Where would we be without a mom and their patience, nurturing spirit, love, and faith? Many of us are blessed to have many different types of moms in our lives: biological moms, grandmas, foster moms, adoptive moms or just a wise, loving person who has poured their lives into us. We start to realize these women have offered so much to give us a better life.

What is often overlooked is how moms survive and thrive under times of great adversity and stress. Four women in the Bible come to mind: Hannah and Samson’s moms, Elizabeth and Mary. Each had trauma that many women also experienced such as infertility or the uncertainty of an unplanned pregnancy. Each of these women clung to their faith in times of trouble. They were bent, but not broken; they were put under extreme duress, but did not give in. They remained true to their faith, stayed true to their convictions, and remained steadfast in their values, and were ultimately rewarded. 

In short, what all four of these women had in common was that they were all childless. But all demonstrated great determination and patience in order to raise great people.

The Wife of Manoah

In the Judges, an unnamed woman is simply described as “the wife of Manoah” She was either childless or infertile. In ancient times, children were considered a blessing. In this culture, the more children you had, the more blessed you were. The converse was also true: when a woman could not conceive, they were considered cursed. There was shame, guilt and anguish attached to childlessness. What happens next is nothing short of miraculous: this woman was visited by an angel who announces that she will become pregnant. The Angel gives her and Manoah instructions on how to rise the child, who will become Samson, the strongest man in the Bible.


Hannah also experienced the pain of infertility. The book of Samuel says she would often go to the Temple to pray. What was her prayer? That she would be able to conceive a child. One day, while praying publicly and fervently for a child, the High Priest, Eli, saw her praying silently and thought she was drunk. But God saw her faith, and the next year she was pregnant with a boy who would become a mighty prophet. Her son, Samuel, would start ministering at a young age so powerfully that even the High Priest was amazed. Samuel would go on to choose one of the greatest kings in the Bible: King David.

My Take on Divinity and Adoption

I am not saying that if we just have enough faith, that infertility will be healed. That’s beyond my scope. Yes, infertility is emotionally excruciating, and with it sometimes shame and hurt and guilt. The thought often comes, “What did I do to deserve this?” My encouragement is this: you are not alone. There are many other women who have gone through the same thing. There is hope and there is a future.

As an adoption social worker for nearly 20 years, I have interviewed dozens of couples who struggle with infertility. I hear the pain in their voice over the phone when I ask for their motivation to adopt. I hear the hesitation, I hear the silence, I hear the change in tone, when they finally respond, “We cannot conceive.” I empathize. But herein lies the miracle: a woman who has experienced deep emotional and spiritual pain, would consider giving comfort and shelter and peace to a child in need. The miracle is the selfless act of adoption.

Adoption is a miracle because it answers three needs: a child in need of a forever family, a mom in a crisis pregnancy, and a woman who may be struggling with infertility. Adoption is the selfless act of raising another woman’s child as your own that began with the selfless act of a woman lovingly placing their child in the arms of another woman to raise. 


The third mom is Elizabeth. In the Gospel of Luke, Elizabeth was the elderly wife of Zechariah, a Jewish Priest. The Angel Gabriel announced to Eliabeth that her prayers were answered and that she would conceive and have a boy. Back then, there were no sonograms so, at best, there was a 50/50 chance the angel was right. And right he was. Elizabeth had a baby boy, in her old age, and that boy would grow up to be John the Baptist. But not only did Elizabeth raise John the Baptist, but this experience also prepared her to help a young lady who was also experiencing a miraculous pregnancy, Mary. 

It is implied in the Bible that Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about 3 months. Perhaps for safety or to avoid the scrutiny of a small town (where no doubt  the news would spread of a young unwed mom who claimed to have a visitation of angels would be). 

This was Elizabeth’s opportunity to mentor and tutor Mary until it was time for her to go back home. Isn’t that what foster parents do? To care for a child not their own in hopes that positive reunification takes place. In practice, Elizabeth was a foster parent. She offered shelter, food, and protection.


Mary’s story is remarkable in itself. In the New Testament, Mary is described as a young woman, similar to Elizabeth, who received a visit from the Angel Gabriel. But, this time, Gabriel tells Mary that she will conceive and have a child even though she is a virgin. This teen was chosen because of her faithfulness and her purity. 

She humbly submits and goes on to miraculously conceive Jesus Christ. In today’s vernacular, Mary was an unwed teen mom. This label can be a stigma to some girls. And the choices back then were no less stressful than today. An unwed woman who got pregnant could be accused of adultery and stoned to death. Keeping her pregnancy a secret was no easy task. 

Mary had hard choices to make: Who should I tell? What should I say? Should I stay in my hometown or move elsewhere during the pregnancy? It appears as if Mary went to live with her cousin Elizabeth during the majority of her pregnancy. 

This practice was not uncommon. We even saw it continue through the 20th century when young women went to live at Maternity Homes until they delivered. It is unfortunate, but crisis pregnancies are just that: women who are at risk because of threat of bodily injury because of their pregnancy. 

By Elizabeth protecting Mary, Mary in turn, protected the Savior. If Mary lived today, other choices may have been presented to her.  Ultimately, Mary chose life.

The Bible goes on the say, “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:51-52). I’m sure Mary had something to do with that. Her dedication and faithfulness were needed to raise a boy into the Man he would become. Simply put, the Bible says that Jesus grew intellectually, physically, spiritually, and socially. Isn’t that the objective of every mom? It is not only to protect and nurture them, but also to lead them in a direction to be a positive influence on those around them? 

Mary, of course was there for Jesus at His birth, there for Him as His death and had a significantly positive impact on him everywhere along the way. Mary did her job as perhaps the greatest mom in the world. We should follow in her footsteps.

We can learn something from each one of these moms. As for me, I am inspired by their resiliency during times of trauma and their faith in times of uncertainty. They were humble, teachable, resilient, and strong women. 

Their selflessness is the type of thing we see in foster moms, adoptive moms, and also biological moms of today. They motivate me to be a better parent because of their example. Were they perfect? No, not by any stretch of the imagination. But they stayed true to their convictions, set goals, and marched towards them with help. If you see one of these types of moms this Mother’s Day, give them a big hug and let them know they are making a great impact not only for the child they are raising but also for the world.