enduring motherhood 

8 03 2016

It’s impossible to talk about motherhood without telling stories. Stories of life and death and bleeding knees, of hopes raised and hopes dashed; stories of deep love and painful rejection, of hard work and self-giving and probably, more hard work.


What are your motherhood stories? Maybe like me, you can never be one; or maybe you are, and don’t want to be; maybe like me, you can tell stories of losing your mother as a child; or maybe of gaining a wonderful new one, through step-family or adoption.

Stories of motherhood are like life condensed: complex, relational, wonderful, painful; stories about the big overarching narrative of human love and nurture and unexplainable emotional connections; and yet also about the intensely mundane of everyday life, like washing up and school runs and plasters and that most soothing of balms: the hug.

In the ancient stories of our faith there are many stories about motherhood that can so easily be glossed over. Yes contained within them are stories of hope and faithfulness and obedience way more powerful than David and Goliath.

Sarah: promised a child at an old age – yes, in the end Isaac was born, but Sarah’s road was not an easy one. After 11 years she was reminded of the promise, and laughed bitterly. After 13, she engineered Ishmael’s birth . It was not until 25 years after God’s promise that Isaac was born. That is a long and painful wait.

Naomi: who was forced to leave her home as an economic migrant, who lost her husband and 2 sons, and was so angry with God she changed her name to “Bitter”. There’s a real story of motherhood. Yet she loved her foreign daughter-in-law Ruth, welcomed her back home, and saw her love and loyalty and hard work transformed into new life.

Mary: the young, unexpectedly expectant mother, chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus. Like all these women, chosen not because she was special, but precisely because she was not. God has a habit of working through the ordinary in women and men.


This is how God can transform the mundane into the profound. In a Biblical narrative dominated by men’s stories, we must delve a little deeper. Through exercising obedience to God, shown through love and loyalty and hard work and faithfulness, these women – and many others –  can be great examples to us of motherhood in all its complexity, joys, pains, tears and laughter.

Once we see that, we see that their enduring obedience goes way beyond their role as mother, and they become to us examples of prayer, faithful obedience, and great strength.

In church we are doing a series during Lent called Enduring Obedience, looking at Biblical characters and how they can inspire us. This week, as it was Mothering Sunday, we looked at obedience and motherhood, and this post is based on that theme.





One response

10 03 2016
Hennie la Grange

Very well said and accurately observed, in my view.

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