When I got the idea for this article, I was very excited. As a son, I have always wanted to express how I feel about motherhood in writing. Then I realized that there is a lot to say about moms and I am no authority. So, over the course of two weeks, I stumbled around different thoughts and prayed my head off for God’s insight. I kept thinking about how my wife and my mom are such good mothers. Both would deny it and they have different mothering styles, but they both know the key to being a good mom: love. There had to be some lesson there, but I was blank.
Then it dawned on me that I should look to the Bible for guidance (after nearly 14 years of being a Christian this should have dawned on me sooner). We have a tremendous example of motherhood in Jesus’ mother Mary. I see at least three things in her story that stand out as examples of mothering.
The first thing I notice is her raising of the child Jesus. I often wonder what went through Mary’s mind while she was bringing up the creator of everything. Did she realize the enormous responsibility God put in her care? Was she constantly struggling with feelings of inadequacy as the mother of the messiah? I get the impression though that she simply loved her son like any good mother should.
Trimark Pictures produced a movie called “Jesus”. It is one of my favorite movies. Some of it didn’t follow the Bible very well, but the actors were real people and not cardboard cutouts. The Mary in this movie was superb. I could empathize with her love and concern for Jesus. I saw the tightrope she walked between loving her Son and loving her God.
Secondly, Mary at the wedding at Cana gave Jesus what appeared to be a nudge. By urging Him to change the water into wine, she let Him know it was time to move on and to start His mission on earth. Sometimes this is a mother’s duty: to push her child to grow.
In the movie, Mary also used this situation to convince Jesus’ new disciples that “He is the One”. The Bible says this was where the disciples that were with Jesus, “put their faith in Him”. Mary not only influenced her Son but also His friends. She was a strong woman.
Last, Mary stuck with her Son to the very end. To be Jesus’ mother had to have been a roller coaster ride of emotions for the last few years of his life on earth. Many mothers have known the anguish of seeing their child in the difficulties of life. Most, like Mary, stay right by their side no matter what.
In the movie, Mary was dressed in black and white at the cross and when the Romans took Jesus down, they laid his body in Mary’s lap. She could barely hold her grown son and his weight made her body sway. The picture is burned into my brain. Jesus’ dirty, sweaty and bloody body was contrasted by Mary's clothing. She had tears in her eyes, but soon found out that this was not the end, but the beginning.
The lesson Christ-followers can learn from Mary is how God loves us. He wants us to grow strong under his care. He (quite often in my case) nudges us to venture out and begin our ministry to tell the world about Jesus. In addition, he sticks with us to the end. Which just happens to be… a beginning.
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