I’m 7 weeks in to being a mother for the first time. I will candidly share that before my son was born, I was in pretty good control of my emotions. I’ve never been a woman to cry for “no good reason”. I’m a sensitive person, but being rational was the glue that always held my emotional model together. I was proud of that and often felt very stable and strong. Ya’ll, I have come unglued. My emotions have ran the gamut since my sweet baby Leo entered the world and I first touched his smooth, slick skin as he lay on my stomach. And you know what, I’m a better person for it. I feel deeper, love harder, extend grace much more freely and my capacity for empathy far exceeds anything I’ve felt before.
There’s nothing quite like motherhood is there? It changes us indefinitely and we desperately want to get it right. Having knowledge at our fingertips thanks to Google, social media and Pinterest – we have upped the ante and redefined the word “right”. Because of that, many of us moms feel the pressure to be enough (whatever that is) and get it right. We feel the need to accomplish 101 things in a day like crafting, baking, posting, leading, cleaning, reading, taking time for ourselves, friends and family and managing our ever fluctuating emotions … when in reality we may be winning if we can just shower and avoid smelling like the Grinch by the end of the week.
Good news, you can let it go. Moms, you don’t have to be everything to everybody. You don’t have to be okay, you can be a mess. You don’t have to have a clean house, smooth hairless legs or be dressed in the latest trends. You don’t have to post every activity on social media in matching filters. You don’t even have to have your Pinterest boards organized (although wouldn’t that be nice?) What we do have to be is present and intentional. Our children need our love, attention, affirmation and affection. They need us to lead by example and show what a close relationship with Christ looks like by making Him our priority as we live out our unique calling.
Most of us have heard that the Bible holds the key to all of our life’s challenges. In light of the surmounting pressures to ace motherhood, I hit The Word in search of a woman who modeled motherhood well. After searching through various stories of mothers throughout The Bible, Mary stood out to me. I figured, if we are to model our lives after Jesus and God chose a mortal, Mary, to bring Jesus into the world and raise Him, she must have been a stellar mother and one to be exemplified by us here on Earth. She had a special calling placed on her life to be the mother to our Savior and accepted with grace and thanksgiving although it could have meant rejection. What I found in Mary was inspirational and hope-giving. Let’s really meet Mary!
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place under these circumstances: When His mother Mary had been promised in marriage to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be pregnant [through the power] of the Holy Spirit. And her [promised] husband Joseph, being a just and upright man and not willing to expose her publicly and to shame and disgrace her, decided to repudiate and dismiss (divorce) her quietly and secretly.” – Matthew 1:18-19
Picture a time when you were (or maybe you currently are) madly in love and engaged to be married.
What emotions are you feeling?
Are you nervous, anxious or excited?
Do you have butterflies in your stomach?
Does everything seem to have a silver lining?
Where are your thoughts?
Are you thinking about your relationship and how it makes you feel?
Are the anxieties of the wedding night weighing on your mind?
Are you wondering if you can or will have children?
What are you planning for and expecting out of marriage?
Are you focused on building a certain future?
What does that future look like?
Where will you settle down?
I can imagine a young Mary, full of life and hope for a marriage to her one true love, Joseph. She has her own exciting plans and ideas of how things are going to turn out when the angel, Gabriel, shows up and tells her she will become pregnant with the Son of God despite being a virgin and not yet married. Wait, what? She will go from a single, but betrothed, woman to a mom-to-be?! Tomorrow we will chat about the emotions of that moment for her but for now, I’d like to focus on the part where Joseph discovers the news of the pregnancy and considers rejecting her. Yipes!
Can you identify with the struggle to follow God’s will even if it means the possibility of being rejected by someone you love, your support system or your social circle?
Being a Christ follower sometimes requires just that. Rejection. In order to ensure we are growing and developing, we have to reject old ways of thinking, negative behaviors and even detoxify our life from those that bring confusion to God’s plan for us. But, it may also mean being rejected by others for our decision to follow God’s plan for our life. The hard part about being rejected by others is that we can’t control what other people do, think or say and it can be incredibly hurtful. Relationships can suffer and if they do, we have to question whether they were the right relationships to have in our circle in the first place. Either way, it takes courage and endurance to run the race God has set before us and be ready to “go it alone” if that is what it takes.
What would you have done in Mary’s shoes?
Have you ever been tempted to lay aside your calling out of fear of how someone would respond?
Even though she could have been rejected by a loved one, she stayed faithful to her calling, to be the Mother of Jesus. Mary didn’t know how Joseph would respond to this news. He could have socially shamed her and left her high and dry. She could have suffered great loss relationally and culturally. She would have had to endure being pregnant, delivering Jesus and raising Him on her own. In that very moment, accepting God’s plan for her life was a big risk. She had to trust in God to operate on her behalf and preserve the appropriate relationships for her life as she honored His will and committed to being the mother of our Savior. What a brave, full of faith, woman. In the end, God advocated for Mary and Joseph didn’t reject her. An angel of the Lord was sent to have a nice little chat with him in his sleep and he was commanded to stay with Mary. The Lord worked it out for her good.
“And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.” – Romans 8:28
Mary reminds me to always follow God’s call on my life even if it means the possibility of rejection in some way, shape or form. She reminds me that my priority is my relationship with Christ and my calling. She inspires me to trust that He knows what is best for me and my child and will work it out for our good. I’ll be honest, that isn’t always easy. With the hustle and bustle of life and trying to be a mom, a daughter and a wife, it is so easy to forget what our priorities are and to intentionally invest in ourselves and our relationship with Christ. But our babies need to see us living out our values so they can do the same as they mature and become independent. We are better together so let’s cheer each other on in this race!
What are your take-aways from these passages? I’d love to know!
Meet me back here tomorrow as we talk through Gabriel’s message to Mary in Luke 1:26-35.