Even though my mother was seldom around, she was determined to control and dominate me. I realized later in life that perhaps this was not a deliberate and voluntary decision that she made, but rather just who she was, someone who had been raised by a domineering father.
The problem was that I was wired for self-determination and was fiercely independent. I remember that my mother and I would clash in epic battles-she trying to manipulate me into doing it her way and me resisting her control with every fiber of my being!
My mother would use cruel and hurtful rejection to try to achieve her ends, often refusing to speak to me for weeks at a time if I did not comply and do something the way she wanted. During these times of silence, she would send messages to me through my younger brother Brian. It was a vicious continuous cycle.
This treatment produced a troubled young man dominated by paranoia, lack of self-confidence, multiple neuroses, and dangerously sociopathic behavior. At this point in my life, I was a therapist’s dream!
So, at first glance, it would certainly seem like I was destined to grow up to be a damaged, neurotic, perhaps even dangerous person. The odds favored it and indeed at 22, I was well on my way to living a destructive godless life.
Not too long after I gave my life to Christ, I ended up attending Washington Bible College. It was during those early years of Bible school that I started praying for a godly wife. I personally knew the impact that a mother could have on her children, and I was determined to marry someone who lived for Jesus. So, I decided to start of list of Christ-like qualities that I was looking for in a wife.
As the months passed, by observation and Bible study, I had developed quite a list! Some of my top priorities were things like, must love God; must want to serve God as her life’s call; must come from a solid Christian family and know how to make family work; must be a woman of wisdom and discretion; must understand God's plan for marriage from the Bible and so forth.
In the second category, I had listed things like beauty, intelligence, kindness, warmth, theological soundness, agreement in childrearing philosophy, etc. In the third category were things like great dresser, fiscally conservative, good housekeeper, etc. I realized even back then that my list was not very romantic in some people’s minds, but I was convinced that it would help me do a better job of picking a life partner who would not only be a good wife, but a great mother to our children.
Then I met Brenda. She was the epitome of everything I was looking for in a godly wife and mother. She had been raised in a caring, loving Christian family. She put the Lord first and it was evident in her life. God blessed me with a woman who knew how to raise her children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
I am grateful and blessed that I ended up accepting Jesus as my personal Savior and thankfully, my mother came to Christ just prior to her death. But we can never underestimate the impact that a mother has on a child during those early years. For the good or the bad, starting from birth, mothers are one of, if not the most influential person in a child’s life.
As parents we need to commit to making an impact on our children for Christ. Start at an early age taking them to church, praying with them, memorizing scripture together, reading them God’s Word. That will make all the difference. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
A godly foundation and pointing your children towards the Lord will have an eternal impact that can’t be measured. You will never regret living your life for Christ and leading your children to follow Jesus.
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4
Many years ago, I had the distinct pleasure of participating on a tour of Israel with Brenda's parents, Jonathan and Pastor Lon; therefore, I can attest for that family's unity and fervor. Brenda joined us later, and it was awesome to partake with them. Life is much fun on tours with Lon!