5 mums from the Bible who encourage all mothers
Salt&Light wishes all mums a Happy Mother's Day!
Christine Leow // May 7, 2021, 7:02 pm
Dear Mum, on this Mother’s Day, as you revel in accolades and adoration, you can draw strength, comfort and inspiration from some Biblical mothers who have gone before you. Photo by Rui Xu on Unsplash.
It’s Mother’s Day!
Are you enjoying a meal made for you by your hubby and kids? Or, in view of new Covid-19 measures, are you ordering in? Have you gotten flowers, cards and gifts from your little and not-so-little ones?
Well, you deserve them.
Mothering is a unique honour and a hefty responsibility. There is nothing quite as fiercely protective, nor as gently nurturing, as a mother’s love.
God understands this. That is why although He describes His relationship with us in patriarchal terms – He is our Abba Father, our Heavenly Father – whenever He wants to assure us of His tender comfort, He talks to us in motherly terms:
If the father is the head of the household, then the mother is the heart of the home.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.
As a mother comforts her child,
so will I comfort you;
and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.
Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!
Indeed, that is what mothers are. If the father is the head of the household, then the mother is the heart of the home.
On this Mother’s Day, as you rightly revel in accolades and adoration, draw strength, comfort and inspiration from some mothers who have gone before you.
1. Hannah: The art of heartfelt prayer (1 Samuel 1-2:11)
Hannah, the mother of prophet-priest Samuel, appears only briefly in the Bible. But she stands out as a beautiful example of a woman of prayer.
Barren, bullied (by her husband’s other wife) and belittled by society (because she was childless), Hannah cuts quite a pathetic figure as 1 Samuel opens. The Bible makes sure to tell us that hers was not a one-time tragedy. It was on-going suffering that went on “year after year”.
When our hearts are broken seemingly beyond repair, we can pray as Hannah did.
When she could stand it no longer, she goes to God “in her deep anguish” and weeps bitterly. She pours out her soul. She keeps on praying.
Mothering can sometimes do this to us. It can challenge us not just for a moment but season upon season. It can leave us anguished, troubled, grieving and in tears.
When that happens, we have the example and encouragement of Hannah, who was not afraid to display raw emotions and be real before God. She was not afraid to plead her case and do so persistently.
For that, she was rewarded. God heard her pleas and remembered her, and she gave birth to Samuel.
That is our hope, too. That in our journey as mothers, when our hearts are broken seemingly beyond repair, we can pray as Hannah did: “Lord Almighty, if You will only look on Your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget Your servant …” Know that our God hears and remembers.
2. Eunice and Lois: The importance of Godly upbringing (2 Timothy 1:5)
Grandma Lois and mum Eunice share but a one-verse mention in the whole Bible (2 Timothy 1:5).
Reading the Bible to, even, babies is not a futile exercise.
But what a wealth of things that single verse tells us.
They were women of faith. They imparted that faith to the next generation.
They were evidently successful in that because Timothy grew up to be a man of faith. He was companion to Paul on his missionary journeys and went on to be a pastor.
Their example should give every mum (and dad) hope that reading the Bible to, even, babies is not a futile exercise because in 2 Timothy 3:15, Paul talks about how “from infancy you (Timothy) have known the Holy Scriptures”.
So, read on, teach on, press on.
3. Moses’ Mum: The picture of protection (Exodus 2:1-10)
She is never mentioned by name. We are simply told that she was a Levite woman who lived in unusually trying times.
Her people were facing economic and social hardship. They were slaves forced to do hard labour. They lived, in the words of Exodus, “bitter lives”. They faced infanticide. Baby boys were to be killed at birth.
When we wonder if we can protect our children from the unseen and the unforeseen, we can remember this Levite mother.
But she exhibited courage in the face of difficulty. Despite knowing that Hebrew baby boys were being hunted and that she risked both her life and that of her family, she kept her infant son with her for as long as she could. She protected him.
And she was creative. When secrecy could no longer cloak them, she found a way to keep her baby safe, setting him afloat in a tar-and-pitch-covered basket and sending a bodyguard in the form of her older daughter to keep watch over him.
She was the ultimate mother-protector. For her efforts, she was able to reunite with her son and nurse him till he was weaned. According to tradition, this would have taken up to four years. Her baby would grow up to be the great patriarch and protector-liberator of the Israelites, Moses.
We may not face slavery nor infanticide. But, with Covid-19, we do live in unusually trying times. When we wonder if we can protect our children from the unseen and the unforeseen, we can remember this Levite mother and know that God can give us both the courage and the creativity to protect our own just as she did.
4. Elizabeth: The model of faith (Luke 1:5-66)
Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, provides us with a study in contrast.
Like her husband, the priest Zechariah, she was from the line of Aaron, the high priest, prophet and older brother of Moses. Unlike her husband, she had faith to accept the miraculous.
We would do well to remember that our children are given by God.
When visited by the angel and told the wondrous news that his barren wife would give him, not just a son, but one that would “be a joy and delight” and do great things, Zechariah’s response was one of incredulity: “How can I be sure of this?”
Elizabeth’s first recorded words about the event was one of faith: “The Lord has done this for me.” She was able to see the hand of God in her life and that of her unborn child.
There will be days when you look at your children and wonder how well they will turn out or if they will turn out well at all. There will be times they will do or say things that will make you worry for them.
In those moments, we would do well to remember that they are children given by God. As He did for Elizabeth, He has done this for you and He will work it out for His good.
5. Mary: The vessel for God (Luke 1:26-38)
No mention of biblical mothers would be complete without considering Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus. When told of the impossible and the improbable – a virgin pregnancy and birth – her response was: “I am the Lord’s servant.”
If our children are His, then our children belong to God first. Before they were ours, they were His.
And, indeed, that was what she was.
She became the vessel God used to bring the incarnate Christ to earth. From conception to crucifixion, Mary knew that her firstborn was both hers and not hers.
She was but a steward. Her child was God’s and God first and foremost.
This is a truth every parent has to come to terms with and one that is, perhaps, harder for mums to absorb. Our children belong to God first. Before they were ours, they were His. They are only ours on loan.
When we can remember this, then we will remember that we are put in their lives to do what God wants, not what we want. There is great responsibility in that, but also great freedom. Because we know God takes care of His own.
SAY A PRAYER FOR MUM
This Mother’s Day, why not say a prayer for the woman who taught you to pray and who has been praying for you even before you were born.
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