I think it’s very important to see the men and women of the Bible and the greats of the Christian faith as real flesh-and-blood people, not just bigger-than-life heroes. They endured many of the same difficulties we do in the 21st century and they have much to teach us from their lives so long ago. Human nature hasn’t changed and the human struggle will continue until Jesus comes back to set everything right. Through their stories we learn to stand strong against our enemies when all we have is a slingshot and a few stones. We learn to resist temptation when it beckons us day-after-day like Potiphar’s wife. We learn to trust God through the story of Abraham, and we can draw strength to endure persecution from the great martyrs of the faith.
I’ve found a real connection in some of the mothers in the Bible and in Christian history. In honor of Mother’s Day, I’d like to share my Mother-Heroines with you. Maybe you will find a connection of your own with them.
I’ve long had a special place in my heart for Hannah, the mother of Samuel. Hannah’s story is found in 1 Samuel 1-2; she endured many years of barrenness – what I called infertility for seven years. Hannah prayed fervently for a child – and God granted her prayer and she gave birth to Samuel, who became a great leader of the Israelite nation. I, too prayed for many years for a child and God granted my desire as well. Hannah and I kept praying until God said yes – we both had sons after many years of waiting. Our key verse is her words to the priest Eli, when she and her husband presented baby Samuel at the Temple.
Bathsheba is an example to me of a mom who sinned greatly, yet God forgave her, blessed her and used her in His plan. Her story is told in 2 Samuel 11-12. Bathsheba was another’s man’s wife when King David initiated an affair with her, then murdered her husband to cover up his sin when she discovered she was pregnant. Though her child died, God forgave her and blessed Bathsheba with another son, Solomon, who followed his father on the throne of Israel and ruled with godly wisdom. I am a mom who messed up more than once, and, just as God forgave Bathsheba and redeemed her life, He has done the same for me.
There is a mom and grandmother I truly aspire to be like: Eunice and Lois, whose godly lives and teaching shaped young Timothy, who became the Apostle Paul’s “right-hand man” in ministry. Paul said of them: “I have been reminded of your [Timothy’s] 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). What a legacy! That’s the kind of mom I want to be, one who models a “sincere faith” that influences my child and someday, my grandchildren.
At this stage in my “parenting career” I most identify with a mother named Monica who lived in a.d. 300-400. Monica was a woman who loved God passionately and also loved her son deeply. Monica’s son was a young man with a – shall we say – “zest” for all the world had to offer. He pursued his own pleasures and made choices that broke his mother’s heart. He loved his mother, but he was determined to live his life on his terms. Monica prayed fervently and faithfully for her son. She wept and pleaded with God to bring her son out of the world and into His Kingdom. She sacrificed for her son and endured his misbehavior and the consequences that followed him around everywhere he went. Her son later wrote these words about her, “I cannot adequately tell of the love she had for me, or how she continued to travail for me in the spirit with far more anguish than when she bore me in the flesh.” Monica sought the help of a bishop to pray for and counsel with her son and try to lead him to Christ. He did, though her son refused his counsel, but his mother continued to cry and plead with him to keep trying. “Finally the bishop, a little vexed at her persistence, exclaimed, ‘Go your way; as you live, it cannot be that the son of these tears should perish.’” Monica and God won the battle for her son’s soul and he came to salvation at the age of 32. Perhaps you’ve heard of him – Saint Augustine of Hippo – one of the greatest fathers of the Christian faith.
I love my son with all my heart, I pray continually for him to have an encounter with Jesus Christ that will change the course of his life and bring him into a deep and passionate relationship with the Lord. I have no doubt “pestered” God so that if He were a human, He would have lost patience with me long ago. But I am taking my cues from Monica and I will not let up – God knows my heart, He hears my prayers and He will turn my child from the world to the light of Christ. He loves my son more than I ever will, it is His desire as well as mine to bring him into the joy and light of his Kingdom.
Motherhood is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It is also the most rewarding and most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done. My son is not “the perfect kid” – he’s way too much like his mother, but he is worth every prayer and every tear. Maybe this Mother’s Day the sun dawns on a broken heart, a longing unfulfilled, an unimaginable loss, a strained relationship, or a struggling child. If you are a mom like me – I want to encourage you to take a look at the mothers of the Bible and the Church. The one common denominator in every one of their stories is a mother on her knees for her child. Come join me in the Mother’s prayer room – we’re all in this together and best of all – God is in it with us too.
Dear Father, I think the heart of a mother comes closest to Your own heart than any other on earth. I pray for my son to know You and to love You with all his heart, mind, soul and strength. I pray for my fellow moms – give us endurance to stay on our knees and let us rejoice together when our children say “I belong to the Lord” (Isaiah 44:5). Amen.
 Saint Augustine, Confessions of Saint Augustine, Edited by Tom Gill. (Alachua, Bridge-Logos,2003),117.
 Augustine, 72.