The book of Judges is a low point in the history of the nation of Israel. The people were constantly cycling in and out of sin and redemption, sinking ever lower over time. The nation struggled to find godly leadership.

In the midst of that darkness, though, there were a few shining lights, and none shone so bright as did Deborah. Her leadership is hard to overstate.

Interestingly, she describes herself in these words: “The villagers ceased in Israel; they ceased to be until I arose; I, Deborah, arose as a mother in Israel” (Judges 5:7). While she writes in this song about various events, she describes her leadership as being like a mother to the nation. The nation of Israel needs a motherly figure, but in the case of Deborah, that does not mean a soft person with no courage. No indeed! Her leadership is encouraging yet powerful, but she still describes herself as a mother.

This illustrates for us that every person benefits from the influence of a mother who follows the principles of God. While a mother is tender in heart, she is not a weakling. On the other hand, while a mother demands certain things of her children, she still has real compassion. A woman who can emphasize both sides of that coin is a blessing to her children, as well as to others.

Many children only see one side of that character in their mother. May God help mothers — and future mothers — to grow in both tenderness of heart and strength of resolve. Everyone needs a mother like that.

Today I will…look to the example of Deborah and examine my own life. Am I developing strength and courage as well as a tender heart? I will make an honest evaluation and pray to God for help in my development.