09 May 2012

Honoring and Encouraging Mothers

Honoring and Encouraging Mothers
My mother Shirley Milner and I
I returned from travels in Haiti in April of this year. It confirmed that no matter where we live, there is a universal language of a mother—“love”. A mother is a treasured vessel and she is the reason for the existence of all human kind. From her womb, greatness was and is born. In her, we find compassion, wisdom, strength, and a continuance of generations. When I reminisce of my mother, I recall how she helped me grow into the wife and mother that I am today. I remember her humility, stern words and how she also encouraged and supported my dreams. Her greatest lesson was her transparency in allowing me to see her triumphs and failures but how she trusted God through it all. Today, I find my tenacity, fortitude, and stick-to-itiveness in life from her. Her radiance and wisdom is still teaching even in her 70th hour.

As we approach mother’s day, let’s honor the many mothers across the world. Despite the cards they were dealt or the obstacles faced- perseverance and courage enables them to raise, teach, support, and continue to empower generations to come! This honor is bestowed upon all mothers whether maternal or spiritual. Since I am sharing with mothers, daughters, wives, and women, I will superimpose Proverbs 31:10-31 as the ideal description of a woman or mother of strength. It says: 

10 Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies 11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good and not evil All the days of her life. 13 She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar. 15 She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants. 16 She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard. 17 She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms. 18 She perceives that her merchandise is good, And her lamp does not go out by night. 19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle. 20 She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, For all her household is clothed with scarlet. 22 She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants. 25 Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come. 26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness. 27 She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: 29 "Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all." 30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates. (New King James Version)

Undoubtedly, no mother or woman has reached this ideal height of the Proverbs 31 image and this is not a reality for most mothers. However, it is a reality of what God can do through a woman of strength and character who judges righteously, pleads the cause of the poor, and fears the Lord. Though mothers may not do all that is outlined in this scripture, our plates are surely filled with various duties, obligations, ministry, and responsibilities.

In all that mothers do, it is natural that she will become overwhelmed and exhausted, feel insufficient, want to give up, have doubts about raising her children, and sometimes wonder “how will I make it?” So not only do I want to honor mothers but I want to encourage also.
It’s in times of uncertainty and exhaustion, God steps in and gives mothers what we need to continue in the journey and finish the course with victory. This is where the fighter rises up and doesn’t allow the enemy to kill, steal, and destroy. God gives us principles in His word to assure that we maintain our strength and gain what we need to continue the course, but we must put principles into practice. As a wife, mother, and minister, the challenges of life and ministry caused me to suffer a physical and emotional breakdown a few years ago. It was then that I changed my lifestyle and began a new regimen of practices in my life, and I want to share these life practices with you in hopes that balance will come if there is any imbalance. 

1. Rest and get physically refreshed often
2. Eat a balance diet
3. Exercise regularly
4. Recover Your Emotions
5. Laugh
6. Replenish yourself spiritually
7. Connect with other sisters in the body

Sometimes our emotions can be all over the place, so we must find solitude and get in a quiet place. Time by yourself gives you inner space in which to sift, judge, and integrate the past while you synthesize your life and evaluate where you are and visualize the path that God has ahead. Practicing these principles can help with self-refinement and assist in overcoming fears and anxieties. Additionally, it allows you to put things in perspective and become content while stretching beyond your comfort zone and move into territory that is balanced. 

I believe these principles are important in staying and becoming that virtuous mother/woman who is not overwhelmed and unfocused. When we are grounded spiritually, we can ask God to help us physically and emotionally. Then, God gives the refreshing, insight, strength, directives, encouragement, and whatever we need to maintain our virtue and honor Him in the process. There are many women/mothers who practiced these principles and did great things for God such as Hannah, Ruth, Esther, and Deborah to name a few. I honor all mothers and say “arise mothers of kingdom and do what is required physically, emotionally, and spiritually so you can have the virtue of the Proverbs 31 woman to continue to give life”.