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.
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
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- Helpful features include personal stories, biblical truths, prayers, and music recommendations
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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: https://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/.
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My husband and I are blessed with one son, our only child. He is truly a blessing in our lives and we are thankful to God for him. 🙂
And may you enjoy the blessing of family this Christmas season…knowing that you are dearly loved by your Heavenly Father!
I love this so much! I’ve always been fascinated by the various viewpoints of the story of Jesus’s birth. I actually wrote one myself and it would mean the world to me if you took the time to check it out! http://www.brookrakow.com/mary-did-you-forget/
I can’t imagine my kids that old. At 4 and 2 (twins) they are so good at keeping me in the moment that high school feels light years away!
Mary did a lot of pondering in her heart – that is for sure. Our children do grow up so quickly and then we must release them onto God. thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story. Your are loved and appreciated.
Awesome message! I have been where you are with one child gone from home and another soon to be going out to study and be on their own. I went through the same questions you did and with Father help I knew I did what I needed to do and what Father directed me to do to prepare them. We raised both children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord instilling Godly principles and values. Over the years their choices have not been the best but they have learned and I have stayed in prayer for them. They live by Godly principles but do not attend church. Father told me to trust Him with them and that He is drawing them to Himself so I rest in that truth and know that the Lord is caring for them. Thank you, Michelle, for sharing your heart and life with us!!!