Today’s post is about single mothers in the Bible. This was a post that I am really happy to write about because being a single mother myself I find inspiration from women who are also single mothers in the Bible.
As I talk about these single mothers I want you to consider something and take inspiration from these women. As a single mother myself, I have been through good times, hard times, and broke times. And in the end whenever I turned to the prominent single mothers in the Bible I always found hope.
So let’s begin shall we
Single Mothers in the Bible ~ Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath
God sent Elijah to the widow at Zarephath where God told him he would be provided for by a widow with a son. What God did not tell Elijah is that the widow could barely provide for herself and her child, let alone give food to someone else.
And so the widow said
“As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.” 1 Kings 17:12
I remember a few years back when I got laid off from my really good job after I just bought my house I felt this way. I was a single mom trying to pay mortgage, keep up with the bills, and pay for food. I literally sat one day in the kitchen and looked at my empty fridge and cabinets, knowing that I had very little food to eat, no real money to buy any more food. And I remember relating to this widow, feeling like after my son eats up this last bit of food we will lay down and die of starvation because I could not afford to buy more. Of course I am still alive as is my son because God figured out a way to provide for me. He told me to go to a church and there they gave me a substantial amount of food.
Similar to the widow where she gave Elijah her last bit of food and God provided for her.
So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah. 1 Kings 17: 15-16
What we can learn from this widow is that no matter where your job is, if you have one, if you are underpaid (click to read my blog here), looking for a job, broke, recently widowed or whatever situation. You may be feeling like you will just sit back and let the chips fall where they may and lay and die. Do not lay down and die. God has a way of turning this around. I know this because I lived it and when I go to my kitchen now there is more than enough food. Not only did God provide for me during that time but He still provides now. As a single mother when you feel like you have nothing else to do and nowhere else to turn, and you are sitting around broke and a joke then turn to God and allow him to fix it.
Single Mothers in the Bible ~ Abraham and Hagar
Oh we all know the story of Abraham and Hagar. Many of us cheer for Sarah and resent Hagar because she laid down with Abraham, Sarah’s husband and had a child. But I also felt sorry for Hagar. I mean think about it, Hagar was forced to sleep with Abraham by Sarah and then when she got pregnant Sarah resented her for the child she told Hagar to have. AND then to top it all off God sent Hagar and her child Ishmael away because he was not the child that God has promised and there they went into the desert. How depressing.
If you have not read my single mother story then I encourage you to read it here. I will give a brief overview as to why I relate to Hagar so much. That is because after my son was a year old I found out is his father was MARRIED. I may have looked like the bad guy but I did not know he was married. I can recall when I found out this information, I felt a lot like Hagar going into the desert with me and my son. Allowing his father to be in whatever situation with his girlfriend and wife. Yes he had a girlfriend and a wife, two other women aside from me. And so like Hagar I went with my son into the desert.
Early the next morning Abraham got some food and a bottle of water. The bottle was made out of animal skin. He gave the food and water to Hagar, placing them on her shoulders. Then he sent her away with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba. Genesis 21:14
What single mothers can learn from Hagar is that sometimes there are mothers out there living in the desert having been sent away by their children’s fathers. They are out there wondering around doing it on their own, feeling as if they are in a desolate place.
As a single mother in every sense of the word I can relate to this. But I did not stay in the desert looking crazy, starving, and waiting to die. I listened to God. For it was God who told me to go into the desert and get as far away as possible from my son’s father and if God told me to do it then God would see me through it.
As with the case with Hagar, God told Abraham to send her away, but in the midst of the desert God still provided AND made Ishmael the son of a great nation.
“What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid. God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift up the boy and take him by the hand. I will make him into a great nation.” Genesis 21:17-19
Single Mothers in the Bible ~ Naomi and Ruth
Naomi makes the list of single mothers in the Bible because to me she is a single mother but in a less traditional way. Naomi had two sons (both of who were married) and a husband. All of the men died in her life. So Naomi was left with two daughter’s in law. Her biological children did die but she was still a mother to these two women who were married to her sons, one being Ruth.
Being an older woman whose entire family was gone Naomi probably thought she would not have any more children or even grandchildren. Even her daughters in law were grown and she did not expect them to stay with her as she traveled back to her homeland. Naomi was bitter and thought that her life would never get better
“Don’t call me Naomi” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” Ruth 1:20-21
Ruth took on the responsibility of providing for her mother in law and there she meant Boaz. Ruth was a little lost on the sauce on what to do about Boaz and it was Naomi who advised Ruth on what to and really pushed along her relationship with Boaz.
One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, I must find a hom for you, where you will be well provided for. Ruth 3:1
And so we know the story of Ruth and Boaz (click my blog here). She had a child with Boaz and Naomi’s entire faith was restored. Even in the Bible it says that Naomi has a son, not Ruth’s son, even though it was Ruth and Boaz’s child.
The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.” Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” Ruth 4: 14-16
What we can learn from Naomi is that no matter how bad things may seem, you do not know what God is doing, where is taking you, or why He has taken everything that you hold dear. You can see that with Naomi, you have to trust what God is doing. The pain that Naomi felt only lasted for a little while. And like Naomi, sometimes God is putting you though those situations to get you to a better situation. After all, the child that Ruth gave birth to is the grandfather or David who was a man after God’s on heart (read my blogs here and here on David). Had the hardship that Naomi felt not happened then we may not have a David and if we did not have a David, then we may not have a Solomon and so on and so forth.
I know that being a single mother is hard, but reading these single mothers in the Bible stories to be a reminder to you that God has not forgotten about you. And as he saw these women through he will see you though as well.