A Lesson From Mother Mary
I’ve been doing some thinking lately about Mary. You know, Jesus’ mom. I feel like if anyone understood the work of motherhood, it was her. Easter has me thinking about the scene that’s been painted for us a hundred times—three crosses, Christ in the middle, Roman soldiers surrounding him, mocking Him as He uses His last breaths to beg God for their forgiveness. But this year paints a decidedly different picture for me, being a mom to a little boy.
I think about Cyrus, and where I would be in that scene if it was him on that cross. It’s not something I consider at any depth because the thought of it is unbearably painful. But I’ll bet, for all you mothers out there, if it were our sons on that hill we would be standing somewhere between them and the whip. Which makes me curious about Mary's whereabouts during this grueling hour. Where was she and how was she able to bear the weight of it all?
I decided to do a little research, and what I have found has given me an entirely new perspective. The only mentions of Mary during Christ's death were of her watching from a distance. How on earth was the mother of this perfect man able to watch at a distance? Could she really be so heartless to let her own son be beaten for sins he didn't commit?
So, I went back a little further. Back to when she first became a mother. With the shepherds and the angel and bright star. There, in the moments leading up to and surrounding his birth, it says Mary stored these things in her heart and thought about them often.
If I had to bet, I would assume she was referring to the miraculous unfolding and fulfillment of scripture. Something in Mary knew, from the moment she gave birth, that Jesus was never really hers. She was given perhaps the worlds hardest task of loving him as her own child, nursing him at her breast, only to eventually and inevitably give him back to who He really belonged to.
Obviously, the cross was a unique plan for one man. It was God’s desire to bring life and eternal joy by ending the curse of sin and death once and for all. I believe whole-heartedly that His plan for Cyrus and every other child on this earth is unique and powerful. As Cyrus’s mother, it is my job to nurture and cultivate in him the good things of God. It is my job to pray for his future and encourage him to live out the things that make him come alive. And sometimes that means letting go of my plans so that God’s can prevail.
Honestly, if I had my way, Cyrus would never want to climb mountains or ride motorcycles. He would never be exposed to lust and darkness or the harsh realities of this world. But if I am taking a lesson from Mary, I know that my job is not to keep him tucked in my pocket, untouched and untainted. My job is to love him to Jesus and let his passions soar.
Who am I to stand in God's way of Cyrus's future? I pray, for myself and for you, that in the crux of those moments of your child becoming who he/she was created to be, you won't be standing in their way. Because while you and I might feel like we are protecting our children from the whip of life's harsh realities, we could very likely be standing in the way of one of God's greatest opportunities of redemption.
Back to this image of the cross and the hill and Mary at a distance. I am beginning to see her a little bit differently. No longer a cowardly mom who couldn't step in and protect her child like we "so valiantly" would have. Rather, simply a mother who understood. Understood her role and her place in God's greater story. A mother who, only by the grace of God and the unwavering awareness of Jesus' greater purpose, was able to give back to God what was never hers to begin with. And praise Him for it, because through that story, the role of motherhood was given more purpose and hope than ever was possible before.
biblical references: luke 2:19 & mark 15:40