Shortly after my boys were born I took a class on biblical motherhood. It was fascinating and taught by a woman who had raised three godly children. She shared many things in that class, and I soaked it up eagerly. I was pregnant with my third child in less than two years, and I wanted to know as much as I could to ensure my child would turn out perfect.
But that doesn’t exist.
I want to share with you a mom from the Bible who tried to do the same thing. Turn with me now in your Bible to Judges chapter 13.
I’ll be quoting from the English Standard Version of the Bible.
13:1 And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, so the Lord gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.
When you read that verse, do you see the world today? If you read the earlier chapters we learn they were worshiping idols, they were sleeping with whoever they felt like, they were not caring for their children, they had broken every commandment God had given them. All I need to do is open the newspapers from the last week to see all of this in our day.
13:2 There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. And his wife was barren and had no children.
I struggled for a year to become pregnant. When I finally became pregnant, I was ecstatic. A week later I miscarried that child, and I sadly deleted every bookmark about babies that first day as I cried. I know many of you struggled for years to become pregnant, and many of you were never able to and you still grieve that fact. It doesn’t say how long she was barren, but I can imagine her pain.
13:3-5 (summary): You will have a child, do not drink any wine, do not cut his hair, he will be a Nazarite from birth, and will save you from the Philistines.
God promised her a child. Can you imagine the hope she felt? Can you also imagine the immediate weight of responsibility she felt? Before this the only child God had foretold was Isaac, you know, the one Abraham had to wait for over 20 years. One of the patriarchs of their faith. What an awesome responsibility she has suddenly received. She continues in verse 6 and 7 to tell her husband and repeat the conversation to him.
Now, here’s where I want you to really take notice. What is the first thing they do with this news?
13:8 Then Manoah prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born.”
They pray. I love that, the first thing they do is pray and ask God to teach them how to raise their child. I don’t know what your first response when you found out you were pregnant was, but I don’t know I immediately prayed and asked God for wisdom. I think I wanted to immediately tell the world. This is an area I struggle in so much, I don’t want to stop and pray. I love God’s response.
13:9-10 And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field. But Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, “Behold, the man who came to me the other day has appeared to me.”
The angel comes again, and the angel comes again. This time she runs and gets her husband. How often do we stop and get our husband’s advice before making decisions? If you are a single Mom, do you have a godly man to ask advice of?
The rest of the chapter is their interactions with the angel and his message, essentially an expansion of the earlier message, but we’ve already got the part I wanted to focus on.
We so often worry about what to do, how to do it, but we don’t go to our great God who can ease our worries. The great hope I take from this passage: I am responsible for how I parent my child and what I do. I am not responsible for how my child behaves at the end of the day.
Why do I say this? Because I’ve read the next two chapters. I know how it ends for Samson. This is Samson’s mom, and all throughout the next 3 chapters you see how much she loves God, and how much she loves her son. You see how much she struggles with her son’s decisions.
But, you never see God say she did wrong in her parenting.
That’s where I take peace. I am not responsible for the final product. I am responsible for my decisions as a parent, and only that. That is more than enough. If my child grows up and rebels, that is not my fault.
I read how Samson’s story ends, and he remembers how he was brought up and prays to God. It’s not exactly a prayer you’ll teach to your kids, but he remembers the God he was taught about as a child. The chapter ends with his family and brothers burying him.
God blessed her with other children. I love that last verse, she had more children after Samson.
So, my friends, remember, you are responsible for the process, your process as a parent, not the product, your child.