With the coming of Christmas trees, and the appearance of nativities, and the singing of carols, it has been natural that I have Christmas on the mind. The fact that the holiday is just a few days away and I am not done with my shopping, has also put it on my mind!
I diligently make the effort each year, however, to concentrate on the WHOM of Christmas and not the what. But really, this year, the one who has been on my mind the most is not the One. But the One's mother.
I have been thinking about Mary.
I have been picturing the innocent, young girl who was on the precipice of her life: she was betrothed and would soon begin her own home and her own family....just like everyone else did. Just like she was supposed to.
But then God came and told her that what was impossible was exactly what was going to happen. And when it did, it would turn her whole world upside down.
The Faith of a Mom
I think I have been thinking about Mary in a little different light than ever before.
I have been considering what I can learn from her as a Mom.
I have never been faced with the kind of impossibility that Mary was, but as a Mom I am called to some impossible things as well.
Like when I am called to:
- patience when I am intensely frustrated
- faith when circumstances seem disastrous
- silence when I have the perfect thing to say
- prayer when I what I really want to do is "fix" everything
- long-suffering when I am hurt or wronged, or even worse when one of my children is hurt or wronged
- trust that God loves and cares for my children ENOUGH to take care of them, even when I can't or shouldn't
- hope....no matter what anything looks like, no matter what my children are doing or not doing, no matter how things seem to be developing,.....a hope that is in God and not in myself nor any other human
Mothering is Impossible
I don't think I understood that mothering, like God calls me to mother, is actually impossible. At least without Him. It is the most impossible thing in the world. For everybody.
Because it involves pouring your life and heart into people that you love more than any other thing with a heartbeat (except, hopefully, the one who made those children with you!). And you love them and train them and clean them and scold them and feed them and tickle them and read to them and pray for them and lead them to the feet of their Savior. And all without any guarantees on the return of your investment. But that is not the impossible part.
The impossible part is that they are individual, willful, cognizant humans who choose, in the end, what to do, what to believe, how to behave, who to marry, what to retain, what to throw away, and who will, someday, stand alone before their God. And you no longer, at that time, can stand in the gap for them.
Mothering is a lot like taking your heart out of your body, laying it on the table, and inviting your family to take all they need.
Now, don't get me wrong, I think mothering is one of the greatest and most fulfilling callings that exist. It is the reason I am most glad that I am female. But having said that, I can also say.....
.....it is impossible.
And so the angel speaks:
But the angel speaks:
"And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age (another impossible thing, by the way); and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For NOTHING WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD." ~ Luke 1:36,37So the impossible happens. With God.
Life can be conceived.
Barrenness can be defeated.
The Word can enter the world.
The Sacred can be made flesh.
The Holy can interface with the sinful.
And Love can overcome all that is impossible.
Mary's reply to the angel, in Luke 2:38, is one of my favorite in all of Scripture:
"Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word."That is the response I want to have: to whatever God tells me to do, or to whatever God allots or allows in my life, or whatever impossible thing that God calls me to in the life.
WHATEVER LORD! That is why I named the blog Whatever Lord!
Because whatever it is, no matter HOW impossible, I want to say: be it done to me according to your word.
So for Christmas this year, I want to concentrate not on the packages, bows, menus, cards, parties, ....and on and on and on. Instead I want to LEARN from Christmas and the young girl who laid down her life to God's will.
Yes, Mothering is impossible...without Jesus. And so is most everything else that matters.
With us in the impossible.
With us in our parenting.
With us in our marriages.
With us in our jobs.
With us, with us, with us.
What seems impossible to you this Christmas?
Remember, because of the Impossible that occurred in Mary, and was born in a manger, God is with you in the midst of your impossible.