Being a mother is one of the most important roles a woman can ever have in this life, besides that of Christian and wife. Mothers have such a profound influence on their children, which will shape who they will be as adults. That is why it is important that children be raised by both parents in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Two faithful Christian parents who are in a loving marriage with one another have an increased likelihood of raising children who will grow up to be faithful Christian adults in my experience. Unfortunately, in this world that only focuses on the material and temporal aspects of this life, there is much shaming that occurs towards women who choose to be stay-at-home mothers. Women who stay at home with their children are seen by the world’s view as unmotivated, without ambition, and even lazy. This cannot be farther from the truth. That being said, what does God expect a mother with young children to do about making it in a time when the cost of living is higher than it used to be, and many families are in two-income households?
A great example of the woman that God wants mothers to be can be seen in the woman that is mentioned in the book of II Kings that is from the small village in Israel called Shunem whom the prophet Elisha regularly visited. We are not told the name of the woman of Shunem, but she is described as a “great woman” in II Kings 4:8. She was greatly loved by the prophet due to her hospitality toward him and her love of family. She was so hospitable, that she spoke to her husband about making a special room for Elisha when he came to visit her. Her husband agreed, and Elisha had his very own room in her house (II Kings 4:9-11).
The woman of Shunem is also considered a great example in God’s Eyes because she made a home for herself and her family. The father is the head of the house (Ephesians 5:23), but the mother is the keeper of the home. “The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” (Titus 2:3-5).
Another reason that the woman of Shunem is considered a great example for mothers is that she honored her work and position in life. She put taking care of her home and family before seeking out a career outside of the home. So many mothers today have little children that they throw off on babysitters so that they can pursue a job outside of the home. The role of the father is to provide for the financial and physical needs of the family, and it is the role of the mother to take care of the children and the home. Of course, both are to provide the spiritual needs of the family. The mother cannot do her job without the father doing his part, and vice versa. The woman at Shunem was there for her children in a way that only a stay at home mother can be there for her small children. A mother who works outside of the home is not there physically and emotionally for her children for 8 or 9 hours a day, for at least 5 days a week typically. This makes it a challenge for a mother to give the attention and care that children really need in the early years of their development. The world today needs more women who honor the works of wife and mother, which are the roles that God has assigned to them. Of course, this applies to mothers who have husbands to provide for them and their families. Single mothers have to be both mother and father to their children, so work outside the home is essential for survival. This situation, however, is not ideal, so if a woman who is a mother has a husband that can provide for her and her children, then she needs to be at home with her little ones!
Yet another way that the woman of Shunem is a great example of how mothers should be is her faith in God in times of crisis. Being a mother who puts her God-given role of wife and mother over her desire to seek a career outside of the home is essential. It is also essential for both men and women alike to work to remain faithful, even during challenging times. No doubt, the woman of Shunem was ecstatic when Elisha told her she would have a son! I am sure that she loved that child very much and did many wonderful things for him. On the day he passed away, the woman of Shunem did not become angry towards God, nor did she sin in any other way. Instead, she sought out her friend, Elisha, for help. Her faith in God came through in this moment, because she knew that God would help her through Elisha. God did allow Elisha to raise the boy from the dead, just as the woman of Shunem knew he would. This great woman of God also showed her faith when she was forced out of her house due to famine and returned to finding that all of her worldly goods were gone. Did she blame God for this, or become angry about the situation in which she had been placed? No! She remained faithful throughout all of the trials that she faced, which is how we all must do as well. Due to her faith in God, all of her worldly possessions were restored to her. (II Kings 8:1-6).
The roles of wife and mother are so important that women should feel honored to assume these positions in life. Not all women become wives and mothers, and these women can serve the Lord faithfully in their own capacities. The positions of wife and mother, however, carry responsibilities that women should feel blessed and honored to assume, rather than to cast them off for the sake of maintaining independence and a career outside of the home. I believe it is also the husbands’ duty to allow and encourage their wives to stay at home with their young children, at least until all of the children begin attending school. A husband who makes his wife work outside of the home in order to obtain and maintain material luxuries is not behaving in a godly manner towards his wife. Fathers are given the responsibility to raise up children to be faithful Christian adults, and they can only do this if both parents stick to their God-given roles in life.
It is time for women to take pride in their works as wife and mother, because those who fill these roles are in the careers God has chosen for them. Women who want to be truly faithful to the Lord should focus on becoming a successful woman in His Eyes, rather than what the world’s view of success is. Ladies, let’s work to be successful in the Eyes of the One whose thoughts matter the most--God!