Motherhood

Motherhood

The Author Erma Bombeck tells of God in the act of creating mothers.

She says that on the day God created mothers He had already worked long overtime. And an angel said to Him, “Lord, you sure are spending a lot of time on this one.”

The Lord turned & said, “Have you read the specs on this model? She is supposed to be completely washable, but not plastic. She is to have 180 moving parts, all of them replaceable. She is to have a kiss that will heal everything from a broken leg to a broken heart.

“She is to have a lap that will disappear whenever she stands up. She is to be able to function on black coffee & leftovers. And she is supposed to have six pairs of hands.”

“Six pairs of hands,” said the angel, “that’s impossible.” “It’s not the six pairs of hands that bother me,” said the Lord, “It’s the three pairs of eyes. She is supposed to have one pair that sees through closed doors so that whenever she says, ‘What are you kids doing in there?’ she already knows what they’re doing in there.”

“She has another pair in the back of her head to see all the things she is not supposed to see but must see. And then she has one pair right in front that can look at a child that just goofed & communicate love & understanding without saying a word.”

“That’s too much.” said the angel, “You can’t put that much in one model. Why don’t you rest for a while & resume your creating tomorrow?”

“No, I can’t,” said the Lord. “I’m close to creating someone very much like myself. I’ve already come up with a model who can heal herself when she is sick who can feed a family of six with one pound of hamburger & who can persuade a nine-year-old to take a shower.”

Then the angel looked at the model of motherhood a little more closely & said, “She’s too soft.” “Oh, but she is tough,” said the Lord. “You’d be surprised at how much this mother can do.”

“Can she think?” asked the angel. “Not only can she think,” said the Lord, “but she can reason & compromise & persuade.”

Then the angel reached over & touched her cheek. “This one has a leak,” he said. “I told you that you couldn’t put that much in one model.” “That’s not a leak,” said the Lord. “That’s a tear.”

“What’s a tear for?” asked the angel. “Well, it’s for joy, for sadness, for sorrow, for disappointment, for pride.” “You’re a genius,” said the angel. And the Lord said, “Oh, but I didn’t put it there.”

A man named W. L. Caldwell wrote in 1928:

“The pride of America is its mothers. There are wicked mothers like Jezebel of old. There are unnatural mothers who sell their children into sin. There is sin-cursed rum soaked and abandoned mothers to whom their motherhood is the exposure of their shame. I am glad to believe, however, that there are comparatively few in this class.”

Is that true? Are there merely a few unfaithful mothers?

Maybe that was the case in 1928, but it’s sadly not so today. The contemporary idea of marriage – motherhood’s foundation, has been completely abandoned.

Annual abortions number in the millions, which shows the heart of many mothers has grown cold. Millions of children whose mothers allow them to see the light of day cower in fear of angry abuse. And countless are the mothers who ignore, neglect, or abandon their children in pursuit of self-centered “fulfillment”

In this country today we have a whole generation of adults who have been raised by their grandparents, because for their parents, being a parent was an inconvenient interruption to their lifestyle. Grandparents who didn’t have it in them to parent another generation and so they really have no idea what it is to be a parent.

For better or worse, mothers are the makers of men; they are the architects of the next generation. That’s why the goal of becoming a godly mother is the highest and most noble pursuit of womanhood. God has specially equipped women for that very purpose, and in Christ, women can experience profound satisfaction in that divinely ordained pursuit. They can be who God created them to be.

Since tomorrow is  Mother’s Day I want to share with you a couple of biblical examples of motherhood. First is Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel, an emblem of the grace of womanhood. You can read her story in 1 Samuel 1 and 2.

Hannah became a mother by faith. In the opening verses of 1 Samuel, she is introduced as a childless woman. But God granted her a precious gift and she became the mother of one of the greatest men who ever walked the earth. As you follow this account, you’ll see the profile of a godly mother.

Devoted to Her Husband 

Contrary to popular opinion, the most important characteristic of a godly mother is her relationship, not with her children, but with her husband. What you communicate to your children through your marital relationship will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

By watching you and your husband, they are learning the most fundamental lessons of life—love, self-sacrifice, integrity, virtue, sin, sympathy, compassion, understanding, and forgiveness. Whatever you teach them about those things, right or wrong, is planted deep within their hearts.

That emphasis on marriage was very evident between Elkanah and Hannah. They were dedicated to the faithful worship of God (1 Samuel 1:3), and they were dedicated to loving one another (1 Samuel 1:4-8).

3 Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the LORD Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the LORD. 4 Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah, he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the LORD had closed her womb. 6 Because the LORD had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. 7 This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat.

At a particularly low point in Hannah’s discouragement, Elkanah comforted his wife with these words: “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”

Their situation—being unable to have children together—was like an open wound. But it was an experience that drew out of Elkanah tender expressions of love for his wife.

That may not seem like a tremendous comfort to you, but he was appealing to the satisfaction they enjoyed in their marriage. Notice the effect: Hannah was encouraged—she started to eat and drink again (1 Samuel 1:9), and she went to the temple to seek the Lord (1 Samuel 1:9-11).

9 Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the LORD’s house. 10 In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly. 11 And she made a vow, saying, ” LORD Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”

That’s the kind of marriage to which a godly mother is devoted—dedication to loving God, dedication to loving one another. That’s the soil where godly mothers grow and flourish.

Devoted to Her God

Hannah struggled with acute pain and adversity. She was barren, and so according to the custom of the day, she had to share her husband with another woman—one who could produce children, and she had to endure the pain of that woman’s cruelty (1 Samuel 1:6-7). 

And though Hannah was tempted to despair (1 Samuel 1:8), she received the encouragement of her husband, turned to the Lord, and poured out her heart to Him in humble devotion (1 Samuel 1:9-18).

Hannah struggled with the pain of infertility. She wanted God’s best, to be a mother. In her sadness, Hannah didn’t complain to her husband—there was nothing he could do about it—and she didn’t fight back when Peninnah tormented her. Instead, Hannah trusted God through prayer.

That’s a beautiful characteristic. She understood that God was the source of children, that God alone could alter her sterility. Her distinctive virtue was her constant faith. First Samuel 1:12 says, “It came about as she continued praying before the Lord”. Her prayers were constant. She stayed there praying with a broken heart, pouring out tearful prayers. Hannah knew where to go with her problems.

Hannah was quite different from many today who long for children; she wasn’t seeking a child for her own fulfillment.

She was willing from the start to give the child back to God, for life (1 Samuel 1:11). 

 11 And she made a vow, saying, ” LORD Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”

It wasn’t about her. It wasn’t about getting what she wanted. It was about self-sacrifice, giving herself to that little life to give him back to the Lord. After coming to that place in her heart, after expressing her desires to the Lord in prayer, she experienced the peace of humble devotion to God. She “went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad” (1 Samuel 1:18).

Devoted to Her Home 

According to His perfect will, God gave Hannah a son—Samuel.

19 Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the LORD and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the LORD remembered her. 20 So in the course of time, Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the LORD for him.”

Hannah named her son in remembrance of God’s goodness, and she devoted herself to her motherly responsibilities—she was fully committed to her home. The time came for one of the annual trips to Shiloh, and Elkanah came to Hannah to prepare her for the trip.

21 When her husband Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the LORD and to fulfill his vow, 22 Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, “After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the LORD, and he will live there always.”

When God gave the child, Hannah dedicated herself to raising him. She would be devoted to that task for several years, knowing her time with him was short.

She was totally committed to staying in the home until that little life was trained. She had important work to do—nursing, loving cherishing, instructing. Hannah understood how vital those early years are when 90 percent of personality is formed. She prepared him in those formative years for a lifetime of service to God—such a high calling.

But Hannah knew that one day she had to give Samuel back. It wasn’t about fulfilling her deepest needs through her child. It was about fulfilling her oath to God. It was about being faithful to her calling to be a godly mother.

For those of you who are mothers, think about Hannah this Mother’s Day. Be devoted to your husband; be devoted to your God; and be devoted to your home in the fear of the Lord. That’s your high calling and your greatest joy.

For those of you whose mothers are still living, recognize your mother this Mother’s Day for the things she did well. Look in love beyond any of her shortcomings and honor the one who introduced you to life

The last story I want to share with you is from 1 Kings chapter 3

A Mothers Sacrifice (1 Kings 3:16-27)

16 Now two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 17 One of them said, “Pardon me, my lord. This woman and I live in the same house, and I had a baby while she was there with me. 18 The third day after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us.

19 “During the night this woman’s son died because she lay on him. 20 So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I your servant was asleep. She put him by her breast and put her dead son by my breast. 21 The next morning, I got up to nurse my son—and he was dead! But when I looked at him closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t the son I had borne.”

22 The other woman said, “No! The living one is my son; the dead one is yours.”

But the first one insisted, “No! The dead one is yours; the living one is mine.” And so they argued before the king.

23 The king said, “This one says, ‘My son is alive and your son is dead,’ while that one says, ‘No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.’”

24 Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king. 25 He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.”

26 The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!”

But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!”

27 Then the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.”

Conclusion:

That is motherhood. Mothers, this is your day. May God bless you in it. And I pray that if there is someone here who has never experienced the love of God that is so close to the love of a mother, that this will be your time of decision.

I pray that if you have felt that you have had to walk through that valley alone so many times, that you will recognize that there is a hand reaching out to you, saying, “There is nothing to be afraid of. I’ll go with you.”

And I pray that you will recognize that there is one who has already gone through the valley of the shadow for you, & made it possible for you to live forever.

He extends His loving invitation in much the same way that a mother opens the doors of home & calls her children in, He calls you, too. I pray that you will come as we stand & give a response to the word we have just heard.

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