Mary And Her Child
Updated: Jan 10, 2019
It’s the Christmas season. Mother’s everywhere are hanging the stockings with care, decorating their trees, and making sure the glass ornaments are too high up for their children to reach them. We are buying gifts for our families and prepping for the day’s big feast. Traditions are taking shape.
I have been told that the first holidays after loss are the hardest. And although I do believe there is wisdom in that saying, I know losing a child in the womb is different than losing a child. I never had a Christmas with our son Jasper. I had hopes of making his personal stocking, dressing him is the infamous, “My First Christmas” onesie, and I dreamed of what a family of four on Christmas would feel like. I’m not saying my circumstance is less sad, I’m just saying it’s different without the memories. And honestly, for me, it makes the holiday seem easier to bare. I am missing someone who was supposed to be here, not someone who was.
On a normal Christmas season, my thoughts turn to baby Jesus, the shepherds, the wise men, and the magic of the star. But this year, I can’t help but turn my thoughts to Mary. A mother. A mommy.
Mary had certainty I wish I knew. When God chose her to be the mother of the savior, she instantly knew that not only would she survive her pregnancy, but so would her child. And that’s all we, as mothers, really want, right? To know that our babies will live long and wonderful lives with us. No ultrasound can tell you that. No doctor can guarantee it. Every time we see that positive pregnancy test, it’s a gamble for our child’s life as well as our own. Bringing life into this world is dangerous business. Moms are the bravest people I know. Mary had certainty I long for, but will never have. It’s a difficult lesson to learn. One I wish someone had told me before we began having children. But I doubt I would have listened any way. Now it is one I have to learn in the midst of sorrow. Taking a chance on life means possibly losing it.
But Mary was fortunate in other ways as well. In fact, I envy her. Mary had the opportunity to love God in an absolutely unique way. She loved God both as her King and as her child.
Motherly love is so different from other types of love. I don’t love my dad like I love my son. I definitely don’t love my son like I love my husband. And I don’t love God like any of those. But Mary loved Jesus as her baby boy. She kissed his scrapes and bruises. She found extra grace for him when he disobeyed. She loved him on his good and bad days. She loved him on the cross, after he died and rose again, and she loved him when he left her. She was both mother to the savior and daughter to the savior. And it makes me wonder, maybe God didn’t just come to earth to live like us, but He also came to be loved by us.
I've always thought about God as being my father. The King who kisses my scrapes and bruises and disciplines me. The one who heals me when I am sick and loves me when I mess up. He wants my respectful love, in fact, He deserves and demands it. But I have never imagined that God wants the motherly love I show my son as well. Mary’s love for Jesus is a new example, a new depth, at which I am called to love God.
Mary was chosen to love God as her child. She loves Jesus in a way that I can sympathize with because I have a son, but not in a way that I exercise my faith. I can imagine how much she loved her Jesus because I'm sure it is equal to the love I have for my son. When Jaxon draws on my bedspread with markers, I still love him. When he throws a fit because his life isn’t going the way he wanted, I still love him. When I have to punish him, I love him. I will kiss every booboo, dry every tear, and celebrate every win, all because I love him. And this love truly does originate from a deep place in my heart. It is an endless wellspring. How do I have more patience and self control for my child than my family members sometimes? I believe it is because those feelings stem from the miracle of motherly love.
After thinking about Mary, I confess, I do not love my God in the same way, or possibly even as much as, I love my child. I am guilty of loving my son who perished more than God. This has become evident to me in my tragedy because I have been tempted to give up my faith because of my conviction toward my own children. Please don't misunderstand me, it's not that I don't love Jesus, but my loss has uncovered the depth at which I actually do.
Mary had the privilege of loving her savior as her both her King and her son. And I am required to love God in the same way, even though Jesus is not my child. I am called to love him with the same unconditional love I feel toward my son. I must draw response from the same wellspring. When God’s plan doesn’t go my way, I must love him. When his actions disappoint me or He permanently marks my life, I must love him. When He produces great blessings, I must love him. My love for God must encompass respectful love and the conviction of motherly love. I think this is because we all know that motherly love is some of the strongest love to ever exist, and God deserves a piece of it. I need to love Jesus as Mary loved Jesus.
Finally, as I think of Mary, I know something about her that connects us in a terrible yet precious way. I know that, as a mother, when Jesus was on the cross, Mary would have given anything to trade places with him. I feel this way because I would have given my own life to have saved my son Jasper. That’s the strength of motherly love. That’s why this hurts so damn bad! Because our love would go to the end for our children. Now, in Mary’s and my circumstances, our sons both had to die. It was their purpose to go to the end for us. And I now believe that our children, both living and in heaven, will teach us how to love our God more deeply if we let them.
The bible doesn’t talk about Mary after Jesus ascended into heaven. But I think I know how her story goes. It's probably a lot like my own. She must have been sad and lonely. She had to figure out a way to live the rest of her life caught between joy and sorrow. She had to redefine her purpose and discover the new her. I’m positive Mary cried a lot. She must have ran events through her mind over and over again. But I do believe Mary eventually found peace. At least this belief gives me hope that I will too.
My love for my son will never waiver. And that is how my love for God must also be. No choice, no circumstance, no disappointment will ever be too great to affect the strength of my love. My son Jasper is showing me how to love Jesus even though he isn’t here on earth with me. Motherly love is that powerful. It transcends time and space. It makes no sense, but it loves hard and it loves well.
As I continue to draw nearer and nearer to my King this Christmas season, I have come to a conclusion. One that makes me cry every time I think about it. It is this: If I never get pregnant again, I will love the Lord. If I get pregnant, and we get to keep the baby, I will love the Lord. And if I get pregnant, and we lose another child, I will love the Lord with every motherly bone in my body. Not because I have to, but because I want to.