Have you ever lost your child in a crowded store? Remember how it felt when you realized he wasn’t with you? A few years ago, my sister and I took our kids to the Mall of America. We were browsing at the Lego store when we lost track of my 7-year-old nephew. My sister was a wreck, so I (the calm one) asked an employee for help. I was directed to the guest services room where I found my nephew safe-and-sound, but frightened and sad! Then I realized how scared I had been too.
I think almost every mother has had a similar experience. Even Mary lost Jesus. That’s right! It’s in Luke 2:41-50:
“When He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem…as they returned, Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought him among their relatives…when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him.
After three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions…So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought you anxiously.”
And He said to them, “Why did you seek me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.
What grabs me about this passage is the very last sentence. “But they did not understand.” Um, Mary – what do you mean you don’t understand? You of all people should understand. This isn’t just any child we’re talking about here. This is JESUS!! Remember how the angel came and told you that you would give birth to God’s Son. Remember how a baby grew inside of you, even though you were a virgin. Do you remember the shepherds and the wise men who came to worship Him when He was just a baby? How could you forget this miracle?!
Yet, I really can’t be too hard on Mary. After all, she was a mother; a mom like me (except she didn’t have Pampers, sippy cups or car seats!). Sure, Jesus was God’s Son, but he came as a baby – an infant completely dependent on his mother. The Scriptures don’t tell us anything about His childhood, but I’m sure He grew up like all children do. He grew to be a toddler, a young boy, and then an adolescent. Is it possible that during those 12 years, Mary lost sight of God’s plan? She spent all those days caring for Jesus, feeding him, bathing him, playing with him, teaching him, keeping him out of the street, rocking him to sleep and then doing it all the next day…and the next. Sounds rather mundane – I know what that feels like! She watched him learn to crawl and then to walk. She was probably there when He spoke His first words. It all seems so…human. No wonder Mary lost sight of the divine!
Truth is, I’m pretty forgetful myself. Some days I just get buried in piles of laundry, dirty diapers, and to-do lists that never get done. Then my toddler throws his hot dog on the floor (again) and I find myself wondering why on earth I wanted to have children! Too often I forget that my son is also a miracle. He started as just one cell and then grew inside of me and now he’s on the outside of me and he’s still growing and learning! How does that happen? I mean, God made this little person who looks a little like me and a little like my husband – and when I really stop and look at him, it’s mind-blowing how perfectly created he is. Yet, it’s hard to find meaning when my Mondays blur into my Tuesdays and each day is much like the last one. It’s hard to know if I’m making a difference as a Mom when I find myself facing the same battles (“Don’t throw your food!”) 10 days in a row. I need to remember that my son is a miracle. I need to remember that toddlerhood doesn’t last forever. I need to remember that I’m not alone; I have my family, my friends, and I have Jesus.
Jesus. Oh yeah, I tend to forget about Him too. I mean, I know He is God’s Son and I believe in Him. But I get caught up in my busy daily life and I forget to pray. I forget to ask for His help, for His guidance. I forget to worship Him. I forget that I have 4 or 5 Bibles in my home waiting to be read. I forget that He loves me and that He created me from a single cell – another miracle!
I need to remember that He came to earth – for me. He died on the cross – for me. He came back to life – for me. I need to remember that it is JESUS who gives meaning to my life, not my daily activities or achievements (or lack thereof!). I need to remember that He made me and He loves me and He wants me to stay close to Him. I need to remember that He is GOD and with Him all things are possible – like being a Mom, a wife, a friend, and all the little mundane things I have to do each day.
(written by Heidi Songer for the Westwood MOPS December 2010 newsletter)