Each year we as mothers consider a list of goals we would like to accomplish during the course of the new year. Mine include spending more time in prayer, more time in the Word, more quality time with my children, and less time on the internet. The days of childhood is only but a season and we need to remember what the most important goal of motherhood really is- the salvation of our children's souls! A quote in a book called Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney puts it well:
What is the ultimate purpose of a phileo kind of love? It is nothing less than the salvation of our children's souls. This is the chief end of mothering. Our goal is not that our children be happy, fulfilled, and successful. Granted, we may desire these things for them. But our hightest objective should be that our children would repent from their sins, put their trust in Jesus Christ, and reflect the gospel to the world around them.
J.C. Ryle offered the following admonition:
This is the thought that should be uppermost on your mind in all you do for your children. In every step you take about them, in every plan, and scheme, and arrangement that concerns them, do not leave out that mighty question, "How will this affect their souls?"..... the chief end of their lives is the salvations of their souls.
While the salvation of our children is our highest aim, our tender love is not sufficient for this task. Only the Holy Spirit is able to reveal the truth of the gospel. However, our tender love can be an instrument in God's hands. I am convinced that no one has more potential to influence our children to receive and reflect the gospel than we do as mothers.
John Angell James in Female Piety illustrated this very point:
At a pastoral conference, held not long since, at which about one hundred and twenty American clergymen, united in the bonds of a common faith, were assembled, each was invited to state the human instrumentality to which, under the Divine blessing, he attributed a change of heart. How many of these, think you, gave honour of it to their mother? Of one hundred and twenty, about one hundred! Here then are facts, which are only selected from myriads of others, to prove a mother's power, and to demonstrate at the same time her responsibility.
What greater privilege could we possibly have in all the world than to lead our children to the Lord? Let us not for one moment underestimate the power of a tender love.
One woman expresses the enormous responsibility this way:
I seldom feel lilke much of an adventurer- standing in the kitchen, pouring cereal into bowls, refilling them, handing out paper towels when the inevitable cry comes: "Uh oh. I spilled." But sometimes at night the though will strike me: There are three small people here, breathing sweetly in their beds, whose lives are for the moment in our hands. I might as well be at the controls of a moon shot, the mission is so grave and vast.