Guest post by Janelle Esker of thepeacefulhaven.com.
Exactly a year ago, my son was shot and killed in his native Honduras at age 28.
I never know how to introduce myself anymore. Do I have five or six children now that one lives with Jesus?
My son’s death illuminated just how much of my identity is wrapped up in being a mother.
Having both biological and adopted children, I can closely identify with Rachel in the Bible and the lessons she can teach us about motherhood. Although your circumstances may be different, my guess is you can too.
Related Reading: 4 Ways to Cling to Your Identity in Christ as a Mom
Who Was Rachel in the Bible?
We meet the charming and beautiful Rachel in the Bible around 1875 BC in the Old Testament book of Genesis.
You see, Rachel in the Bible is the daughter of Laban, who was the brother of Rebekah, who is the mother of her betrothed Jacob. Rachel in the Bible is also the sister of Leah, who incidentally shares a husband with her. Yes, you read that right. Laban’s older daughter Leah and younger daughter Rachel in the Bible share a husband. How’s that for a family tree?
Rachel in the Bible has four beloved sons, two adopted sons (Naphtali and Dan) by her maid Bilhah, and two biological boys, her son Joseph the famous dreamer, and her son Benjamin. Rachel’s sons would end up being a part of the tribes of Israel.
Guess what! This post is part of a series on the Great Women of the Bible.
Be sure to check out all of the other posts in this series here: 15 Great Women of the Bible Every Christian Woman Should Study.
We are studying great women of the Bible including The Woman at the Well and Mary and Elizabeth, so you’ll definitely want to check them out!
3 Lessons Rachel In The Bible Can Teach Us About Motherhood
1. Refocus on Your Identity
The root of much of Rachel in the Bible’s problems lies with her confused identity.
Like Rachel in the Bible, embracing the truth of our identity as children of God is a process. Rachel’s journey is fraught with excruciating pain and suffering and includes such issues as jealousy, impatience, and even thievery!
Rachel in the Bible is not brought up in a home that embraced the “ONE GOD” faith of Abraham and Issac. She was raised to worship idols like the rest of the population. Her culture influenced her identity.
How often, if we’re honest, do we battle the very same issue? We embrace what the culture says about us instead of God’s truth. We are insecure and filled with doubt because we are filling our heads and hearts with the whispers of the culture.
Or maybe we’ve lost ourselves in motherhood. Maybe we don’t even know who we are outside of being a mom. While being a mother is an important part of our identity, it isn’t the most important part.
Surprising right? The most important part of our identity is that we are a child of God. So how can we refocus our identities and get back to that?
Why not try taking a media fast for a day or a week and replace it with time in God’s Word?
When the troubles of this world overwhelm you, head to the Bible to renew your mind and refocus on your identity as a chosen daughter of the King. When you’re burnt out in motherhood, turn to God and allow Him to strengthen you and heal your spirit.
2. Godliness With Contentment is a Great Gain
We know that 1 Timothy 6:6 states, “Godliness with contentment is great gain,” and in Genesis chapters 29-33, we can clearly see that Rachel has contentment issues.
Unfortunately, having contentment issues is something that I can relate to.
In the early years of my mothering journey, I asked an older woman to observe me, pray, and tell me what she thought my blind spots were. All the while secretly hoping she would not find me lacking. I admit to crying when she said I had contentment issues. Sound like anyone else? It was incredibly hard to hear but I knew in my heart it was the truth.
Rachel in the Bible has a hard time accepting her circumstances. The details of her life must have seemed unbearable at times.
First, her father does the ultimate bride swap and gives her older sister Leah in marriage to the man she is betrothed to at their wedding. Finally, when she does get to become the wife of Jacob, she finds that she is barren and has to watch as her sister Leah becomes a mother several times over to one daughter (Dinah) and six sons (Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun) as well as watch her sister’s servant Zilpah birth two children (Asher and Gad) for Jacob.
She understandably becomes jealous of her sister’s fertility, and as you can imagine, the friction between the two sisters affects Rachel’s relationship with her husband too.
When hard things happen in our lives, especially when our children are involved, it is quite easy for discontentment to creep into our hearts.
But here’s the thing: godliness with contentment is great gain. Discontentment, even in brutally painful situations makes everything worse. True contentment can only be found in an intimate relationship with God. Let this truth seep into your heart today.
3. You Are Redeemed
The story of Rachel in the Bible is our story too, because her story is one of redemption.
Rachel in the Bible made some big-time mistakes in her life, and quite frankly, the whole incident of stealing idols from her father’s house and then lying about it, along with the jealousy and taking childbearing matters into her own hands, would seem to be enough to get her in deep trouble with God!
Amazingly, that is not what happens. Thankfully, our Father in Heaven is patient and quick to forgive. He allows disappointments and failures to mold and guide us into the woman He is calling us to be.
When I look at Rachel in the Bible it gives me hope that God’s plan will prevail. God had a mighty plan for Rachel not only as a person but also as a mother. In the very last episode of Rachel’s life, she delivers the prayed-for Benjamin. She is able to see him and name him before she departs this world.
Despite Rachel in the Bible’s questionable actions, her love and dedication to her children is admirable, so much so, that she is considered the mother of Israel to this day.
As mothers, God has a plan for each of us. God wants us to walk in obedience to His plan and live redeemed basking in His steadfast love. He desires to forgive the mistakes we make and renew our lives and the lives of our children. Our heartbreaking failures are just as much a part of our journey as our victories. God redeemed Rachel in the Bible and He can redeem us too!
We can learn much from beautiful Rachel in the Bible. She is a work in process and that is an enormous encouragement because we are too.
We are able to see clearly how God works all the disappointments and sufferings of Rachel in the Bible’s life into something good and worthy.
Which of these three lessons to be learned from Rachel in the Bible do you struggle with? Does Rachel inspire you to want to put these lessons into practice today?
Janelle Esker is the grateful wife of Michael and a homeschooling mother of six amazing children. She lives with her family, 4 cats, 1 dog, 3 ducks, and 12 chickens in scenic Ohio. Janelle received her B.A. in Education from Ohio Northern University. She is the author of CHOSEN: One Family’s Journey with Autism. She blogs about Faith, Family, Health, Home, and Food at The Peaceful Haven. You can read more from Janelle at thepeacefulhaven.com.
Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this amazing series!
Thank you for being a part of it!
Hi sister this is Isaac and I am very happy to be with you through this message,I read and blessed .this is not only for women. This is for church. if we compare Rachel to church .the church not suppose to be like Rachel… So and so I understood.