“Save me, because I serve you just as my mother did.” (Psalm 86:16)
As many of you know by now, I was raised by two wonderful women. My mother and grandmother (Granny) raised me and made sure my brother and I had our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs met. Not having a father figure was challenging but made infinitely easier by having people in your life who love you. Especially in that generation, where divorce was not as prevalent, I wish someone had shared the following Biblical lesson with my family. I hope it helps other children in single-mother homes.
Jonathan, in his article, “Single mothers are divine!” points out that amidst the backdrop of overwhelming patriarchalism, many of the Biblical males were raised by single mothers, or at least mothers with absentee fathers. In Genesis 38, we are introduced to Tamar, a woman mistreated, who “outwits her male captors with sex, and becomes the first female mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus.” Tamar has no husband but raised twins. Jonathan points out, “She has the important qualities: boldness, observation, theatricality, a demand for justice, and a willingness to stand up for it.” Tamar is far from the only example of strong women raising children without a man.
Moses was raised by women in the book of Exodus. Naomi is a single mother as we find in Ruth 1:14. Jesus was raised by Mary, and it appears Joseph died sometime after Jesus turned twelve years of age. Mark 6:3 calls Jesus, “son of Mary.” Jonathan quotes Andries van Aarde, who “indicates that Jesus is seen as ‘without a father who could have given him credibility.’” Read 2 Timothy 1:5. It speaks of Timothy’s faith given by his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. Each of these individuals is described in this often-misogynistic society as better for the courage, wisdom, and love of their mothers, who raised them primarily alone.
Today, pray for the single mothers in our lives. It is hard enough to raise children with two parents, it is more than twice as difficult to be a single parent. Yet, Scripture reminds us that God provides through the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is exhausting enough to be a single mother, but I grieve the stigma my mother faced as a divorcee in the mid-1970s. I wish someone had the Biblical understanding to remind her of the power and respect the Bible had for its single mothers. The next time you see a single mother, remind her that she is a gift from God!