Hey Modern Mama,
Greetings to you from this mama of a wild child, from long ago, back in Bible times. You won’t find my name in the Bible, not at all. I am only referred to as Manoah’s wife, but he loved and respected me. Even so, infertility made me feel insignificant and inferior, because I could not fulfill the role I dreamed of: to be a mother. Your situation likely varies, but back in my time, we had no idea why or how to deal with infertility.
One day as I worked, an angel of the Lord came to me and verified that I could not have a child. He called me “barren.” (Oh, how I hate that word!) Perhaps there are aspects of infertility that hurt you emotionally, physically, and even spiritually. Please know that God hears your pain and can comfort you through the challenges of infertility. Maybe an angel will not come to you—it only happened to a few infertile women in the Bible—but God does hear your heart’s cry.
This angel of the Lord prophesied that I would have a son. Unreal and hard to believe, but somehow I trusted his words as true. Then he gave me pregnancy care instructions—how strange for a man to know about that! You have medical experts, books, and even Google, but we only get advice from the women in our tribe. Those instructions about taking care of myself during pregnancy meant that from the beginning, our son would be dedicated to God. The angel said that our son would deliver us from the Philistines, our oppressive rulers. This son would not only deliver Manoah and me from infertility, but deliver our tribe and our people. What exciting news!
As often happens, what we expected as parents differed from God’s plan for our son. Our Samson, an unexpected gift from God, certainly surprised us in many ways. Calm, compliant, rule-following—none of those aspects described our Samson! He came out of the womb large and in charge. From day one, the strength on that kid amazed us. And what a challenge for Manoah and me to train, discipline, and correct our wild child! We wondered if Samson would ever learn to control his impulsive nature.
Maybe you have a wild child and wonder how and why God blessed you that way. I found myself saying the same things over and over—for decades:
“Can’t you be kind? Can’t you be patient?”
“Samson, stop swinging that rock/stick/table above your head!”
“You beat up the neighborhood kids—again?!”
Manoah and I reminded ourselves that Samson was God’s child, dedicated to God, and created with characteristics for God’s purposes. Please appreciate the child God gave you, instead of comparing him to your friends’ kids. I made that mistake a lot and finally realized my need to rely on God for parenting help and guidance. God knew best how to prepare Samson for the future, and He helped us train Samson. No matter how discouraged I became raising Samson, I knew that God would prepare Samson for his God-ordained job. God’s plan for Samson ultimately affected others—even our nation—in ways that extended far beyond just Manoah and me.
For you parents of wild children growing into wild adults, I could add stories of Samson’s gambling, womanizing, murder, etc. All those nice Israelite girls—but instead, Samson chose nagging, sleazy, heathen women. Let me just say that God may use your children in ways that do not make sense to you. God is not concerned about our desire to have compliant kids who reflect well on our family. Being stewards of our children means recognizing when to let them go and trusting God to work in their lives. For you helicopter parents, realize that we have to let go of what we think is best for our children. I had to learn and relearn how to entrust my child to God. Even after Samson grew up, I had to remind myself to let go of my dreams for my son.
Check out my story in Judges 13-16 to read how God used my wild child to accomplish His sovereign plan in our country. My Samson, despite his bad decisions, hot temper, impulsive acts, gambling habit, womanizing, and multiple murders, accomplished God’s purposes in surprising ways.
May God teach you how to love your wild child and to recognize that God loves your child even more than you do. May God encourage you in your parenting, today and always.
Love from Samson’s Mama
(Designed to encourage tired mamas, this parenting advice is written using sarcastic humor to reflect on a biblical family’s narrative. Please read Judges 13-16 and study the account of Samson for yourself. In no way do I intend to misinterpret or misuse biblical passages.)
[Originally posted September 2021]