There are times when I gaze upon my oldest son, A, and just feel profoundly blessed. In these moments I feel both thankful and competent in parenting him. When I truly look and see him for who he is in all his astounding intelligence, quirky behavior, and compassionate, tender heart, I am humbled and proud that he belongs to this family. I am happy that God placed him here in our care. Then there are those other times. No, I am not a horrible parent, nor does my love waver. And yet there are other times, other times when I am quick to lose patience. Quick to think that Asperger’s is just an excuse today for disobedience and callousness (Did I just say that out loud?). Quick to actually tell him that I have already answered that same question four times in a row. During these times I begin to feel disatisfied and overwhelmed. How in the world will I parent today, much less through the weighty days ahead of me?! How could God find him a home here? Why has he entrusted me with so much?
Motherhood can be overwhelming.
Then, I think of Mary, the mother of Jesus, as a young girl. How did she get through it?
“May it be as you have said.” Luke 1:38
A is a precious soul whom God has entrusted to me and my husband to raise, nurture, and point in the right direction. Mary, however, was given the Creator. How is it even possible to train God? How is it possible to teach God to fold laundry? to breathe deeply before he gets upset? to pray?
“With God all things are possible.” Luke 1:37
Did Mary feel overwhelmed, impatient, unworthy? How did she cope when she just didn’t feel capable? When she didn’t have an education? creativity? energy?
“for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is his name.” Luke 1:49
There are times when my grandiose plans for the day, or the year, seem to overshadow the simple fact that A, S and G need me to point them to Jesus. There are a myriad of things they need to learn before they reach eighteen, but no task is greater than pointing them to Jesus.
“[Mary] treasured all these things in her heart.Luke 2:51b
As a mother, Mary knew that in order to teach the Son, she had to spend time with the Father. As a mother, I struggle with teaching my son, because I so often fail to spend time with the loving Father. He pointed the wise men toward Bethlehem by a unique star. The shepherds ran, dazed and excited, pointing others to a lowly stable in Bethlehem. Life skills and social skills are important, but what is vital is that A know Jesus. Someone needs to point the way.
I recently sang the old Christmas carol, “Angels We Have Heard on High.” Part of the third stanza prompted me to think of Mary and Joseph as vulnerable, as vulnerable as I am.
See Him in a manger laid,
Whom the choirs of angels praise,
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,
While our hearts in love we raise.
They struggled. They were small, as small as a stable. All Mary had was her willing heart. She knew how to point.
Motherhood is overwhelming. Although I may not be as competent as A deserves, I am always able to point, to point to the One who inspired a unique star.
Holy is his name.