Biblical Moms Rachel and Leah

Dear Ladies,

I really like that we got to look at Eve and Mary before either one of them became mothers. Do you remember what those days were like? That time before your first child is born feels a little magical as you wait to find out who your baby might

be. So many hopes and dreams.

We try to imagine who our little one will look like. Will she have my eyes? Will he have my husband's hair? What about the name? Hours and hours go into choosing the right name. I'm giving her my grandmother's name. Will I somehow instill that same gentle spirit my grandmother had? How many Daniels are there in kindergarten anyway? If I name her Jenni instead of Jenny can I still find an ornament with her name on it to put on the tree?

That growing baby is like our own private wellspring of joy. During pregnancy the possibilities are endless. Will my baby follow in his father's footsteps? Will he have that same uncanny ability to look at an entire stack of lumber and pick out the dozen boards that will make the best trim for our windows. Is this the child who will be the first lady president? College bound or tradesman? Leader of the band or stage hand? Next great baker or counter help? Pastor or sexton? Oh who will they be?!!!

To Mary and Eve those possibilities were not so endless. Eve had no other families to compare. Because of Eve, and every child that came after her, we so desperately need Mary's child. I can't blame Eve. Adam was right there with here, the first of many husbands who didn't stand up to their wives. They were the first two sinners but every one of us inherited that fatal flaw. All but Mary's baby-Jesus, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (no pressure there Mom). The One destined to crush the servant's head and to bring us into right relationship with the One who made us.

Our own children more likely resemble Cain and Abel than Jesus, but for those months leading up to their births, they can be anybody.

Love, as always, Renée

Now on to this week's lesson:

Read Genesis 29:31-30:24 with Genesis 35:16-29

Memory verse: Gen: 30:2 " Jacob became angry with her and said 'am I in the place of God, who kept you from having children' ?"

1. List all of Jacob's children with the women who gave birth to them.

2. How do we see Leah's emotions written all over the names of her sons?

3. Do you know anyone who had children hoping it would improve their marriage? How did that go for them?

4. What emotions surround Rachel's push to have children?

5. From what you know of Jacob and Rachel, do you think Rachel needed to have children to please Jacob? ( skim all of Gen 29 with Gen 33:1-3). Explain your answer.

6. Consider couples you know who have been unable to have children. How much of a burden has that placed on their marriage?

7. What about couples who are childless because one of them doesn't want any. Should agreement on whether or not to have kids be a deal breaker before getting married? Why or why not?

8. How might God be using you right now to bless or encourage women you know who are struggling with child-related issues in their marriage?

For personal growth:

This week's verses pretty well cover every emotion related to pregnancy- hope, fear, joy, desperation. Sadly we see a lot of negative emotions. Think back to your own pregnancies. What was the one prevailing emotion surrounding that time? What has been your greatest fear as a mom? How about joy-what's been your greatest joy? For those whose children are fully grown- did they grow into the kind of adult you'd imagined they would be? If not, is it a good thing or a bad thing that they went their own way? How might your dreams or desires for your children have caused them to follow a path that's not right for them? How can you pray for God's purpose and plan for your child even when it means surrendering you own?

For the good of the group:

Look at the names each woman in our reading gave their children then look up the name meanings you gave your own. Do any of your children fit their names? If you have more than one, which one fits best?