By Stephanie Clinton
Exodus 2 is a very familiar story to most of us. The origin of Moses; raised by an Egyptian princess with his own mother serving as his wet nurse. Raised in the palace, for want of nothing, never knowing hunger or thirst or hardship. But always knowing that he didn’t belong.
It’s a story I learned in Sunday School from a teacher with little felt cut-outs of a baby in a basket, a Hebrew girl, and an Egyptian girl placed strategically on a sea of blue felt. She probably even had clumps of reeds to set the scene. I loved those little felt cut-outs, how they would cling to the board and tell a story. There seemed to be an endless supply of felt characters and sheep. Always lots of sheep.
As a child I didn’t think too much about Moses’ mother other than that she got super lucky in being allowed to be his nanny. Now, as a mother of two boys, I’m examining her a little more closely. When she gave birth to a boy, she immediately knew she had a decision to make. Allow him to be taken away and killed, or risk her life and probably the lives of her family to hide him. To me the choice seems obvious. I would do anything to save my baby. However, Pharaoh was making it increasingly harder for the Hebrews to scratch out a life. He’d enslaved them, making their labor harder and harder, and finally attempting to ensure an entire generation would not thrive by killing their infant sons. When you tell someone they are worthless long enough, they start to believe it.
It was the midwives and mothers who refused to succumb to Pharaoh’s oppression. Mothers who did their best to keep their baby boys hidden and secret. Mothers who refused to let the dream of baby boys be extinguished. I can imagine Moses’ mother constantly keeping him swaddled and attached to her body to keep him quiet. Every time he made the slightest peep she probably nursed him. After three months of constant nursing, I imagine he was chubby and happy. He was probably ready to get out of the wrap and see the world around him. By three months she could no longer keep him quiet and again, she had a decision to make. Allow him to be found and killed or surrender him to the river and the mercy of whomever’s hands he fell into.
Sometimes I feel like Moses’ mother when it comes to my heart’s desire. I’m gently tending it, hiding it away in my heart, afraid that if I bring it out and really talk about it or show people that something bad will happen. Hiding it away seems easier than bringing it out in the open and taking it seriously.
God gave the dream of a baby boy to Moses’ mother, but not without heartache. I can imagine that the hardest thing she ever did was push that basket out into the river. If she didn’t, she knew her dream would die. In a similar way, God gives us dreams and ambitions, heart’s desires that can flourish and serve both God and others, but not without trial and hardship. Seeing a dream to fruition can be painful. It can take years. Sometimes it feels easier to just think about the possibilities than take the action needed to turn them into realities. Sometimes we have to push our dreams out into the river, trusting God will show us what to do next.
When we do, the kingdom of God happens right here on earth.
The hard part is knowing when to loosen our grip, when to actually let go of the basket and watch it begin to move with the current. Maybe that means going back to school to get the degree you always thought about. Maybe that means exploring adoption. Maybe it means volunteering at a homeless shelter. Maybe it means writing or singing or creating what is in your heart and sharing it with others.
Whatever your dream, are you hiding it away? Afraid to show others, allowing it to die before it ever has a chance to grow? Or are you taking it out of hiding and setting it loose, asking God to be the guide?
What is the dream God has put in your heart? Are you ready to release it to the reeds?
Stephanie Clinton is a writer and blogger but more importantly, a wife and mother to two little boys. In her free time (if there is any) she can be found wiping snotty noses and volunteering in her community and school. Learn more about Stephanie along with her passion to encourage women and lighten their load at www.hugskissesandsnot.com.
Photograph © Sandis Helvigs, used with permission