Time, the gift I crave. Time to think, to process my thoughts. Time to sit in silence. Time to allow my mind to wander, to cogitate, to digest the day.

I’ve found my old friend Time, just a glimpse, the hours just after dawn whilst the house is sleeping. I took Timothy, now 6 months old, to bed as early as I dared, hoping to shift his body clock, in preparation for the clocks changing. He slept like a baby, as in waking frequently! I think he just needs his own room so that he can roll around as much as he wants without disturbing his light-sleeping mother. Phil, of course, sleeps deeply and hears nothing, not even the cries of an overtired baby, his ears close off to all outside noise as soon as his head touches the pillow. I’m really grateful Phil sleeps well because at least half of the team is fully rested and alert, rather than us both being beaten up by sleep deprivation. We are planning on Timothy getting his own room very soon, as we are finishing off the decoration on a new bedroom downstairs and then Jonathan will move down there and that will free up a room upstairs for Timothy.

I’ve had this blog post on my mind for weeks, waiting for a free hour in which to write it. God has been frequently drawing together a theme which he is using to give me daily encouragement and which I thought would be an encouragement to others as well.

God first dropped the idea into my mind during a church sermon many weeks ago. We were learning about Hudson Taylor, the missionary who served in China. His salvation was brought about during a time of intense prayer by his mother. She went away with the specific aim of not returning until she was assured of his salvation. It was indeed during this time of prayer that he came to know Christ as his Saviour. We also learnt of Hannah in the Bible who prayed for a son and was then blessed with Samuel, who served the Lord all his days.

I was then reminded of St Augustine. He was a rebellious character but he said that his mother ‘was in greater labor to ensure my salvation than she had been at my birth’. There was the example of Jochebed, the mother of Moses, who saved her baby son from certain death at the hands of the Egyptians. John Newton, the writer of ‘Amazing Grace’ tells that his mother “stored my memory, which was then very retentive, with many valuable pieces, chapters and portions of scripture, catechisms, hymns, and poems.” We may may not have ‘Amazing Grace’ if it were not for a faithful mother. Another famous hymn writer and his brother, the founder of Methodism, were brought up by a Godly mother. John and Charles Wesley were home educated at the knee of their mother Susanna, who famously hid under her apron many times a day, using it as a tabernacle for prayer. I often feel her need, as she was, like me, a busy mum of many. I prefer to hide and pray in the store cupboard, with the chocolate!

There are many, many more mothers who had a huge influence on their children, perhaps Timothy in the Bible is worth a mention, as he is our baby son’s namesake. Timothy speaks of the faith of his mother and grandmother. The same can be said of King David, who writes, ‘because I serve you just as my mother did’, Psalm 86:16.

Mothers, we have such a quiet and yet enormous role in the lives of our children, our influence can last for generations. We can be so encouraged by these godly examples, encouraged to hold on when our teenagers are exhausting us with their petulant behaviour, when our toddlers are persisting with every kind of mischief or when our babies seem to have given up on sleeping. We can continue to be encouraged if our adult children go astray, for we must not ‘grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we faint not’, Galatians 6:9.

Hold on for the ride of parenthood, it’s sometimes eye-wateringly difficult, but like the harnesses on the wild rides at a theme park, if we trust in the One who is holding us, we can enjoy the ups and downs it brings. Our job is to teach, to pray, to love and trust the Lord with the rest.