Faith Forum: What does the Bible teach us about motherhood?
Dana Ortiz, executive director of Lawrence Family Promise:
The Scriptures are an enormous resource for all of life, but speaking as a mom who has two teenage daughters, and as the director of Lawrence Family Promise, where I work with families and moms every day, I have to say it is the complete reference book for both roles.
God clearly teaches us throughout the entirety of Scripture that his primary design for care and love is the family and community. In Psalm 68:6, we see “God sets the lonely in families.” We are born into the intimacy of a family unit.
Unfortunately the family is not always a place of health and love, but God’s design is for a healthy, intimate community, including and almost especially those on the fringes of any secure family unit.
So much is his desire for the family and community to be a place for all to experience care, healing and love that he calls us to watch out and care for those without any supporting social network in multiple places in Scripture. In the book of James 1:27 we can find a very clear statement: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…”
I believe becoming a mom is the single event in my life that has had the most humbling impact on me.
I have learned I certainly have much to learn and am grateful for my faith in the Lord for continual guidance. Women and men together are created in the image of God. Not separate, but together we give a reflection of our heavenly parent. As a mom, my daily prayer is that my reflection serves to show God’s mercy, care, patience, guidance, nurture and unconditional love within my immediate family and to the community.
What does Scripture say about the journey of a mom? “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, NIV) And what a beautiful journey it is.
— Send email to Dana Ortiz at email@example.com.
Doug Heacock, director of media and contemporary worship, Lawrence Free Methodist Church, 3001 Lawrence Ave.:
Here are a few of the lessons that matter to me:
In Isaiah 66, we hear the voice of God saying to his people, Israel: “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you” (Isaiah 66:13, NIV).
A mother’s love for her child is a picture of the love of God for his people, just as the love of a man for his wife is a picture of the love of Christ for his church (cf. Ephesians 5:25-33). Motherhood is about loving, caring for and nurturing a child, and we see numerous examples in the Scripture.
We also see the commandment, “Honor your father and mother” (Exodus 20:12), and numerous proverbs that warn children not to be foolish and thus dishonor or grieve their mothers. Mothers are to be respected and honored in the family.
The story of Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a wonderful story of a young girl’s faith and obedience, as well, but my favorite picture of motherhood in the Bible is found in the Apostle Paul’s second letter to Timothy, where he writes fondly of Timothy’s mother and grandmother: “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5, NIV).
Though it is a terse summary of the lives of three people, it speaks volumes about the love of a woman for her daughter and the love of the daughter for her son. These godly women passed along a legacy of faith that forever imprinted the life of Timothy.
The way in which Lois and Eunice are described in this letter demonstrates that mothers have unparalleled influence in the lives of their children, and those who use that influence in loving, wise and godly ways are truly blessed, along with their children.
— Doug Heacock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.