Updated on September 18, 2016
The mercy of not knowing the future
Turning into the parking lot at the strip mall, I noticed a woman holding the hand of a young man, walking towards an area where they were about to cross. I could have driven through before they reached the edge, but I decided to stop and let them cross first.
As I watched them cross, I noticed the young man was developmentally disabled. Assuming the woman with him was his mom, my eyes immediately welled up with tears. I think about how she must spend her days, how she mothers a son who is different and dependent, even in his adulthood. I think about how it must have been to receive the unexpected news that her baby boy was not healthy. I think about how tired she must be, and how her days are filled with constant watchfulness.
No one ever told me how painful motherhood would be. How all the unreal expectations I had for myself would crumble down in a moment of sleep-deprived rage. How my heart could hurt in deep places I didn’t even know existed as I watched my children learn hard lessons. How I would learn patience, and then learn it some more. Even with a healthy child, it’s the hardest, but most rewarding work I’ve ever done.
I wonder, if I knew, would I still have chosen to be a mom?
If she knew, would she still have chosen to be a mom?
As I watch the woman and her son, I think about how Mary the mother of Jesus had expectations too.
Her son, he was the expected one, the Messiah. He was the One who would save the Jews from their enemies. As she watched him grow into a man, did she expect him to be a ruler, leading her people into political and economic freedom?
If she knew how his life would would end, if she knew the pain she would endure watching her precious son be tortured, spit on, beaten and hung on a cross, would she have said, “May it be unto me as you have said?”
It’s a merciful thing, to not know the future. To accept our daily bread instead of knowing in advance how a lifetime of daily bread will be provided. And perhaps that’s why Jesus taught his disciples to pray, “Give us this day, our daily bread…”
I said “Yes” to motherhood over 23 years ago, by adopting a precious baby boy. He’s now a man preparing to be a father to his little boy that will be born early next year. He has hopes and dreams for his son. I have hopes and dreams for my grandson too. I pray he will be healthy. I pray he will grow up loving Jesus. I pray he will know love beyond measure by all of us who are his family. But most of all, I pray that he, and his mommy and daddy will have the precious assurance that whatever comes, in happy times and hard times,
Jesus is with them,
Jesus is for them,
Jesus is able when we think we are not.
If you’re a parent, struggling with responsibility, disappointment or discouragement, I pray you’ll know the assurance of receiving what you need for today. I pray that in the hard and messy, you’ll know the peace and assurance that Jesus is with you and Jesus is for you.
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