Published in 1865 a poem by William Ross Wallace titled “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle is the Hand That Rules the World” praised motherhood as the preeminent force for change in the world. (Wikipedia) I could not agree more as I reflect on the impact Lucille Hopson, Lula Hopson, Ozell Graham and the other ladies/mothers in the community had on my life. The women in our lives – whether we are male or female – have partnered with God to shape our destiny and make us who we are today. That is “Motherhood.”Motherhood reaches much farther than childbirth. I know, I know, as a man what do I know about Motherhood? Good question! In fact, very good question. Well, my answer is I know Motherhood because of the formula God has given us to know Him. As Pastor Donald Reid emphasizes, “God uses the natural to reveal the supernatural.” We know God is love because of how He expresses His love for us. In the same way, we know that God is patient, long-suffering, kind, gentle, just, forgiving, plus many other positive attributes.
As we look through the Bible we find the quiet stories of mothers who shaped the lives of some of the most powerful men in history. Motherhood helps define destiny. The first chapter of I Samuel reveals the story of the birth of the prophet, Samuel, and how motherhood shaped his destiny. Samuel’s father, Elkanah had two wives – Hannah and Peninnah. Hannah, Samuel’s mother had been barren for several years and because of it, suffered years of ridicule from Peninnah.
As the story unfolds, scripture reveals how God’s Divine will mates with the desperate prayers of a broken woman. In Hannah, God found a willing vessel. A vessel willing to part with her heart’s desire – the son she had longed to give birth to. (I Sam 1:1-24) God was in the process of replacing the correction in the priesthood. (I Sam 2:12-36) Samuel, the young lad dedicated to the Lord by his mother was God’s Divine choice to be the priest to the Nation of Israel and replace Eli and his wicked sons. Scripture reveals that God used Samuel the man to anoint the first two kings of Israel (Saul and David). A Divine destiny shaped by motherhood.
Motherhood is a God-given instinct. An instinct that begins at an age well before childbearing years. I am so amazed at our four-year-old grand-daughter and how she nurtures her baby dolls. Originally, I viewed her activity as playing. Now I recognize she is honing her motherhood skills.
Motherhood is a sacrifice. It is unselfish. It often demands losing so her child can win. During the reign of King Solomon, a dispute arose between two women over who was the real mother of a child (I Kings 3:16-28). Solomon ordered the child to be cut in half and that each woman receive half. One of the ladies spoke up, “O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.” From those statements, Solomon chose the child’s birth mother. He was praised for his wisdom. But this story also illustrates another tried and true attribute of motherhood. If given the choice, she would rather suffer if it spared her child from harm.
Motherhood builds confidence. Confidence in ourselves and the people around us. Another fascinating biblical event that illustrates this is the first miracle of Jesus – turning water into wine. (John 2:1-12) Let’s fast forward through the event to the point where Jesus’ mother tells Him, “They have no more wine.” Jesus then gives a powerful yet nonchalant response. His mother turns to the servants and says, “Do whatever He tells you.” Wow! Can you feel the power of that statement! Can you hear the confidence in Mary’s voice! Note: Mary’s statement was not meant to boost the confidence of Jesus but it would impact the people around Him. Imagine what listen-ers would have thought if Mary had said, “Oh well, thought you could help.” But no. Mary illustrated that mothers are our biggest fans. When we are on the field, we can always hear her voice in the crowd.
A member of ‘The Ship’ shared with me the wisdom her mother shared with her. “He may be bad, but he’s your bad child.” Translation – nothing can separate a child from the love of his/her mother. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? ‘For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor heights, nor depths, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Rom 8:38-39)
Written by Henry Hopson Jr.