The Passionate Mom Story
by Susan Merrill
In January 2010, for some reason—probably because I love the characters and stories in the Old Testament—I decided to study Nehemiah for the year. As the director of iMOM, I look for the mom angle in everything I do, so with my “mom” glasses on, I began to ponder his story.
I didn’t have to look far to be able to relate. Within the first four verses Nehemiah is weeping passionately because he has heard that God’s children are in danger. I could totally relate to Nehemiah. He was passionate for his people the way a mom is passionate about her children. His people were in a great danger, exposed to the world without protection, just like so many of the children I see today.
There was more to Nehemiah’s grief over the wall. There was more to his grief than the people’s physical safety. Nehemiah was grieving over their spiritual safety, too.
The Israelites were a people united by their faith in God. The point of their communion, the source of their faith, the place wherein they rallied together as a nation was the dwelling place of God—the temple.
Without the wall, the temple was also at risk. Without the temple, the people’s relationship with God was at risk. Without God, the people’s eternal salvation was at risk. Their hope, their eternal future, and the heart of who they were was wrapped up in their ability to commune with God in the temple.
I believe Nehemiah was deeply grieving not only for the physical safety of his people but for the heart of his people. He was grieving not just for their physical life but also for their eternal life. Nehemiah was upset because the wall needed to protect the heart of his people—the temple, the dwelling place of God—lay in ruins.
What about today? This is what I really pondered as I studied Nehemiah. You see, God no longer dwells in the temple of the Israelites. We are asked, by Paul, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16).
God dwells in the hearts of his people. In the heart of your child.
In Nehemiah’s day, God resided in the temple; therefore, the protection of that temple, as a place of worship and relationship with God, was paramount. Today, God resides in the temple of the body. Hence, every person, every child, is a potential dwelling place for God. That means you, and that means your children.
The temples that need to be protected today are the hearts of your children. The foundation for all those little temples is being laid in the home—your home. And if the foundation is to grow strong, it must be protected from attack. There must be walls and gates to keep it safe.
You are that wall. You are the wall that will protect your child and provide them a future. No one else will have the passion that you have for your child. Without you your child will be left to chance.
How can you, as the wall that protects the heart of your child, be the best that you can as a mom?
You must be a strong wall and a wise gatekeeper.
And Nehemiah has much more to teach us about just how to do that.