Becoming a mother at 15 wasn't exactly Kathy's greatest lifetime goal. In fact, what she wanted more than anything in the world was to get out of the "one-horse" town she lived in, work her way through college if necessary, and then-unlike most girls in her era-settle into a career.

But one night, after a high school dance, Kathy had a slip in judgment...and before she knew it, she was a mother-to-be. Kathy married the baby's father, and had a son who was followed by two other children. 

     

In a somewhat similar incident, Donna, a married woman in her late thirties, with a flourishing career and physician husband, discovered that although the two of them had taken all the precautions in the world, a newborn was on the way. 

Then, when they had finally settled into the realization of the news, the doctor gave them one other shocking piece of information:  they were going to be the parents of twins. Donna put her career on hold-though only temporarily-and devoted herself to a new profession: motherhood. 

 

Every woman who has ever given birth can tell you one thing for certain: children will change your life's plans, even if having children was the totality of those plans.  No mother is truly prepared for the changes a newborn, who grows to be a toddler, who grows to be a child, who grows to be an adolescent, who grows to be a teenager and who finally grows to be an adult can bring to a life. 

 

There's probably good reason for that. If we'd known how drastically our lives would change, mankind may not have gotten very far.

 

This is, of course, even in the best of circumstances. When a child is born healthy; keeping up with him or her is a full-time job. When they're born with any sort of "disability," the stresses of parenthood increase to and almost insurmountable level.

And yet, this is sometimes what couples are called to do: to parent a "disabled" angel. To minister and give to them as they minister and give back.

 

Life can change on a dime. No one knew this better than a young virgin girl who lived in Nazareth a little over two thousand years ago.

 

Her name was Mary. Traditionally, she was the daughter of Joachim and Anna and, according to Scripture, her lineage was from that of David. She had an older relative named Elisabeth, who was of the lineage of Aaron. She was betrothed (a legally binding institution that preceded the Marriage Proper) to a carpenter/stonemason named Joseph. She was a devout and devoted daughter of Israel.

 

Life could not have been at a better place for the young girl, who may have only been about 12 or 13 at the time. In the Jewish custom of marriage, after Joseph had "proposed" and the betrothal ceremony was complete, he would have gone back to his father's house to begin to prepare a place for his forthcoming bride.