Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Lessons From Mary

Just a few minutes ago it was hailing outsiding. The sound of ice pelting against the house woke everyone except Jack, and we all stood at the sliding glass door staring out into the dark for several minutes. The house is now quiet again except for steady rain, some gentle crackling from the fire, and occasional thunder. It's a good time for writing here by the fire. I don't normally prefer tea, but maybe a cup would be nice, too...

The year is coming up to its end point, and I find myself unusually less sentimental. Typically I tend to look back and become somewhat saddened by the swiftness and brevity of time, and marvel at the coming date. Really? 2015! How can that even be? It's true the year did go by quickly, and I'm sure I missed a ton of moments I'd like to reclaim. My kids have grown, I have aged, and time seems to tick so darn fast.

But this year my focus is a little different. I don't find myself looking back very often, or lamenting the passing of time, or fearful of possible challenges around the bend. This change of perspective is more by default, not on purpose or by determination, but it's definitely a nice place to be. Yes, I much prefer being the kind of girl that can smile at the future. It makes me wonder what it would feel like to "laugh at the time to come" (Prov. 31:15). To smile is one thing, but to laugh takes faith and contentment and courage to a whole new level.

Throughout the month of December, I've found myself reading and thinking through Luke's passage commonly know as Mary's Magnificat. Several messages at church focused on this section; I was also asked to read the preceding section to the women at our ladies event several weeks ago. So many aspects about Mary life struck me, but the one verse I kept re-reading was her response to the angle Gabriel in Luke 1:38. She said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." Her magnificat - her ability to praise and exalt the Lord - could only come after she submitted herself entirely to the will of God.

Mary was an ordinary girl from a nowhere town. It's true that becoming the mother of Jesus would elevate Mary's humble estate and that all future generations would call her blessed (v. 48), but she did not experience those blessing during her lifetime. Instead, she would know a loss of good reputation and perceived moral standing, she would know fear (ex. the punishment for adultery could be death, she and Joseph fled to Egypt for safety from bloody murder), and she would probably feel confused and alone as the years went on. I wonder if she ever felt a little crazy, especially as Jesus' life and ministry was so different from what the Jewish people expected from the Messiah. Most importantly though, Mary would feel a sword pierce through her own soul (Lk. 2: 35).

But Mary's soul was submitted to God, and she had faith in His sovereign word. All the loss and pain did not matter in comparison to being used by God in the exact way He intended.

Mary was indeed a special mother. No other woman can boast of the same divine favor, or compare to her pain. And yet, somehow, I cannot help but see similarities between Mary's response to God's call on her life and the call God has on Christian mothers. Motherhood is a call to submission to God's will for my life, and I know it is a call that can lead to great pain. I must be willing to say, "I am the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word." I want to be that servant, the one who willingly lives out the work that God has prepared for me, knowing that there may be much pain and sorrow involved.

And there most certainly is sorrow in motherhood. It could be a loss of personal pursuits, the loss of health, or status in society. Sorrow could be the result of a child that rejects us, or even worse, rejects God. Motherhood unquestionably brings great vulnerability to great pain. Within the last few months I know two mothers that have lost their children: The 10-year old daughter of my best friend in Jr./Sr. High was killed in a tragic accident, and a mother in our church lost her son in a car accident this last Christmas day.

"Here is my heart and my very life. I will serve You according to Your plan. Do to me as You have purposed." Can I stand with Mary and utter those words wholeheartedly? I want my love for God and my trust in His sovereignty and lovingkindness to exceed the love I have for myself and my own happiness. May I live in a way that magnifies the Lord.


December Closing:

Special times with the kids on the 26th. Andrew was testing out his new football.

Michael. He goes out daily for a ride.

California. Definitely not a white Christmas. Temporary hail not counted.

Little feather pendant from Michael.

Olivia was away all of yesterday, so I took the boys on a little outing of their choice. We parked and walked/scootered/state boarded up the coast. The weather was blissful, and the holiday tourists were numerous! 

Looking out to see what we could see. The water was so clear we could see tiny fish and the ocean floor rippled below in between waves.

A pelican glaring at my boy who badly wanted to pet him.

Racing me up the hill. I took the shorter, steeper route, and they took the longer, easier ramp. I won.

My boys. Couldn't imagine life without them.

Andrew admiring his favorite house. It's a tiny house, smaller and set further back in comparison to neighboring homes. He's thought of writing the owners to let them know he'd be interested in buying it when he grows up.

Our December plans were changed more than once in pretty big ways. In the end though, it was just right. The more-relaxed-than-expected schedule allowed for plenty of gatherings with friends, with late night conversations and games. Some among us have significant changes on the horizon, and it was good to huddle together and rehearse God's faithfulness.

Happy New Year to you...


1 comment:

  1. It took me forever to remember the name of your blog. I am so glad I finally found it! As always, you blessed my day with your profound words. Love and miss you!



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