Honoring Hannahs

May 10, 2013
by Steven Lambert
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Wednesday evening this week, I attended a sports clinic for children under the age of thirteen during which an extremely young mother of three placidly totally ignored the non-stop screams and shrieks of her two or three year-old toddler that made the entire gallery of parents and grandparents looking on absolutely miserable for the entire one-and-half hour event.

The week before, I was eating dinner at a popular home-style country-cooking restaurant that turned into one of those scenarios probably everyone reading this has experienced in which a mother with the complete devoid of pathos of a sociopathic chainsaw serial murderer subjected the entire patronage with her incessantly screaming toddler as she carried on a conversation with others seated at her table as if she was in a library.

Such public excursions always highlight for me a number of observations concerning human propensities, politely put, most of which would be entirely unsuitable for any essay column. Of the few that are, space and prudence allows mention only of the top three.

First, under the influence of the indwelling Spirit I can certainly see and rejoice in the factuality of the Biblical statement that “children are a gift from the Lord!” and how precious those innocent souls are. When I look at them—in their young, still undeveloped fleshly containers—my heart floods with both the tenderest of pure love and also the strongest of pathos of which I am capable as I ponder the potentialities for both good and not good yet ahead of them in their futures.

Second, I am again freshly impacted with the strong wish that children were birthed with an “Operations Manual” shrink-wrapped to their backs, as I observe how chronologically young, immature, inexperienced, naïve, and, in many ways (though I don’t mean it pejoratively), ignorant the so-called “parents” of these precious gifts from God typically are. In public outings such as this I’m always literally stunned, and frankly, frightened by how dadgum young many of these moms and dads appear and actually are! It always engenders momentary sentiments of feeling sorry for the whole darn “family.”

Third, as the brief, microcosmic snippet of interaction between children and parent(s) unfolds in public view, I am also always struck with the undeniable and obvious reality of the astonishingly high percentage of simply “bad”—to put it kindly—parents that exists! I speak this not in a judgmental or critical but merely factual way. I realize my present mid-sexagenarian viewpoint to some degree factors in to my perceptions, nevertheless, basic parenting acumen as a whole in American society, without any doubt, has diminished exponentially during my lifespan. Not that I am in any way comparing my own parents to parents today, or the whole generation of “Boomer” parents to the present generation of parents and saying the former were better than the latter; I’m not. I love, honor, and respect my parents (posthumously in the case of my father), but they themselves admitted many times, they weren’t anything close to being “good parents,” a great deal of which was attributable to neither of them having had a model of proper parenting represented to them by their parents. Indeed, personally, I totally subscribe to the theory that by the time a person is sufficiently mature and prudent to be parents, they’re too old biologically to reproduce, for the most part, barring the anomalistic.

Personally, the older I get, the older I believe couples should be before they’re allowed to reproduce, and only after they’ve passed an exam and obtained a reproduction license—say, around 35 or so. I mean, if a license is required to operate an automobile on public roadways, one should certainly be required for parenting; after all, there’s a lot more at stake with the producing, overseeing, guarding, protecting, and guiding of another human life. Automobiles are replaceable; human lives are not. The ability for do-overs and redesigns exist with automobiles; not so with human lives.

In America, we have set aside one day annually to honor and thank our mothers for everything they are doing and have done in their quest to fulfill the responsibilities, tasks, and role inherent in the attribution, “Mother.” That is a good thing. Tragically, it is a very good thing in a nation that has tacitly approved the abortion of more than 50 million children over four decades since the Supreme Court ruled it legal. The 300 million people comprising America’s current population should thank God and their mother that they were not one of those other 50 million aborted and thus prevented from experiencing the vast cornucopia of elements indigenous to natural life in this world on this planet.

Of all the requisites of motherhood—”good mothering,” in particular—and they are many, in my mind one stands out above the rest, and that one attribute is: sacrifice! Good mothers are sacrificial. They hold the lives and futures of their children above their own, and will do anything they can to see to it that their children have everything required to have an opportunity to engineer a good and productive life; hopefully many times better than their own. I speak not of financial or material advantage, but the psychological and other foundations for a quality and fruitful life.

Psychologically, good mothers are invariably non-self-centered and non-ego-centric. The polar opposite of “good mothering” is narcissism. Joan Crawford, “Mommy Dearest,” dominating and controlling mentally unbalanced types are the quintessential female narcissist. Clinical female narcissism—Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)—is much rarer than the male version, but in cases in which the female narcissist bears children, the results are virtually always disastrous. Nearly all mass-murderers had narcissistic—diagnosed or undiagnosed—or absent mothers, for example, which is also true in the case of many career criminals. What all this tells us is that when mothers don’t mother properly, psychological problems are almost always the result, whether or not the child successfully overcomes them during their adult life.

When I think of the kind of innate and instinctive motherly attributes reflected in “good mothers,” I think of Hannah, the mother of Samuel, who was Israel’s greatest and longest living prophet and spiritual adviser to a long line of kings and priests. Hannah suffered the nearly unendurable “curse,” as it was considered in those days, of barrenness for much of the entire span of her normal child-bearing years. But, she so desperately desired to bear a child that she became “greatly distressed.” “Year after year” the Bible says Hannah wept “bitterly,” and for long periods of time “would not eat.” Then one year—the year when her husband, Elkanah, who was a priest, was to perform the yearly priestly duties—Eli, the high priest was standing outside the door of the Temple, and Hannah, in her exceedingly sorrowful state of mind over her continued barrenness, prostrated herself before Eli, and loudly “prayed to the Lord” and “made a vow”:

“O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life…” (1 Sam. 1:11).

Subsequently, Hannah continued to pray so earnestly and desperately, though silently with her lips moving, that Eli thought she was drunk and rebuked her, telling her to put away the wine from her.

“But Hannah replied, ‘No, my lord, I am a woman oppressed in spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have poured out my soul before the LORD. Do not consider your maidservant as a worthless woman, for I have spoken until now out of my great concern and provocation.’ Then Eli answered and said, ‘Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him.’ She said, ‘Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.’ So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.” (1 Sam. 1:15-18)

Hannah, whose name in Hebrew (Channah) means favor or grace, finally, by the favor/grace of the Lord, a little more than nine months later, bore a son, whom she named, Samuel, which means, “requested of the Lord” in Hebrew. Hannah dedicated her firstborn son, Samuel, to the Lord, pursuant to the solemn vow she had prayed before the high priest, to such an extent that when he was only three years old, she took him to Eli to live with him, to be sanctified in service to the Lord. In so doing, she was sacrificing her own desires for her son and giving Him back to God, who had endowed her with this bountiful gift of a son.

God instructs that children be reared in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4), and that parents “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Pro. 22:6). Hannah did just that, dedicating her firstborn son back to God in return for the blessings of favor and grace He showed toward her in opening up her womb to bear a child. Subsequently, she bore three additional sons and two daughters, and Samuel lived to be an old man, and served Jehovah God all the days of his life as the greatest of all the prophets of Israel.

The formerly barren and social outcast, Hannah, became a Biblical model of sacrificial mothers who out of an overriding selfless love give back to God the priceless gift of the children God entrusts to their care and nurture by dedicating them to God and His purposes and plans for their lives.  God grant us a myriad of Hannahs in this day of self-absorbed, narcissistic mothers who care more about how their children can boost their own image and record than they do about what they can do to bless the lives and futures of their children.

This Sunday is “Mothers’ Day,” the day in America we’ve designated to give tribute to and honor the millions of mothers in our nation, for all they have done and do in the vital role as mothers to and for us all. Everyone has a natural mother, though, sadly, some individuals, through various circumstances, were deprived of a relationship with their mother, or even knowing who their mother is or was. Nevertheless, a person cannot be born into this world without a mother. We all were conceived in the womb of a mother. Mothers are vital to our lives, in innumerable ways, and we are all born with a God-placed love in our hearts for our mothers—that’s why we’ve set this one day aside in our nation to honor and express to them in various ways how much we love and appreciate them and all they’ve done for us.

On this Mothers’ Day 2013, may we all pray for God’s blessings upon all mothers everywhere, and if possible, express our gratitude to the mothers who made the many requisite sacrifices to bear and rear their children, particularly those who made the additional sacrifices requisite to rearing their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Let us happily and joyfully honor our fathers and mothers—”which is the first commandment with a promise”—a promise of a long and productive life (Eph. 6:2; Exo. 20:12).###

>>> Click here to read a tremendous article by my daughter, Angela Marie Lambert, on her blog!
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Dr. Steven Lambert was ordained in 1977 and holds several earned graduate/post-graduate degrees. Over more than four decades in ministry, he has served as a pastor, radio/TV host, adjunct-professor, Board Certified Doctoral Diplomate Christian Therapist/Counselor, and a speaker/commentator on a range of social, political, and theological issues, particularly as a recognized authority on the matter of ecclesiastical authoritarian abuse. He is the founder/Overseer of Ephesians Four Network (ephesiansfour.net) and its subsidiary, Ephesians Four Network of Deliverance Counselors (efndc.ephesiansfour.net). Dr. Lambert authored several books (catalog at realtruthpublications.com), many published articles, and is the founder/editor of Spirit Life Magazine (spiritlifemag.com). His bio, extensive blog, and scheduling information are available on his ministry website at: http://www.slm.org. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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