Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Faith of a Mother

The other day I had a baby.

Time goes by so quickly that it at least SEEMS like it was the other day.

It was Christmas, 2004.

That year, Christmas took a back seat to a much more important event.

I was thankful for the holidays because all the busyness of the season, seeing family from far away and focusing more closely than ever, on the greatest gift and most famous birth ever recorded, kept me from stressing over the much anticipated birth of my own son.

I thought a lot about Mary’s great mission that year. I thought a lot about what it would have been like to be a young teenager, betrothed, still a virgin, yet pregnant, and what she must have gone through emotionally, spiritually, physically and mentally, as she prepared to give birth to the Messiah.

I was forty-one years old, married, a mother of five kids already and this was a familiar experience for me….not my first born and I certainly was not carrying the son of God in my womb.

She and I were in somewhat opposite predicaments.

I was married, yet in our society today, that is not important or sacred or something many even consider honorable anymore.

I was pregnant at the tender age of forty one years old, but in our society that is frowned upon….labeled as “high risk” and viewed as an irresponsible thing to do, especially since we already had five kids and it would be my sixth C-Section. At that age, I was considered too old to be bearing children safely. In our society, married or not, many people frown on families that have more than three children. Even three children is questionable anymore.

Mary was unmarried. In that society back then, this was a big moral issue, subject to severe consequences: death by stoning. She was very young and very poor. This would be her first born baby and she was off to a rather rough start by societal standards. Back then, for married folks, children were considered a blessing and the more the merrier. Nobody was frowned upon for having a large family, even if the mother was older or they were very poor.

As I looked around at my family that Christmas, I honestly felt very blessed. I was excited at the prospect of the “late” Christmas gift scheduled to arrive three days after Christmas and as I felt him moving around in my womb, the excitement only grew. We had a changing table, bassinette, tiny little clothes, pack-n-play, double stroller for him to share with his brother, plenty of soft receiving blankets and thick blankets to wrap him in and keep him warm. His room that he would share with his brother, was all ready to go for him with a beautiful Noah’s Ark Mural on the wall that my friend, Becky had beautifully painted. She had even painted it to perfectly match the crib/blanket set we had chosen for this new son, who was to be named Noah.

When I contrasted all the preparations we had made for the expected arrival of our son, I thought about the preparations made for the Son of God. Virtually, there were none. In fact, Mary and Joseph, instead, were on a long journey AWAY from home, to the town of Bethlehem. Nobody threw a baby shower to welcome the son of God. In fact, upon their arrival in Bethlehem, they knocked on doors, seeking a place for Mary to give birth and could not find one. There was no warm, cozy house or hospital room for Mary to labor in and the only bed for the baby Jesus, was a feeding trough, in a cave for animals. Our Noah was born into a loving, warm, clean home with extended family, many friends, excited grandparents, five excited siblings and two parents awaiting his arrival with great anticipation and people even brought our family delicious, hot meals for the first week he arrived, and not only that, but they brought gifts and they wanted to hold our new son. Jesus was born in a cave, welcomed by two parents, animals, some wise men and a host of angels. Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes and He received gifts from wise men from afar…..not close family and friends.

Jesus had to be whisked away for more travelling in the dark hours of the night, in order to avoid his death at the hand of Herod. Noah was kept warm, in the same home until he was nearly three and a half years old, before we moved to another, nicer and even bigger home with five acres for him to run around and play on.

From the time He was born, the life of Jesus was sought after by evil men who wanted Him dead.

From the time Noah was born, he has been loved, cherished, protected and cared for in a safe environment.

I can’t imagine how Mary must have felt, knowing this baby was the Messiah, yet having the distinctly human maternal instincts, given by God…..oh how protective she must have felt! Can you imagine trusting God with the life of God? Can you imagine knowing that you were raising the Messiah? The Living God? Can you imagine the fears that must have pummeled her heart and mind, yet the “knowing” that she could rest in God’s plan and that nothing could possibly happen to Jesus outside of the will of the Father?

I think all of us moms struggle with wanting to protect our children. We all pray for their safety. We watch over them with tender care, agonize over decisions about their health, whether or not to let them hang out with certain friends, whether or not to say yes to various activities, what books are okay for them to read, which movies they should watch, which sports they should play….and how many times have we seen our kids climb trees and trembled at the knowledge of what could happen if they slip up?

Mary knew that God’s hand was on her child. Mary knew that He was here for a special purpose. Mary knew that God’s plan would prevail in the life of Jesus. Mary knew she could trust God with her son.

Guess what, Moms? We know that God has His hand on our children too. We know that God has a special purpose for each one of them. They were ALL born with a mission to fulfill on this earth. We know that God’s plan will prevail in the lives of our children. We can ALL trust God with our children.

I’m sure that being overshadowed by the Almighty at conception had a profound effect on Mary in her ability to trust God maybe a little more than the rest of us do, but the Bible says we can all trust Him.

The plan of God for the lives of our children may not always look the way we want it to, and there may be pain and sorrow associated with this mission called mothering, but the question is, do we really trust God? Do we trust Him with the good and the bad? Do we trust Him even when being a mother hurts deeply?

Life on this earth is hard. It is full of struggles, hard work, traumatic experiences, tragedy and pain. The more the years go by, the more we realize that we really have very little control. We can’t control what each day brings. We can’t protect our children to the point we desire. We don’t know what is around the next corner. We have no control over life or death. The more I realize how little I can control and how little I can protect the ones I love, the more I realize my need for God. I need His protection, His comfort, His guidance and I need to really know Him. The more I press into Him and spend time with Him, the more peace I have that He really does love me. He really does have a plan for my life, for my kids’ lives, for my husband and so many others that I care about. This doesn’t mean that there won’t be pain, or trauma, or hardship, or loss. It means that there can be a peace that passes all understanding during the hard times. It means that Romans 8:28 is really true: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

God works ALL things together for good…..for those who are called according to HIS purpose. It doesn’t say all things will be good….as in happy, comfortable, fun, perfect….it says He works all things TOGETHER for good. This means we really can trust Him for the outcome of all things….things that by our own definition seem bad. He can work them out….so at the end of the story, it is good. Even if we have to go through feels/seems bad to get to the good outcome, it all works together.

Mary had an amazing experience when she was overshadowed by the Almighty. She knew that she knew that she KNEW God was in control. She willingly submitted to His plan, even though the ramifications of it were not easy to deal with. Even though it meant that she would be misunderstood, looked down upon by society, even thought of as a liar and an adulterer…..and yet, she was able to have faith…deep faith, that God had it all under control. And He proved His faithfulness. He didn’t allow her to be stoned to death. He spoke to Joseph in a dream and told him to go through with his commitment to marry his betrothed. Joseph obeyed God and thus Mary was protected. Each time Jesus was in danger, God alerted Joseph and gave him a plan to follow for the protection of the Messiah. Joseph’s heart was in tune with God and God was faithful.

He has it under control for us too, yet we forget so easily that He can be trusted. This is why I have to stay plugged into the Word of God, daily. I need to be reminded every day of WHO God is and that He CAN be trusted, completely. I need to be changed by Him….in my thinking….to take every thought captive and it is by saturating my mind with God’s Word, that my thinking gets lined up with His. It’s by staying absorbed in God’s Word that my ability to examine my own heart, take an honest look at my own sin and take it before the throne of grace in repentance, is possible. It’s by plugging into God’s Word daily, that I stay in tune with Him and desire to be more like Him. It is also through His word, that I gain trust in the Almighty God and His ability to protect me from things, give me the grace and courage to walk through the difficult things and rest in peace knowing that He is fully in control and I don’t have to be.

Nine years ago, on December 28th, early in the morning, we welcomed our sixth born child and second son into our arms.

We named him Noah.

He has been such a blessing to our family and very much loved. Because his birthday is overshadowed by the birthday of the King of Kings, we usually celebrate in January. This year I asked him what his biggest desire was in regards to a gift. He said he really wanted a Bible. He wanted a Bible with a nice cover and his name engraved on it. He also wanted a notebook to go with it.

Melt. My. Heart.

He was not the perfect baby that Jesus was. He has not lived a sinless life like Jesus did, but he does have a desire to know Jesus and to be like Him and we pray daily that he will grow in the knowledge and grace of Jesus Christ.

Last week we took Noah out for dinner…..just him, by himself with his Daddy and me, and he got that Bible he asked for. We took him out  shopping after dinner and let him choose a notebook to go with it. That sweet little boy’s face lit up in the biggest grin and I can’t count the amount of times he thanked us for his gifts. I only pray that his desire for knowledge of God grows with each passing year and that God gives us the wisdom we need to parent Him and prepare him for whatever God has planned for his life.

And that’s a wrap for this post…..except for some pictures of our Noah’s birthday celebration:

Noah’s big sister, Natalie made gluten free donuts and put a candle in one for her little brother




Out to dinner with the birthday boy!




No comments :

Post a Comment