Years ago when my three were very small, I remember one day in particular feeling pretty swamped. I felt like I was shoveling all day to get everything done, and then the next day the pile was back again, same size as the day before. But this morning in particular must have been a real doozy because I called my mother-in-law for a little moral support. She did not respond with the pity that I had hoped for, but (something much better) she told me a couple of things that I have never forgotten.
First she pointed out that I didnâ€™t really have it so bad. She told me a story about a missionary who was being persecuted for his faith, arrested, and hung by his feet in a cell. His wife came and fed him and ministered to him in this condition. So, in other words, she told me to quit feeling so sorry for myself, and that I didnâ€™t have near the trouble that I
thought I did.
The other thing she said was that I had three in my little congregation. What a thought! I think she called it a little Bible school. Bessie had been a missionary in Japan and had taught in a girlsâ€™ Bible school there, so she related well to that concept. (In fact, when Doug was growing up, she held Bible classes for the neighborhood kids, teaching the missionary journeys of Paul, tracing his routes on aÂ map of the Mediterranean that she had on a tripod.) It was a profound admonition from her: my children were my disciples and my work was important. I really did have a little congregation that I was to shepherd faithfully, day in and day out.
This is really what I needed to hear.The wise woman not only realizes the momentousness of what she is doing in her home, but she knows how her kids are doing, inside and out. â€œBe diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herdsâ€ (Prov. 27:23). This cannot be done if the kids are being dropped off at daycare from nine to five every day. And it canâ€™t be done if Mom is home but distracted by other things. Faithful mothers must oversee the well being of their children in every area, and this is a full-time calling.
They must see that their children are being loved and disciplined so that their emotional needs are met. They must teach by example and lead their children spiritually, showing them what love for God looks like, preparing them for worship, teaching them to pray, and reading Bible stories over and over and over again. They must oversee their childrenâ€™s intellectual development, teaching them about the world around them, and reading lots of good books to them. And of course they must attend to the physical comfort of their children, seeing that they are dressed, washed, and fed. This requires wisdom. One child may be doing well and another may be hurting. A wise mother is attending to her herd and she knows the state of her flock. She has a small congregation and God will someday ask her to give an account.