I find it strange that over 90% of the individual people written about in the Bible are men when far more women around the world pursue Jesus than their male counterparts. Godly moms are the backbone of the faith.
I’m not a mom, but there was a period of my life when my first spouse had gone to heaven and I lived as a single dad with a little girl in a city away from family.
Wake up, get ready, wake her up, get her dressed, feed her, get her to school, go to work, get her, shop, clean, chores, homework, play time, get to church, feed, bathe, council, collapse. Repeat every day. Try to exercise, eat well, and have adult relationships. Fail.
This was a fairly short period of my life, and I had a phenomenal church family supporting me with friends who would babysit and amazing mentors in my life and my daughters. And yet I still had to function as a robot most of the time. And that was with one, very good child.
That’s what moms are doing every day. For years. With multiple kids. Alone.
Often there’s a dad in home who helps with various roles, but unfortunately the LEAST fulfilled role in the home for dads is that of spiritual leader. Truly, Godly moms are the backbone of the faith. But when there’s a Godly mom AND dad, the home absolutely thrives.
This post is going to speak moms who are managing alone, and I’ll do it in two categories:
If your a single mom: First off I don’t know how you even have time to read this. You’re amazing, and there’s no judgment here for whatever got you into that circumstance. You know it’s not ideal, but it is what it is.
Your kids need godly men in their lives. You need godly men in your lives. You, above all people, need a massive spiritual support system. Here is my suggestion (full of grace, speaking in the ideal): commit to regularly being a part of as many of the church meetings as you can a week. Get your kids immeshed in the children’s ministry, and become a volunteer in ONE children’s ministry program. I know it sounds like I just added an elephant to your plate, but hear me out: You and your kids don’t need programs, you need people (the right people). And this pattern might be hard at the beginning, but over the long run it WILL make your load lighter. You don’t just want to drop them at the program and take a break (although you really need it) because you want to hear what they are being taught, reinforce it, get to know the godly people investing in their lives, serve Jesus, and share your life with them. You want to point out to your kids who the godly men are, what the great qualities are in their lives, and what practices will help instill those qualities (your boys AND girls need to see and understand these things). And then you want to trust the ministry to care for your kids at other times while you get a group of other adults to enrich and support you. Now, with a little time in this pattern, you’ve just gained your support group. You need a free night, you’ve got trusted friends to babysit. Something breaks in your home or car, you’ve got loving people to help. You meet a guy you’re interested in, you’ve got the safety net of a community to help evaluate him and protect you.
That’s it, that’s my whole advice. I’m praying for you!
For married women with passive husbands: I know there are various levels of passivity in men. Some are totally passive, some are just spiritually passive. I’ll try to give council that helps in all of the gradients.
- Pray without ceasing: The primary problem is a heart problem. Give it to the father, ask Him to do what you can’t. Be specific, but in the process be thankful. Spend more time praising God for who your husband is than who he isn’t.
- Be specific without nagging: Nobody thinks of everything, and nobody’s good at everything. This is especially true of every man I’ve ever met. So if you can be specific with what you’d like, and do it in a way that’s loving and affirming, it might help. Just remember you get maybe one of these a season unless your marriage is already super stable and your husband’s heart is secure and tender towards you and Jesus. So choose wisely. Sometimes you might choose something that’s NOT the biggest thing in the world, so that when they do it, you get to affirm it and fill both of your love tanks.
- Train a man like you train a dog: Last night my family was watching America’s Got Talent. Some girl came out in a pirate costume with a sword and a hyper dog. She said she wanted to win to show people what you could do with a pet using positive reinforcement. Over the next three minutes, she had this dog doing flips, jumping through hoops, and walking backwards on two legs while carrying a sword in his mouth. How’d she do it? Reward what you want to see. If your husband is passive, then he’s likely going to go deeper into his passivity if you get harsh or negative with him. So you’re going to have to be doubly active, encouraging, affirming, and rewarding the actions, attitudes, and behaviors your longing to see. Tell him “you did a great job of making me feel loved/safe/valued when you did that”. Or “Thank you, I could see our kids lighting up when you prayed for them/taught them that/etc.”. Or “Thank you, I LOVE when you invest in our kids/spiritually lead our family”. Or “when you lead our family like that it makes me want to have sex with you”. Figure out what works, then work it.
- You’re going to need to fill in the gaps by exposing your kids to godly men. As you develop relationships with them 1) guard your heart, they are NOT your husbands and not the solution to your marriage and 2) as appropriate drop these men hints on character traits you’re struggling to see built into your kids. Ask if they can help or affirm that stuff in your kids. You don’t always have to go into all of the details of what’s lacking in your home. Just give them hints of what you’re hoping to build into your boys and girls so they can be more proactive.
- As best as you can, commit to getting your kids to all of the regular church meetings. As a youth pastor, I find it impossible to disciple the teens that show up 2 Sundays and 1 Wednesday a month. Ideally, the church isn’t the primary discipler of your kids. But if there’s something lacking in the home with discipleship, it’s all the more important to make sure that they get as many reps as possible with godly mentors and peers.
This stuff is hard. But don’t lose heart. God is moving and working. He loves your family even more than you do and He’s not done yet!