© 1999 James A. Fowler

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I. Representative Biblical references to "motherhood"

    Exod. 20:12 - "honor your father and mother"
    Lev. 19:3 - "everyone of you shall reverence his mother and his father"
    Deut. 27:16 - "cursed is he who dishonors his father or mother"
    Ps. 113:9 - "He makes the barren woman...as a joyful mother of children"
    Prov. 6:20 - "do not forsake the teaching of your mother"
    Prov. 10:1 - "a foolish son is a grief to his mother"
    Prov. 23:25 - "let your mother be glad; let her rejoice who gave birth to you"
    Prov. 29:15 - "a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother"
    Prov. 31:28 - "her children rise up and bless her"
    Ezek. 16:44 - "like mother, like daughter"
    I Tim. 2:15 - "women shall be preserved through the bearing of children..."
    I Tim. 5:2 - "treat older women as mothers"

II. Three particular examples of motherhood in the Bible.

    A. Jochebed - Exod. 2:1-10
         1. Mother of Moses
         2. Protected her son from evil
         3. Entrusted him to God.
    B. Hannah - I Sam 1:1-18
         1. Mother of Samuel
         2. Dedicated her son to God.
         3. Danger of projected parental expectations?
    C. Eunice - II Tim. 1:3-5; 3:14,15
         1. Mother of Timothy
         2. Instructed son in knowledge of Scriptures.

III. Changing cultural expectations of mothers

    A. Biblical times
         1. Male-oriented society
         2. Mother's role to bear and nurture children
         3. Barrenness was a curse
    B. Contemporary times
         1. Radical feminism - repudiation of motherhood
         2. Devaluation of motherhood - lesser calling; quest for greater meaning, identity, success
         3. Vocational opportunities - careers
         4. Economic necessities - working moms, second income
         5. "Super-mom" expectations - work, homemaking, marriage, etc.

IV. Stages of "motherhood"

    A. Child-bearing
         1. Ability to bear children - barrenness, fertility procedures
              Ps. 127:3 - "children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward"
              Ps. 113:9 - "God makes the barren woman abide in the house as a joyful mother"
         2. Benefit of bearing children
              I Tim. 2:15 - "women shall be saved through bearing of children"
              a. "made safe" from selfish dysfunction
              b. available to love, nurture, give, protect, be patient, etc.
    B. Child-rearing
         1. Available to meet needs of children; servant-heart, caretaker
              a. love - Titus 2:4
              b. instruct - Prov. 1:8; 6:20. Not just talk, but walk.
              c. nurture
                  (1) more than just feed, clothe, transport
                  (2) emotional support and relationship; talk, confide
                       Ex. "Hi Mom!" (athletes); Mother's Day
                  (3) not "smother," overprotect
         2. Aberrations of motherhood
              a. resentment, bitterness
              b. rejection, neglect, abandonment, abuse - Ps. 27:10
    C. Child-departure
         1. Objective of parenting is to prepare child for independent adulthood
              Quote: "The mother-child relationship is paradoxical and, in a sense, tragic. it requires the               most intense love on the mother's side, yet this very love must help the child grow away               from the mother, and to become fully independent." Erich Fromm
              a. Child prepared to leave - Gen. 2:24; Eph. 5:31 (physically, geographically, emotionally)
              b. Not dependent - "mommy's boy," "tied to apron strings"
         2. Letting go can be difficult
              a. "Empty nest syndrome"
              b. Finding new identity other than "mommy"
              c. Sometimes exacerbated by menopausal symptoms. (Conway) - "Menno Mama"
    D. Mothering adult and married children
         1. Respect their choices, mate, privacy, independence
         2. Encourage; don't meddle
         3. Listen; advise when requested
    E. Grandmothering
         1. Unique opportunity for spiritual instruction - II Tim. 1:5
         2. Opportunity to instill values, invest in lives of children and grandchildren by building               traditions and heritage.

V. Attitudes and actions toward mothers.

    A. Proper attitudes and actions
         1. Honor and reverence - Exod. 20:12; Lev. 19:3; Deut. 5:16
         2. Bless - Prov. 31:28
    B. Improper attitudes
         1. Dishonor - Deut. 27:16
         2. Cause grief - Prov. 10:1
         3. Despise - Prov. 15:20; 23:22
         4. Reject - Prov. 19:26
         5. Steal from - Prov. 28:24
         6. Shame - Prov. 29:15
         7. Scorn - Prov. 30:17
         8. Rise up against - Micah 7:6; Matt. 10:35
         9. Kill - I Tim. 1:9

VI. A mother as God intends...

    A. Requires the presence of God by His Spirit in the mother
    B. Can only be accomplished by the Grace of God
    C. Requires faithful receptivity of His activity
    D. Involves instruction and modeling of the character of God



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