By Karen Whiting, Crosswalk.com
Archeology reveals that skeletons of many women in ancient Israelite farm communities developed nodules on their vertebrae, arthritis in their necks from carrying heavy loads, and wear patterns in their ankles from squatting over fires and weaving on looms on the ground.
Art uncovered from ancient times reveals that men saw women’s beauty in their biceps where muscular women were a better catch and more promising as future wives and moms. These women worked hard to feed and clothe their families.
Yet, we see women in the Bible shine with confidence, talent, and leadership. As we dig deeper into moms in the Bible, we find traits that surprise us and reveal their strength, courage, and persistence.
Here are 10 worth celebrating.
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1. They Managed Wisely
Abigail appeased King David over her husband Nabal’s rudeness. Evidently, she served as CEO of the home and a diplomat as needed. Her story is in 1 Samuel 25. The servants ran to her when they sensed a problem after Nabal snubbed David. She loaded donkeys with two hundred loaves of bread, five sheep already prepared, wine, and three hundred cakes and took them to King David. David and his men had suited up for battle with their sword strapped on.
She prevented David from wiping out Nabal and his men. She became a wife of David and mother of Chileab (2 Samuel 3:3)
The only clue to so much in prepared food in the house is the mention of the day as a special feast day. Abigail probably prepared ahead for the feast and not diverted much of it to making peace. What we do when we are faced with a battle that endangers our family and community makes a difference.
Abigail shows us the importance of taking immediate action is worth the effort.in a crisis.
2. They Treasured Important Memories
Mary treasured prophetic words spoken about Jesus [Luke 2:19]. She pondered over the words. Those memories and words stayed with her and very likely helped her as she stood at the cross. Our treasured memories sustain up as moms and help us get through the struggles. Her example showed us courage and a steadfast spirit. Her example helped countless moms face the difficult times with great courage too.
What gets moms through tough times is not their beauty but their grit. That strength to press on starts with bonding with their children. That love that runs deep is also tied to precious memories. The joy of smiles and cute little words of children as well as positive affirmations moms hear about their children inspired them to be steadfast and stand by their child no matter what.
A mom’s treasured memories help her cling to hope and trust God for the outcome.
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3. They Celebrated Life
Early mothers rejoiced over life and freedom. Eve gave birth to the first baby [Genesis 4:1], she did not attribute his birth to Adam. She said, “I gave birth to a man child with the help of the Lord.’ After crossing the Red Sea to freedom Miriam led the women to celebrate that freedom from tyranny [Exodus 15].
Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptist and Mary the mother of Jesus rejoiced together at the lives within the womb [Luke 2]. They understood the joy of life and did not compare their children or situations. They focused on God’s purpose. After the birth of Jesus, when Herod slaughtered babies, the prophecy brought up is of Rachel weeping for her children [Jeremiah 31:15]. That reflects a woman's passion for life.
In a day where life is ended needlessly so often, we should recall women who cared deeply about life and God’s call through the prophet to weep at the death of innocent children. Celebrating life with each birthday and freedom with patriotic holidays reminds us to pray for life and liberty and continue the fight.
4. They Stood Fearless in Spite of Politics
Shiphrah and Puah, in Exodus 1, defied Pharaoh, the mightiest leader on earth, to save Israelite babies. They stood beside the mother and disobeyed the order to kill the babies in the birth canal. God rewarded them with their own children. Mary, the mother of Jesus, Mary, wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene all stood at the cross while the disciples and others except John had fled.
These women supported other women in need and did not care who saw them stand with Jesus at the crucifixion. Mary, the mother of Jesus was not abandoned or left to stand alone.
Moms need loyal support, and they often find it in other women. In Biblical times women often cooked in community ovens and ground wheat side by side. When women followed Jesus and supported him, they did that as a group also [Luke 8:3]. They also spent the time developing their relationships and bonding so strongly that they will stand together no matter what happens.
Girlfriends make lasting ties that stand the test of struggles.
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5. They Cared Deeply
A mothers love is lasting and deep. That is seen in Rahab after King David allowed enemies to kill her sons to make peace for Saul’s evil deeds. She never gave up her vigil over their bodies in seeking closure and an honorable burial. She was a concubine, basically a victim of human trafficking, that most of society overlooked. She moved the heart of King David to compassion. To provide honorable burials for the sons of Saul. She had a specific goal to help her find closure.
Another Biblical mother, Hannah, followed through on dedicating her son God gave her to him and brought him to the temple to serve there. She never gave up her love as a mother and spent time throughout the year weaving a new priestly robe to give her son Samuel on the annual trip where she saw him.
Moms are resilient when they face challenges, making changes as needed. That’s seen in how mothers rise to challenges of cancer, learning disabilities, and more. They seek answers and forge new paths. When moms cannot see their children, they are still never far from their minds or prayers and they will reach out when possible.
6. They Made Decisions
The Shunammite Woman of 2 Kings 4 reveals a strong and decisive woman. This prominent woman entertained the prophet Elisha and recognized him as a man of God. She directed her husband to help her make a room for him to stay when he came through the area. God blessed her with a son through Elisha. When he became ill, she headed to see Elisha.
Her husband wondered why since it was not a religious day. She understood the power of Eisha’s God while her husband appeared to not understand that, and he may not have understood the seriousness of their son’s illness. She appears much more astute and sought Elisha who brought her son back from death.
Moms with godly discernment recognize a believer and live with hope that does not disappoint even the desired answer is not sent. Faithful moms open their doors for guests and share from their hearts.
The spirit of hospitality connects moms to people and provides new opportunities to love others.
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7. They Served Faithfully and Worked Hard
Ruth who proclaimed her allegiance to her mother-in-law’s God showed her faith through her actions. She did what it took to sustain their lives. Gleaning was hard work but then she needed to beat the grain to make it edible and then she served it to Naomi [Ruth 2].
The Canaanite woman persisted in pleading for Jesus to save her daughter in spite of the disciples' attempts to dismiss her and received her request. Jesus also praised a persistent widow who continued to plead for justice from a judge and received it.
Hope fuels woman to persist and work hard in spite of struggles. Women take on jobs in the home, work odd hours, and seek ways to meet the needs of their families. They plead with God for help and pray as long as it takes. Moms hope for the best as they seek solutions for children’s problems and juggle things to care for aging family members too.
The work seldom ceases but God blesses women and their faithfulness in his timing.
8. They Influenced Other Women
Naomi in the Old Testament book of Ruth shines as the example of a woman who made a difference. Her example brought Ruth to the Lord. In the New Testament, we see a mother and daughter whose example made a difference [2 Timothy 1:5]. Paul praised Lois and Eunice and attributed Timothy’s faith to them. Mothers have great influence.
Alas, we see the impact of negative influence in Herod’s wife’s influence over her daughter who followed her mother’s prompt to ask for the head of John the Baptist and that brought about his death [Matthew 14:6-12]. The Mother of John Mark who held church in her home also reveals the power of a mother’s influence [Acts 12].
Moms can choose between good and evil. When they choose good, they impact future generations for the best.
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9. They Became Great through Living Faithfully
The praise of the proverbs 31 woman reminds us that she managed a household including servants. Her success grew over time with focus, continually making good choices and working hard daily.
Other women also managed careers and households. Deborah served as a judge of Israel and brought peace to her people [Judges 4-5]. Lydia, a merchant, opened her heart to God when she heard Paul preach and became a faith leader in her community [Acts 16]. Scriptures about Lydia do not mention children directly but the word oikos for household encompassed both family and servants.
When authorities imprisoned Pau and Silas, she remained steadfast. After their release, Paul and Silas found believers gathered at Lydia’s home.
Whether managing a home and family or juggle career and motherhood, moms can succeed and impact communities. Many moms open their homes and become hubs of faith where others meet up.
10. God Responded to Mothers
Women put their trust in God and God did not disappoint them. Jesus noticed a woman’s situation and her heart as seen in his reaction to the widow of Nain [Luke 7:11-25]. This widow lost her son and only child. That would leave her destitute with no family, and few choices to earn money and survive. He raised her son and restored him to her.
God responded to Hagar’s prayer in the Old Testament with a great promise when she was cast out and sent into the desert with her son Ishmael [Genesis 21]. He provided water and the prophecy that her son would be the start of a large nation.
God blessed the plans of Jochebed [Exodus 2:1-10, 6:19-20] when she hid her son in a basket in the Nile River to spare his life. God allowed Moses to become the child of an Egyptian princess but to be nursed and raised by Jochebed.
These mothers who valued their son’s lives became examples that showed remarkable hope and faith that revealed how God can do the impossible.
Never underestimate the strength of mothers, past or present. Our examples shine as we impact lives and weather struggles, especially to provide the best for our children. Our strength starts in our hearts and is rooted in our faith.
God still notices mothers and cares for them. Christ’s love for people includes understanding mothers and responding to their prayers. Faithful moms, for their part, continue to trust God and believe in answers to impossible prayers. Be encouraged and renew your hope as you study moms in the Bible.
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