As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but let you live. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”
Abram (descendent of Noah’s son, Shem) had been directed by God to leave his country and go to a land of God’s choosing. Abram was told that he and his line would be made into a “great nation”. Abram followed the command. He took his wife (Sarai), his nephew (Lot), and all of their possessions and set out. They first arrived in Canaan. Abram’s offspring were promised the land, and Abram built an altar in thanks.
A famine came upon that land, which prompted Abram to move on toward Egypt where his family would have a better chance of survival. Abram asks something remarkable of Sarai before entering Egypt. He asks that she pretend to be his sister. He knows how beautiful she is, and that the Pharoah may well desire her because of it. He also claims that if it is known that they are married, he might well be killed so that the Pharoah could have her. He goes on to state that if they pretend to be siblings…not only will the Pharoah not kill him; but he will be treated well, for her sake.
The Bible tells us that Abram’s assessment of the situation, indeed, came to pass. Pharoah was taken by Sarai’s beauty enough to invite her into his palace. Abram was treated well, very well, for her sake. He was given all manner of animals and servants, for her sake. However, Pharoah found out the truth. He was, naturally, quite angry. He had, after all, taken another man’s wife for his own…and paid that man, handsomely, for the privilege. Pharoah ordered Abram to take Sarai and leave.
Sarai’s sacrifice. Can you imagine what that conversation must have been like? In that time, women were seen as little more than possessions. But one would assume that she would, at least, be valuable to her family. But maybe not, huh? He, Abram, shamelessly, used her. He asked her to make a huge sacrifice. And she did it. She pretended that she was not married. She was taken into another man’s house and made his wife. I won’t even go into what that must have been like. I can not fathom what it felt like to be taken as the wife of another, while your true husband profits from your pain and misery.
Which leads me to what I would like to say…a woman has always been expected to sacrifice. She has been expected to sacrifice for her spouse throughout the years. She was taught that behind every great man is a great woman. She aspired to be one of those women. She has been expected to sacrifice for her children, to always put their needs ahead of her own. Even in recent years, life before children is expected to become a memory. She is expected to shoulder the weight and help carry the burdens of her friends and family. To volunteer in the community and teach Sunday school.
And, for the most part, she has. She has, somehow, found a way to do all of that. And more.
She is married. She is single. She is gay or she is straight. She cooks the bacon or she brings it home. Sometimes, she does both.
She is a chef. She is a launderer. She is a teacher. She is a janitor. She is a mediator. She is a counselor. She is a nurse. She is a seamstress.
She is a support system for her lover. She is a shield for her kids. She is a shoulder for her friends and family.
She embraces and she scolds. She laughs and she cries.
She is happy. She is sad. She is disappointed. She is exhausted. She is angry. She is undervalued.
She is PROUD!
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. Be they mothers of biological children or foster mothers or teachers or advisors. Mothering comes in all forms. I recognize how much the world asks you to sacrifice. You are underpaid, if paid at all. I know that the job seems unappreciated and, often, thankless. It is not.
Best wishes to you all, today and everyday.