The day I became a mother, I was 27 and had left a job in higher education to be a stay-at-home parent. My husband and I waited longer than many of our friends to have kids, and parenthood was still a shock to the system. We thought we were mostly prepared, but nothing prepares you for a child except the actual experiences of parenting.
I look at the nights in the NICU and the struggles with postpartum depression I faced, and it’s difficult to grasp how we even survived it all. Becoming a mother can be a challenge. Welcoming a child can turn life upside down. Nevertheless, I had some life experience and stability. I had all the things that Jesus’ mother lacked or feared she would lose.
“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.” Galatians 4:4-5
Mary was barely in her teen years when she was due to marry Joseph. At the age when I was still watching Saturday morning cartoons, she was preparing to be a wife and to move away from her home. In the midst of this monumental step, God presents her with an even bigger change. She finds out she’s pregnant. More importantly, she is pregnant with the son of God.
If there was an award for most shocking entrance into motherhood, then this girl would win. Mary learns of and accepts the blessed and, most likely, terrifying news that she is going to be a mother prior to her marriage. How is Joseph going to handle it? She just found out she is going to be a mother, and now, she may lose her title of wife.
I cannot fathom the anxiety Mary may have felt. Yes, she had reassurance from the Lord, but I can’t help but think that a 13-year-old girl might still act a little human in these circumstances. Thankfully, Joseph hears from the Lord in a dream and decides to accept Jesus. This, on its own merit, is a big miracle. The Bible is full of people who received word from God and His followers and still chose to turn away. Joseph didn’t have to stay, but he did.
So, Jesus started life in the belly of a girl just past childhood with an earthly father, who didn’t share His blood. God had a plan for His son and his earthly parents that was far beyond human understanding.
To God, as parents and people, we have the same potential as Mary and Joseph. We are vessels waiting to be filled up by His plan and purpose. Though Mary carried God’s son, each of our children can be adopted into the family of God because of Jesus’ sacrifice.
When we feel intimidated by pregnancy or inadequate as parents, we only need to look at this young girl who gave birth to a savior. She was just beginning her life when she took on the weight of the world in her womb. Though there can never be another like Jesus, our kids have a present and a future in the kingdom of God. God entrusted his son with this girl, and He also puts His trust in you to raise up the future generation.
Parenthood is a calling and a God-ordained mission just like any other ministry. God chose you to be a mother to your child. He knew before time began that you would raise some of His children, and, though He had all the time in the world, He didn’t change that fact. Your life is fulfilling His plan. Every moment with your child is written in His will.
Some days, life is terribly difficult. Raising kids is scary and amazing. There are days when we may not be sure we are going to make it, but Mary did. That girl went against every tradition and standard of her time. She grew the Prince of Peace in her belly, and she thrived. If she can do it, then we can too. You are not alone. If she can mother a Savior, then we can nurture and equip His warriors, His leaders and His precious followers.