What does the Bible actually say about Motherhood? How should we, as Christian women and wives, conduct ourselves within our homes and in front of our children? If you find yourself searching for the Biblical answers to all of your motherhood questions, then Mama, I am so glad you’re here! Here are 16 Important Characteristics of a godly mother to help you grow not only in your role as a mother but most essentially closer to Jesus!
Hey Mama, and welcome to Aiming Arrows where we aspire to raise children who love Jesus with all their hearts for all their lives.
I know that one of your deepest hopes is to be a good mother. Same!
I’ve heard it said that there is no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one. I agree with that sentiment, but I want to be more than just a good mother. When my children see me, I want them to see Jesus.
There is a longing deep within me to know what Jesus says about women and our role. My desire is to live up to His calling, not my own, and I’m betting a lot of you feel the same way.
I often find though that many Pastors and church leaders bite their tongues when it comes to speaking about women and how they should conduct themselves in public and at home. They will share all the hard truths about Biblical Masculinity, but a generation of women deemed the Bible oppressive and now many hide the truth so as not to offend their congregation.
But we need to know.
If we are raising children to know Jesus and their roles, then we need to know our own.
So, let’s answer some of the pressing Biblical Motherhood questions, and dive into the beautiful characteristics a godly mother should be modeling for her home and her community.
What does the Bible Say about Motherhood?
This question stayed in the back of my mind for a really long time.
I became a mother at 21 after an unplanned pregnancy left me reeling.
I had been raised in church so I knew where to turn for wisdom in a time of distress. After getting saved when my son was about six months old, I began to dive into God’s word on what it meant to be a woman, a wife, and a mother. God’s word is not silent in this issue, nor is Proverbs 31 the only place to find characteristics of a good mother.
There is no one direct verse that says a mother should be all of these things, but sprinkled all throughout Scripture are characteristics that the children of God should exhibit. The Bible is also full of God-fearing mothers, role models, wise women, and even some unwise women who set an example of what to do or what not to do for our families.
God created Mothers, and I firmly believe women were created to be mothers before the fall. We are told that the pain of childbirth was increased because of the fall of man, but motherhood was never a punishment. It was always the purpose and calling of a woman to be a mother.
The role of a woman in Scripture is best summed up in Titus 2:3-5. Here the older women are instructed on how they should conduct themselves and what they should teach the younger women to do. Thus the role of a woman is best summed up in:
“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”Titus 2:3-5
What about those who are barren?
This is always a question that comes up when we talk about the call on a woman to be a mother.
Women, by nature, are more nurturing, affectionate, and empathetic than men. The role of a mother is crucial, one that God fulfills in our lives in many ways.
The foster mother, the adoptive mother, the teacher with open arms, the wise woman who leads the young women in Bible study, and the aunts who step in to give Mama a break- they all fulfill the role of a Mother.
There are centuries of women, who with no children of their own, left a legacy of good works and unconditional love to a younger generation.
Motherhood is so much more than just birthing a child.
Mother Teresa had no children of her own and yet she will always be known by the title “Mother” because she opened her heart and her arms to those who needed a virtuous mother to care for them.
What does a Godly Mother look like?
Floor-length dresses, covered head, and no access to social media- next question.
I’m completely kidding!
Of course, a godly mother can look like that, but possessing a godly character has almost nothing to do with outward appearance.
A godly mother is not known by merely how she clothes herself, but rather by the qualities she possesses. The qualities of a good mother can be summed up by a pure heart and by exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit.
This blog is comprised of 16 important characteristics that a godly mother should possess.
This is not a checklist by which to measure yourself. (Read that again!)
Salvation is instantaneous, but sanctification is a lifelong process. Each of these characteristics is a result of sanctification. These are what we strive for, but may often fall short in. What makes you a great mom is not checking off every item on this list, but rather apologizing when you fall short and rising another day to try again.
A good Christian mother knows she is reliant upon God’s grace, God’s help, and God’s wisdom. On our own, we all fall short of meeting our family’s needs, but with His help, we can lay a foundation by which our children can learn to love Jesus with all their hearts for all their lives.
And that is the most important thing.
Important Characteristics of a Good, Godly Mother
1. A Godly Mother is Biblically Grounded
Motherhood is a beautiful calling, but it comes with a roller coaster of emotions, decisions, push and pull, tug and give, and repeating many things you never dreamt you would say over and over. Like “Don’t eat what you find on the ground” or “Yes, you must wear pants today.”
In all the back and forth, in and out, give and take, it is easy to lose track of what is really important.
Every Mama needs an anchor. Something that holds her steadily in place no matter how high the waves may rise. A map that always points out “you are here” and guides you in the right direction.
That map, that anchor, that constant North Star- is our Bible.
The Word of God.
The Bible is so much more than just a self-help book; it is the inerrant word of God.
It is filled with history, wisdom, encouragement, promise, and good news.
A godly mama is planted firmly in God’s word. She whispers the well-loved verses beneath her breath as she plunges her hands into the sink to wash another dish.
When she is overwhelmed, she turns to the word. When doubts arise in her family, she seeks out Biblical answers. Cultural changes, wars, and slippery slopes in society do not move her. She is anchored firmly in the word of God.
Her family can cling to her because her footing is stable.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.2 Timothy 3:16-17
2. A Godly Mother practices self-control.
Can I be honest here?
I struggle with this one. For a long time, I thought I lacked patience because of my tendency to grow short-tempered or act in ways I wasn’t proud of when stress overwhelmed me.
Then one day I heard a preacher talk about self-control, and I realized that was what I actually lacked.
Self-control is not a natural behavior, but rather a learned one. It is the ability to put whatever you think or feel on the back burner and respond in a way that is fruitful.
For example. when you finish mopping and turn around to find bright red, muddy footprints tracked all throughout the house and across your white rug, you swallow the yells building up in your throat. Drop your shoulders. Take a deep breath. And from some other world, a gentle voice arises to remind your little ones to take their shoes off at the door as you reach for the mop to start again once more.
It often takes time, repentance, and practice before it becomes a habitual characteristic, but as a godly mother, it is a characteristic we should strive to exhibit.
(3) for His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. (5)Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, (6) and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, (7) and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.2 Peter 1:3, 5-7
3. A Godly Mother is a Teacher.
There are many principles we can derive from Scripture as to how a godly woman and mother should conduct herself and what characteristics she should exhibit as a woman of virtue, but the Bible only gives a handful of instructions directly to parents.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
In Deuteronomy 4:9, we are told, “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”
And in Proverbs 1: 8-9 we are granted the wisdom: “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.”
Are you sensing a theme here?
As Mamas we are called to teach our children.
Teach them what? Math? To read?
But so much more important than that- we are called to teach them about Jesus.
There is nothing more important than teaching your children about Jesus.
In recent years, many mothers have handed this job off to Sunday school teachers with felt boards and the gleaned bits of sermons in between bathroom runs and spilled goldfish on Sunday mornings.
We choose tournament games over Bible study and fill the silent time where meaningful conversations may take place with television shows and temporary distractions.
A godly mother is a teacher instructing her children in the wisdom and knowledge of God.
Need help talking to your children about God? Check out our blog: Why Should Mamas Study Apologetics?
4. A Godly Mother is a Comforter
When the Bible talks about someone who brings comfort it often uses the comparison of a mother.
A godly mother comforts her children.
“As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you.”Isaiah 66:13
This is such a beautiful characteristic because the Holy Spirit- the third member of the Trinity– is referred to as the Comforter. This is a characteristic we learn from the sweet embrace of our Heavenly Father just as much as we learn it from our own mother.
When I was a kid, I remember always feeling so safe when my mom was around. That’s part of the reason I fought to sleep in her bed for a huge portion of my life growing up.
When I had a breakup in high school, I ran to her.
When I was hurt or even as an adult when I cut my leg open with a piece of glass while taking out the trash, she was the one I called.
I see this now mimicked in my own children.
How they run to me when they fall while riding their bikes.
When someone hurts their feelings, they confide in me.
Godly mothers bring so much comfort just by being present and compassionate.
We may not always know how to help or bandage every broken heart, but we know how to be there for our little ones just as our Heavenly Father is there for us.
5. A Godly Mother is selfless.
If there is one thing that pregnancy and breastfeeding teach us, it is that we are not our own.
From the moment that precious baby is the size of a grain of rice deep within your abdomen, he/she is running the show.
Motherhood doesn’t leave us much room for selfishness. When the baby wants to cluster feed all night long, you cluster feed all night long. When your toddler wants the rest of your snack- they usually get the rest of your snack. (This is why I hide behind my fridge to eat.)
But Biblical Motherhood calls us even deeper into selfless love.
The thing about modeling any godly characteristic is we are simply striving to be more like Jesus, and as John 15:13 says,
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
Mamas, it should be a privilege to lay down our lives, our bodies, our alone time, and our previous plans in order to give our children the best of us.
We live in a culture that says, “Put you first, no matter what. “
But God says laying down our lives for another is the purest form of love.
Check out our previous devotional: Sacrificial Motherhood: A Life on the Altar for more encouragement in embracing selflessness.
6. A Godly Mother is loving.
And speaking of love, a godly Mother is, in fact, loving.
Love is not merely an emotion that bubbles up to the surface occasionally.
Love is an action, day in and day out.
It is showing up even when you’re completely exhausted.
Love is our great motivator.
It drives us to teach, pray, discipline, encourage, and guide our children.
In recent years our culture has redefined love to make it almost unrecognizable to those who once knew its meaning, but the Bible has never changed its definition:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
7. A Godly Mother is gentle.
A godly mother is gentle.
This isn’t so much about the strength of her hands, but rather the weight of her words, expectations, and corrections.
Gentleness is a virtue.
Sometimes our default setting is to handle things harshly; it often feels more successful in the moment when our raised voices finally cause our children to agree.
But in reality, our job is not to threaten our children into begrudging submission but rather to address the underlying heart issue that causes defiance.
Gentleness goes a long way.
For one, there are no words spoken in anger to apologize for later. Gentleness gives us the upper hand and allows us to go after our children’s hearts rather than their actions alone which often leads to more defiance.
You know the old saying, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar”. This is the same concept. When it comes to our husbands and children, handling their hearts and emotions with gentleness is essential.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.Colossians 3:12
8. A Godly Mother is Hard-Working
Have you ever read through Proverbs 31 and questioned if the virtuous wife ever slept? Yeah, me too.
If there is one thing we can say about the example of a godly woman laid out for us in Proverbs 31, it is that she is hard-working.
Whether she is making clothes for her family, preparing food, making things to sell, seeking the best for her family, or just tending to their daily needs- a godly Mother is hard-working.
There is this stigma around staying at home, as though staying home full-time entails sitting on the couch, snacking, and watching television all day long.
The truth is though, a godly Mother is not idle.
She works hard.
She rises early, stays up late, and pours herself into the work that is needed in order to provide her family with the best.
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idlenessProverbs 31:27
9. A Godly Mother is tender-hearted.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave youEphesians 4:32
A tender-hearted mother is such a gift to her household.
There is a softness and a sentimental side that a godly mother possesses.
It encompasses everything from the roundness of her baby’s cheeks etched onto her frontal cortex to the way she handles her children’s emotions and cares for her husband’s heart.
Daddys have a strength in their demeanor that prepares little boys for adventures and encourages them to be strong-willed and brave. Mothers often portray the opposite of that.
It is not a weakness, but rather an intentional choice to bear their heart on their sleeve. To show their children the inner chambers of their hearts and the love and compassion they feel towards them.
Jesus showed His great love through His death on the cross, and Mothers look to their Savior and in admiration of His great show of love, we try our best to show our family the depths of our hearts for them.
10. A Godly Mother is wise.
Wisdom and I go way back.
I don’t say that lightly or boastfully.
Truly, that is where my testimony begins. I overheard a radio show say that God loved to answer this one prayer.
Before they even said what it was, I was determined to pray it. I just wanted to see God answer something, anything really.
Then they said He loved to give wisdom.
I didn’t even know what that was, but I asked for it.
A lot happened between that point and my encounter with Jesus where I was actually saved, but I believe it all started there.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”Proverbs 9:10
Little did I know, when I asked for wisdom I was actually asking God to show me my need of Him- and from there, wisdom began to blossom.
A godly mother is wise.
Not because she has degrees framed on her dining room walls or a corner office and a six-figure income but because she has a relationship with Jesus that leads her to teach her children in wisdom and in truth.
She is careful in her speech, mindful in her work, and thoughtful in her day-to-day life.
11. A Godly Mother is joyful.
Motherhood can be a roller coaster of emotions.
Thankfully though, joy is really not an emotion.
Not the kind that God gives anyway.
Joy is an anchor. It isn’t fleeting or circumstantial like happiness. It is a heart setting that says no matter what comes, no matter what today holds- I will choose to find the light.
Joy sees blessings rather than burdens as it wipes crayon strokes off white walls.
Joy hums a bright tune even as the laundry piles up.
And joy raises a song of praise to God even when the to-do list goes unchecked.
Joy acts as an anchor because its origin is unshakeable. When your heart and mind are steadfast on God and His promises, you will always find a reason to be joyful even when circumstances are difficult.
Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,1 Peter 1:8
12. A Godly Mother is patient.
I know none of us ever struggle with this one!
I’m kidding, of course.
Prior to having kids I actually believed I was a patient person, but nothing tests that claim quite like a toddler taking a year to put their shoes on when you are already 30 minutes late.
We are all patient until we have to wait on something we want right this minute, and then suddenly patience goes out the window.
Love is patient. God is patient. And we are called to be patient also.
Modeling patience in our home is essential because it isn’t a characteristic we are born with. It is one we learn, one we cultivate, and the best way to teach it to our children is to model it ourselves.
Patience is a posture.
We don’t grow patient in an instant when everything is falling apart and we need it put back together.
Instead, patience is a choice we make each day before we need it.
Starting your morning with Bible study, prayer, and journaling before the chaos begins can help you find your footing for the day, giving you a leg up in staying grounded in patience.
A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.Proverbs 15:18
13. A Godly Mother is quick to forgive.
A godly mother is quick to forgive.
Not just quick to forgive her children, but quick to forgive those who have wronged her and quick to ask forgiveness of anyone she may have wronged.
As women who have been freely forgiven by our Heavenly Father, we should be quick to extend that forgiveness to others.
In Matthew 18, Jesus shares a parable about an unforgiving servant. When the servant owes a debt he cannot pay, he begs for patience from his master while he tries to pay him back. And the master forgives him. Later the servant, who had been forgiven of much by his master, hunted down another servant who owed him a debt. When the servant couldn’t pay, he had him thrown in prison until the debt was paid. When word got back to the master, he was handed over until he could repay.
There is punishment for unforgiveness, not to mention the shackles that come with holding a grudge against someone.
Whether it is your own mom, your husband, a church member, or a past co-worker, if you are holding on to the past and refusing to forgive- the punishment will come. Let’s be godly mothers who are quick to forgive.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.Colossians 3:13
14. A Godly Mother leads by example.
Have you ever noticed a bad habit you have because one of your children mimics it?
I once got on to my daughter for saying “Crap”, and when I asked where she heard it, she informed me she heard it from me.
I rolled my eyes because I highly doubted it.
Over and over and over that day I caught myself saying it.
I was shocked.
But she was right. She had learned it from me.
Our children are going to watch what we do even more than they are going to listen to what we say.
Goldy Mamas lead by example.
If you want your daughter to dress modestly, you need to set that example.
If you want your children to speak light and life, then you need to speak light and life.
The examples we set for our children- whether they be good or bad- will be passed down from generation to generation.
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”1Timothy 4:12
15. A Godly Mother puts Jesus first, above all else.
My husband is such a gift.
He is kind, thoughtful, diligent, and loving.
My children also are blessings that fill my life with laughter and love.
As hard as it is to admit, I am not promised another day with any of them.
Jesus is my constant.
He is the only thing that cannot be stripped from me. As long as I am following Him, I have a place with Him.
More than my to-do list, more than my home, more than the pitter-patter of tiny feet- Jesus is first– above all else.
As Mamas and Homemakers, we put a lot of time into keeping our homes in order, but even with perfectly nestled throw pillows and all the toys put away our homes can be completely out of God’s order.
God’s design for the family is that a husband is fully submitted to God and acts as the head of his home, his wife submits to him, and the children submit to their parents.
This gets so much pushback in today’s culture and is often considered outdated.
But this is a perfect design, within which wives should be safe and cared for, husbands honored and respected, and children able to flourish.
When God is at the helm the ship sails smoothly despite rough or calm waters.
When a man is submitted fully to God, he can lead his family, protecting and providing for them well as is God’s plan and role for a man.
And when a woman is submitted to her husband, she is free to keep her home and manage the family’s affairs.
In this way, children thrive.
A godly mother puts Jesus first and then the rest can fall into line.
”Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”Matthew 6:33
16. A Godly Mother is a Praying Mother
Prayer is a mighty weapon.
Satan desires nothing more than to destroy the family. To turn mothers and fathers against one another, to turn children against their parents, and everyone against God. He has been so successful at this in our culture. Divorce rates are high, family courts are packed, and our younger generations- including my own– are deciding not to have children or create families of their own.
There is a way to combat this; it starts on our knees.
There is a reason God calls children arrows.
They are weapons against the enemy, and when they are well-aimed, they are weapons of mass destruction.
How do we aim them well?
Godly Mamas take to the frontlines of Motherhood, suiting up in the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18), falling on their knees, and crying out to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
They say the hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world, but the mama that prays over her children moves both heaven and earth.
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”James 5:16
The Greatest Biblical Role of a Mother can be summed up in one person:
You probably think I’m about to say, Mary, the mother of Jesus. We often think of her when we think of godly mothers in the Bible, and with good reason. But actually, I think the greatest biblical role of a mother is summed up in one person- well I guess three in one- God, Himself.
It may seem odd to talk about God as a mother when He is in fact our Heavenly Father, and I am not getting into the cult-like ‘God the Mother’ stuff by any means- that’s heresy.
But all of these character traits that we have discussed are learned from Him.
In Luke 13:34, Jesus says to Jerusalem, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who have been sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her young under her wings, and you were unwilling!”
Here we see Jesus describing Himself as a mother hen who longs to protect her children.
I’m sure we see this same character trait within ourselves. When we see harm heading our children’s way it is an instinct to pull them into us and protect them. We learned that instinct- that nature– from our very Creator.
And in Isaiah 49:15-17 (These are perhaps my favorite Bible verses.):
“Can a woman forget her nursing child
And have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.
16 Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;
Your walls are continually before Me.
17 Your builders hurry;
Your destroyers and devastators
Will leave you.”
As a nursing mother, I can safely say I could not forget the son whom I am nursing and who my body bore.
But this verse is so much deeper than it may appear at first glance.
This isn’t merely God saying, “I love you more than a mother loves her own child.”
He uses that love as a comparison because that love and that relationship is so deep and so pure, but God loves us so much He inscribed us on the palms of His hands
Isaiah lived some 700 years before the birth of Jesus Christ.
But here we see a prophecy of the true depths that love will go in order to save its children.
We grow up reading these fairy tales of this Prince or King who is willing to leave His kingdom, His throne, and give up everything to love a peasant girl.
Even as young girls, we find ourselves craving a love like that, and often as we grow we search for it in all the wrong places.
We crave that Cinderella story because it is so similar to the true story our Creator has written in order to be with us.
He left His throne, in nail scars, He inscribed you on His hands, what greater love could a godly mother exhibit than to model herself after our Heavenly Father?
Becoming a Godly Mother
Most likely you were not born a God-fearing Mom, steadfast in exhibiting all these qualities.
I know I wasn’t.
The role of motherhood in my life was unplanned and I was completely unprepared.
The good news is, as Christian moms, God does not ask for perfection first. He blesses us with arrows and then walks with us as we learn to aim them. I often find that in teaching my children, I am learning so much myself.
Walking with them has called me to go deeper with Jesus.
It has taught me that His love is deeper than I could ever imagine.
As I read through the story of Hannah, Jockebed, Ruth, Mary, and other Biblical Mothers- I see not only Godly mothers, but I see God Himself, who animates us to trust Him. Whether it is in providing for our daily needs, placing our infant into a basket in the river, or just trusting Him to keep us sane as we homeschool each day, God is making us more and more like Him.
Trust in Him fully, read His word, and learn alongside your children- He is making us Godly Mothers one day at a time.
“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!” (Psalm 127:3-5)