May 12, 2012

When mothers arise - Violet Nesdoly

"Deborah" by Gustave Dore
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Judges 5:1-18

TO CHEW ON: "In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath,
In the days of Jael,
The highways were deserted,
And the travelers walked along the byways,
Village life ceased, it ceased in Israel
Until I Deborah arose,
Arose a mother in Israel." Judges 5:6-7

A mother arising—I love that picture. I can identify with it, especially as it relates to mothers arising in defense of their children.

  • Sarah was such a mother when she asked Abraham to expel Hagar and Ishmael from their home to guarantee that Isaac would be Abraham's sole heir (Genesis 21:9-13).
  • Jochebed, Moses' mother, arose, albeit ever so secretly, to protect her infant son from Pharaoh's butchers (Exodus 2:1-3).
  • Hannah's arising in the form of pleading prayers caused God to open her womb and she became the mother of prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 1:9-17).
  • Bathsheba's arising took the form of a meeting with elderly King David to remind him of his promise to anoint Solomon as his successor, even as Solomon's brother Adonijah was organizing his own coronation (1 Kings 1:15-17).

But Deborahs's arising was on another level altogether. Her mother-heart embraced all the citizens of the nation as her children. The forsaken villages and deserted highways—emptied as people hid in fortifications for fear of Jabin and Sisera—outraged her. She, together with Barak and their army of 10,000 eventually routed Sisera and his iron chariots. He alone fled on foot to Jael's tent where she dealt the final blow (Judges 4:21).

As mothers we have tremendous influence. The proverb "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world" is no idle saying. And that influence isn't only through the impact of our kids. It comes in other ways too. Have you noticed, for example, how many women have arisen, often out of personal tragedy, to form organizations that bring good things out of bad:

Candace (Candy) Lightner started Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) after a drunk hit-and-run driver killed her 13-year-old daughter.

Betty Fox formed the Terry Fox Foundation (an organization that raises money for cancer research) after cancer took the life of her son Terry.

Wilma Derksen was instrumental in bringing Child Find to Manitoba and started Victim's Voice, an organization that supports victims of crime, after her 13-year-old daughter Candace was abducted and murdered. (She tells her story in Have You Seen Candace?)

As mothers let's harness the powerful nurturing force within us by rising up first within our families, and then by following God's leading into other ventures in our communities and nations.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for the example of Deborah's mother-heart for her nation. Help me to take my place with all the godly mothers who have arisen to make an impact in their homes, their communities, their nations, and the world. Amen.

MORE: Wilma's story

In the 100 Huntley Street video "Wilma Derksen—A Victim's Voice," Wilma and Cliff Derksen talk with Magdalene John about the impact of Candace's death, how God helped her through this time of unthinkable tragedy, and the good things that have come out of it.

This article was first published on my devo blog, Other Food Devos, November 29, 2011. With Mother's Day just around the corner, I couldn't resist republishing it here today. But our blogging theme this month is the business and craft of writing. How does it relate you may be asking? In several ways:

1. Writing and posting devotions every day at Other-Food devos has been wonderful writing practice in helping me grow as a writer.

2. I entered this post (and another one on Deborah) into The Word Guild 2012 Writing awards, and they are shortlisted for an award!

3. As mothers, one way we bring our stories and concerns to the world is through writing. Wilma Derksen gave vent to the pain of losing her daughter by writing a book. Many of us have articles and books in us that relate to some facet of mothering.

And so on this day before Mother's Day I'd like to say to all the mother-writers reading this:


  1. This was a powerful post Violet. It is awe inspiring to remember mothers who have risen up in defense of their children (and the children of others) who says a mother doesn't have power?

  2. Thank you, Tracy! Don't you just love how the lioness comes out in mothers, in so many ways? Happy Mother's Day to you!

  3. I enjoyed this so much! What a challenge for us as mothers. It's so encouraging to see the powerful, nurturing influence these biblical mothers had on their families and in their culture.

  4. Wonderful.....I've thought lots about Deborah and her faith-filled boldness to arise in troubled times.

    So enjoyed your posting.


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