Florida mothers reflect on the importance of their calling

Over the years, many researchers, pundits and pseudo-philosophers have tried to attach a monetary value to the role mothers play in our society.

One published estimate put a mother’s worth at $65,283.81, based on 40-hour work weeks and factoring in her roles as a chauffeur, cook, nurse, homework helper, accountant, etc. Others have placed a mother’s monetary value at $113,586 (Business Insider), $150,000 (The Independent), and $118,905 (Salary.com).

Knowing that the role of mothers cannot simply be equated to an imaginary paycheck, we decided to take a look at the importance of moms by sharing the perspectives of one Florida Baptist family.

Nancy Lee Bethea is a wife, mother of one daughter, Hayden, 9, and member of First Baptist Church in the northeast Florida town of Callahan. Here’s what she had to say about the important role mothers play: “Research shows the earliest years in a human being’s life are the most critical for proper intellectual, spiritual, physical, and emotional development. Ideally, a mother provides care and comfort for her children, which helps establish their security and development.”

Bethea’s mother, Dorothy Smith, 84, is a member of First Baptist Church Jacksonville.

“When I think of my mom,” Bethea recalls, “…I think of a tenacious supporter, tireless encourager, and true helper to all of her six children. She taught us to honor our father, to love God, to seek opportunities to serve others, and to strive to better ourselves through education.”

Bethea’s sister, Stephanie Smith Guthrie, mother of three and also a member of FBC Jacksonville, shares a similar perspective. “Motherhood is a job that never ends. A Christian mom is a resource and a blessing. My mom has taught me the Bible and the precepts of God. That is a priceless gift that keeps on giving.”

A Christian mother’s love is powerful, forgiving, healing, motivating, and encouraging—a combination of fierce loyalty that produces physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual benefits and blessings.

A mother often provides the emotional backbone for the family, bringing unity and structure to the family unit. Some call a mother the “heart of the home.” They are often the glue that holds the family together. Mothers nurture children, teaching them the safety of physical and emotional boundaries. Through loving and Biblical discipline, they rear up godly children who become God-loving and functioning adults.

So, if mothers play an invaluable role in our homes, society and culture, what can the church do to help support these bedrocks of the family unit?

Here is a list, culled from writers and other experts, to help your church get started:

• Ask moms of various generations to write stories about God’s faithfulness during the struggles of raising children. The church could publish the stories on its website under a “Parenting Resources” tab.

• Help parents teach children to develop an attitude of thankfulness for parents—no matter how imperfect—and encourage respect for moms.

• Acknowledge how difficult motherhood can be, especially when moms are working outside the home.

• Create mentoring programs that allow experienced moms to share truths with younger ones.

• During times of recognition on Mother’s Day Sundays, remember mothers in your congregation who are single, divorced, and widowed. Also remember stepmothers, adoptive and foster mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers, mother figures and other caregivers to children.

• Pray a special prayer for those mothers in your congregation who have miscarried babies and have lost children of all ages to premature death.

• Be especially sensitive to the infertile couples in the worship service. For these husbands and wives, Mother’s Day can often bring sadness.

Happy Mother’s Day from all of us here at the Florida Baptist Witness!

Denise George is a freelance writer, author of 30 books and, most recently, co-author of "The Lost Eleven: The Forgotten Story of Black American Soldiers Brutually Massacred in World War II."

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