Weekly Reflections: Roles mothers play


“God honours the childless wife in her home; he makes her happy by giving her children. Praise the Lord!” — Psalms 113:9

Mother’s Day

Every second Sunday of May is designated as Mother’s Day. This is one of the many beautiful traditions we inherited from our American Protestant Christianity.

This doesn’t mean however that we only remember our mothers during Mother’s Day, and forget them the rest of the year. Every day is and must be a Mother’s Day.

The Ten Commandments remind us, “Respect your father and mother, as I the Lord your God, command you, so that all may go well with you and so that you may live a long time in the land that I am giving you.” (Dt. 5:16). For the Deuteronomic historians, long life on earth would depend upon our respect for our parents. As the Psalmist declares, God honours the childless wife by giving her children (cf. Ps. 113:9). Hence, mothers are co-creators with God not only by giving birth to children, but more importantly by raising them up according to God’s statutes.

Sometime ago Neil Lieder wrote an article on the stages of motherhood. And on each stage, he mentions about the specific roles mothers have to play, giving some particular Biblical examples. According to him, there are four stages of motherhood: contemplating, coming soon, current, and completed motherhood. The mother’s role would depend upon the stage they are in.

Make the choice to have children

Let us start with the contemplating mothers. These are women who are not yet mothers, but are seriously considering it. Our Biblical example of a woman who didn’t have a child, but wanted one so desperately is Hannah, the mother of Prophet Samuel. We could find the story in the book of I Samuel (cf. I Sam. I: 10-11, 20, 24-28).

Hannah was barren, which means she couldn’t have children. Her heart literally ached inside of her, as many women even today feel, from the pain of not being able to have a child. Hannah had prayed and begged God for a son. She even promised God that if He would only grant her request, she would give her son back to Him.

God did grant her request, and true to her word, when his son named Samuel was weaned, which means no longer nursing, so he was just a very young child, she took him back to the temple and gave him to the priest to be raised. Hannah was quite a mother. This is one of the most selfless acts we can ever imagine.

The Bible clearly states that children are a blessing from God. So, God does want all of us to whom He has given the ability, to have children. But not only to have them, after we have them comes the huge responsibility of raising them up to God’s glory. God went on to use Samuel in many mighty ways. God blessed both Samuel and his mother for their faithfulness to Him.

Actually, hardly anyone of us can afford to have children nowadays. It is very costly. It costs millions of pesos. But God can afford it, and God does provide! On a personal note, God blessed my wife Pearl and I with three sons; now, all professionals. Our eldest is a lawyer, the second son is an architect, and the youngest is a medical doctor. As we look back, we could not imagine how we were able to raise them up with the meagre income we have been receiving as church workers. But this is where our faith really begins to grow, when we have to rely on God.

By having children, we will learn far more than we will ever teach our children! Raising children is an experience in joy, in heart-ache; an experience like no other. But we’ll never know what we are missing until we have them!

Value and treasure your children for who they are

Another category of motherhood is the Coming Soon Mothers! These are the mothers who are already expecting, and can’t wait for their child to be born, so they can begin the all-important tasks of motherhood.

Our example for this category is Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist (cf. Lk. 1: 36-37, 39-45, 57-66, 76-79). The Biblical account of Elizabeth includes the time while she is pregnant and she feels her baby move inside of her. We begin in Luke where the Angel is talking to her cousin, Mary who has just found out she is also with a child.

Little John grew up to be John the Baptist. He was known as the forerunner of Christ. His purpose was to prepare the way, to prepare the hearts of the people to accept Jesus for who he is, the Lord and Saviour.

John and Jesus then were second cousins. John was six months older than Jesus. John’s mother was an old woman; Jesus’ mother was a very young one. But both women knew the baby they carried had a special purpose to fulfil in this life. They treasured their children, even before they were born. Both of these women listened closely to God, and always kept His words concerning their child, in their heart, and pondered on them.

To all those coming soon mothers, your duties of motherhood have already begun. Begin now to pray for your child. Treasure your child. And plan now how you will raise your child to fulfil the special purpose God has planned for them.

Prepare them for their God-given purpose

Our next group of mothers is the Current mothers. These women are easily recognizable. They are the ones whose nerves are on end. They often look exhausted and frazzled, because they are hot and heavy into the earth-changing work of motherhood right now. They are fighting the forces of evil every day for the lives of their children.

Our Biblical example of the Current Day Mother is Mary, the mother of Jesus. Her son was a perfect child, but she was not! She had the same fears, thoughts and battles that we do. Perhaps, we could say that her job was even harder because she was responsible for raising her son to be the Christ.

Onetime, she lost her son. And she did what any mother would do. She panicked! When she finally found him, she gave him a good scolding (cf. Lk. 2:48-52).

Jesus never back-talked his mother, although in her mother’s frame of mind, it probably sounded like it. Jesus gave her mother the honest answer, as a twelve year old would. She didn’t know what to say, so she just pondered it in her heart. The Bible tells us she had a lot of things in her heart that she was pondering!

When Jesus was an adult, his mother may have thought she was done with her motherhood responsibilities, but a mother’s heart is never done. She was actually a big part of Jesus’ first miracle! (cf. John 2:3-5). They went to a wedding feast together. But while they were there, a problem came up. The host of the wedding had run out of wine. Mary, always trying to keep everyone happy went to her son Jesus whom she knew could help. Jesus gave her mother another one of those answers that a mother could let go under her skin, but she overlooked it and told the servants to do whatever he told them to do.

Of course, if we read the rest of the story, we will find that Jesus performed his first mighty miracle and there was the best wine anyone had ever tasted, and plenty of it. It sure made the wedding host look good!

When Jesus was hanging on the cross, dying for the sins of all people, his mother, Mary, looked on. She was there, standing at the foot of the cross. Mothers today may all go through difficult times with their children. But perhaps nothing could compare to the pain Mary was feeling for her child at this time.

But let’s look at her reaction. As the mother of an adult child, she did not try to interfere. She trusted and supported his decision to die in the service of the people. She could have started beating up soldiers, and kicking and screaming and telling everyone to get away from her son and to leave him alone. But as hard as it must have been for her, she controlled herself, and let her adult son live the life he had chosen to live.

Instill in them our faith and values

The last group of mothers we want to look at is the Completed mothers.

These are the mothers who have already raised their children. Their job is done! Or so they thought. Hopefully, they aren’t allowing their grown children to remain children, but are forcing them to become adults. If they have done their job well, their adult children are self-supporting and well adjusted.

But even if that’s the case, they may now find themselves with grandchildren. There is a whole new generation needing their wisdom and guidance! A perfect example of this is given in one single verse in the New Testament (cf. II Tim. 1:5). We have two examples for this category: Eunice – Mother, and Lois – grandmother of Timothy.

Timothy was a young adult at this point, and the great evangelist Paul was grooming him for the Lord’s work. While spending time with Timothy, Paul paid a great complement, not only to him, but also to his mother and grandmother. Eunice and Lois had done an excellent job instilling their values into their son and grandson. That is our most important job as parents. # nordis.net


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