your personal attention to the selection of his roommate. I want to be sure that his roommate is not the kind of person who uses foul language, or tells off-color jokes, smokes, drinks, or chases after girls. I hope you will understand why I am appealing to you directly. You see, this is the first time my son will be away from home, except for his three years in the Marine Corps.
The Bible says to “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” I am amazed at the number of things that I learned from my mother. At the time I didn’t think they were important and some things I didn’t even think I would remember, but I did. Did you read in the Reader’s Digest about the bachelor who moved into his first apartment? He asked a neighbor lady who had a motherly and helpful look about how to make coffee. She gave him step by step directions. A few days later they passed in the hall and she asked how his coffee making was coming along. He said, “Well, to be truthful it went okay at first. But lately it has been really terrible. By the way, how often should I change the coffee?”
A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. As you sit and listen to the reading of this proverbs, the woman of noble character almost seems perfect. The proverbs doesn’t talk about a perfect woman, but a godly woman! It isn’t so much what the woman does that brings her praise by the writer of the proverbs, as much as the character she has.
It is because of her character that she is such a hard worker. It is her character that makes her so wise. It is her character that makes her such a giving person to her family and to the community. It is her character that makes her so well respected in the city. Character surpasses just doing good things. Character is an inward quality, by choice. We can learn what character is by observing others who have character. But to possess character, comes only by choice.
Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Billy Graham tells about the time he was on a plane and the man sitting immediately in front of him had been drinking to excess. The man became rather loud and abusive. Finally the stewardess said to him, “Sir, do you know that Billy Graham is sitting right behind you?” The man turned around and said, “I’m so glad to meet you. I went to one of your crusades and it changed my life!”
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The Christian way is not the “middle way” between extremes but the “narrow way” between precipices. Two mothers were charged with first degree murder in Miami. They left their children locked in a room and went out for a night on the town. The children got out and one of them drowned. The single mother deferred her active social life by saying that she needed a life. The difference is found in character. …but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Character comes from a deep Christian faith. A person is never really whole until they are a Christian.
How does one develop character? The famous cuckoo bird never builds its own nest. It flies around until it sees another nest with eggs in it and no mother bird around. The cuckoo quickly lands, lays its eggs there, and flies away. The thrush, whose nest has been invaded, comes back. Not being very good at arithmetic, she gets to work hatching the eggs. What happens? Four little thrushes hatch, but one large cuckoo hatches. The cuckoo is two or three times the size of the thrushes. When Mrs. Thrush brings to the nest one large, juicy worm, she finds four petite thrush mouths, one cavernous cuckoo mouth. Guess who gets the worm? A full-sized thrush ends up feeding a baby cuckoo that is three times as big as it is.
Over time, the bigger cuckoo gets bigger and bigger, and the smaller thrushes get smaller and smaller. Paul teaches in Romans 8:5-8 that spiritually speaking, you’ve got two natures in one nest. The nature that you go on feeding will grow, and the nature that you go on starving will diminish. Paul said it best, When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.