Sarah’s Laughter and Our Reflection

 “And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”

In Genesis 18, Abraham and Sarah were visited by the Lord and told that they would be blessed with a son, and at such an old age one could only hope for a miracle in order for this to happen. Because of this, Sarah in her disbelief laughed in her heart at what she heard. At first, we may look down on her for such a reaction but we must not be so quick to judge. We all have doubts in our minds about what the will of God is for us and the timing in which He works.

Sarah questioned so much. She wondered why God was choosing to give her a child now of all times, for she wished as most young women did to have a child. Women hold an important role in Christ’s kingdom. They act as help meets for their husbands, they arise early to take care of their families by cooking, cleaning. They also aid in instructing the children in their schoolwork and catechism lessons, because they are the future of the church, such instruction is vital as told by Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

 However, this truth applies to every single one of us. While mothers are important, we all have a place in the kingdom of Christ. Have you laughed as Sarah did because you questioned what the Lord has planned for you? Is there a reason for the tears and sorrows we face in this life? So much doubt, yet we have faith knowing that Christ’s plan is so much greater than our own. Trust God and He will bless you at the appointed time as He did for Sarah. Heed Psalm 27:14. “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait I say, on the Lord.” 

Lisa Oomkes

Maternal Instinct

A couple of years ago, I was working as a vet tech at a regional equine hospital during the spring foaling season. A foal came in with its dam due to an illness, and unfortunately the foal had to be humanely euthanized after trying our best to correct the problem. Now, the protocol for such an event (since, in veterinary medicine we can’t explain things to the mare) is to perform the euthanasia and leave the mare with her deceased foal for a few hours to give her time to understand. Then, either the foal is removed, or the mare is transferred to a different stall. In this case, I was instructed to move the mare. So, I clipped a lead rope on her and she followed me calmly and willingly across the facility. Until she saw another mare and foal; then she pulled at the lead, and turned to try to go back to her old stall (where her foal was still laying). She whinnied frantically and kicked me in the hip. I was fine, but very upset. What is wrong with her?? She KNOWS her foal is dead, why freak out now?? I wondered. I’d understand soon enough.

This past spring, my husband and I welcomed our first child to our family. However, in February of 2018, I had a miscarriage with my first pregnancy at about 6 weeks along. I was shocked at how heartbroken I was.  Not because I don’t value life, but because I thought that since I only knew of the pregnancy for a few short weeks I should have gotten over it pretty quickly. When I first realized that I was in the beginning stages of miscarriage I was devastated. The only way I knew how to describe how I felt was the way that mare panicked and cried out when she left her dead foal behind.

I felt this horrible maternal instinct, but had nowhere to go with it. For the next six months I wanted desperately to have a baby, and cried over what felt like hundreds of negative tests. Every pregnancy announcement and image of moms with their kids killed me, and every time I felt that way I understood a little better why that mare kicked me that spring day a year or so before. Maternal instinct isn’t just for people. God created animals to feel that powerful, protective desire as well.

It’s for that reason that the recent battle between pro-life and pro-choice has me so upset. If I hurt so badly after knowing about my baby’s existence for only 2 weeks, how could a mother go on living life normally after aborting her child at any stage, but especially late term? Even the animal kingdom knows better than to abandon their young and not feel pain over it. I even thought that once I had my son in my arms this spring, I would recover more completely from my losses, but I was wrong. I still mourn my miscarriages. It still hurts; I expect it always will. After all, it’s not just about how many kids are in your family pictures. It is about life itself.

Of course, this is only my story. There are many others with similar and even more painful stories out there. God declares that children are a heritage of the Lord (Psalm 127:3), and they are to be valued! The price to pay for hurting one of God’s precious children is high: Luke 17:2 says “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea than that he should offend one of these little ones.” That’s a very vivid picture of the absolute sanctity of life.

I certainly don’t have all the answers to society’s problems, or even the answer to the abortion crisis happening right now, but this I know for sure: life is precious. Deep down, we all know it. Even the animal kingdom knows it. We may not ever succeed in improving the society we live in, but may God help Christians to hold fast to His Word and value our children the way He calls us to.

Suzie Altena

The Proverbs 31 Woman

Proverbs 31 is pretty regularly regarded as the Bible text that describes the type of women that Christian ladies should strive to be. Unsurprisingly, the world paints a very different picture of the ideal woman for us. The world seems offended by the Proverbs 31 woman, thinking that she is overly dependent on her husband, weak, or boring. I won’t take the time to work through every verse in this chapter, but let’s take a short look at this woman and what she is really like, and which woman, the woman of the world or of Proverbs 31, is the strong, capable role model for our young ladies.

The 11th verse of this chapter says that the heart of her husband safely trusts in her. It reminds me of that popular saying “Behind every man is a good woman.” It seems that saying isn’t very far off. The husband of the Proverbs 31 woman rests assured that she supports him, encourages him, and speaks well of him to others. Many times women of the world are heard bashing on their husbands, talking about their shortcomings and downfalls. It simply cannot be true that Christian men are perfect, therefore the indication here is that although her husband has problems and issues, she will not broadcast these things to others.  Her husband knows this, and it leaves him with a feeling of trust and safety with her.

In a good portion of this passage, this woman is seen working with linens, buying, selling and trading. She plants, she sews, and she cooks. She works! In verse 17 she is even described as physically strong. It takes a physically strong woman to be so busy and active with her family and own business ventures. “Stay at home moms” are often regarded by the world as the type of woman who sits at home, just waiting for her husband to come back. That simply isn’t the case with the Christian housewife. She is busy, always working on new things around the house or finding appropriate ways to earn money and be productive. She is anything but weak.

Finally, a well-known verse in this chapter is verse 25 which reads “Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.” Other versions of the Bible like to translate the last part of the verse “She laughs without fear of the future.” In either translation, you can almost picture a woman, bright-eyed and smiling, with her face lit with joy over one thing or another. She isn’t boring! She’s a pleasure to be around. She laughs and smiles and rejoices! She doesn’t do her work with a scowl and mumbling to her family, she is exactly the opposite.  God tells us that women like this are to be honored for their strength.  It takes great emotional and spiritual strength to walk through the life of any Christian and be a person who often is found smiling, laughing and taking joy in life.

The Christian woman, the Proverbs 31 woman, is not an overly dependent, weak, or boring woman. We should never expect any of that of our women in the church. Instead, we should be women of love, strength and immense joy! So, instead of trying to be stoic, tough, and “savage” as the world likes to use as compliments for women today, let’s be the women God calls us to be in this passage. Let’s be the Proverbs 31 woman.

Suzie Kuiper