Saturday, March 28, 2015

Mary's Easter

In a matter of two months I will be able to say I’ve been a Mom for 20 years. TWENTY YEARS! It’s hard to believe that much time has passed already. I no longer have a little boy, but rather a handsome young man who towers over me at 6’5”.  He has started his adult life and I quickly learned that means a life independent of me. I’m proud of my son for stepping out, taking a risk to move and start a life of his own, but I would be lying if I said my heart doesn’t ache daily from the void I feel of not being able to do things like hug him whenever I want. 

Every time I begin to think about Mary, the mother of Jesus, I often think about what it must have been like for her to watch Jesus go off to start his ministry, not seeing him regularly, and then to watch him not just die, but die a brutal death in front of her very eyes. 

I have been fortunate to not know the pain of losing a child to death; I know Moms that have and I can tell you, from watching them, that is not a pain any of our hearts should have to ever endure. We have all had our battles, we all walk this journey with scars, but the scar of burying your child is one that stays fresh your whole life.

Mary was but a child herself when she became pregnant with Jesus; I wasn't much older than she was when I became pregnant with my own son. I suppose that's why it’s always amazed me that her response was a heart of doing whatever God wants. She was so in love with God, that she was willing to even believe she’d become pregnant, as a virgin!

My son called the other day, needing to talk through a situation in his life, and as I listened to him I wondered what kinds of conversations we’ll be having in 10 years, 20 years, and so on. He’s just getting started as an adult; so much will change as he encounters countless situations. Jesus was 33 when he died, Mary had watched him grow into a man; she saw him cry and heard him laugh. She watched him teach others and if she’s anything like me as a mom, regardless of his age she always saw her little boy when he looked at her.

Easter is fast approaching and that always seems to bring conversation of “the ends times are near” and frankly they are because we’re all going to die—but that’s not what I think about when I begin to think about Easter. No, Easter always reminds me of Mary having to watch her son go from an infant, to a man, to a life-less body hanging on a cross. This baby that came to her as a true miracle was then taken, violently, and as a Mom I wonder, did she lay at the foot of that cross, her heart shattered as Jesus died and wonder “where is our miracle now, God?” Mary had large faith, but let us not forget Mary was still human, still a real Mom—Mom’s are like wild bears when someone hurts our child, but she could do nothing to save her boy. 

As we make our Easter Day plans, it would behoove us to spend more than a few passing moments to ponder the depth of Jesus dying for us. Think about all parties involved during that period of time and reflect on the true desire God must have for us if he’s willing to let His Son experience death, if He’s willing to allow Mary to endure the heartache of losing HER son—God must greatly love us because we parents don’t just sit idly by and not protect our children when they are being harmed. And, for a moment, it appeared God sat on the sidelines.

Easter happened BECAUSE God did NOT sit idly by and watch His Son die. Easter exists because God IS in control, God IS ruler over all and Jesus did what no other man can do for us, He conquered death so that WE can be given the chance to say to God, our Father, I love you and I want to be with you forever.
My son is no longer under my roof; he no longer has to do what I tell him to do including come see me. He must now choose whether or not he wants a relationship with me. And because Jesus died, we have been given that same freedom—because we are loved THAT much. 

Mary’s heartache found a healing that, this side of heaven, only Mary will understand because her son rose from the grave. We might not get to experience that kind of miracle, but I take great comfort in knowing that my heart aches will one day all be healed because, after all, for God so loved Carla that he gave his one and only Son…

Friday, March 6, 2015

Desperate Faith

When I first started really trying to figure this "God thing" out one of my questions was "Who do I pray to? God, Jesus, or Holy Spirit?"  The answer I received was simple, "Yes."  You pray, that's the point. Just start praying.  Over the course of my journey as a Christian I've begun to learn the roles of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit but the answer remains the same, "just pray!"

In Matthew chapter 9 Jesus has an encounter with a woman who had been ill for 12 years. Her thought was if she could just touch his robe she'd be healed. She didn't feel like she needed spend hours with Jesus, or have him put his hand on her, nor did she wonder if she should pray to God in that moment. No, her instinct said to reach out and touch what you can, touch his robe.

Two things stand out to me in this encounter. One, she had faith that touching anything that was part of Jesus would heal her and two, she was desperate.

I've often wondered what my reactions would be like if I had lived during the days Jesus walked this Earth. I'd like to think I would believe Him, I would follow Him, but to be honest I'm not sure--at least not right away. It took me nearly 30 years of life before I finally believed enough to say "Please come into my life" and it's taken till I'm nearly 40 to finally say "I want to devote my life to you, no matter what." In my journey I've encountered deep heartache and serious desperation and I can tell you it's in those moments that I pray the loudest and hope the deepest--it's in those moments I would most certainly reach out and touch the robe.

My focus word this year is Believe. As I read about this woman with faith so large she just needed to touch his robe, I wondered do I have that kind of faith? Do I believe in the power of God that much? And, perhaps more importantly, do I have that kind of faith even when I'm not that desperate?

Do you?