…about Mary.

earlier this week, we were school-bound. i had one hand on the steering wheel, the other was gripping my morning coffee, and as i merged onto the interstate, Kenny Rodgers and Wynonna Judd’s rendition of “Mary, Did You Know?” came on our local radio station {Christmas music all the time from Thanksgiving to Christmas!}.

as my boys babbled and giggled and flapped and flitted their arms and leggies in their car seats in the back seat, i sang along to this song, one of my most favorite holiday tunes.

“what’s that noise, Mama?” L said.

“Christmas music, buddy,” i replied. “this is one of Mama’s favorite Christmas songs. it’s about Jesus’s Mama.”

“oh,” said L, and he went back to giggling at baby Q, who was trying to pull off his sockies as we drove.

since the joyful {and painful} moment that i became a Mama just three-and-a-half years ago {this week!}, and again just one year ago, i have heard this song time and again each holiday season, and have delighted in humming along. yet as i continued to drive along the snow-coated landscape to school that morning, i began to listen to the lyrics a bit more closely.

Mary, did you know that your baby boy…

i let the lyrics of the song wash over me, much like i wash the day’s grime off of my boys’ tender cheeks and bellies in the bath each evening. and what i found to be so, so stirring that morning, as i kissed my boys and wished them good days ahead at school, was this: do any of us really know what our children will become one day?

or, even more convicting: if we knew what our children would become one day, how would it change us today?

* *

i’m certainly not attempting to state that anyone’s child will be akin to that of Jesus, but my point still stands:

years from now, i’m certain that all of us mamas will look back at our days – at normal days, like today, even – and think, if i had only known…

it’s such a powerful phrase, if i had only known.

so much of what we do each day is about letting go of past transgressions, of mistakes, of choices that led us astray.

if i had only known that those words that i said, in a moment of rashness, would wound his little heart…

if i had only known that his quietness was hiding such significant pain…

but what about the good parts of life? what about the good things that, looking back, may have made all the difference?

if i had only known how much joy i get in seeing my oldest become a big brother…

if i had only known that his hands would care for the sick, that his mind would teach the young, that his words would inspire the masses…

it’s such a toggle, this relationship that we have with the knowing, or the not-knowing of things, as it tends to be so.

as the new year approaches, i’ve read blog post after blog post devoted to simply making progress, about not concerning ourselves with perfection, and as a recovering perfectionist {thank you, Brene Brown}, i so relate to that.

but how are we as mamas, as Christian mamas, to reconcile these dog years of motherhood, this the-days-are-long-but-the-years-are-short mentality of ours, with the greater truth of Jesus?

how do we reconcile this if i had only known with the certifiable fact that whatever we do on this earth – whatever possessions we acquire, how many dollars we have in our bank accounts, whatever awards we earn or accolades we receive, how many followers we have on social media, whatever our children become in this life – cannot be brought along, not in duffels or chests or suitcases, to eternity?

* *

Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?

i wrote in Q’s birth story that i have experienced two distinct moments in my life in which i truly saw God, in which i could feel His presence at the helm of my life, and both resulted in the birth of a beautiful boy. while i have long loved God as someone in great need of grace, never before in my life – not during times of worship, not in moments of stress, of grief, of complete joy or utter sadness – have i so intimately felt God’s hands around mine, and around those of my children, than in the moments in which my sons were born.

and like you, i’m certain, in the early days after each of my boys were born, i promised them the best of me – to be for both of them an indestructible, endless net of love and faithfulness, ever positioned so that i will always catch them. yet as i sit here today, i recall countless times in which i’ve fallen short of this promise, moments in which i’ve fallen flat on my face, fallen to my knees in prayer, begging God for a do-over, for another go at it, to be made new.

and perhaps, that’s how we mother in light of eternity: we give thanks for our children, and for Jesus, and for this gift of making us, each and every one of us fallible mamas, new.

* *

i’ve always loved that there is a Christmas song devoted to Mary, to this woman who, like the rest of us mamas, had no idea what to expect from this journey of raising a child.

and while my motherhood experience is quite dissimilar from that of Mary {no Immaculate Conception here}, like Mary, i’ve been made new through the births and lives of my boys.

Mary may not have known what Jesus would do one day, but i’m hedging my bets: as she looked into Jesus’s eyes on His birthday, Mary felt like all mothers do, and His birth certainly made her, and all of us, new.

merry Christmas, all. xoxo

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