A 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 sons’ death illuminated just how much of my identity is wrapped up in being a mother.
I have both biological and adopted children. I can closely identify with Rachel and what she can teach us about motherhood. Although your circumstances may be different, my guess is you can too.
Who Was Rachel in the Bible?
We meet the charming and beautiful Rachel around 1875 BC in the book of Genesis.
You see, Rachel is the daughter of Laban, who was the brother of Rebekah, who is the mother of her betrothed Jacob. Rachel is also the sister of Leah, who incidentally shares a husband with her. Yes, you read that right. Sisters Rachel and Leah in the Bible share a husband. How’s that for a family tree?
Rachel in the Bible has four beloved sons, two adopted sons by her servant Bilhah, and two biological sons, including the famous dreamer Joseph.
Guess what! This post is part of a series on 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.
3 Lessons Rachel In The Bible Can Teach Us About Motherhood
1. Refocus on Your Identity
The root of much of Rachels’s problems lies with her confused identity.
Like Rachel, 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.
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, head to the Bible to renew your mind and refocus on your identity as a chosen daughter of the King.
2. Godliness With Contentment is Great Gain
We know that 1 Timothy 6:6 states, “godliness with contentment is great gain”, and we also know that in Genesis chapters 29-33 we see clearly that Rachel has contentment issues.
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 sister in marriage to the man she is betrothed to. Finally, when she does get to marry Jacob, she finds that she is barren and has to watch as her sister Leah becomes a mother several times over.
She 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. Her story is one of redemption.
Rachel made some big-time mistakes in her life, and quite frankly, the whole incident of stealing idols from her fathers’ 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. 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, I feel hope that God is actively working in our lives to achieve his plan. God had a mighty plan for Rachel. 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.
Rachel’s love and dedication to her children are 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.
We can learn much from the beautiful Rachel. 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’s life into something good and worthy.
Rachel inspires us to value, love and cherish all our children. Her premature death teaches us to treasure the time we have with the ones we love.
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 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 or follow her on her social media channels: Instagram, Facebook, twitter, Pinterest.