Preached @ Anchor Community on Mother’s Day, May 10th 2015
Happy Mother’s Day! Most of us see our moms as special, and they are/were very important to our growth as people. My mom died this past year, and she is missed. There is no doubt she loved us boys, and took care of us the best she knew how. Moms no doubt are special, and its good we get to celebrate them; however, I believe like most memorials, we create scenarios to promulgate what the perfect mom looks like, then expect our spouses and other women to “fit the mold.” In the church, we do this by creating monikers around verses such as found in Proverbs 31:28-31, “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” There are many “Excellent” women, but there are no perfect moms, and unfortunately we can judge our moms on that curve. While I do believe my wife comes pretty darn close to it, she’s not. See the perfect P 31 woman only exists in the fantasies of certain eras and certain men.
My desire is to see all of our moms finding their Identity in Christ first, and not defined by the culture and what people think is a “Good” mom! There are so many definitions right now for a woman in our culture right now. My fear is that Mother’s Day sermons only heap on the guilt or more works. I desire that you quit worrying about being perfect, and see yourself as perfect in Him!
Today, we’re going to take the look at Rachel, and see how she is defined by her culture and not her God, and how her self identity created an anxiousness that sapped her love and joy for God and others.
Moms, I so want you to love and enjoy your children, and I believe that will happen as you find your first joy in Christ!
From the Head…
Rachel’s Anxiety (Genesis 30:1-8)
Moms are certainly important, and I think God’s designed most women as nurturers to nurture their kids. Just go to any little league game, and listen for the difference between the moms and dads. While that is true, your identity is not in what you do. Having children or not having children doesn’t define you. The question is what does define you? Because how you see yourself is also the center of your joy and frustration.
Rachel was defined by her culture to have children as a sign of her worth and contribution to her society. Her culture saw barrenness as a curse, because if you couldn’t bear children, you couldn’t contribute to the work and military force of the society in which you lived. You weren’t viable or “Significant.” To this Rachel’s anxiety reached a place where she said, “Give me children or I shall die!” Pretty strong words of an anxious time; death was more compelling than being barren in her culture. But here’s what’s amazing, according to Genesis 29:31 God was causing her barrenness.; “When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.”
Image is everything, and in a culture that saw barren women as leeches. This is no doubt unfair and sexists, but how is it any different than our culture today, that defines a “Successful” woman, as a certain body type, beautiful, have a successful career, stay at home mom, etc.… No doubt, our culture is still broken, and still exploits women by shaping them by what the culture defines as success.
The fact is, anytime we force someone’s identity away from the creator, we exploit him or her, and place them in harm’s way of identifying themselves with something other than God’s intent.
When Rachel saw her identity in something other than her God
3 Things Happened
- She envied those that had what she wanted (Genesis 30:1a, 8)
- She became frantically anxious when she didn’t get what she wanted (Genesis 30:1b)
- She took matters into her own hands (Genesis 30: 3-4)
This story is included in Genesis, because it further defines and demonstrates God’s sovereignty in His plan to bless the nations with a savior. While all of Jacob’s sons are important, Joseph and Judah stand out in importance to God’s plan. While to solution for Rachel’s identity issues aren’t seen in this narrative, we can deduct from Isaiah where this story is headed.
God’s Solution (Isaiah 54:1-5)
God’s solution to our identity issues is to let Him be our identity. In Isaiah 54 the barren woman is told to sing for joy? Why so? Because, “the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married” For Rachel her worth and identity and joy was caught up in her circumstances to have children, because the culture identified her worth in that way; but when God restores all things to Himself, our joy and identity, will be found in Him as our creator and spouse (Husband), and the fact that, “the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer!”
… to the Heart
Mom’s God loves you, and you don’t to prove your worth by being something the culture tells you is right. Your worth comes from the grace of our loving God, so be free to love your children as a blessing without the worry that their “Behavior” will define you before your God! My prayer is that you are free from the tyranny of someone else’s definition of who you are as a woman and as a mom, and be free to enjoy your children, your work and your life, and find your joy in your maker!