Mother’s Day—and Hannah Thoughts

Mother’s Day is coming up soon.  That means I am thinking about Hannah a lot.  No, not necessarily my granddaughter Hannah (though I do think about her a lot—see last week’s post).  It’s Hannah my longtime soul mate from Scripture I’m thinking about just now.

Mother’s Day always stirs up in me a turbulent pot of emotions.  Often there are baby dedications that day.  I love baby dedications.  They always make me cry.

In fact, I cry a lot on Mother’s Day.  First, I cry for joy as I see parents bring their new little ones before the church to dedicate them to God—and to dedicate their parent hearts to raising these precious ones in Godly ways.   Whether or not our church has baby dedications, I cry for joy as I thank God for the beautiful children and grandchildren He has so graciously given us.

But I also cry on Mother’s Day for other reasons.  I cry because I remember many Mother’s Days in my past that were some of the hardest days of my life.  There were the days when I wondered if I would ever be a mother.  And the Mother’s Day after my miscarriage.  I remember these days well.  And I look around church on Mother’s Day and wonder how many women are crying inside as I did for so many years.

I also look around and think about the multiple ambivalences Mother’s Day generates in many hearts.  Those who have recently buried a mother (oh, yes — definitely another reason I cry on Mother’s Day).  Those who have difficult relationships with their mothers—or their kids.  Those who struggle with “mama guilt” about their own mothering—or the child they aborted long ago.  You can be sure there’s plenty of emotion to go around on Mother’s Day, no matter how well hidden it may be behind smiling faces.

All of this makes me think of Hannah.  She and I have been soul mates for a long time.  We have gone through many seasons together.  In my infertility, I often turned to 1 Samuel 1 and read about Hannah’s “year after year” prayers.  Then when a 14-week pregnancy terminated in a devastating miscarriage, I pondered Hannah’s plight all the more.

When Woody and I were finally blessed with children, I couldn’t get Hannah off my mind.  How, I wondered, was she able to give that precious, long-awaited child back to God? When our children were young, I wondered how Hannah was ever able to leave Samuel at the tabernacle.  OK, full disclosure:  There were days when the thought of leaving a toddler at the church to be raised by the staff sounded like a pretty great idea!  But you all know what I mean.

As our children grew older, my Hannah-question changed slightly.  Not only “How could she leave him?” but “How could she leave him there?”  At the tabernacle, which was apparently so full of corruption.  And with Eli, who had not done so well with his own two sons.

All of this drives me back to 1 Samuel 1-2, to Hannah and her story.  There’s a lifetime of learning there for me.   I challenge you to read it as we approach Mother’s Day.  Because the bottom line of it all points to the source of Hannah’s mom-power. The power to wait for a child, to train a child (Samuel in his earliest years and other siblings who came along later), to give up a child, and to impact a child to become a mighty man of God like Samuel.  That power came from God.  And from her relationship with God.  It was prayer-power.

The very intimacy she gained through her deep honesty with God in her barren times was the fuel that powered her ability to do all the rest.  In other words, Hannah knew God well enough to trust Him with what mattered most to her—her child.

It’s the question that lingers the longest for me, as a woman, as a wife, as a mom:  Do I know God well enough to trust Him—truly trust Him—with my children?  Do you?