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What Mothers Need
~ A Message for Dads on Mother's Day

Have you ever noticed how God has given mother special abilities? For instance, He gave them built-in lie detectors - they can cross-examine better than the best lawyers! And everybody knows mothers are equipped with eyes in the backs of their heads - as well as super-sensitive hearing.

Mom's Job - Difficult
God gives moms special abilities, because their job is so difficult and so important. Whether they're stay-at-home moms or employed outside the home, whether single moms or step- moms, mothering is hard work.
One mom got tired of people thinking she had an easy life so she wrote this job description:

"I'm a wife, friend, confidante, adviser, lover, referee, housekeeper, laundress, chauffeur, interior decorator, gardener, painter, dog groomer, manicurist, barber, seamstress, manager, financial planner, secretary, teacher, disciplinarian, entertainer, psychoanalyst, nurse, public relations expert, dietitian, chef, fashion coordinator, family letter writer, travel agent, speech therapist, plumber and auto maintenance expert. In all of this I am also supposed to be cheerful and radiant."

That's a lot of stuff! Imagine a "help wanted" ad for the position of mother: "Wanted: Someone to do all the tasks listed above, plus, be on call 24 hours a day, with no days off, no sick leave, no pay package and no pension. Must have infinite patience, top-flight nurturing skills, boundless energy, and inexhaustible love." That's a very difficult assignment!

Mom's Job - Important

God gives mothers special abilities because their job is so important. Mothers are cutting-edge leaders in human-development. They are moulders of human beings. The nurturing they provide, love they offer, encouragement they bestow, teaching they do, dreams they instill, values they impress - all are critical to the future of our world.

The world's high achievers point to their moms as being key influencers in their lives. Lincoln said: "God bless my mother. All that I am, or ever hope to be, I owe to her." Edison said, "My mother was the making of me." Napoleon wrote: "The future destiny of the child is always the work of the mother." Mothers make a significant contribution to parenting.

Mom's Needs - Relevant

Let's look at six basic needs of mothers identified in a survey of mothers of pre-school children. Moms will agree that they apply to all moms.

1. The Need For Significance
Mothers often ask, "Does mothering really matter, am I really making a difference?" Because society sends signals that mothering doesn't matter, moms need to hear that what they're doing is important.

Mothers play a critical role in the emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual development of their children. Mothering matters because it is the pivotal role in society. It's a calling, a responsibility, and an honor! Moms have every reason to feel good about who they are and what they do.

A mother's job is even more important, since the walls that protected children in the past are crumbling: walls of community, family, extended family and local church. So God says to mothers, "Love your children as I love you." He's the great example of unconditional love. He loves us simply for who we are - His children. We did nothing to earn His love, and can do nothing to keep it. Even when we aren't worthy of His love, it remains.

What mothers do is important, but real significance does not come from what we do but who we are, which leads to the next basic need.

2. The Need For Identity
When moms ask, "Who am I, really?" they are expressing loss of identity. They may see themselves as extensions of their children. They may feel that they do not exist except as someone who meets the needs of others.

As fathers we should help our wives understand that their identity and value as a person extends beyond the role of motherhood; that they are unique individuals who are prized and valued for who God made them to be. The Bible meets the need for identity. God says we are unique and fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps.139:14). In fact, we were created in the very image of God almighty, and He loves us unconditionally. That gives moms value, purpose and identity. God doesn't love them for how good they are as moms; He loves them because of who they are.

3. The Need For Intimacy
Mothers said they have a fundamental desire to be understood and accepted for who they are. This is a huge need, especially for mothers of pre-school children. Often, their biggest struggle is with loneliness. They desire to have intimate, grace-filled relationships to sustain them.

4. The Need For Instruction
Most women come to mothering ignorant of what it means to mother their children. Not only that, but during the early stages of mothering, they also lack information on how to manage their time, how to stay on top of the finances, and how to understand their value and identity as mothers.

Mothers need input from other godly moms who can share their insights. Whatever the problem, another mother has already gone through it. Tap into their knowledge and experience to make the road a little bit easier.

God has the answer here too. The Bible is full of wisdom, insights and practical principles for mothering. It's a lamp to illuminate your pathways (Ps. 119:105).

5. The Need For Help
Someone needs to be a lifeline to mothers who feel like they're sinking under the weight of their responsibilities. The problem is that most moms shrink from even asking for assistance, afraid that asking is admitting failure. Or they compare themselves to moms who appear to be making it on their own, and they feel guilty for wanting assistance themselves. We have to offer to help in specific, sensitive, non-threatening ways. We need to become part of a network of helpers. It's wrong to put all the pressure on moms. God is always there to help. Paul wrote, "1 can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." And God told him, "My grace is sufficient for you" (Phil. 4:13; 2 Cor. 12:8). God's helping. We should too.

6. The Need For Hope
Perhaps the most important basic need of mothers is for hope, because sometimes it seems there isn't any. At those desperate moments, she needs hope. God can give her the hope of heaven. He can give mom hope when everything seems hopeless, and He can be a constant source of encouragement, strength, wisdom and guidance in the daily adventure of motherhood. God loves mothers with an everlasting love and sees them as significant and unique.

So trust Him implicitly for each day, love Him as only a mother can. As you follow God, your children will follow you. Seeing God meeting your needs will be the greatest life-lesson that you can teach your children.

What Others Should Do

Fathers, children, friends, brothers, sisters, parents, the local church, and the community all need to encourage and support mothers. We should think about ways to contribute to meeting these six specific needs of the mothers around us. And then we should do something!

Be Encouraged.

**********************Letter # 17 (11. 5. 2003)*******************

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