“But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart” Luke 2:19
My recent Google searches reveal that I stress over new motherhood. In the past month since my son’s birth, I have relentlessly Googled every fear that has come to mind. However, late night web navigating has done me more harm than good, for, in the end, I am left anxious.
Like Mary, I keep all these things and ponder them.
Unlike Mary, I am not the mother of the Messiah. I can’t begin to imagine the weight upon her. I think of her in the manger looking at her beloved son’s face, thinking of the visitors who came or were to come, and I wonder if, like me, she feared even them? I fear sickness each time someone visits. Worries often consume me. I tire of the constant what if?
Did Mary feel the same? Her fears could’ve been large enough to crush Goliath 1,000 times over and here she was responsible for raising his nemesis’ seed—for the Messiah, her son, sprang from the lineage of David. A young girl from Nazareth left with the King of the World when she must have known most of the world would want Him dead. Those visitors, were they friends or foes? Yet, even if foes, her little baby came to save them. How ironic the love of Christ; how mixed His mother’s emotions must have been.
The Bible says Mary “kept” all these things. I think of her. I consider our motherhoods thousands of years apart. I consider how her son made way for the one I now hold sleeping in my arms. The love of Christ is a hot tear trickling down my cheek at three in the morning when I find my own self “keeping” things.
For who really understands? How can a mother bare her true feelings? How can she share what she’s kept to herself for nine months? Yet, Mary knew she had to share her son with the world a million, trillion, times over. There would be no end to what Mary gave the world that night in the manger.
Did she tell Joseph what she pondered—those things that have no name—would she have considered him her confidante? He would be the most likely to understand for he listened to God through dreams; He accepted a virgin with a baby and moved his family in the middle of the night to Egypt. Like Mary, he allowed God to direct him. Surely, she could’ve shared the “things” she pondered so she didn’t have to “keep” them. Yet, there is nothing so lonely (no matter how lovely) as motherhood.
I can’t share my own “things”. My husband says I overreact. So, when evening comes and my milk drops down, anxiety floods upon an already-too-heavy heart. Sometimes I can’t breathe but I sling myself into routine—make supper, feed the baby, read a story. Mothers often soldier on in silence because sometimes, it’s just too hard to put into words.
Mary knew what God was doing, but she still “kept” these things. Maybe she thought if she shared them, her fears would become more real. It’s no secret the devil would’ve been creeping around Jesus’ cradle. I think of all the sleep I’ve lost in worry, but I can’t imagine the sleep lost to Mary.
God gives mothers the largest task of all—raising a child, forming a soul, and, in Mary’s case, making sure of her son’s safety so He could save the world. I respect God’s call on Mary’s life and on my own. I know how fretful motherhood can be, but I also know we can bare our hearts to God. He sees what we keep; he knows what we ponder.
In Luke 2:18, the Bible says the shepherds told about Jesus, and all who heard “wondered at those things.” Mary, on the other hand, didn’t “wonder” for she wasn’t surprised at what God was doing. How many layers to what she must have known—so much to ponder! She accepted she would be there for Jesus’ beginning, but she also must have known she would be there for His end. A mother’s deepest sacrifice rests on Mary: the giving of her son. Abraham risked the same with Isaac, but this time the blow wouldn’t be stopped—Jesus’ death, her son’s death, had to happen.
So what is the solution to the problems of motherhood? God. Instead of “keeping” things that scare us, we need to go to the “Keeper” of ALL things. Sometimes the “things” that weigh us down are too much to have on our hearts, and, instead, we need to trust like Mary and see our mission of motherhood through unto the end.
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