Are moms really that important anymore? With all the progress in civilization, do we still need to relegate women to raising children? Before you think this is some ill-thought-out rant against mothers, please hear me out.
If we want to see a world completely unravel with no values, respect, or standards, we should disrespect mothers. But if we want to heal and advance this struggling world, we must look, in no small part, to Mom.
Humanity has one important thing in common: we all have mothers. Whether or not that mom is still alive, whether we ever knew our mom, or if our relationship with our mom is/was good, we all needed a mother to make our way into this world. There’s much talk these days about gender: roles, importance, or lack thereof, but there is one thing I’m pretty convinced of—we still need moms. Dads are great and all, but moms? They are just so important.
Ellen White, a boy mom no less, said: “[The Christian mother’s] work, if done faithfully in God, will be immortalized. . . . The Majesty of heaven will write the name of that faithful mother in the book of immortal fame.”1
So why don’t moms don’t get the credit they deserve? Think about all those characters we celebrate from biblical history. Moses had a fantastic mom. Joseph had an amazing mom. Daniel had an awesome mom who taught him principles over anything else. Deborah, that fearless warrior—she had a mom who taught her that when men don’t rise to the occasion, she absolutely could and should.
Only in Paradise will we truly see how much the world owes to godly, kind, and loving mothers. So let’s take a look at a few of these fantastic women.
“Jochebed was a woman and a slave. Her lot in life was humble, her burden heavy. But through no other woman, save Mary of Nazareth, has the world received greater blessing. Knowing that her child must soon pass beyond her care, to the guardianship of those who knew not God, she the more earnestly endeavored to link his soul with heaven. She sought to implant in his heart love and loyalty to God. And faithfully was the work accomplished. Those principles of truth that were the burden of his mother’s teaching and the lesson of her life, no after influence could induce Moses to renounce.”2
But there’s another woman whom I like to call the original King-maker: Hannah. She and her husband couldn’t get pregnant, so the husband brought another woman into the house and had children with her. Imagine Hannah’s heartache. The new woman mocked Hannah and taunted her, saying God didn’t love her enough even to give her a child. The Bible delves into some amazing details in the story of Hannah and how the priest Eli observed her silently pleading with God for a child but assumed she was drunk.
God heard her prayer, and she dedicated her baby boy Samuel to become a leader in the religious and spiritual welfare of the nation of Israel. Samuel was raised by Hannah for the first few years of his life, and then she took him to the temple to carry out the vow she made all those years ago.
Samuel, because of his mother, Hannah, restored hope in the hearts of the citizens of Israel that the God of heaven is excellent and powerful. He became the type of leader Israel desperately needed, and anointed King Saul and ultimately King David. Without Hannah and her devotion as a God-fearing mother, we would never have ended up with Samuel, whom God used to save Israel from utter ruin and idolatry.
ELIZABETH, THE MOM OF JOHN THE BAPTIST
Like many families these days, Elizabeth and her husband had to decide between city life and a more simple life in the country. They moved to a quiet place “where their son would not be exposed to the temptations of city life, or [caused] to depart from the counsel and instruction” they gave him.
“They acted their part in developing a character in the child that would in every way meet the purpose for which God had designed his life.”3
Thirty years later John’s cousin Jesus makes a bold statement that no one—literally not one person in history—was as great and filled as crucial of a role as John the Baptist. Why is that?
Because John the Baptist was fearless, and his messages were so bold and courageous that everyone couldn’t help taking notice. That was what God did through John—He got the attention of the people and put the spotlight on Jesus.
Here is the mother some might consider to be the mom of all moms—Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Historically, Mary has been deified by some Christian denominations. If that were so, how could any mother relate to her? But Mary was like any other mom and went through some complex trials. She was engaged to an older man, but got pregnant by a supernatural event before she could see her wedding day. But in those earlier years as a brand-new mom, Mary embraced her calling: she raised Jesus, taught Him life lessons and the Scriptures, and showed Him how to be industrious.
We understand that about the time Jesus was baptized and began His public ministry, His earthly father Joseph died. Mary had lost her confidant with whom she shared the miraculous secret of the Incarnation.
But at the wedding of Cana, Jesus and Mary reunite. While she beamed joyfully to see Him again, she noticed that something had changed. His face told of the great conflict He had undergone in the wilderness, and now her Boy was accompanied by several young men who addressed Him as Master.
This mother, who raised her Son to fulfill His mission as Savior of the world, would eventually stand at the foot of the cross and watch her Son sweat drops of blood from the same forehead she had once kissed to sleep.
We read how the last lesson of Jesus imparted to the world was one of deep love and care for His mom. He looked through the crowd at Calvary and fixed His eyes on His mother. To her He said, “Behold your son!” and to John His faithful disciple, “Behold your mother!”
Mary did her job well.
A MOTHER’S JOB IS NEVER DONE
Motherhood today is harder than ever, and the biblical examples I have shared can seem idealistic. You may read them and think they have nothing to do with motherhood in the year 2023. But before you write them off, remember these very mothers are the women that raised heroes of the Bible, and how these heroes turned out has everything to do with how they were raised.
Society has changed. These days it is not easy to spend motherhood raising your kids on some idyllic farm in the countryside where all the crushing issues of life, including finances, are not a worry. Many people live in cities or suburbs, and it is no longer safe for little Johnny or Ava to run in the backyard without supervision. Today it can be extremely challenging for a single-income home to survive, regardless of which parent is holding down the full-time job.
But I don’t believe the needs have changed—children still do well for having spent quality time with mom, and they so need that, especially in those first few years of life.
For the single moms who are struggling to make ends meet, how can our faith communities better help them spend more quality time with their children? What can we do to lighten their load?
James 1:27 tells us that pure religion helps the fatherless and those with no spouse. My aunt raised two fearless boys by herself, and she did an amazing job, but it wasn’t easy. Many mothers often don’t see the results of the hard work they put into loving and raising their children. Additionally, time invested in raising children can come at the sacrifice of other things important to women—careers, hobbies, and passions. But God values the important work of mothers more than we can truly comprehend.
To everyone reading this who “mothers”—and that includes all the aunts, dear friends, and mentors who love on children—thank you. May we never lose hope in the promise that time invested in children by moms brings, for one day it will pay off.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).
1 Ellen G. White, in Signs of the Times, Sept. 13, 1877.
2 Ellen G. White, Education (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1903), p. 61.
3 Ellen G. White, in Signs of the Times, Apr. 16, 1896.
Jared Thurmon resides in Adairsville, Georgia. He assists Adventist Review Ministries with marketing and strategy.