"Elkanah her husband said to her, ‘Do what seems best to you. Wait until…the Lord establish His word.' So Hannah remained and nursed her son until she weaned him."
I Samuel 1: 23, Amplified Bible
5 Lessons on Motherhood From the Life of Hannah
"Well Mixed Dough - Rises Well!"
"We take care of our possessions for our children. But of the children themselves we take no care at all. What an absurdity is this! Form the soul of thy (child) aright, and all the rest will be added hereafter."
Am I consistent in the time and training I give to the young ones in my life?
What does it mean to me to be "consistent" in what I do and how I act?
"Acceptance and appreciation tells the child that he or she is of tremendous worth. And I can only express my acceptance and appreciation through being affectionate - and available."
"Many things we need can wait. The child cannot. Now is the time her bones are being formed; her blood is being made; her mind is being developed. To her we cannot say tomorrow. Her name is today."
My grandma was the world's best bread maker. And let me be quick to say, she didn't use any machines for her perfect loaves of tasty delights. I can only imagine the sweetness of her bread came from all the love she kneaded into each loaf. Try as I might, I couldn't duplicate her culinary skill in this area. It wasn't because I didn't try. Over and over grandma would have me assist her, mixing the ingredients and kneading until my hands were worn out, however, I've never reached the pinnacle of grandma's technique. On one of my first attempts, grandma advised me to make certain the yeast was mixed in well, "consistent throughout the dough" was the way she put it. Evidently, I didn't think consistency mattered that much and was I in for a huge surprise. To my utter shock, the bread didn't rise evenly. In fact, it was an absolute mess. A flop. A disaster.
Throughout my life, I've found that consistency doesn't apply just to the craft of great bread making. It also applies to every aspect of our lives. Webster defines "consistency" as the "agreement and coherence among parts." Further, the Latin word for "consistent" means, "to stand still." As I read more about the Latin phrase "to stand still" I found it uses as an example a triangle with two perfectly balanced sides that are attached to a solid base from which the triangle stands. All three legs are in compatible harmony.
Now let's look at this definition of consistency as it applies to Hannah's life and the way she and her husband chose to raise Samuel.
In I Samuel 1: 20, we are told Hannah became pregnant and in "due time" the baby boy she had prayed for was born. When it came time to go to Shiloh the next year, Hannah told her husband she wanted to stay home until she had "weaned" her child and he agreed. Make no mistake, up until that point in time, Hannah had always attended the annual sacrificial service in Shiloh, but now her focus was on the care and nurturing of her child, until the day of his dedication to God's service.
Hannah's commitment to Samuel when he was born portrays to every woman and man what their focal point should be and how priorities change when the blessed gift of a child's life is bestowed upon a family - and I mean by this statement, the entire family - uncles, aunts, grandmas, grandpas and close friends, too. Even the extended church family has their part to play.
In practical terms, Hannah wanted a consistent presence in the life of her child. She wanted to be there for her baby and how I wish that every mother had the ability to be there for her precious children every day of their young years. But in "real life" today, we are faced with situations like my dad's whose wonderful mother died when he was just 6 months old. And we are faced with situations like my sister who ended up as a single mom trying to raise two teenage daughters and provide for all their educational needs on her own. Life today isn't perfect. And so mothers, who have to take on two jobs, just to keep food on the table for their little ones, are sometimes left feeling it's hard to have a consistent presence in the life of your children when you're pulled in ten different directions at once.
This is where Hannah's life and the word "consistency" intersect. And I'd like to offer this perspective after finding out about the "balance" that a consistently formed triangle brings. If we as moms, dads, family members, friends, relatives and church members come together in "consistent harmony," here's how a triangle of care can be formed for those who often fall between the cracks or are left to feel they are on their own as they try to raise their children to be "servers" in the house of God, like young Samuel.
If God is the base of our triangle, the foundation, no power on earth can come against the base for He is the Rock. And then if we as extended family provide another arm of support to the primary family which is the third arm of our stable triangle, even when a spouse is lost or intentionally goes missing - the consistency of all the legs on our triangle is not compromised.
Hannah provides for us, in Lesson #3, a model for the consistent presence of a mother in the life of her children. But when the challenges of life leave the family unit on shaky ground, may all of us rally to bring, with God as our solid base, strength back to those families who need assistance in making certain there is heavenly consistency for all our families.
And to those moms today who are faithfully providing consistent love for your children, God bless you all!
A Mother's Influence
"You painted no Madonnas
on chapel walls in Rome;
But with a touch diviner
You lived one in your home.
You wrote no lofty poems
that critics counted art;
But with a nobler vision,
You lived them in your heart.
You carved no shapeless marble
to some high soul design
but with a finer sculpture
You shaped this soul of mine.
You built no great cathedrals
That centuries applaud;
But with a grace exquisite
Your life cathedraled God.
Had I the gift of Raphael
O what a rare Madonna
my mother's life would show."
"So for the mother's sake the child was dear,
And dearer was the mother for the child."
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
"When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator, and I wanted to paint another one. When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you feed a stray cat, and I thought it was good to be kind to animals. When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you make my favorite cake for me, and I knew that little things are special things. When you thought I wasn't looking, I heard you pray, and I believed there is a God I could always talk to. When you thought I wasn't looking, I felt you kiss me good night, and I felt loved. When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw tears come from your eyes, and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but it's all right to cry. When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you give to someone needy and I learned the joy of giving. When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you always did your best and it made me want to be all that I could be. When you thought I wasn't looking, I heard you say "thank you" and I wanted to say thanks for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn't looking."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $10.00.
If you would like to purchase When A Woman Meets Jesus at discount for your Women's Ministry Program or for Bible Study Groups, please call: 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.