Winds of change and winds of the spirit
12/28/10 at 02:34 AM 0 Comments


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What does every mother want most? Does she not want her baby to be strong, healthy and safe from harm? Is it not that her baby will put on weight and grow? Why does she frequently check its weight? Why does she worry if it loses weight, is fretful, cries and looks ill? She knows every healthy child puts on weight. She watches her baby continually. She waits eagerly for her baby to smile, to notice her, to play, to crawl, to walk and talk. The stages of growth are so well defined that a mother watches to see if her child is normal or backward.
So much needs to be done to protect her child from disease and trauma. Immunization against whooping cough, diphtheria, polio etc, can prevent these dreadful diseases that in previous centuries were responsible for so many childhood deaths. Every mother has these concerns in common. They meet each other at clinics and coffee shops and compare the progress of their children with pride and not a little jealousy.
There are some mothers who look far ahead. They register their child at a good school. If they are not rich mothers, they take out endowment policies to finance their child's future education at a university or advanced college of further education. They want their child to have the best in life. They rigorously examine what the world has to offer their child because they want their child to have great expectations.

A Christian mother shares many of these concerns too, but she looks much further than great expectations. She not only wants her child to be strong and healthy but spiritually alive. In anticipation of this she may have her infant baptised and choose a Godfather or Godmother to watch over the child's spiritual welfare and needs. Although not a practice of the early church, Infant baptism is a symbol of God's love and grace; a Godfather or Godmother is not, but a Christian mother knows that the world into which the baby has been born is potentially dangerous, evil and sad. She does all she can to protect her child from evil influences and bad company. She wants her child to be well informed, to worship and love God and the Lord Jesus, for which reason she is prayerful, loving and holy in all that she thinks and does. She tries to set a high standard of motherhood. She disciplines her child to teach it what is right and wrong, true or false. She tries to be a good example of Christian discipleship, humbly following Christ, her Saviour and Lord. Her bookshelves are full of good books and the bible has pride of place there. What does she expect of a herself? She expects her clothes to be becoming but never immodest or designed to draw attention to her body like a loose woman. She cultivates a love of God's creation, of the hills and valleys, the mountains and plains and all God's creatures who live on them. She wants her child to see God in all that he has created.
She cultivates an expectation of life after death and of a better world in heaven. She teaches her child to pray, and to sing praise to God.

She loves her husband and is faithful to him, honouring and respecting him in all her speech and behaviour. She keeps her speech free from anger and resentment and her behaviour from impolite or unmannerly conduct. She submits to her husband's will, only without being unfaithful to the Lord Jesus Christ, for her fidelity is first of all to Christ. {Ephesians 5:22-24} Whatever her husband is like she must not betray herself, or her faithfulness to God. She is a wife but not a slave. Nor does she belong to her husband like a piece of property but being married to him she honours him without failing in her duty to God and her child, or betraying her good conscience. {Ephesians 4:15}
She is never idle or slovenly but neat and tidy, hardworking and business like, not given to dressing herself with fashionable clothes, wearing gold or silver ornaments, or having the latest hair do's which are only a vain show of vanity and excess, but as St. Peter says, 'wearing the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit.' {1Peter 3:6} Peter wisely advises wives and mothers to follow the example of the holy women of old who trusted in God, like Sarah who adorned herself with a spirit of humility and love for her husband. {1Peter 3:5}
Christian motherhood is a distinguished and elevated position in her life, a joy and trust from God and the Lord Jesus Christ who loves and cares for all his little ones.

The pattern of motherhood is not a pattern of perfection but of growing in the love and light of Christ. It is Christ's gift of faith in the possibility that children and parents can learn the very best way of life, which is to love one another. Jesus compared the true Christian life and its abundant benefits, {John 10:10} to a vine whose branches are fruitful. 'I am the vine,' he said, 'you are the branches.' {John 15:5} A Christian childhood or motherhood is not a psychology of do's and don'ts. It is a life that grows out of spiritual awareness and prayer. Christian motherhood is a partnership with Christ, through which she may grow up in him who is the head of the family. {Ephesians 4:15}
Thus a Christian mother grows with her child, learns to care for her child and her understanding of motherhood.

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