The bedroom doors of our farmhouse were fitted with vintage metal locks. Although they looked charming, they were a nuisance because you could lock and unlock the door from the inside of each room, but the only way to unlock the door from the outside was to put your hip into it. I mean really put your hip into it. Knowing this, we taped over the lock on our toddler’s door so that he wouldn’t be able to accidentally lock himself in his room.
Until, of course, the day he woke up early from his nap and decided to remove the tape.
I discovered the locked door when I went to wake him up. I tried the hip trick. It didn’t work. But the sound alerted my son, and he came to the door and said, “Mommy?” I couldn’t try the hip trick again for fear of hitting him with the door.
It wasn’t long before he started crying. I tried to talk him through the process of opening the metal lock. Maybe he needed a visual aid. I took my phone to another room and made a video of myself unlocking a door. Then, I hit the play button and slid my phone under his doorway. “See what Mommy is doing in the movie? Can you do that, too?”
He cried harder.
And took my phone.
My next tactic would have to be bribery.
“Hey buddy, if you slide my phone back to me, I’ll give you a lollipop.” My phone came sliding back. I unwrapped a flat lollipop and pushed it under the door.
A Mom’s Gotta Do What a Mom’s Gotta Do
I had one more option.
The roof of the porch ran along the front of the house, right under the bedroom windows. I could climb out of the window in my daughter’s room, shimmy across the roof, and climb into his bedroom through his window.
Even though I was seven months pregnant, I knew I could do it safely.
I had to get to my little boy.
You should’ve seen me trying to get out of the window, turning my belly sideways and barely squeezing through, then inching along the roof like I was James Bond. When I reached his bedroom window, I pried out the screen. The window was unlocked! I climbed in, first one foot, then another, then my big belly, and landed on the ground.
My son stood there, wide-eyed, lollipop in his mouth.
I picked him up and wiped his tears away, then unlocked the door and took him downstairs for lunch.
Moms Get Up and Help People in Need
This story came to mind recently when I was reading about Deborah in the book of Judges. On a much grander scale, Deborah did what she had to do to help the people of God when they had locked themselves in disobedience. She was a prophetess and a judge for God’s people at a time when they worshiped other gods and did whatever they wanted to do. God allowed them to experience the consequences of their disobedience and handed them over to King Jabin, who cruelly oppressed them for twenty years. They had no chance of fighting back.
The Israelites cried out for help, and the Lord had mercy on them and sent Deborah to deliver them. The story begins when Deborah confronts Barak, the commander of God’s army, for not following through with God’s orders to gather 10,000 men in an epic battle to overcome the enemy. With Deborah at his side, Barak rallies 10,000 foot soldiers to pursue Jabin’s army. God sends a torrent, orchestrates an unexpected victory, rescues his people from oppression, and gives them forty years of rest.
Deborah reflects on the events and says, “I, Deborah, arose as a mother in Israel” (Judg. 5:7). This opens a floodgate of meaning for motherhood as we consider Deborah’s words and behaviors—from summoning Barak to overseeing the battle—as distinctly maternal.
What is Motherhood, According to Deborah?
When I look back at Judges 4 and 5 for how Deborah “arose as a mother,” I see a definition of motherhood that inspires me to arise as a mother, too.
- Are not limited to women who have biological or adoptive children (Gen. 3:20; Judg. 4:4).
- Arise to protect and defend God’s people (Judg. 4:9; 5:12).
- Trust God when circumstances look grim (Judg. 4:1–3).
- Obey God when no one else does (Judg. 4:1, 6).
- Show up faithfully to serve the Lord (Judg. 4:5).
- Remind other people about what God has said (Judg. 4:6).
- Notice—and care—when a person or people group is in distress (Judg. 4:5–6; 5:1–7).
- Seek the Lord, day after day, on behalf of people who are in distress (Judg. 4:5; 5:6–7).
- Believe that the victory is the Lord’s (Judges 4:6–9; 5:14, 31).
- Do whatever it takes to stir up another person to do the good work God has planned for them to do (Judg. 4:6, 9, 10, 14).
- Do whatever it takes to rescue a person who is in despair (Judg. 5:1–2).
In Deborah’s eyes—and God’s eyes, too—mothers are fierce, devoted, hopeful women who arise to see God unlock doors of captivity and set the prisoners free.
For Whom Will You Arise?
The day my son was locked in a room he couldn’t unlock, I did what I had to do to get him out: I heaved my pregnant belly through the window and shimmied across the roof. It was a tangible experience of what it might look like for me to hear a person’s cry in captivity, to seek God’s direction, and then to arise and bring his Word to that beloved person, wherever they may be and whatever it may take.
What comes to mind when you consider Deborah’s courage to “arise as a mother”?
Imagine yourself repeating her words, “I arose as a mother.” For whom will you arise? What opposition will you face? What promises from God’s Word will you cling to as you do whatever it takes to speak life, come alongside, and see a victory so grand that when it happens, you’ll know God did it?
Meet the Author:
Laura Booz is the author of Expect Something Beautiful: Finding God's Good Gifts in Motherhood and the host of the Expect Something Beautiful podcast with Revive Our Hearts. She'll cheer you on, share practical ideas, and point out the beautiful ways God is working in your life. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Ryan, and their six children. Connect with her at LauraBooz.com.