by Ashley Weece
This Mother’s Day is especially meaningful to me because it is the first one with a baby in my arms. As a new mother, I am learning through this season that the common thread of motherhood is a breaking of expectations, which brings its own mixture of emotions.
But I’m also learning that a lot of times our expectations need to be broken in order to experience God in a new way.
We see this in the life of the mother of Jesus. Throughout her life, God moves Mary from broken expectations to an even more beautiful experience of Him. It starts in Luke 1:29. When Mary finds out she’s going to be pregnant, we read that she is “greatly troubled.” The words could be translated as “to agitate greatly.” I love that this is her first response. I’m just speaking for myself here, but this seems like an accurate description of certain aspects of motherhood, “to agitate greatly.” Hear me—I’m not saying it is the only description, but it certainly describes a day or two…or three.
The point is, Mary is greatly troubled, but in Luke 1:38 she speaks five words into the face of her trouble—“I am the Lord’s servant”—and reminds her heart of this promise in verse 49: “…the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.”
In that moment, Mary moves from being troubled and feeling unprepared, to walking in humility and confidence.
I doubt Mary fully understood just how great the things the Mighty One would do for her, but I can’t help but wonder if, on the final day of Jesus’ life, those words played over again in her mind where, in John 19:25, it says, “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother…”
As Mary watched the son she had carried now carry a cross, the next verse says, “Jesus saw his mother there…”
The text doesn’t say Jesus saw a woman who was imperfect—and Mary was an imperfect mother. It doesn’t say He saw a woman who was overbearing and embarrassing at times. It doesn’t say Jesus saw a woman who said the wrong things at the wrong times—and I’m sure she did.
It says Jesus saw His mother. While Jesus carried the cross, He saw the woman who had carried Him.
And, mothers, on this Mother’s Day, I want to remind you that Jesus sees you.
Mary modeled for us a picture of motherhood that is within reach for all of us. She couldn’t offer perfection, sinlessness, or all the right answers, but throughout her life, Mary offered her presence to Jesus.
And what Mary offered then is what all of us can offer now to Jesus and those with whom God entrusts us.
John 19:26-27 says, “When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, ‘Woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’”
On this Mother’s Day, we celebrate that, in the shadow of the cross, Jesus expanded the definition of family.
To adoptive mothers, the God of the universe, on His way to the cross, validated the role you play in the life of your children, and we honor you today as their mother.
To the women who walk through infertility, who don’t have children, or who are single, the God of the universe, on His way to the cross, validated the motherly role you play in the life of the family of believers, and we honor the way you bless the body of believers.
Like Mary in the shadow of the cross, all we can offer to Jesus is ourselves. Because at that cross, Mary realized that she had carried Jesus so that Jesus could carry her. And that truth can change everything about the way we approach these days we’ve been given with those God has given us.
So, this Mother’s Day, embrace the example of the mother of Jesus, and let His never-ending presence in your life compel you to live present with those you’ve been given.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Ashley Weece is celebrating her first Mother's Day as a mom.