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You’re doing a great job, Mamas! That’s what I want you to know, and I think God does too. He created you and the precious children entrusted to your care, knowing that your lives would be knitted together on this earthly journey.
Do you sometimes want to lose it when carpool is taking you in three different directions, the dog just threw up, everyone’s hungry and there’s at least one tantrum in the mix? You’re not alone.
Motherhood is a sacred, beautiful gift, but it is not without its challenges. If you’re like my Mom was during my earliest years, you may be single and working around the clock to keep food on the table (all while driving a car that is only semi-dependable – at best!)
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And if you’ve ever lost track of your child – for even a millisecond – just know that you have something in common with the Bible’s most revered mother: Mary. That’s right, she once lost Jesus for days.
After traveling to Jerusalem for Passover when Jesus was just 12-years-old, Mary and Joseph and their family began the trek home. After searching among the crowd they realized Jesus was not with them and fled back to Jerusalem in what have been a panic. The Bible tells us in Luke 2 they didn’t find Jesus for another three days! I cannot imagine the agony and sleepless nights. There were no Amber Alerts or 911 to help spread the word.
Yet, when they found Jesus he was in the temple complex teaching others with such depth and wisdom that they were “astounded.” You know who else was astounded? Mary.
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The Bible goes on to tell us that she asked Jesus how in the world He could have allowed His parents to suffer such anxiety. He simply replied, “Didn’t you know that I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2: 49) So, even the most gifted and blessed mother, divinely chosen by God for the most sacred mission, had tough days.
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In my newest book, “Mothers and Daughters of the Bible Speak: Lessons on Faith from Nine Biblical Families,” I examine the challenges of parenting and the mix of emotions it is constantly evoking:
There can be celebration, anxiety, exhaustion, bless, and depression. Mothers can worry about their children, be perplexed by them, and blessed by them – all in the same day! As children grow into their own independence, mothers can wonder what happened to the closeness they once shared. There are times when motherhood itself may feel like more of a burden than a joy – the endless (and frequently thankless) work of it, the exhaustion, the laundry and the cooking and the countless questions … Our faith doesn’t require mothers to pretend that they don’t feel overwhelmed at times. Motherhood will always be a mix of the highest highs and lowest lows, a reflection of our broader life in this fallen world. There is no Easter without Calvary, and every mother’s journey will be marked by both delight and despair. So let us walk along Mary’s path discovering ways to navigate both.
I also know this time of year can be painful, rather than celebratory, for many people.
We lost my mother-in-law (to whom the new book was dedicated) earlier this year, and this will be the first Mother’s Day without her for her six children and endless others who loved her.
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You may also be yearning for motherhood yourself, and the waiting and trials seem endless. God hears and sees your pain. I hope you will find comfort in the stories of biblical women like Hannah (1 Samuel 1), who poured out their hearts to God in grief.
Whatever stage of motherhood you are – or aren’t – in, your Heavenly Father is cheering you on this year and always. The path He has scripted for you will often take unexpected detours and twists, but you are never alone in them.
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