by Alan Stewart
Being the sentimental person that I am at heart, I still love to hear stories from my mother of times and events that I was too small to remember. One such story that will forever be etched in my mind happened when I was still bound to life in a crib. By the time I was two years old, my father would eventually leave our home permanently, but he was known for deserting his role as a husband and father for weeks at a time before that. It was during such a time that I lay in the crib with no food in the house, and no money to provide help. Having already lost a father very tragically, and now having a husband who could not be found, my mother was at the end of her rope. She sat weeping, debating whether or not life was truly worth living any longer. At a given time in her thinking process, she looked over at the crib where I lay, and I had managed to roll over to the slats and was simply giving my mother all I had to give her...a smile. It was that smile that gave her the strength to go another day, and a smile she still tells me she is proud of to this day.
A mother's heart is filled with an enormous amount of pride for the lives of those she bears. Even when they do wrong, a mother can still see the good in them that no one else can find. But, in the long history of motherhood, perhaps no mother ever had the depth of pride that Mary must have held for her son Jesus. Imagine her honor when she was chosen to give birth to the Son of God. Imagine her smile when she heard Him speaking astonishing things to the great philosophers of the day. Imagine her glowing eyes when she saw her miracle-working Son thronged by thousands. Imagine her grace as she watched Him die to become a Savior of people. How proud Mary must have been of Him! Mary rarely was recorded speaking, but she was always there. Somewhere blended into the backdrop, Mary always stood with a smile and a heart swelled with dignity and pride. For just a few moments, I want to put you into the sandals of Mary's feet and let you see what Mary saw that kept her eyes proudly focused on Jesus.
Through Mary's Eyes
Mary saw unspeakable dreams. In Luke 2, Mary has already received the message and meaning of Jesus' birth, and she "...kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart." Now, the day has come and He is born. Perhaps innocent passers-by heard the cries of a newborn infant, but Mary's heart was recording cries that she would hear again years later from a cross. Perhaps others saw tiny fingers, but Mary saw hands that would one day release healing virtue. Perhaps well-wishers saw sparkling eyes, but Mary saw the heart of God loving a sinful world. Mothers have an unusual sense when they look into a crib.
While others will look and see a beautiful baby, a mother will look and see a doctor, a lawyer, or a leader. She dreams for her child! While others could only see what was on the surface, Mary was a proud mother able to envisage the look of God in the future and dream for her Son. Mary saw things bigger than herself, and she simply guided Him toward the path and then got out of the way. Oh, for more mothers that will dare to seize God's dreams for their children!
Mary saw unquenchable devotion. Again, In Luke 2, she made the discovery that while He was her son, He was only loaned to her. When He said as a small boy, " I must be about my Father's business," again we are told she " kept all these sayings in her heart." Throughout the course of childhood, children will change the wishful direction of their lives a thousand times. Jesus had only one direction and that was "to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work." Mary had a Son who loved God, who lived for God, who WAS God! The world would have said that such talents could have been put to better use. The world would have counseled that His gifts could have been marketed and made Him millions of dollars. When Mary cradled her newborn and later hugged her grown Son, she would be honored to feel the very heartbeat of God beating against her chest. It was a heartbeat that never changed the order of its desire to please the Father in all things.
Mary saw undeniable destiny. In John 19:25 we are told, "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother " Imagine this cruel scene: Mary watches as her Son is beaten beyond human recognition, and the vicious crowd then mocks Him. He is stripped of His attire and His dignity. As a mother, all of her instincts are now blocked. He cries for water, but she cannot quench His thirst. He is hurting, but she cannot mend His wounds. He is consumed with loneliness, but she cannot hold Him. Mary simply "stood."
What could she have been thinking in such a devastating moment? Over 34 years earlier, Gabriel gave Mary the plan and purpose of His life. Mary simply stood, believing confidently in the plan of God for her Son, and so very proud of Him in fulfilling that plan to God's glory. Godly mothers know when to speak, when to sit, and when to stand in honor of their children.
A mother's pride can be seen in so many ways. It may be her sparkling eyes, her tender touch, her gentle words, or her approving smile. But for me, the greatest evidence comes in the fact my mother, as Mary was, is simply "there."
And I'm so proud to call her my mother!
© 2006 Alan Stewart
Alan Stewart pastors Rechoboth Baptist Church in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee.