“Until I, Deborah, arose as a mother in Israel” (Judges 5:7).
Israel needed leadership. Deborah apparently stepped up to lead. In Judges 4:4 she is introduced, and we read, “Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time.” (Judging here is basically the equivalent of “leading”). “She used to sit under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment.”
The role of “mother” is not limited to a woman who births or adopts children. The role of mother can extend to the leadership of a nation! People came to Deborah for wisdom to solve their disputes! She was a prophetess! She led the victory song! She gave military instruction! This was a wise woman! She called herself a “mother” in Israel.
Being a mother to my children has taught me many things about leadership.
For example, how to speak with grace and kindness while disciplining. Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” When disciplining my children it is usually best to begin with a gentle word. It invites them to join me in conversation (or obedience). When I begin with a shout or an angry voice, it only serves to stir them up more. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how I speak – my child will still be upset. But at least it’s a reaction to the discipline and not the harsh word ;-).
As any mother of children — or mothers of nations — can testify, there may always be someone who does not agree with the decisions you make as a leader. They may throw tantrums. They may incite others against you. You may even “feel bad” for them. But motherhood has been great training ground for me to commit to my first decision — I need to be firm, and not easy swayed by the desires of the masses! Motherhood is a nice training ground to learn how to stand your ground!
A third way that motherhood that prepared me for leadership is learning to solve disputes — without assuming that I know what happened! Deborah spent so much time just solving disputes! I’ve definitely stuck my foot in my mouth a time or two.
Yeah…I am definitely still working my way through all of these. After all, with my youngest just four months old, that means I still have at least 18 more years of learning how to lead 😉 Thank God that He created it this way. This is the perfect time to learn leadership!