This is a personal note to a woman I know who feels she has been a lousy mother.
For those times when you feel you blew it with your kids—yelled at them, didn’t listen, accidentally played favorites, was too controlling or too lenient—you’re not alone. I wonder if the following women ever felt that way. Consider their background.
- Tamar was married to a wicked man, so wicked that, well, let’s just say God “took him out of the picture.” Tamar was angry with her father-in-law, so she tricked him into having sex. So Tamar raised twin boys in a dyfunctional family setting (Gen. 38).
- Rahab was a prostitute in a seriously evil city, Jericho. Now she did a good thing when she protected the Israelite men who had come to spy on Jericho before they attacked (Josh. 2), and she is remembered for her faith and trust (Heb. 11:31). Yet I wonder if guilt of her past affected her parenting or if her children were laughed at because their mother had turned tricks.
- Ruth had a story we love to tell. She was not Jewish, but she embraced the faith of her mother-in-law Naomi. But one part of her story usually gets glossed over. Boaz was a man related to Ruth’s deceased husband, and in their culture, he was a candidate to step in and marry her. But instead of just informing Boaz, she went to where he was sleeping and lay down. Scholars disagree on how much of a sexual advance we should read into this—and if that was Ruth’s intent, Boaz was righteous enough that he did not take advantage of the situation. And that may not have been Ruth’s intention, but she sure made it easy for the whole scene to take a bad turn.
- Bathsheba had an affair with King David, which resulted in a pregnancy. After her husband was killed, she married the king and her child died. She had at least one other child, Solomon, but her entrance into motherhood was marred with sin.
There you have it. Four women whose background would make them suspect in the local parent-teacher association. Were they good mothers or bad? We don’t know, but I can assure you of one thing:
God used them.
All four of these women are mentioned by Matthew in his account of the genealogy of Jesus. He didn’t mention Eve, Sarah, or other women who surely had better pasts. He mentioned these four women by name.
Yes, they were not perfect women—and by extension, we can assume they were not perfect mothers—but God used them to ultimately bring us the Messiah.
God uses us in spite of our mistakes. If there are things you can correct, do so. If you need to ask for forgiveness, ask. But rest also in God’s grace and ability to work in the lives of your children—even your wayward children.
God is not through with your kids. And He is not through with you.
Happy Mother’s Day.