“Now Jephthah of Gilead was a great warrior. He was the son of Gilead, but his mother was a prostitute. Gilead’s wife also had several sons, and when these half brothers grew up, they chased Jephthah off the land. “You will not get any of our father’s inheritance,” they said, “for you are the son of a prostitute.””

Judges 11:1-2 NLT

Mother’s Day is supposed to be a day of remembrance and celebration of our mothers. When we think of the word “mother” we typically think of warmness, love, and nurturing. We think of women who have gone to great lengths to provide for their children.

However, there is another contingency of people who didn’t grow up with that memory. They grew up without a nurturing mother. They grew up with mothers who were emotionally unavailable, addicted to drugs, or physically abusive. So Mother’s Day is a day wrought with mixed emotions because of what our mothers had to contend with.

Jephthah was a warrior but his mother was a prostitute. It makes you wonder if his mother being a prostitute was what made him into a warrior. You can only imagine the “mama jokes” the young men of the village teased him with that made him have to fight to protect her honor.


  1. We are shaped by our understanding of who our mothers were. It doesn’t stop us from loving them. It just shapes how we fight and for whom we fight. Somewhere we have to reconcile who our mothers were and who God has called us to be. You can’t fight everybody and everything because of the image you have of your mother.
  2. His father’s sons from his wife chased Jepthah away so he wouldn’t get his inheritance. He missed out on his mother’s nurturing and his daddy’s provision. As a result he surrounded himself with “worthless rebels.” Our lives begin to take a trajectory towards worthless rebellion because we didn’t solve the fight with how we view our mothers. To her credit Jepthah’s mother did the best she could with what she had. This fight was his to fix.
  3. His gifts that were shaped by his pain made room for him but ruined his family. That which does not kill us makes us stronger, but it can weaken our families. The elders of Gilead were being attacked by their enemy and came to Jephthah to help them out because they knew him to be a great warrior. The same ones that chased him off now wanted his gifts. They agreed to make him leader if he defeated the enemy. Jepthah was so thirsty for acceptance that he made a vow to sacrifice the first thing that came out of his house after the victory.

His daughter was the first person to come out of his house after the victory. He made a vow to God that he couldn’t break and sacrificed his daughter. But why?! Because he struggled with issues towards women. In his mind it was okay to use them for his benefit. He had confused love with the possibility of abandonment. He made an unnecessary sacrifice because he had unresolved mother issues.

What unnecessary sacrifices are you making because you haven’t resolved your mother issues? What group of worthless rebels have you attached yourself to because of mother issues? What group of people are you letting use your gifts even though you know they don’t love you? This Mother’s Day might be a good time to do some soul searching and forgive your mother for the last time so you can free yourself from ruining your life over unresolved mother issues. Your mother is who she is! She did the best with what she had, and the miracle is that she gave birth to you! Now go fight for the right thing and the right reason. Don’t sacrifice your children for your pain.

Dear God,

Thank you for giving your only son so we could adequately love ourselves and our children. We’ve survived dysfunctional families. We’ve had wonderful mothers who had flaws but did their best. I’m grateful I had a loving and nurturing mother, but I know everybody didn’t have my experience. Bless those who didn’t have a loving, healthy mother to know that you God, are better than any mother we could ever have. Isaiah 49:15 says can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! Thank you for not forgetting your children.

In Jesus’ Name,