I am thinking of Mary, mother of Jesus. I know she was entrusted with a very special child, but today I envision her just like every other mother with her child. When he was small she would just stare at him for no apparent reason. Eyes that were so lovestruck they couldn’t be drawn away from his beautiful face. They giggle together and make funny faces. She gently touches his face as he sleeps, careful not to wake him. As he grows, they share stories passed down through many generations. They sing and laugh and play. She watches as he learns from Joseph how to be a carpenter, and later, how to be a man. He was wise beyond his years, but he needed them. He needed to be nurtured and instructed by parents that loved him.
Mary was completely human and must have had the other kind of days as well. I can imagine her range of emotions on the day after she and Joseph have left Jerusalem following the Passover Feast. They’ve traveled this way with friends and family and assume that Jesus is somewhere in the crowd. Perhaps she felt annoyed that he hadn’t joined them by nightfall. The next morning maybe that strange sense of foreboding begins to build as they diligently look for him to no avail. The trip back to Jerusalem couldn’t have been fun, thoughts of evil trying to capture her. Finally, they find him in the temple. After the relief, was she angry? She was human.
The plan of salvation unfolds to both mother and child as they continue to study and meditate on the prophecies. “What do you want to be, Jesus, when you grow up?” She knew, but what mother wouldn’t ask? “The Savior” he replies. They know this is his destiny. She watches with amazement as his ministry begins, so honored to have been chosen to be his mother. She misses him when he is away, and rejoices to see his face when he returns. There is a bond of many things unspoken as time draws near for his death. She knows. She knows this is the Father’s plan, that Jesus was born to her for this very purpose. But with all the knowledge and understanding that has come through the years, her heart still sees her little boy. Her body reverberates with the pain as if she were the one being whipped. She cannot protect him. And she cries.
Their eyes meet before he takes his last breath and there is nothing between them but love. And the earth literally quakes under her feet as he dies. Her world will never be the same. She reminds herself of all he has spoken, that he will return. Her faith in his words remains absolute, unshaken. But it doesn’t stop the sorrow. She knows she will see him again, but in this moment she just wants to talk to him one more time, to touch his face, feel his kiss. This is the longing of every mother’s heart.
God entrusted him to me when he was one year old. We didn’t have the normal nine months to begin to know each other, but our love unfolded easily and quickly. He and his sister, a two year old, gave me my first real lessons in love. I asked God to give me a true mother’s heart for these babies, and He faithfully and gladly answered my prayer. We had several years to develop this love before their sister joined us, anticipated by all as my belly grew, and welcomed with much enthusiasm.
My stares were often, examining their every feature, embedding the beauty of them in my heart and my mind. I was lovestruck. There were multitudes of funny faces and giggles, games and books, and I watched them as they slept. We learned about God and I was blessed to lead each of them to Christ. We played and laughed and I watched them grow. There were many days my humanity didn’t handle it all well. But they needed me and I needed them and love endured, even through the brokeness our family would suffer.
Were it not for Jesus, my heart would be shattered beyond repair. For having loved this one so dearly, the earth shook under my feet the day he died. I could not protect him. I knew in that moment that my Father had not left me, and He faithfully spoke to me words that would carry me through and continue to do so to this day. I believe what the Father said and my faith remains unshakable. But the sorrow lingers. The emptiness of a mother’s heart that longs for one more touch, one more kiss.
Were it not for Mary, I would feel that no one else could possibly understand the state of my soul as I treasure all that we had. I didn’t see him suffer as Mary did her child. The last time I saw him was precious and sweet, and the memory of it so strong that sometimes I imagine I still feel that last kiss on my cheek. I remember those childhood smiles and hugs. And I treasure these things in my heart.
Were it not for Jesus, I would have no hope of ever fulfilling that longing, of every touching that face again. I will one day take that face in my hands, our eyes will meet, and there will be nothing between us but perfected love, because of Jesus. So as this anniversary visits me again today, I will rejoice. Through my tears, I will remember and be ever so thankful that God chose me.
I hope you know this Jesus.