What does Scripture say will make Mama happy?
The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him. Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice. (Proverbs 23:24–25)
Righteous children. They bring us great joy and gladness. That’s why we describe them as our pride and joy. We boast in them, and we should, because such boasting is boasting in the Lord.
This joy begins right away, at the baby’s birth, and it continues at every stage, all the way to adulthood and beyond. Our delight grows as our children grow. Better than any retirement fund, this rejoicing compounds with interest. So by the time our children have families of their own, our gladness has extended to the next generation.
How the Father Delights in His Son
We see this gladness pictured for us by God the Father when he rejoices at Jesus’s baptism and again at the transfiguration:
And behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)
He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (Matthew 17:5)
“The central purpose of parental discipline is to restore the joy of the relationship.”
Pay close attention to how God delights in his own Son: He identifies with Jesus (this is my Son), he expresses his love for Jesus (my beloved Son), and he praises Jesus (in whom I am well pleased).
What a wonderful example this is for us. We identify with our children, we express our love for them, and we tell the world how much they please us. We beam over our children, and they know we do. We want our children to grow up in an atmosphere of parental pleasure and joy. They please us in the cradle, they delight us as they learn to read and write, and we love them as they leave to marry and start their own families. When something disrupts this fellowship, we are eager to restore it. That is the central purpose of parental discipline: restoring the joy of the relationship by means of repentance and forgiveness.
Where to Start Godly Parenting
But how does this attitude of delighting in our children come to fruition? How do we get there? This may not be describing how you feel about your own children. In fact, you may have never thought about the goal of bringing up your children to be wise and righteous. So now what? Where do you start?
1. Love God Supremely
First, remember that a godly Christian mom will be, by definition, a godly Christian woman. All the how-to books in the world cannot make you into an amazing mom. And really, that shouldn’t be the goal. You should want to be a godly mom, a God-fearing mom, a mom who loves God more than you love the children he has given you.
Of course, you can’t expect to be that kind of woman apart from the grace and goodness of God. And you must be serious about being a faithful, obedient Christian woman. This means that you are a woman of the word, and a woman of prayer. You obey God. You seek forgiveness. You do not harbor bitterness or resentment. If the Bible says it, you believe it, and you do it. All of it. I know this sounds simple, and I know it is hard to do. But God gives grace: both the grace to obey, as well as the grace of forgiveness when we don’t obey.
Sin is not going to keep you from being a good Christian mom; unrepentant sin will.
2. Respect and Obey Your Husband
“Sin is not going to keep you from being a good Christian mom; unrepentant sin will.”
Second, remember that by respecting and obeying your husband, you are giving your children a godly example of biblical marriage. This is a tremendous advantage that builds loyalty and love in the family like nothing else.
Children by nature look up to and admire their father. Cut with the grain. Show them how to respect and admire their father. This will give them tremendous security. Don’t let them hear you criticize and scold your husband. They will feel ashamed and confused. Have your “discussions” or disagreements out of the children’s hearing. Be quick to listen, quick to put things right. Make a practice of treating your husband with honor and love and courtesy, just like you promised at your wedding. Let the children hear you admiring their father. After all, you married him!
3. Remember, You Are Building
Third, think long-term. Babies and toddlers are cute, but anticipate the joy of their teenage years. Don’t give way to sentimentalism. You are growing these children up to be faithful Christian adults. Remember, you are building. All this teaching, training, praying, disciplining, and feeding has a much bigger goal in mind. Acorns are cute, but we look forward to the powerful oak trees.
Respect your children as you would your sisters and brothers in Christ. Someday you will be learning from them. You won’t be a coach, but in the bleachers cheering them on. Look forward to that day.
4. Raise Your Children to Leave You
Finally, remember that your children are loaned to you from your Father in heaven. Do not be overly possessive of them. Bring them up to leave you.
“Your children are loaned to you from your Father in heaven. Bring them up to leave you.”
Bring them up to know the most important thing is to love God and obey his commands. In all your discipline and teaching, keep that foremost. When you teach your children to obey their mother and father, you are teaching them to obey God. Make sure they see this and internalize it. Never grow tired of saying the same things. Do not grow weary in doing good (Galatians 6:9).
Cultivate joy, pleasure, and delight in your children because they know, fear, and please God. Tell them often how happy you are with them, and God will increase your joy and theirs.