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Faithful to God

In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.” – 1 Samuel 1:10-11, NIV

Hannah was the beloved wife of Elkanah despite being barren. Elkanah had a second wife, a woman named Peninnah who had several children of her own.

Each year when it was time for their family to attend the annual feast, Peninnah would taunt Hannah. She would bring up her lack of children and keep tormenting her until Hannah would begin crying.

As the feast was ending one year, Hannah went to the temple (church). There she prayed that God would grant her a child. She promised that if God would do this for her, she would not consider the child hers but the Lord’s.

Later when God gave her a beautiful baby boy, Hannah held him close. She was with him, night and day. She never wanted him to leave her arms. She treasured each smile, coo, and kiss.

Then when her son was weaned, Hannah took him to the temple. She introduced the boy to the priest and explained that he was to be a servant of the Lord all of his days.

Hannah was faithful to God’s plan for her son’s life, even though it broke her heart to send him away. Sometimes, a mother must make a difficult sacrifice to raise godly children. But those sacrifices are never in vain, for God sees your faithfulness.

God, help me to be faithful like Hannah was. I want to raise godly kids who seek You. Please give me the strength to do that. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Discovering Her Identity

Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.” – Genesis 29:32, NIV

Leah watched as her sister, Rachel, flirted with Jacob. She watched as they courted, the secret glances they stole at each other when they thought no one else was looking. She admired the way Jacob worked for seven years so that he could marry Rachel.

Then her father came, just hours before her sister’s wedding. He shoved the bridal clothes at her, demanding she slip into them and wed Jacob in her sister’s place.

The next morning, she could hear Jacob shouting at her uncle, demanding to know why he’d been betrayed. Then seven days later, Jacob married Rachel, the sister he truly loved.

Leah was trapped in a loveless marriage but God saw her misery. He sent her a son, and she named him Reuben. She was certain that now her husband would love her and in doing so, made the mistake of placing her worth in her husband and her children rather than God. That’s why she’d spent years feeling so empty and chasing Jacob.

But somewhere along the way, Leah accepted her true identity as a favored daughter of God. She understood that God loved her unconditionally and let that love fill her with peace and joy.

She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” So she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children. – Genesis 29:35, NIV

God, help me to remember my worth comes not from my relationships. Like Leah, let me rest in You, content with the knowledge that I am Your beloved child. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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The Mother Who Doubted

“Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him.” – Genesis 21:2-3, NIV

Sarah had once imagined sticky handprints on the walls, bedtime cuddles, and Saturday mornings spent with a child. But the years had slowly turned into decades and there was no baby.

She had cried more tears than there were in the sea. Eventually, she reached a place of painful acceptance. She let go of the dream and accepted that a child would never come from her womb.

But one day, she overheard her husband, Abraham, talking to two strangers. Angels the Lord had sent who promised that she would bear a son.

Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?” (Genesis 18:11-12)

Sarah’s laughter revealed her inner doubt. She smoothed her hand over her flat belly and sighed. Nearly ninety, her youth had faded. Yet her doubt didn’t stop God from giving her a son.

Sarah’s story proves that God can still work a miracle even when we struggle with doubts. His miracles are not dependent on you or what you do, for He is the Eternal God.

God, forgive me for my doubts. I’m trusting You to redeem this situation in Your way and in Your timing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Daughter for a Season

Carrie had spent years longing for children of her own. But an auto-immune disease had robbed her of the ability to have kids. So, she and her husband decided to adopt a child instead.

But twice the adoptions fell through. Each failed adoption only added to her hurt. She often found herself asking, “Why God? I long to be a mother and You keep shutting down every avenue. I don’t understand.”

A few weeks later, a single mom with three daughters moved into the apartment next door. She struggled to pay for child care, so Carrie opened up her apartment to the young girls.

She kept cookies and other snacks for them, let them play in her home office as she worked, and taught them how to do girly activities like paint their nails.

For two years, she poured into the girls until their mom was in a better place. She had re-married and was re-locating to another state to be with her new husband. But she thanked Carrie for all she’d done.

When the girls left, Carrie felt the same aching emptiness. Then she woke up two days later to a voicemail on her phone. A social worker was looking to place a baby with a family immediately and wanted to know if Carrie and her husband would be interested.

A year later, after the adoption had been completed, Carrie looked back on all the failed adoptions. “God wanted me to minister to those girls. I just didn’t realize it at the time. God was preparing my heart to love on them before I ever even met them.”

God, when it looks like You’re closing every door, grant me patience and faith. Help me to hang onto You even when it feels like all of my dreams are shattered. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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God's Favor

“Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth.” – Luke 1:13-14, NIV

Elizabeth and her husband, Zechariah followed all of God’s commands. He was a priest in the temple (church) and they were active in their community. They didn’t just love God, they served Him with great reverence.

But still, Elizabeth lacked one gift—a baby of her own. She lived in a time when a woman’s worth was determined by how many healthy babies she could deliver. Since she had none, others judged her.

Some suggested the infertility was caused by a hidden sin in Elizabeth or Zechariah’s past. Others seemed to think God had pronounced judgement against Elizabeth for unbelief or another perceived flaw.

After she realizes she’s pregnant, Elizabeth says, “The Lord has done this for me. He’s shown me His favor!” (Luke 1:25, paraphrased)

When you’re going through a difficult time, you may be tempted to believe that God doesn’t care about you. Perhaps you worry that God is angry at you or fear that He has given up on you.

But have faith, dear one. Elizabeth’s late in life pregnancy wasn’t because God didn’t love her or was angry with her. He hadn’t given up on her.

It was a matter of Divine timing and this might be true in your situation, too. Perhaps God still intends to save your marriage or heal your daughter from her addiction. But He plans to do it in His timing, rather than yours.

God, thank You for Your favor! You have blessed me richly! When I’m tempted to focus on what You haven’t given me, let me be patient and remember that Your timing is always perfect. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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A Shining Example

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” – Ruth 1:16, NIV

Naomi had suffered three horrible losses. She lost her husband and both of her grown sons also died. Now, Naomi is a widow without a means of providing for herself or her two daughters-in-law.

“When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there.” – Ruth 1:6, NIV

Naomi urges both daughters to leave her side and seek husbands since they’re still young. One daughter listens and tearfully departs. But Ruth promises to stand by her mother-in-law.

She calls her mother-in-law’s God her own and her mother-in-law’s people her own. Ruth was a foreigner, a woman from Moabite. Yet, she pledges to her allegiance to her mother-in-law’s God.

Most likely, Naomi had greatly influenced Ruth during their time together. The older woman was a shining example of faith and grace to the younger, resulting in her conversion.

Some days, it can be tempting to believe that you’re not influencing anyone. But Ruth’s bold confession shows that others are watching how you live. You can have a tremendous impact on the people living in your household by simply being faithful to God and relying on Him.

God, let me be a shining example of Your goodness and faithfulness within my own home. I want to impact my family and friends for Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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The Next Generation

“You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” – Judges 13:5, NIV

Jamie was pregnant with her first child. While she was excited for the birth, she was also scared. When Liz, an older woman from her church reached out to her, Jamie shared her fears.

“My mother was addicted to drugs and my father was in and out of prison for most of my childhood. I’m afraid that what happened in one generation will keep repeating in the next. How can I raise a child when I’ve never had a good example of how to do it?”

Liz shared the story of Samson’s mother. “An angel visited Manoah’s wife and told her she would become pregnant with a son who would later be called Samson.”

“When her husband, Manoah wanted to know how to raise the boy, the angel came to the couple and shared God’s instructions again. God will give you wisdom and reveal how to parent your child if you only ask.”

God, let me remember that the sins, mistakes, and problems with the previous generation don’t have to be my child’s story. Show me how to be a wise and loving parent, just like You are. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Jochebed a Mother of Faith

“Now a man of the tribe of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months.” – Exodus 2:1-2, NIV

Jochebed, the mother of Moses, lived in a heartbreaking time. By the decree of Pharaoh, the sons born to Israelite women were to be drowned by the mid-wives.

But when Moses was born, Jochebed hid her son for three months. She must have heard the stories from other mothers, seen their empty arms, and wept with them as they whispered the names of the children they would never see grow up.

So when she could no longer hide Moses, she put him in a basket and sent him down the river. Then she left and returned home, leaving his sister to watch from a distance.

What faith that must have taken to leave her little boy in the arms of God. Her trust was rewarded when a few hours later, she heard her daughter calling. Moses had been rescued from the basket!

As a mom, there may be times when you have to place your child in God’s arms and trust what He is doing. Perhaps your daughter has struggled with an addiction for many years. Maybe your chronically-ill son needs yet another surgery.

It’s not easy to walk through these situations. But rest in the knowledge that God has a beautiful plan for your child’s life and He can fulfill that plan no matter how dim things might look right now.

God, please help me to trust You with my baby. Let me be like Jochebed and trust You in all things, even the moments when this mother’s heart is breaking. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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A Difficulty Pregnancy

“The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?” – Genesis 16:7-8, NIV

Hagar found herself alone and pregnant. She’d been instructed to sleep with her mistress’s husband and the union had resulted in a pregnancy. But even this did not make her mistress happy.

So, Hagar felt she had no choice but to flee. She was traveling alone in the desert when God reached out to her. He asks where she’s from and where she’s going.

When Hagar explains that she’s run away, God instructs her to return to her mistress. Then He goes on to speak of her unborn child, promising that he will live freely in the land among the rest of his family.

The conversation leads Hagar to this revelation…

She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” – Genesis 16:13, NIV

Not every pregnancy is easy or fun. Yours may be difficult due to disease or illness. You may lack the support of a community or be under a heavy load of stress. But just as God saw Hagar, He sees you. He sees your difficult pregnancy and He is watching over you.

God, when I’m tempted to worry or fret, help me to turn to You. When discouragement calls my name, let me remember that I am seen by You, my loving Heavenly Father. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Defiant Mothers

“The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.” – Exodus 1:17, NIV

The Israelites had lived in Egypt since the great famine. But as the years passed, a new Pharaoh came into power.

He watched the Israelites multiply so he sent a decree to the mid-wives in the land. Any baby boys born to Israelite women were to be killed on the spot.

But two mid-wives, named Shiphrah and Puah, chose to defy Pharaoh and allowed the Israelite children to live. Eventually, word reached Pharaoh and he demanded to know what was happening.

The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.” (Exodus 1:19)

Because of their brave stand, God granted both Shiphrah and Puah families of their own. These two women became defiant mothers.

It’s not easy to stand up to evil. It’s risky and in some cases, it could be deadly. But these two women didn’t let the threats stop them. They were faithful to God anyway and He rewarded them for it.

God, when I’m tempted to ignore evil, give me courage. Remind me of the bravery of Shiphrah and Puah. Help me to speak up for the oppressed and protect them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.