With one son 13 years old, and another getting ready to graduate from HS, I think about how fast the time has gone. We recently attended a senior awards banquet for my oldest son’s fall athletic season, and parents were invited to submit photos for their senior from infancy through this year for the senior slide show. As I searched for appropriate photos, the years raced through my mind. Didn’t we bring him home from the hospital yesterday? And it seemed just a few days ago he learned to walk, talk, and ride a bike. How is it possible that he is already applying to college?

More important questions race through my mind: Have I given my children the wisdom and the tools they need to function as successful, independent adults? Do my children know their true identity in Christ? Have I modeled for them how to handle moments of crisis: to stand on God’s truth while keeping their eyes resolutely on the One who calms the storms? Do they know how much they were loved, not just by me and their father, but by their Heavenly Father? Have I encouraged their faith and pointed them to the hope that prevails because of Him?

As I make final Christmas preparations, my thoughts turn to another mother—the one who gave birth to the Son of God. What about Mary? Did she have the same concerns? While Jesus was God, He was also fully man. Did Mary fully grasp the significance of who Jesus would be to all eternity? Did she worry about whether or not she had adequately prepared Him for a life of ministry? Jesus began his ministry at a young age. In fact, she encouraged his first miracle. After that, there was no turning back. Had she done enough?

Every year as I read the Biblical account leading up to Christ’s birth, I try to put myself in Mary’s position. Surely she must have felt honored that God chose her to carry His son and be the mother of Jesus. But as a mother who is preparing to send her son out into the world, and wondering what I forgot or perhaps could have or should have done a better job at preparing him for, I wonder if perhaps Mary ever doubted herself and her capabilities as a mother.

First, being told she would give birth to a son when she was still a virgin. And then knowing that she could be rejected by Joseph and the community if he refused to marry his pregnant bride. Then on the night of Jesus’ birth, there was no room in the inn. And ultimately, she had to release Jesus into the world to perform his ministry, hoping, believing she had done all God expected of her as his mother to prepare him.

Yet as I read the account, Mary was given an assurance:
“Gabriel appeared to her and said, ‘Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!’…’Don’t be afraid, Mary,’ the angel told her, ‘ for you have found favor with God!’” (Luke 1: 28, 30) “The angel replied, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (vs. 35). Mary was given a role to play, but the ultimate responsibility rested with God.

As I parent my own sons, I take my responsibility as a parent quite seriously, as I know Mary did as well. But I also take solace in the fact that “Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him” (Psalm 127:3) and that just as Jesus, being God’s son, was loved even more by God than Mary could ever humanly love Him, my sons are also loved more by God than I can love them, and He is looking out for them.

Just as Mary ultimately had to release Jesus back to God to fulfill His calling on earth, I too, prepare my heart and mind to release my sons to God to be used by Him for His service, in whatever way He sees fit according to how He has gifted them.

Thank you, Mary, for the gift of your son at Christmas. Thank you for your example of what it looks like to be a Godly mother who loved her son, did her best to raise him in the fear and admonition of the Lord, and then surrendered Him to God’s will for His life. May we be mothers like you, highly favored, and leaving a Godly legacy for generations to come.

Because of Him, #HopePrevails!

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A short brief about Hope Prevails.

Hope Prevails
Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression
Dr. Michelle Bengtson

Speaking from personal and professional experience, a neuropsychologist unpacks what depression is, shows how it affects us spiritually, and offers hope for living the abundant life.

Neuropsychologist Offers Hope to Those Struggling with Depression
-By 2020, depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide

  • An estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression
  • As with the bestselling My Stroke of Insight, the author experienced the same condition she treats
  • Helpful features include personal stories, biblical truths, prayers, and music recommendations

Hope Prevails Book cover vertical 536

In Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson writes with deep compassion and empathy, blending her extensive training and faith, to offer readers a hope that is grounded in God’s love and grace. She helps readers understand what depression is, how it affects them spiritually, and what, by God’s grace, it cannot do. The result is a treatment plan that addresses the whole person—not just chemical imbalances in the brain.

For those who struggle with depression and those that want to help them, Hope Prevails offers real hope for the future.

Hope Prevails is available now wherever books are sold. To find out more, see: http://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/.

(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)

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As I prepare to send my out into the world, I wonder what I forgot? What could I have done better? I wonder if Mary doubted herself and her capabilities as a mother. Did she grasp the significance of who Jesus would be to all eternity?

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