Posted on Sunday, May 01, 2022 by Air1 Pastors
C.S. Lewis once said, “Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.” Mothering is a calling, full of wonder, questions, and joy so sweet you can barely take in and work. Today we face unique challenges in our techno-paced age. Still, women of every age changed diapers, bandaged skinned knees, tried to explain puberty to a confused child, and faced the messy results of their efforts. Being a mom is a high and holy calling at any age, no matter the effects of our parenting, because God rewards the investment more than the result. Let’s look at snapshots of five biblical moms and glean encouragement from their highs and lows for our own hearts as moms.
“I asked the LORD to give me this boy and he has granted my request. Now I am giving him to the LORD, and he will belong to the LORD his whole life.” - I Samuel 1: 27-28
In an age where childbearing was the badge of a woman’s worth, Hannah carried the pain of her barren womb every day. She had prayed for a son for years and promised to dedicate him to God, if He would but grant her request. God responded to Hannah’s misery and grief and at the perfect time gave her a son, Samuel. He wasn’t just any son, he was special. And she had to let him go.
Imagine packing his little bag, the not-long-enough walk to the temple. Watching his little toddler-tousled head disappearing into the temple with Eli. Hannah left the temple that day with empty arms and an aching but joyful heart. The parting hurt but her confidence in God’s care for Samuel sang in her heart.
She was able to release Samuel into Eli’s care because she knew that God was the one who held Samuel’s future in his hands, not Eli. God had a plan for Samuel that could only be realized as Hannah released him to experience it. Samuel could not live out his purpose under the shield of his mom. He had to walk God’s path t to become the prophet God called to be. With every evil influence that poked at Samuel, God grew holiness in Samuel’s heart. Every compromise he witnessed, settled Samuel’s purpose to be a man of integrity among his peers.
Samuel was fierce in his love for God and tender in his love for God’s people. He was the first of God’s prophets, a mighty and inspiring figure in Scripture because his mom released him to God’s care. We can be like Hannah. We too can trust God with our kids.
Pause and Reflect
You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. - Luke 1:14-15
If an angel told you that your child would be a great prophet, what would you expect? I’ll bet Elizabeth never dreamt she would become the mother of a famous prophet. Yet imagine her joy when God gave her a son whose birth and ministry ushered in the long-awaited Messiah. John the Baptist, wow, Elizabeth’s son was special.
If I were Elizabeth, I would have expected John to be great indeed! Surely, he would command a special place among Israel’s religious elite. Filled with the Spirit before his birth, he would be powerful and respected, his wisdom sought out. Maybe she imagined him robed with dignity standing on the temple steps to preach. But there was a problem, John didn’t fit in.
I’ll bet she never saw John’s camel’s hair get-up, locust pie, and lonely stretches spent in the wilderness coming. Instead of the revered figure of her expectation, her son was an oddity. Probably the kid everyone talked about—behind his back. Instead of leading from a position of honor, he served the humblest, crying out in the wilderness, “Repent!” Not a great way to make friends.
John fulfilled God’s unique call more than anyone’s expectations. Though his odd path veered from his mom’s hopes, it was more powerful than she could conceive.
Parenting a child who doesn’t fit in is a challenge for us as moms. Yet, God’s plans for our quirky kids and ways of achieving them are far beyond what we imagine. His plans reach farther, and his purposes soar higher than our hopes. Perhaps your child is extra special. God created their quirky personality and unique disposition to accomplish kingdom purposes prepared specially for them.
Pause and Reflect:
Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. Abel also brought a gift—the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift. - Genesis 4:3-4
Picture Eve’s excitement as her first baby grew in her womb. What would being a mom be like? After Cain's birth, she poured her heart into him, so imagine the hurt, shock, and confusion when he rejected God and all she had taught him. She’d had high hopes for him, where had she gone wrong?
Then came sweet, get-along-go-along Abel—and profound relief as he grew in godliness. How her heart swelled with joy watching him gather the very best of his harvest to offer to the God he loved. What had she done right?
As moms, we work hard to raise kids that love and honor God, and experience different results with each child. One may love and serve God, and the other may not. As unique individuals, each child responds differently to our parenting efforts. We can do all the “right” things, but at the end of the day, our kids choose their path. Our call is to raise them, only Jesus can save them.
Eve wasn’t a perfect parent any more than we are, but then “perfect parents” don’t always produce “perfect” kids. I’ll bet Eve tried everything she could to save Cain from the rebel path he’d chosen, but he chose it. We can do our best and leave the results to God. God uses our prayers and efforts, but he doesn’t rely on them to prepare our kids for his call and work. We nurture them in the nest, but only God can teach them to fly.
Pause and Reflect:
“And the Lord told her, ‘The sons in your womb will become two nations. From the very beginning, the two nations will be rivals. One nation will be stronger than the other; and your older son will serve your younger son.’" - Genesis 25:23
Rebekah can get a bad rap as a mom, but she was a bold woman of faith who left her family and homeland to marry a man she’d never met. Later, during a famine in a foreign land, she trusted God to protect her in the face of a poor choice made by her husband, Isaac. One thing is clear about Rebecca; she trusted God to take care of her.
So, what caused this courageous woman to step out of character and scramble to secure something God had already promised to give? It was mom-pressure, and if you’re a mom you’ve probably felt it.
Rebekah could trust God all day long with her life, but when her son’s future was at stake, faith didn’t guide her, the weight of fear did. In a panic, Rebekah led her son, Jacob, to lie to his dad to secure the promised blessing. And Jacob got the blessing--at the cost of a huge family rift. Since God made the promise, Rebecca could have trusted Him to fulfill it in Jacob’s life.
Like Rebekah, fear can drive us to secure the “best” for our kids, especially when we see injustice or unfairness. However, our striving can hinder what God wants to do, as happened in Rebekah’s case. When that mom-pressure hits, it helps to remember that God’s plans cannot be thwarted, and he always fulfills his promises.
Pause and Reflect:
“Then she kissed them good-bye, and they all broke down and wept. ‘No,’ they said, ‘We want to go with you to your people." - Ruth 1:9-10
What usually comes to mind when we think of Naomi? Is it the bitterness of her family loss or her faith-filled daughter-in-law, Ruth? Yet, a closer look at Naomi’s heart reveals a powerful hidden thread in her story, a gold vein we can miss.
As a mom of two adult sons, we can imagine Naomi’s dream for her sons was for them to grow up and marry girls from upstanding Jewish families in their small community. It was the expectation of every Jewish matriarch of her time.
But famine and hardship led her family down an unexpected path to a foreign land. Instead of the local, Jewish girls she knew and loved, her boys met and married Ruth and Orpah, foreign Moabite women.
In Naomi’s time and culture, Jewish men were expected to marry Jewish women, it was as simple as that. But Naomi's sons didn’t do that. They both married women outside their culture and far outside their mom’s expectations—and probably wishes. When they all returned to Judah, what would Naomi’s friends think, what would they say? Then both her sons died, leaving her with their foreign wives.
We don’t know the tension her sons’ choices caused in the family, but we do know Naomi chose to love her unexpected daughters-in-law. She loved on them so well that when the time to return to her homeland arrived, they didn’t want to leave her. They were willing to leave their own moms to stay with Naomi!
What did Naomi do that made them feel so deeply loved, unconditionally accepted, and valuable? Because Naomi nurtured Orpah and Ruth as daughters, instead of outcasts or inconveniences, she captured their hearts and earned their love and loyalty.
Pause and Reflect:
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