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I preached last Sunday from Exodus 2:1-10. You’re probably familiar with the story–a baby in a basket floats down the Nile and lives to tell about it. It’s a wonderful story about Moses, a special boy with a special birth. But Moses is hardly the main player in the opening section of his life. His story starts as the story of three remarkable women.

Moses’s mother was courageous and creative, defying Pharaoh’s unrighteous decree and devising a way for her baby to have a chance at life.

Moses’s sister was resolute and resourceful, ready to save her helpless sibling and point Pharaoh’s daughter in the right direction.

Moses’s adoptive mother was powerful and full of pity, a beautiful picture of human compassion and common grace.

Three woman of different ages, different nationalities, and different social standings all doing their part to fulfill God’s great plan of redemption, though none of them knew the part they were playing and one of the three did not even belong to the people of God.

It’s true: there are many more men mentioned in the Bible than women. And yet, more than often than not when a women shows up, something good is going to happen. Jezebel and Athaliah were devilish tyrants, but most of the women in the Bible are much more hero than zero. Think of Sarah, Rahab, Deborah, Ruth, Esther, Abigail, Mary Magdalene, Mary and Martha, and Mary the mother of Jesus. Think of the women who supported Jesus out of their means, the women who repented of their sins before Jesus, the women healed by Jesus, and the women at the empty tomb of Jesus. If you can tell the story of the Bible without ever naming a woman, you’re not telling the story as the Bible tells it.

There are a thousand things women can and will do as they play their part in the servants, workers, thinkers, pray-ers, sharers, and image bearers in God’s world. But over the last few weeks as I’ve been studying the book of Exodus more in depth, I’ve found special encouragement for mothers and for all those women who work with children.

Dear moms, I know a lot of you are crazy busy with the “blessings” in your life that don’t always feel like blessings. You’re tired. You’re frustrated. You’re anxious. You’re disappointed–with your kids and mostly with yourself. It can seem like making a difference for God is something you used to do or maybe something you can try to do twenty years from now. But at the moment, you’re just trying to make it through another day. Survive and advance. And maybe take a nap.

I don’t know what God’s up to in your life and through your life and because of your life. But here’s what I know from the first chapter and a half of Exodus: Up to this point in Exodus, the entire story has been moved forward by women, and specifically by women looking after children. This great story of divine deliverance–this world famous salvation story that will set the table for the salvation story of Calvary that is yet to come–would never have gotten off the ground if it weren’t for women. No Moses, no Exodus, no redemption if it weren’t for moms, and midwives, and big sisters. Shiphrah, Puah, Jochebed, Miriam, and Pharaoh’s daughter: God used them all in mighty ways–in ways they couldn’t fully understand at the time, in the ways that changed the world–and all by simply loving children and protecting their little lives. What’s true for teachers and nursery workers and volunteers and grandmothers and aunts and nieces and babysitters is especially true for the mothers reading this blog: you do more than you know.

Press on, mom, your labors are not in vain.

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21 thoughts on “Dear Moms, You Do More Than You Know”

  1. Zaira Russell says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! It is often so easy to forget that God has called me to be a mother. That this not-so-glamorous work is His work that He has for me and that it is ministry to change diapers and feed my baby. This is so encouraging because it reminds me that even what seems mundane is honoring to God. Thanks!1

  2. Donna Evans says:

    Thank you for recognizing the valuable contribution that at least 5 women made in Moses’ life, and indeed the nation of Israel’s life, when each woman made a critical choice to “choose what pleases Me.”(isaiah 56:4). Each woman chose life over death and exhibited radical faith and exact obedience to what God had called her to do.

  3. Dewey Engelsma says:

    Excellent article…except for the reference to common grace. Why attribute some love of God for someone that he has eternally decreed to damnation. Seems strange that God would show “love” and “favor” to someone who he plans on punishing for all eternity. Some kind of grace. Why not use the reformed confessions as our guide and call it what it truly is, namely God’s providence. In his providence he determined to have Pharaoh’s daughter there at that time and place to preserve Moses’ life and use her to further his plan for Moses’ life. Why invent this idea of a favor of God on the ungodly?

  4. Neville Briggs says:

    Without doubt, the examples above show the valuable role of women in history and in the unfolding of God’s plan. Speaking of God’s plan, Paul tells us that in Christ there is no male and female, and Jesus stated that in the resurrection there would be no marriage, as people would be “like the angels ” .
    Women in marriage and family life is one thing for which Mr De Young gives due credit. But following Jesus’ words perhaps now the church should start to live as those who will be part of the resurrection, the new creation ,where both men and women together exercise all the gifts of the Spirit in the congregation.
    So in the light of the coming new heaven and new earth, there is no reason why women cannot be preachers, teachers, prophets, leaders and elders in the church. And I believe that there is no evidence that any of those things diminishes their value as wives and homemakers.
    p.s. not all women are wives and homemakers.

  5. Katey says:

    And the midwives! “But because the midwives feared God, they refused to obey the kings orders. They allowed the boys to live too.” Exodus 1:17 I love that example because we don’t even know their names.

  6. anaquaduck says:

    Nice post. Good to be reminded of women & the wonderful things they do, my wife often blows my mind with her many gifts & abilities I like how God describes himself like a hen gathering & protecting her chicks under her wing but I cant see Him being to fussy about dress cuts & material though (ayy, ayy, ayy ?)

    In this mixed up world I think men & women are challenged daily to conform to ungodly ideals instead of God’s good design & we feel a bit ‘Gershom’ but God redeems our life from the pits of depravity.

  7. Renee says:

    Thank you.

  8. David J. says:

    Note that none of the Exodus women or the other faithful women named above blew up their families by divorcing their husbands because they weren’t “happy,” justifying their sin with the (false and deluded) rationale that it would be better for the children. A far cry from the behavior today of way too many professing Christian moms — and from church leaders’ general refusal to get involved for fear of “judging.”

  9. Vee says:

    I am sitting here crying, thankyou so much for writing this post. It is such an encouragement to me. I’m a mum of a beautiful 8 month old baby and for the past 8 months I’ve felt far from God and I think it’s because I’m not as involved in the church & planned outreach as I used to be. Thankyou for reminding me of this beautiful truth.

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Kevin DeYoung

Kevin DeYoung is the senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina. He is chairman of the board of The Gospel Coalition, assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte), and a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have seven children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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