It was three long nights. During these nights my baby girl tossed and turned in her crib, crying, and coughing, and then settled into her Daddy's arms for rest. (The man I fell in love with years ago gives me more reasons to love him now.) It was three nights of little rest, and my husband took the brunt of it. Each of the mornings afterwards, we'd stumble out of bed, directing what little energy we had to start the coffee maker. Parenthood is hard, and just when you think you can have a little bit of time to yourself, more sacrifice is required.
I forgot what it's like to walk through a pristine living room. There is a faint memory of it in the distant past. And it seems to me the more I press deeper into this journey of motherhood, the more is expected of me. My oldest daughter started kindergarten this year. She's learning to read and do all sorts of things I never remember learning in kindergarten. I help her to sound out words in a book while the dishes wait patiently in the sink. More sacrifices are expected. I should know this by now.
Some days I'm selfish, and the truth is I'm not so different from a stubborn two-year-old. I too, clench my fists and shout. Earnestly I pray, “I just can't do this!” Maybe these days I'm tired, but I believe I might just be full of myself. And maybe I also fail to see the significance in what I'm doing.
Motherhood is no easy task.
Neither was it for Jesus' mother, Mary.
God chose her to bear the Savior of the world. Can you imagine the questions she must have wrestled with? When the angel foretold God's plan, Mary had no idea what would transpire in her journey of motherhood. She had no idea what God had in store for her, and yet we read her response in Scripture:
“I am the Lord's servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.”
(Luke 1:38a, NIV)
I can just picture Mary lifting her hands up to heaven, welcoming the task set before her. I can't escape this picture in my head. How different it is from my attitude some days.
Maybe our response was initially like Mary's when we held our newborn in our arms—willingly and happily affirming the task set before us. But then, life settles in. We are covered in burp-up, blocks are covering the floor, or we're dealing with attitudes. Our hands—once lifted high in thanksgiving and surrender—slowly turn to clenched fists. May I gently remind you . . .
God is working good things out of your sacrifices each day. And just like Mary, we can trust in God's good plans. We can believe that what we do as mothers is significant. Every sacrifice does have eternal value.
Will you join me in lifting up your hands today?
For the study this week, we will be reading about the story of Mary in the book of Luke. Please click here to download the reading guide. Let's begin by reading from Luke 1:38 (NIV). Context: The angel, Gabriel, just finished telling Mary that she would give birth to Jesus.
“I am the Lord's servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
As you read this verse, consider the following:
Describe Mary's attitude conveyed in this verse.
What was Mary affirming in her response?
What are some practical ways to “lift up your hands today”?
Photo: Ben White