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  • Rhonda Kelley

The Influence of Motherhood



You hear it on the football field, television screen, and public stage… accomplished men and women, boys and girls recognizing their mothers for unselfish sacrifice to encourage their child’s success. Mothers are like that…loving, caring, nurturing, giving. While a mother provides for the basic needs of her child, she also provides emotional support and spiritual guidance. The time invested in childrearing during the early years reaps benefits for a lifetime. The influence of motherhood knows no limits!


During the time of the judges in the Old Testament, a godly woman and devoted wife lived in Israel. Hannah loved the Lord and faithfully worshipped Him. She was devoted to her husband Elkahah and desperately wanted a child. She pleaded with the Lord for a male offspring and promised to give him back to God. In His time, God granted Hannah’s request and gave her a son. She dedicated her long-awaited child to the Lord, and Samuel later became one of Israel’s greatest prophets (1 Sam. 1-3).


If you desire to be a godly influence for your own children and spiritual mother to others, strive to be like Hannah. Obey the Lord’s instructions and follow Hannah’s pattern of faithfulness.


1) Seek the Lord – Hannah prayed, seeking God’s intervention in her life. “So Hannah…prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish” (1 Sam. 1:9-10).


My precious mother-in-love Doris Kelley had five children and was a prayer warrior. She spent hours each day praying by name for family members and friends She assured people of her prayers, wrote their names in her prayer journal, and rejoiced over answered prayer. Her prayer life impacted her home and spread into the world.


2) Serve the Lord – Hannah followed the Lord, serving others in His name tirelessly. “Then they [Elkanah and Hannah] rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord” (1 Sam. 1:19).


My sweet mother Joyce Harrington has two daughters and is a faithful servant of God. In her 90’s, she continues to write notes to her family members, bake fruit breads for her neighbors, and make phone calls to church friends. She has influenced me, my family, and countless others through her loving service.


3) Shine for the Lord – Hannah praised the Lord, giving God the glory for His work in her life. She took young Samuel to the tabernacle and glorified God publicly: “ ‘For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him [Samuel] to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord.’ So they worshiped the Lord there” (1 Sam. 1:27-28).


My younger sister Mitzi Woodson has four sons and a growing number of grandchildren. She shines for the Lord in her home as she extends biblical hospitality, in her church as she leads the women’s ministry, and in her community with her leadership in the crisis pregnancy center. Her vibrant witness has blessed many and is an example for our family and beyond.


You may be like me, a woman with no biological children to call your own. But, you can have profound influence on the next generation as you “mother” the children of others. Like Hannah, we can seek the Lord, serve the Lord, and shine for the Lord. I am so grateful for the personal investments made in my life by many women who have gone before me. And, I count it a divine privilege to be the spiritual mother for many younger people. I pray they will continue the legacy of faith and influence for many generations to come. So, on this Mother’s Day, let’s thank God for mothers and remind mothers of their significant influence!