©Joy Dunlap https://joydunlap.com

As we celebrate the moms and mother figures in our lives this Mother’s Day, we think back to what we discovered through their influence. What we can learn from the life of the mother of Jesus is relevant for us all.

She had emotions and reactions, but listened to God’s message.
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. Luke 1:29-32a NIV

God knows and understands our fears and anxiety. He wants us to trade our concerns for courage through Him; He desires for us to give up our fears for full reliance in Him.

She was honest, curious and willing to ask questions.
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Luke 1:34-35 NIV

God welcomes our candid questions because they allow us to learn more about His nature and His character – and our own. For those questions whose answers seem unfathomable or even unbelievable, or those whose answers elude us in the moment, He uses them to deepen our walk with Him – when we remain willing.

She was committed to serving God and following His will.
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1:38 NIV

Although she didn’t know what the future held for her or the Christ-child, Mary stood steadfast in her devotion to God and willingness to joyfully serve Him.

She knew the value of connecting with another woman who trusted God.
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. …Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Luke 1:39-41, 45 NIV

God is always working through others to encourage us, create community, and strengthen us in our walk with Him. We are impacted the most when we seize the opportunities to connect.

She rejoiced in the Lord with a thankful heart.
And Mary said:“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed. Luke 1:46-48 NIV

When something unexpected happens that will bring change and complications to our lives we can choose to rely on God and to concentrate on what makes us grateful.

She kept her focus on God’s power and His faithfulness.
His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. Luke 1:50-52 NIV

As we encounter improbable or difficult circumstances, or even experience a positive new path in life for which we are unprepared, we can find strength in the wondrous works God has already done.

She was faithful to God’s teaching.
When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.

Sharing Scriptures, spiritual truths and guidance with the children and youth we love gives them a strong foundation on which to build.

Later as Jesus endured the blows, suffered the nails driven in, hung from the cross and was pierced in the side, his mother watched. No doubt it would have been safer – and certainly less heart-wrenching – if she had not been there. But Mary didn’t run from the difficult or the painful when it came to Jesus. She knew in her heart Who He was and kept believing.

She endured the heartache and pain of losing a child, and she also understood the value of loving one whom God had put in her life.

For moms who have lost a child to death, to divorce, to regretful life choices, or to relational breaks, God wants to comfort you.

For those who yearn or yearned to be moms, many children, youth and young adults need someone to care about them, to show them the love of God – in their communities, activities, and schools – and, as God leads, perhaps in your home. Your investment of time and genuine caring matters – whether you are nurturing by blood or by love.

For all of you moms who serve God in your families, thank you. The sacrifices you made and continue to make matter.  Thank you for the unconditional love and values you pass on to future generations.

For those missing or mourning your mom because she’s passed away, or perhaps is no longer with you mentally due to dementia, Alzheimer’s or another affliction, I pray that the memories of her love and your shared experiences will make that bond ever present, and that you’ll discover reminders of her throughout your days.

And, for my mom now with the Lord – how blessed I am to have been born to you. Forever grateful to God and you.

Life is Better When It’s Full – Joy-full, Thank-full, Purpose-full and Friend-full! ™

Notes:  The Assumption of the Virgin by Lodovico Carracci; floral interpretation by Pamela Reynolds; depicted at North Carolina Museum of Art, Art in Bloom 2018

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