Imagine taking a trip to offer a sacrifice and pay vows to the Lord your God–a trip you took every year and one day you don’t go…that is what a woman named Hannah did:
“Then Elkanah went up with all his household to offer to the LORD the yearly sacrifice and pay his vow. But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, ‘I will not go up until the child is weaned; then I will bring him that he may appear before the LORD and stay there forever.’” 1 Samuel 1:21-22
Why did she stay back? Hannah had remembered her vow to God. She had a deep sense of commitment to remain back to begin to honor the vow she took, to fulfill her role, and to do the task at hand—feed her baby the milk God supplied…and she would not go up until her son was weaned.
As a mother I read this and so many convictions and areas needing refinement in me are exposed.
Before I was a surrendered Christian yielded to the Holy Spirit, and before my new undivided heart I was divided and pulled many directions…always feeling the draw to “go” to a different type of “up.” For me, it was “up” the ladder of what the world would call ‘success.’ In the minds of many, I had “made it” and even after having my children I had been encouraged to keep going “up.” What was my encouragement, my treasure? Money, accolades, pride, selfishness, pleasing man, the desires of the world. I thought if I “go up” by the world’s standards I would give my children a better life.
Now that I am a committed Christian wife and mommy I STILL feel the pull and temptation to “go up” where others may go. This time the “go up” is about serving God. Today the many things that pull or tempt me to “go up” include: the feeling of missing out, wanting to be involved, selfishness, pleasing others, and pride (yup that’s still there).
I struggle a lot with a different sense of “missing out.” Instead of missing out on what the world offers I struggle with missing out on the impact I can do for God if I’m not involved in all these different ministries–I can fall into the trap of trying to make an impact for God’s kingdom in my own strength, forgetting it is He who works in me both to will and to work for His good pleasure, and forgetting the vow I took as a child of God, wife and mommy.
Then I read about Hannah. A committed woman…to God, to her husband, and to her son. A woman who has not forgotten her vow but fulfills it. Only until her son was weaned would she go up…and not only would she go up but she would give God a huge sacrifice: her first born son. She did not sacrifice him by death but by His life—dedicating him to God causing her to see her son only once a year. This was a son she wanted but could never have because of a closed womb. A son she wept bitterly for as she spoke to God in her heart and poured out her soul before the LORD asking God to remember her. She made a vow she would give her child to the LORD “all the days of his life…” When it was time to fulfill that vow she does not give begrudgingly but praises God and gives to Him from a heart of gratitude!
I can remember asking God for a child. He remembered me. I have been given three (one is with Him). Today I give my children a different type of milk–the purity of His Word. My husband and I have dedicated our children to God, remembering they are gifts from Him…there will be a day when they will be weaned, and begin to eat solid food—by His mercy and grace they will grow by His daily Bread; By His mercy and grace they will begin to feed themselves and live by every Word out of the mouth of God.
I pray I don’t give in to the temptation to “go up” or anywhere for that matter, until they are weaned…until God directs me.
God remembered me. I pray I always remember Him, and fulfill the vow I made to raise my children to love and know Him. I pray, I’ll always remember, they are God’s little lambs and my husband and I are stewards and shepherds following the direction of the Great Shepherd.
I pray I never forget the reason none of us have to take a ‘yearly’ trip to make a sacrifice for our sins because: It. Is. Finished. Jesus has died on the cross for our sins and has made the final sacrifice (*Hebrews 10:10-14). And that’s not all…Jesus rose from the dead on the third day and is alive, and today His Spirit lives in me helping me to keep the vow I took as a child of God, wife, and mother.
Whether your children are from your womb, adopted, or foster you too probably prayed to God for these precious gifts we call children. I pray we have thankful hearts bringing them before the Lord daily. I pray they will stay with God loving and worshiping Him forever.