A Word For Mothers: The Lord Is My Shepherd

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Series: Mother’s Day Messages

Sun am 12th May 2013 – Hazel Swart

Ps. 23:1-6; Matt. 11:28; 2 Chron. 22:4; (1 Sam. 1); 1 Sam 2: 1-10; 1 Sam.3:1-21;
Luke 1: 5-25; Luke 1:41-45; Luke 1:38; (Prov. 31:10-31).

I would like to give tribute to all mothers, in whichever capacity: mother, step-mother, and grand-mother, foster-mother etc.

I want to read a quote: “Every woman is living on a journey of her own life. We are teachers, healers and our voices count. Our stories are valuable and count. Come out and play!”.

The tribute that I would like to make is that every woman here has a story to tell.  It is a very important story. We like to share our stories between women. We have an intuitive understanding of what we are going through as mothers, as women. The Scripture the Lord gave me is: God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows; you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure. You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing. Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life (Ps. 23:1-6-MSG).

Embedded in this Scripture is everything that I need as a woman for my journey in life. I was born to be a nurturer; I was born with all these seeds within me. I was born with a natural instinct to want to take care of and to love, to nurture, to be there for somebody. Sometimes in our journey, because we give so much of ourselves in the nurturing as mother, as woman, we become tired, depleted. We have to make sure that we are healthy and strong to be able to care for others. The nurturing role can suck life out of women because of the demands made upon us, but we are tough and courageous, we do not give up easily.  We know how to encourage one another. It is exciting to be in the society of women. We know how to love, how to cry. We know how to fit into every event that happens in our lives, our children’s lives, our husband’s lives, our society’s lives. So when we get depleted, this Scripture has everything that we need. I need to trust my God with everything that is within me.  I trust Him wholeheartedly because He leads me; He guides me for He is my Shepherd. He takes me to the most luscious part of the garden. He makes me feel secure. He is there when I am lonely; when all is against me He is with me; I just need to call. He comforts me. He makes me to stand in this world and to shine; He put me in this world to nurture because the world needs nurturing, they need somebody to go to, to be heard; somebody who listens. In this time of fasting it is also a time of quietness and also a time of speaking our longings, our deep hurts. The more quiet we are the more we can listen to the voice of God in our journey. Our journey can be painful. When our souls become weary we can go to Him. Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest (Matt. 11:28). When we come into His presence we do not have to labour, we just have to call on His Name.

The thing that makes each of us different is that we are raised by our mothers. Our mothers influence us in our early years. When we become mothers we tend to do the things the way our mothers did. The cycle repeats itself constantly. We pass on those truths, those gifts from one generation to another. We perpetuate what it is to be a mother, to be a woman. Therefore when we become the one that others look to, it is a tremendous responsibility how we act. It is not so much what we say; it is what we do that people learn from.

How do we learn to nurture? We look at four women in the Scripture: the first one is Queen Athaliah. He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother was his counselor to do wickedly (2 Chron. 22:4). She became Queen by murdering every heir that could have taken her place except for Joash. The Scripture that shocks us is “his mother was his counselor to do wickedly”. When her son died she became Queen and ruled for six years and was then killed. There are many scriptures that show great examples of mothers. There’s Hannah who was rejected by her community and her husband’s other wife because she could not have children. In reading her prayer (1 Sam. 2:1-10) we realized how intimate she was with her God. She was so grateful that she gave the child back to God, to the care of the high priest Eli. We know that the Word was rare at that time (1 Sam.3:1-21). When Samuel heard the voice calling him, Eli told him that it was God calling him. The best thing we can teach our children is how to hear the voice of God.

In the New Testament, we see Elizabeth a relative of Mary (Luke 1:5-25). We see how friendship and encouraging one another can help us. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me that the mother of my Lord would come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord (Luke 1:41-45). We see also Mary the mother of Jesus, the way she responds to God’s angel. And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her(Luke 1:38). We have people and friends who encourage us with our dreams; we have people and friends who mirror us. There is encouragement and sharing of wonderful events. It is important to have people who are excited about our dreams, and what God has put in us, friends who will encourage us to be who God has called us to be. Our friendships are incredibly important. We look at the woman in Proverbs 31 who is encouraged by people around her. Her children praised her, her husband boasted about her. She is called blessed (Prov. 31:10-31).

I want to encourage all the women today for we are all nurturers. We all bring forth life. We have to come to a point when we live who we are. We can stand before God and be just as we are. In our deepest need, when we feel alone, used, we can come to Him. We need to live our lives to the fullest. We need to set an example for the generations to follow.  We can change the course of time. We can become the mothers and the women that God wants us to be. Holding on to Psalm 23, we should never feel hopeless, helpless, used or alone. We need to surround ourselves with friends that will cheer us on and be there for us. Let us make our lives joyful because life can be so tough, we can become so raw. Let us be the best version of who God made us and not try to be like someone else.