Mary: Willing to Let Go
Unarguably, our next guest is the best know Bible mommy I've interviewed yet. Even she noted that generations after her would call her blessed. And indeed, she was, but that blessing didn't come without serious sacrifice.
Mary, you're a woman of great character, yet of humble beginning and means. But your humility, no doubt, is one attribute that God cherished in you. He favored you, so exalted you among women by commissioning you to bear His Son. You were an earthen vessel bearing His foremost treasure. How did you cope with this divine stewardship?
She smiles. One day at a time. Certainly, I didn't understand all that God was doing. I knew from day one that the baby I carried was the Son of the Holy One, that He was sent to save His people, yet I didn't fully comprehend all the ramifications. I didn't understand what that gift would cost me. Not really.
The "not knowing" can sometimes be as difficult as the knowing. What was that like for you?
Another blessed gift. If I had known my son, God's Son, would have to die in order to save us . . . well, I don't know if I could've lived with that agony. God was gracious in revealing His plan one step at a time. My job was to surrender to God's plan for myself and for my child, though I only knew a piece of the story.
I've often thought this about my own children. How wonderful of God to bring them into the world as babies so that we can grow with them. We surrender a little bit more of them with every passing year. Not only were you a woman of surrender, Mary, but you were also a woman of praise. In Luke 1:46-55, you sing a song to the Lord. You thanked Him for being your Savior. It intrigues me that perhaps you were the first to acknowledge Him as such, at least after Old Testament times.
Yes, I had studied the Old Testament scriptures. I knew about God's mighty deeds, His mercy, the rulers He had brought low, and those He had lifted. I knew He'd helped Israel all the way back to Father Abraham. And knew of His promise to send a Savior.
You must have known, too, that your son could do wonderful things. I'm thinking of the time you told the servants at the wedding in Cana when the wine ran out to do whatever Jesus told them.
Yes, I knew He was special. She chuckles. When He was 12, I found Him in the temple teaching the religious leaders. He told me He had to be about His Father's business. I have to admit, I was a bit angry He hadn't mentioned He was staying behind when we set out to go back home. But after that, He continued to submit to our authority. Yet, I always pondered such strange happenings. God had a very special plan for my boy. And my heart always did a little tug when I remembered He wasn't really mine, only entrusted to me to raise for a short time.
Is it still painful for you to think of that awful time when you had to make a full surrender?
I'd been warned, when Jesus was only eight days old. In the temple when Joseph and I consecrated Him to the Lord. An old man named Simeon said a sword would pierce my heart. I shuddered at the thought; I didn't want to think about what he might mean. After all, I was a new mother with such a precious infant son. I only wanted to think that nothing could ever shake the happiness I felt whenever I looked into His round face or watched Him suck at my breast. Those days were such happy days. Yet, all during His growing years, we both experienced ridicule, since it was thought he was an illegitimate child. Such teasing and abuse. But all that only made Him stronger. For me, well, at times I was tempted to grow bitter, but in the long run, I believe God used the ridicule to grow me too. And then, of course, the cross. How can a mother possibly process that horror? Still, all had become clear for me by then. I knew Jesus was fulfilling the purpose God had sent Him to fulfill. I had to let Him go. So, I remained quiet. In great anguish, yes, but quietly so. And after all was said and done, I remained faithful to God.
What lessons would you say you learned?
My child was not my own, only a gift to give back to the Lord and train for His divine purpose. And to trust God with my child, no matter what. That the difficult times do pass, and God has better things coming. My son died, yes, but He rose from the grave, never to die again! This story does have a happy ending. Though I had to wait for heaven to be with Him, now as I look back, it did not seem like such a long wait, but only a few days. And now, I enjoy His presence forever! I would say to your readers, hold on, you who believe in the Lord. He will not let you down. No matter what happens today, eternity is coming when you will be with Christ!
Thank you, Mary, for your insights. For more of Mary's story, read Luke, chapters one and two; John 2:1-5, 19:25-27; Acts 1:14