There’s no lack of characters in the Bible and no matter how you see it, beyond Adam & Eve, they each had a mother. We sometimes struggle when we compare ourselves to people found in scripture. It’s hard because we forget that God uses ordinary people for His extraordinary purposes. We think we can’t possibly be similar to the moms God uses in the Bible.
Almost every person in the Bible was just an ordinary person. Some of them God used for extraordinary things, some played a small part in the greater story. But in the big picture, the people were little and the power was God’s might.
God is currently using each of us for a purpose! No matter how insignificant any of us feel, we are actually playing a part of a great plan. It might be a very small part of a very great plan, but we’re each still a part of this plan.
The truth is, we might never see any fruit of our work on this side of heaven.
If we want to be moms of the Bible, then maybe we can learn a little from moms in the Bible. So let’s look at some of them…
Genesis 1 // The original mother. She’s the ancestor to every human on earth. She didn’t have a mother to teach her, she literally was created as a wife, partner, and helpmate for Adam. God gifted her with great responsibilities to care for the garden and she sinned because she decided she could do things better than God could. As a mother, she had one son kill another. Scripture doesn’t go into details about her feelings on that situation, but I’m guessing she felt helpless and like a failure more than once through her life.
Genesis 6, 7, 8 // You know she rolled her eyes at her husband. More than once. Probably even snapped at him and called him crazy. But she submitted to God and his call on Noah’s life. She boarded the boat and was a helper to Noah. Her name isn’t even recorded in scripture.
Genesis 11 // Another time that a mother tried to take charge. If you don’t know the story, God promises a child to her husband Abram, but she thinks she’s too old for a child so she has him sleep with her maidservant Hagar and they have a child. Eventually, she has a child and she makes her husband kick his first son, Ishmael, out of town.
Truthfully Sarah and Abraham were a couple that could have found benefits from counseling. Between the servant child and eventually Abraham almost sacrificing/murdering their son Isaac, it’s safe to say that trust and faith in each other was probably a rocky road.
Sarah was loved by Abraham and Isaac. She lived to be 127 years old.
Genesis 12 // Egyptian maidservant of Sarah. Bore Abraham’s first son Ishmael. Was then sent away with her child because Sarah said to and God told Abraham to obey his wife. Genesis 21:8-21 explains what happens while they were cast out. God made a nation from Hagar’s son also.
Genesis 24-27 // Wife of Isaac. Daughter-in-law of Sarah and Abraham. Mother to twins, Jacob and Esau. She is a mother who picked a favorite son, deceived her husband, all while trying to take things into her own hands. Because the Lord said to her “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.” Genesis 25:23
Genesis 30 // The first wife of Jacob, only because Laban her father, tricked him. She has 6 sons (Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun) and a daughter (Dinah). She was loved less by Jacob that her sister Rachel, but she was the one to give him his first child.
Genesis 30 // The dichotomy between Rachel and her sister, Leah, is one that could be written and taught about forever. Rachel was Jacob’s first wife, one that he loved the most, but she couldn’t have children. Well, she didn’t have children until God wanted her to and her children ended up being Joseph and Benjamin. She dies during childbirth. Her story makes us see the importance of her sons and the importance of God’s timing.
Exodus 1 // The daughter of Levi. The wife of Amram (and also his aunt). The mother of Moses. Personally I don’t think our culture gives her enough attention. She lived in Egypt and gave birth when Pharaoh was threatening the lives of male Israelites. She places her son in a basket in the river where Pharaoh’s daughter discovers him. Her servant, Miriam, who happened to be Moses’s sister suggested finding a wet nurse to care for the baby until he was older. God is so good. Moses is literally taken from the water and saved. His mother gets to nurse and love on him as a baby and then he one day frees their people from slavery through the water.
Judges 13 // Another strong woman who was considered barren, but she eventually has a son because she was faithfully used by God in His perfect timing. You know the story, right? An angel appears and tells her that she will conceive and birth a son and she should never cut her son’s hair because he will be used by God from womb until his death. She was faithful and obedient to what the angel of the Lord told her.
Ruth // The mother-in-law of the bible, right? Well that’s her character. Wife of Elimelech. She’s the mother-in-law to Ruth. Their husbands die and then they return to Naomi’s people, whom are believers. Ruth decides to stay with her. So the story is more about her being a mother to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, than to her own children. She’s faithful and loving. What a testament to her character that her daughter-in-law would decide to stay with her. That’s someone living out the good news!
Ruth // Probably one of the most popular women in scripture, there is a full book of the Bible named for her, Ruth gives women hope to be brave. She is a Moabite that marries an Israelite. She overcame her fears and saved her people. She was the underdog, she beat the odds, and was in the end triumphant. She’s a big gold star on the lineage of Jesus Christ. Her story is remarkable and gives us hope and courage when we need it.
1 Samuel 1 // One of Elkanah’s wives. She was barren but the other wife had children. Eventually she vowed to give her child to the Lord if he would give her one. She was blessed with Samuel and eventually 3 more sons and 2 daughters.
2 Samuel 11 // Bathsheba has a lot of layers to her story. First she’s a wife who’s husband is away at war. Who knows what sort of distress she was in, it’s not like she could easily hear from him. Then King David (her husband’s bestie) decides he wants to lay with her and he summons her. This part of the story is one that is not 100% certain but there’s arguments about if she was a willing participant or if she was raped. She ends up pregnant and David tries to cover up his mess. When he invites her husband, Uriah, home for a “meeting”, he was expecting him to visit his wife so the baby could be claimed as her husbands. When Uriah doesn’t visit, David panics and has her husband sent to the front lines. Bathsheba and David marry and God punishes David with the death of his first son. So Bathsheba goes from a husband at war to potentially being rapped, getting pregnant, her rapist murdering her husband, and then the death of her first son.
Doesn’t this story sound like Shonda Rimes wrote it? We don’t hear about Bathsheba and the distress she went through. What we do know is that God redeemed her and her story and from this chaos, the lineage of Jesus’ is traced. So we can learn from her that no matter what the devil has for us, God can use it for His purpose.
Luke 1 // Mother of John the Baptist. Cousin of Mary. Another barren woman. Who was older when the angel of the Lord appeared to her husband and told him they would have a son. Her husband becomes mute and she stays hidden. When Jesus’ birth is foretold and Mary visits Elizabeth, John in the womb leaps for joy and she is filled with the Holy Spirit. Everyone thought the baby would be named Zechariah, after his father, but Elizabeth said no because of what the angel had told her. When they asked Zechariah about it he asked for his writing tablet and when he writes that the baby will be named John, he is no longer mute.
The is the last she’s mentioned in scripture. But John the Baptist grows up and lives in the wilderness. Then is eventually jailed and beheaded. She was older when he was born so we don’t know when she died. If she saw her son grow to teach and learned of Jesus’ ministry, I’d think she was a joyful but scared mother and aunt. But that’s my personal thoughts.
Matthew 1 & Luke 1 // The virgin mother of Jesus. Wife of Joseph. Eventually she had more children (James, Joseph, Jude and Simon, + daughters). These children were the half siblings of Jesus as Joseph wasn’t his biological father. Mary seems to be a chill mother. She did lose Jesus for a few days. We don’t know much about her really. Which I think is a tragedy. I think Christian mothers could truly be encouraged by her take on motherhood. But we can look at the man that she raised and learn about her trust in God. She said yes when she was young. She had plenty of trials, there were times to doubt herself and question why, but in the end her son died and was raised from the dead. What a journey of motherhood!
What Can We Learn
All of these women made mistakes. All of their stories contain more questions than answers but we can continue to glean from the things we know. We can learn about the types of moms they were by the children they raised. We can be encouraged because they all made mistakes and had rough days. If the mother of the savior of the world can misplace her child for multiple days, we can feel a little better about hitting someone’s head on the car door.
It is important for us to also notice and discuss the barren womb’s being opened by God. This isn’t to say that a barren women is being punished or not used by God. There’s also no way to know why people so long ago had issues with fertility. The medical advancements we have weren’t even in their imaginations. The barren womb’s could have been caused by plenty of issues, both from the women and their husbands. The Old Testament fertility recounts can be a touchy subject for us today. Please don’t rush over them or let the enemy use them against you.
These women are regular women who were part of the greatest story ever!