A mother’s love is fierce and, at times, even stubborn to a fault. Mothers are nurturers – a role that can be consuming, causing some to do the wrong “right” things at times out of an urge to simply be helpful. Yet, it is their relentless and unconditional love straight from God that encourages and keeps children long into adulthood. In honor of Mother’s Day, let’s take a look at the stories of seven remarkable mothers in the Bible who weren’t perfect, but are relatable to every mother in some way and teach us all lessons of love, faith and resilience.
The Original Mother (More specifically, of Cain, Abel, Seth and several unnamed others)
Eve was the first woman and the first mother. Without a single role model or mentor, she paved the maternal way to become “Mother of All the Living.” She and her mate Adam lived in paradise, but their humanity led them to spoiling it by falling for Satan’s trap instead of obeying God. Eve also suffered terrible grief when her son Cain murdered his brother Abel, yet despite these tragedies, she went on to fulfill her part in God’s plan of populating the Earth.
Mother of Isaac
Sarah was the wife of Abraham, which made her destined to be the mother of the nation of Israel. She was a good wife, a loyal helper and builder with Abraham. God’s promise to Abraham that he would be the father of many nations led Sarahto attempt to “help God” and “fix” the situation by giving her handmaiden Hagar to Abraham as her maternal “stunt double” when she was unable to conceive a child according to her timing. Nonetheless, it was Sarah whom God planned to be the mother of the nation of Israel, and as such He allowed her to conceive in her old age.
Mother of Aaron, Moses, and Miriam
After Pharaoh ordered all Israelite male babies to be killed, Jochebed gave birth to Moses and secretly took care of him for three months – a blatant act of civil disobedience. After she could no longer hide him, she trusted him to God by creating a boat and setting him into the Nile. Moses’ sister served as lookout as he journeyed and witnessed Pharaoh’s daughter pull him out of the Nile. Pharaoh’s daughter had compassion for the child, whom she knew was a Hebrew, and secured the services of his biological mother Jochebed to nanny him and he became Pharaoh’s grandson. Jochebed shows us that the determination and ingenuity of a desperate mother, even giving up her baby for “adoption,” can result in surprising circumstances.
Mother of Samuel the Prophet
Like several other mothers in the Bible, she knew what it meant to suffer long years of barrenness. In Hannah’s case, she was cruelly taunted by her husband’s other wife. But Hannah never gave up on God. Her heartfelt prayers were answered when she conceived and gave birth to a son, Samuel, whom would later become a prophet. Just as God remembered Hannah, Hannah remembered the promise she made to God that if she bore a son, she would give him back for God’s service. She handed her young child Samuel over to Eli for training as a priest. As a reward for
her selflessness, God favored Hannah with five more children, bringing great blessings to her life.
Mother of Solomon
Bathsheba was well-named as it was her “bath-ing” that attracted the attention of King David, and she became the object of his lust. David even arranged to have her husband Uriah the Hittite killed to get him out of the way. God was so displeased with David’s actions that he struck dead the first son from his affair with Bathsheba. Their sin is well documented and the effects to David’s household long-lasting. However, a second son, Solomon, was born from their union. Solomon became Israel’s greatest king, a peaceable ruler whose wisdom was legendary. He was loved by God, and from his line as David’s son, would come Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World. Bathsheba would have the distinguished honor of being one of only five women listed in Messiah’s ancestry, showing us that God can turn any disgraceful or embarrassing situation into good according to His will.
THE SHUNAMMITE WOMAN
The Bible does not tell us this Shunammite woman’s name nor the name of her son. We only know that she was a wealthy and well-respected person in society who had a kind heart. The Shunammite woman used her kindness and wealth to entertain the prophet Elisha. She was barren, but Elisha promised her that, in exchange for her good service to him, she would conceive a son. Although the woman claimed that such would be impossible, she held her son in her arms one year after Elisha prophesied over her. Years later, what some women would consider the greatest grief, she witnessed the death of her son. Out of faith, her immediate reaction was to find Elisha. She told her husband, “It shall be well,” and went on her way. Upon reaching Elisha, he asked her of her family, and despite her grief, without complaint she repeated, “It is well.” But Elisha new something was wrong. He went to the woman’s house, whom was laying on that was once Elisha’s, and miraculously restored the life of her son. The Shunammite woman’s story teaches us that keeping our hearts right, full of faith and love and empty of bitterness, is the secret to receiving blessings from God.
Mother of Jesus
Mary was the most honored mother in the Bible, the human mother of Jesus, who was born and died to save the world form its sins. Although she was only a young, humble peasant, Mary accepted God’s will for her life. She suffered enormous shame and pain, yet never doubted her Son for a moment. Mary stands as highly favored by God, a shining example of obedience and submission to the Father’s will. She was chosen to give birth to the divine Gift of heaven, but, as any mother knows, all gifts come with some work attached. She still had to change the Baby
Jesus’ diapers, soothe him as he teethed, teach him to walk and clean up his skinned knees. She had to cook the meals and wash his clothes and do all the things that moms do for their children. Even in his adult life, Mary was there. At the crucifixion, disciples scattered, followers hid, but Mary stayed when the rest of the world walked away. Mary is a rich tapestry of real motherhood: a lot of excitement and roud moments followed by years of work and moments of intense pain. But through it all, mothers are there.