I preached last Sunday from Exodus 2:1-10. You’re probably familiar with the story–a baby in a basket floats down the Nile and lives to tell about it. It’s a wonderful story about Moses, a special boy with a special birth. But Moses is hardly the main player in the opening section of his life. His story starts as the story of three remarkable women.

Moses’s mother was courageous and creative, defying Pharaoh’s unrighteous decree and devising a way for her baby to have a chance at life.

Moses’s sister was resolute and resourceful, ready to save her helpless sibling and point Pharaoh’s daughter in the right direction.

Moses’s adoptive mother was powerful and full of pity, a beautiful picture of human compassion and common grace.

Three woman of different ages, different nationalities, and different social standings all doing their part to fulfill God’s great plan of redemption, though none of them knew the part they were playing and one of the three did not even belong to the people of God.

It’s true: there are many more men mentioned in the Bible than women. And yet, more than often than not when a women shows up, something good is going to happen. Jezebel and Athaliah were devilish tyrants, but most of the women in the Bible are much more hero than zero. Think of Sarah, Rahab, Deborah, Ruth, Esther, Abigail, Mary Magdalene, Mary and Martha, and Mary the mother of Jesus. Think of the women who supported Jesus out of their means, the women who repented of their sins before Jesus, the women healed by Jesus, and the women at the empty tomb of Jesus. If you can tell the story of the Bible without ever naming a woman, you’re not telling the story as the Bible tells it.

There are a thousand things women can and will do as they play their part in the servants, workers, thinkers, pray-ers, sharers, and image bearers in God’s world. But over the last few weeks as I’ve been studying the book of Exodus more in depth, I’ve found special encouragement for mothers and for all those women who work with children.

Dear moms, I know a lot of you are crazy busy with the “blessings” in your life that don’t always feel like blessings. You’re tired. You’re frustrated. You’re anxious. You’re disappointed–with your kids and mostly with yourself. It can seem like making a difference for God is something you used to do or maybe something you can try to do twenty years from now. But at the moment, you’re just trying to make it through another day. Survive and advance. And maybe take a nap.

I don’t know what God’s up to in your life and through your life and because of your life. But here’s what I know from the first chapter and a half of Exodus: Up to this point in Exodus, the entire story has been moved forward by women, and specifically by women looking after children. This great story of divine deliverance–this world famous salvation story that will set the table for the salvation story of Calvary that is yet to come–would never have gotten off the ground if it weren’t for women. No Moses, no Exodus, no redemption if it weren’t for moms, and midwives, and big sisters. Shiphrah, Puah, Jochebed, Miriam, and Pharaoh’s daughter: God used them all in mighty ways–in ways they couldn’t fully understand at the time, in the ways that changed the world–and all by simply loving children and protecting their little lives. What’s true for teachers and nursery workers and volunteers and grandmothers and aunts and nieces and babysitters is especially true for the mothers reading this blog: you do more than you know.

Press on, mom, your labors are not in vain.