Parenting With a Purpose

by | Jan 25, 2023

When my older son was about a year old, I left him with my husband at home and took a solo trip to Costco. Who knew grocery trips can be therapy!

I grew up in India and like many other middleclass families we had a fulltime maid and a cook who lived with us and did most everything around the house. And when I came to the US, I had to learn how to do life here. For good measure add in taking care of a baby, a slightly difficult baby with allergies. My life was a circus! So, I really enjoyed and looked forward to those little solo shopping breaks, it was my escape from reality in the early years of motherhood. This particular instance I stumbled upon a fellow mom from church. She had 4 kids and she brought all 4 of them to the store. Two in the cart and two walking on either side of her. I said, “Wow Anna! You are so brave!” She looked at me pretty sternly and said, “Parenting is not for the weak of heart!”

I had no idea what parenting was about?! My parents decided that I should marry this young man they picked for me and I did and soon after I came to the US. Three weeks after the wedding to be precise and now I’m a mom. I guess the purpose of parenting is to toughen me up and maybe build my character in the process, I thought. Anna and I each went our way but I never forgot her words. Parenting is not for the weak of heart.

Can you Imagine living in a time when it very difficult to be alive let alone get married, have kids and raise them?  Would you be comfortable having a baby when the general atmosphere of the society around you is oppression, fear and persecution? What if a new government law said ‘any new pregnancies will have to undergo mandatory abortions or any new babies born would be killed’? If you were pregnant, what would your frame of mind be during that pregnancy?

There was a woman who lived during these exact set of circumstances and she went on to raise 3 kids who became great and mighty leaders. Her daughter was the first prophetess in the Bible, her son the first high priest and her youngest son lead a nation out of bondage into freedom. I’m talking about Jochebed, the mother of Miriam, Aaron and Moses. Jochebed lived during the time when the Hebrews were going through a very dark and painful time in history. Antisemitism was the law of the land. The Jews were treated horribly by the Egyptians.  What appears to be the story of Moses in Exodus Chapter 2 is actually the story of Jochebed, at least in the first 10 verses. This courageous, wise and intelligent woman is often times hidden in the shadow of her famous son. The son who introduced the 10 commandments to the world. Jochebed gave birth to Moses during a genocide.

“The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She saw that he was a special baby and kept him hidden for three months.”

–Exodus 2:2

Another translation says, “She saw that he was a fine child,” Does that mean she “saw” that her baby was cute?” Don’t all moms think their babies are cute?! This “seeing” that the Bible is talking about is not some superficial seeing of physical attributes. She saw that Moses was extraordinary. She recognized that Moses carried a special calling. Jochebed was a believer and she believed in the redemption of Israel. She immediately “knew” what a special baby this was and she perceived the destiny he had. Does God give you insight into your kids’ calling? Are there times when he lets you peek a little bit and perceive a destiny, he has for them? As moms sometimes God does gives us that special honor and sometimes it’s OK to ask God for that vision to see.

Jochebed’s faith gave her the courage to be a parent in perilous times.  It was life threatening for her and the baby if the Egyptians found out that she was hiding him. She could’ve said when she was pregnant “Why carry the baby to bury the baby?”. No! She was a woman of faith and courage.

When there was death all around her, she saw life and destiny. When the atmosphere was filled with fear she focused on faith. When there was slavery and oppression around her, she saw redemption. When there was no hope, she saw a great future. Jochebed saw beyond the natural. Like the heroes of faith, she hoped against all hope. When she put that basket in the alligator infested waters of Nile, she had focused spiritual vision.

You see, what we focus on grows bigger. Jochebed could’ve had so many distractions, so many other things to focus on and to worry about.  There was Pharoah, the alligators, the baby starving inside the basket is a possibility, being found out by an Egyptian. There were many things that could’ve gone wrong.  But she remained singular in focus. She wanted to take the risk and raise her kids for the special purpose God had for them. She saw in each of her kids something extraordinary and she communicated it to them.

Between being a slave and being a mom of 3 kids I don’t know if she ever had time to think about “The purpose of parenting” but one thing I can say for sure is “She parented on purpose”. She intentionally made the basket alternating the reeds to make a tight lattice. I think a lot of human life is a weaving of God’s sovereignty and human responsibility. As Jochebed weaved that basket her purposeful and faithful parenting was alternating with God’s beautiful and sovereign purpose into an amazing container that carried Moses to his destiny. The tar and the pitch that sealed the basket were her tearful prayers that protected him. Raising kids for God’s purposes is the purpose of parenting and Jochebed did it so beautifully with her kids.

“It was by faith that Moses’ parents hid him for three months when he was born. They saw that God had given them an unusual child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s command. It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin.”

–Hebrews 11:23-25

The legacy of faith from Amram and Jochebed is clearly seen and carried on in Moses and his siblings.

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