Moms-issues seems to be a popular topic right now. Most people don't openly shame stay-at-home-moms anymore, although there does still seem to be some stigma about working moms.
There are mom-against-mom wars: bottle-fed vs. breastfed, preschool vs. staying home, organic vs. McDonald's happy meal, spanking vs. not spanking, baby wearing vs. strollers, forward facing carseats vs prolonged backwards facing carseats... the list goes on and on.
But there's one thing everyone seems to agree on: being a mom is hard.
Like, REALLY hard. Want-to-quit-and-eat-cookie-dough-ice-cream-on-the-couch-while-binge-watching-Gilmore-Girls-for-weeks hard. Most days it's a thankless job. An "invisible" job. Honestly I've done both, and I couldn't tell you which is harder - working mom, or stay-at-home mom. And that's not what this post is about.
This is about the days we feel like "just a mom". Like all you do is make meals, wash clothes, keep the "tiny humans" alive, help them achieve their hopes and dreams and find the balance between patience and correction.
So, today I want to tell you about 5 "invisible" moms in the Bible. Some of them you've thought of, some of them you probably haven't. But, in each case, they were "simply" doing the mundane, everyday mom-duties.
1. Making Meals - The Mom of the boy with the 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread
We all know this story, right? It's in John 6. Jesus is preaching to a multitude, when the day gets long, and he tells the disciples to find the people something to eat. Andrew, one of the disciples tells Jesus there's this boy, with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread, which is obviously not enough for 5000+ people. But, Jesus blesses the food, and performs a miracle, where there is enough food for everyone, with 12 baskets to spare.
But, do you know why this miracle was even possible? Because a mama packed her boy a lunch. Because of her everyday act of love, Jesus was able to feed the multitude. Sure, I assume had she not packed him a lunch, Jesus would've found another way - but he didn't. He used something that so many of us do day-in and day-out - feed our children, and showed it to be so much more.
From the moment we find out they're on their way, we worry about what is going into their body. We take prenatal vitamins and try to eat right while we're pregnant. We breastfeed, or try to find the very best formula money can buy. As a working mom, I spent my lunch break, and resource break every day for a year holed up in a storage room, pumping that liquid gold. Once he moved on to solids, and went to preschool, he was fed a school lunch. But yet, I got up every morning to make him a fresh fruit salad, so that incase he didn't like it, at least he had something good and nutritious to eat. I try to make sure every meal he eats has each food group represented. I get him hummus to dip his carrots in, because I know he likes it. I get him pouches of yoghurt, because it's how he likes to start his morning. We do these things to keep them sustained, sure. But it's more than that. It's how we show them we love and care for them. And God cares about it.
2. Laundry - Hannah, Samuel's mom
|or hand-made costumes from mommy and grandma|
I really love Hannah, and have written about her in the past. But as I was revisiting her story this verse stood out to me: 1 Samuel 2:18 "In the midst of all this, Samuel, a boy dressed in a priestly linen tunic, served . Additionally, every year his mother would make him a little robe cut to his size and bring it to him when she and her husband came for the annual sacrifice."
I had never really noticed this before. I don't recall anywhere else in the Bible where someone sewing a robe made the final cut. And yet here it is, and important enough to be mentioned as part of what molded his character. In case you are not familiar, in 1 Samuel 1 Hannah is praying and crying in the Tabernacle for God to give her a baby. She promises to give him to the Lord in return. Eli the priest finds her, and initially thinks she's drunk, but then realizes what is going on, and tells her God has heard her prayer. Hannah does in fact become pregnant, nurses and then weans her son (there the feeding element is again, btw), and then brings him to the tabernacle. She kept her promise, even though I'm sure it broke her heart. And although she didn't see him every day, when she came to visit, she always brought him a robe "cut to his size". This indicates precision and forethought. The wording is so precious. Clothes and laundry. Just another thing we moms do, in what seems like a never-ending cycle. And yet, this act of nurturing was important enough to make it into God's word. And, by the way, do you know what happened to Hannah in return? God blessed she and her husband with more children. Not that they could ever take Samuel's place. But what a comfort it must've been to not find her arms empty again.
3. "Keeping the Tiny Humans Alive" - Moses' mother, Jochebed
Have you seen those mugs that say, "Today's To Do List: Keep the Tiny Humans Alive"? I think it's hilarious, because I feel like I'm always saving Aidan from himself. That's why people child-proof! When they bump their heads, we call the doctor. When they are determined to jump off the furniture, we explain to them why that's NOT a great idea. Or at least put a pillow in the landing zone. Well, Jochebed had to ACTUALLY keep her tiny human alive. The Pharaoh was feeling threatened by the Jews, so he had all the baby boys killed (Exodus 1:22). First she hid him, for 3 months! (Imagine if he was colicky!) Then, she created an ingenious, waterproof basket, and placed him in the Nile. How her heart must've ached! But Pharaoh's daughter found him, his sister suggested a wet nurse she knew (their mother), and so Jochebed got to keep her son a little while longer. Although not portrayed this way in stories like the Prince of Egypt, the language in the Bible suggests that Moses knew, and kept in touch with his biological family - because his clever and loving mama wouldn't give up.
4. Hopes and Dreams - Bathsheba, Solomon's mother
I've always had a soft spot for Bathsheba. Yes, she and David had an affair, but I feel like, in that day and age, if the king decides he's going to sleep with you, and your husband is out of town, and isn't there to kick his butt, there isn't much room to say no. Anyway, they have an affair which results in a baby, who sadly dies. (2 Samuel 11-12) Later, David and Bathsheba have another baby - Solomon. As David is getting old, one of his other sons, Adonijah crowns himself king, without his father's blessing or anointing. Nathan the prophet convinces Bathsheba to go to David, and remind him of his promise to have Solomon as his successor. So Bathsheba goes before David to plead her son's case. In the end David names Solomon his heir, and Nathan anoints him.
Somehow, I missed this part of the story, until working on this piece. It wasn't like nowadays, where you have a family meeting. Remember how risky it was for Esther to go before the king? Judging by the tone in this passage (1 King 1), it would seem that we are dealing with a very similar situation. So, Bathsheba risked it all to make sure that her son got what was rightfully his, and God's plan for his life.
How many times as mamas do we set our own needs or comforts aside for our kids' dreams? The countless hours sitting at practice, or late nights studying for tests? Or pursuing recommendations, proof-reading essays? Moms have been doing it since the beginning of time. And God thought it was important enough to highlight in the story of Bathsheba fighting for her son.
5. Patience and Correction - Mary, Mother of Jesus
Okay, so this mama is definitely not invisible. But today I want to focus on her parenting, specifically. Remember the story, of when young Jesus stays behind in Jerusalem, and his parents don't know where he is? When they finally find him, this is what goes down: (Luke 2:48) "
I always loved that last sentence, it's very poetic. First off, I'm impressed that it says that she "said" to him. Had it been me, it would've said she "screeched" at him. That's the patient part. So, this is the correction portion. She doesn't just say, "Oh yay, we found you!" No, she tells him that he caused his parents great distress. Jesus responds (which I used to take as Jesus talking back, but I don't think that was the case) saying he was in his Father's house. They take him home, and it says he was "submissive" to them. I mean, yeah, he was Jesus, but still. I think that part is important. He was obedient to them, which implies there was something to be obedient ABOUT. This means there were rules and expectations in their household. And then that last sentence: his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. I'm not sure if it is referring to his response at the temple, or his obedience, or both. But whatever the case, it shows that her heart was tuned towards him, which I love.
So, sweet mama plugging through your everyday routine, thinking it doesn't matter, no one cares or notices. Stories like these in the Bible are made possible because of mothers just like you. Because of mothers' daily devotion and sacrifice.
So keep on keeping on. God is noticing, and it matters to Him. In each of these stories, the common denominator, is that God didn't forget about these mothers, and He hasn't forgotten about you, either. You have the greatest gift, to be the first and perhaps most influential voice your child will hear. Your voice becomes their self-talk. Like from the Yaya Sisterhood, "For better or for worse, she's the voice in my head". May it be for better. May we be their inner voice telling them how much they matter.