When you become a mother (or a father), you can never anticipate all that you are saying yes to. If you're wise you'll let the prayers fall from your lips like raindrops.
Three times life has blossomed within, twice I have delivered beautiful, healthy babies into the world. Three times I have known the rending of my heart to make room for the flood of love it would have to hold as a new life came to be; one of those times I had to release that too-brief little life to heaven in the sorrow of an early miscarriage, and twice I have been blessed to watch those new lives grow into the amazing children God chose me to mother.
I was a few months pregnant with She So Sweet the first time I heard the song "Breath of Heaven" by Amy Grant. I was nervous in those early months, especially when complications came that felt like a repeat of the miscarriage. As I prepared to go home from a scary trip to the ER, relieved to get good news but still shaken, the male nurse who had done my blood work told me something I've never forgotten--he said cheerily with a wink and a smile, "When you're scared, just remember your blood type!" He held up my chart to show me where it was printed B+, but when he said it out loud it sounded like "Be positive!" During the next few weeks, while things still felt pretty tentative, the song and the words of that nurse were my constant companions, keeping the fear at bay while I prayed for a healthy baby.
As Christmas approached and every passing uneventful day was a joyful sign that all was well, I thought a lot about Mary and her thoughts in the months between the visit from the angel Gabriel and the night in Bethlehem when her baby was born in a stable. How she must have wondered if she was really up to the task in front of her, if she was really worthy of God's choosing. How she must have prayed for God to hold her together while her whole life was turned inside out and upside down. Every mother feels like this, but Mary had the normal wonderings of motherhood compounded by the fact that the baby she carried was the Son of God and the Savior of the world! Her faith had enabled her to say yes to things she could not possibly anticipate.
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Luke 1:38a NIV1984
Mary never stopped being the mother of Jesus, even when she recognized that He was so much more than the baby she had nursed at her breast. Wouldn't you love to know exactly when her knowledge of Him and His divine origin moved into a personal, saving faith in Him as her Savior? Was there something in His baby-blue eyes that spoke to her of His creation of the whole universe? Did it begin in the temple in her relief to find Him safe after days of searching for her 12-year-old boy in the throngs of worshipers in Jerusalem? Was it the day she asked Him to solve the wine problem at the wedding and watched Him do a miracle in response to her confidence that He would know what to do? Or was it on the cross as she stayed with Him, watching helplessly in horror, held together only by the God who had called her in the first place? I. Can. Not. Imagine. I don't want to imagine. It is hard enough to watch my children suffer the trials of an ordinary life!
Although my babies are babies no longer, they are my babies still. I still sing the words of "Breath of Heaven" feeling it like my own soul's prayer every time. I still need my Father to hold me together, to let me feel Him near, to light my way when the way seems dark, and to pour His mercy into the gap between my abilities as a mother and the needs of my children--apart from Him I could never be enough. No matter how old they get, no matter the need to little-by-little release them, no matter how the relationship changes as they grow, as Mary was with Jesus, I will always be their mother.
"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." Luke 2:19 NIV1984 (and again in Luke 2:51)
Mary knew she had been given a great gift that was also an awesome (in the truest sense of the word) responsibility--I know this too, and I treasure and I ponder. Nothing has ever been more rewarding, and nothing has ever required more of me . . . nothing else has ever humbled me more or made me more aware of my need to rely on God completely. And so I pray . . . in prayers that fall like raindrops.
I pray for my precious children--
-- that they would continuously learn to seek You in all things . . .
-- that they would have wisdom beyond their years, beyond themselves, and beyond that of their parents . . .
-- that they would be drawn closer to You with each passing breath . . .
-- that they would be unhindered by any weakness or failure on my part . . .
-- that they will place all their potential in Your hands and become all You designed them to be . . .
-- that You would guide, guard, direct and keep them by Your grace . . . always.
I pray for me, and for Hero Husband--
-- that we would be the parents You designed us to be when You chose us for these children . . .
-- that we would trust You for every answer to every question, for every insight when we don't know what to do . . .
-- that we would be a reflection of You . . .
-- that we would always act out of love, Your perfect love that casts out fear . . .
-- that we would give them all the support, all the discipline, all the encouragement and all the confidence they need to pursue the dreams You have woven into their hearts . . .
-- that we would be as gracious in our parenting as You are in Yours.
Thank You Father, for allowing us to parent these wonderful children--they are Yours, first, last and always. Thank You for giving Your own precious Son to come to our rescue, and for the extraordinary, faithful, very young girl, Mary, who said yes.
How do you pray for your children?
How does Mary's story inspire you as a parent?
Joining Ann Voskamp in counting His graces for her Multitudes on Monday
Joining Ann Voskamp in counting His graces for her Multitudes on Monday
In the counting of the endless gifts I say with C. S. Lewis,
"This also is Thou!"
#941-955941. A career counselor who gave me such truly helpful ideas
942. Watching Gone With the Wind with She So Sweet again--it never gets old!
943. My Knight in Shining Armor (Hero Husband) who braved the wilds of Costco for me!! I love that man!!
944. The dark chocolate covered Acai berries he brought home--the most superlatively amazing health food EVER!!!
945. Letting love cover the little stuff
946. When the little sister handles herself like a big sister
947. When the big brother would do anything to look out for his little sister
948. Getting to the bottom of it (the ironing baskets)
949. The good kind of tired at the end of a productive day
950. New music that helped me turn housework into a great workout
951. Early Christmas present from Drummer Boy--new reading glasses for me to use on the computer!!
952. When Hero Husband calls to discuss theology--such good conversations!!
953. The moment when you plug the lights in . . . and they work!
954. New ornament picked out by Hero Husband and She So Sweet
955. Watching old favorite Christmas shows that feel like old friends