Part 3: What Moms Today Can Learn From The Mother of Jesus
- 2002 23 Dec
Did you know, when God sees the story of your child's life, He has a vision of their birth, childhood, adolescent years, adult years and final "homecoming?" Think about that.
Just as you, upon cradling your child for the first time may have pictured the day he or she graduated from Harvard or walked down the aisle enveloped in a puff of white on her father's arm, God saw "The Big Picture" from start to finish.
You can't. You can only imagine. But God sees all....
It was no different when Mary gave birth to Jesus. Though upon hearing of His coming, she recited the beautiful prayer we now call the Magnificat (Luke 1: 46-55) in which she declared the glorious works of the Lord through her, in her, in Israel, and in those who trust Him, she truly had no idea where this whole thing would lead her.
Nearly nine months later, when she was about to pop in childbirth, and her husband came home one afternoon after a hard day's labor in his carpenter's shop (I'm speculating, of course) to tell her that Caesar Augustus had declared that each man should return to his "own town" to be registered in the census, Mary might have wondered what in the world the Lord was thinking.
As an author (and gal born with quite the imagination!) I can just hear their conversation.
"Joseph," Mary might have said (though she may have just called him "Joe"), "Has it escaped your attention that I'm nine months pregnant? It just doesn't make sense that God would allow a census to be taken at this time of all times and that we would have go head off to Bethlehem. I mean, what if there's no room in the inn?"
Okay. So maybe that's not exactly how it happened, but as mothers who have given birth we can be sure that when the time to deliver the baby has come, you always think long and hard about so much as heading off to the grocery store for a loaf of bread. Yet here Mary was, with Joseph, heading off the a city whose name means, "House of Bread."
I gave birth in the sterile surroundings of a hospital's Labor & Delivery unit. My best friend stood at my head and encouraged me (my husband went into temporary paralysis at the doorway to the labor room, but I could see his startled face through the little window of one of the doors), two nurses busied themselves with the fine details of delivery, and my trusty OB physician made some jokes with me (we were known for that), assuring me that "we're almost done, now."
As soon as I pushed life from my body, my baby was taken from the doctor, attended to by the nurse, placed in a warm incubator and wheeled close enough so that I could touch her; to let her know that so far life seemed pretty alarming, but I would always be there with her.
I vividly remember six months later as the Christmas season neared, thinking about Mary and how she gave birth in Bethlehem, possibly with only Joseph there to help her, in un-sterile surroundings. I thought about how she wrapped Him in torn cloths and placed her newborn in a manger, in a place designed for feeding animals. And I thought, "Did Mary wonder what God was thinking? His Son, born in such a lowly place?"
Could Mary have possibly seen the Big Picture of what God was trying to show through such an event? I wonder.
Now fast-forward 12 years. Jesus is nearing an age (13) when He will become "a son of the commandment," an era of religious duties and responsibilities. He has traveled to Jerusalem for the Passover festival with His parents, their family members, friends, neighbors, and entire townships of the country of Israel.
Millions of people are there and this little boy, almost-man, is but one of them. Passover is done and the family begins their trek back to Nazareth with the rest of the Nazarenes. At the end of the first day, Mary and Joseph discover to their horror that their eldest son is not with them.
Have you ever temporarily lost a child? I did once. When my daughter was about three years old she "hid" from me while we were shopping in a department store. Even at an early age she was quite the comedienne, and when I finally found her, she laughed gleefully at her accomplishment. As I picked her up I said, "I don't know whether to spank you or hug you!" I hugged her...followed by a good talking to!
I imagine Mary felt pretty much the same way, only worse. After all, I'd lost the daughter of Dennis. She'd lost the Son of God! (Can you visualize this?) When Mary and Joseph finally found their son -- three days later and in Jerusalem's temple -- they said to him: "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you."
"Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" (Luke 2: 48-50)
But they did not understand what he was saying to them. Note that last line. "They did not understand..." Mary wasn't seeing the Big Picture.
Advance the reel about 20 years. Jesus is now an adult, has left his occupation as a Nazarene carpenter (stone mason) and has begun running around the country with a rag-tag band of disciples, calling Himself the Messiah. While ministering to the throngs of people, He is told that His mother and brothers have come to see Him, but can't get to Him because of the crowd.
It has been argued by theologians (and I have to say that THIS mother's heart agrees with them) that perhaps Mary and the Lord's male siblings (whether half or step doesn't matter here) were there to ask Jesus if He'd totally lost His mind...or what!
I can hear Mary saying, "Son. You're taking on way too much. Are you eating well? Do you get enough sleep? Have you taken your vitamins?" The brothers, who did not believe He was the Messiah (John 7:5), might have wanted to whisper harsh words of "Why don't you go home and stop raising a ruckus...get us all killed! What are you thinking, brother?"
They didn't see the Big Picture.
This past summer I told my mother I would be traveling to Israel for 10 days as a journalist. I thought we'd have to do CPR on the poor woman. In her mind, she could only see her "little girl," heading off to a country that was under a siege of "terror." (Turned out to be quite peaceful, by the way.) She couldn't know what God had in mind for "HIS daughter" while she was there, couldn't grasp what events would occur in my life and to my heart that would change me forever.
I imagine it was the same way when, as a teenager, I rebelled to the nth degree. My mother couldn't see what God had in mind for the rest of my life...couldn't envision the finished product.
Subsequently, when my own daughter became a "rebel without a cause," I had a difficult time "seeing the Big Picture." One morning, as I prayed to the very same Jesus who might have been called a "Rebel With a Cause," I felt the Holy Spirit whisper in my heart, "Wait till you see the anointing I have poured over her life."
Mary eventually saw the Big Picture as she witnessed the death, burial, and resurrection of her Son. She witnessed the coming of the Holy Spirit and the early years of the church, and by then was able to step back and marvel at the role she'd played in the Artist's hand.
I asked a few artsy friends of mine to tell me about the process of a painting--bringing it from idea to finished product. I received the following notes:
I start [with] basic forms. I always finish with detail.
I work from the inside out.
When I paint a picture, it is usually replicating something.
If doing a portrait one usually begins with the eyes. Gradually you add color, shadows (dimension) and highlights until you are satisfied.
Now think about these things as they pertain to the Supreme Artist. When you pray for your child, mothers, remember that, like Mary, you won't always be able to see the Big Picture. But God does.
He sees the final product of His intentions, His will for your son or daughter. He already knows the outcome...already sees the Big Picture. You can trust Him, therefore, with His answer, His timing, and the artistry of work in your child's life.
Eva Marie Everson is the author of Shadow of Dreams & Summon the Shadows and an award-winning national speaker. She can be contacted for comments or speaking engagement bookings at Bridegroomsbride@aol.com or you can go to www.evamarieeverson.com