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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Salter Goodwin

Need to Know?

We are people who need to know. We think that knowing more information helps us follow God. But what kind of information? That's where today's mentor helps.

Mary was a young girl God recruited for a big job. How could she have possibly known enough to be the mother of Jesus? The simple answer is she couldn’t. Mary came into parenthood by the same door we all enter, the door marked unprepared. I have come to understand that it wasn’t what Mary knew about parenting that made her the one to mother God’s Son, it was what she knew about the One who recruited her for this responsibility.

I have rehearsed Mary’s story over and over, the high points of confirmation, the low points of frustration bordering on disillusionment, the deepest pain any mother can suffer all the way to a place of understanding that the story she was living was bigger than her part in it.

Mary has mentored me in ways I am still trying to give words to. Here are two key lessons that impacted every part of my motherhood all the way to living its legacy today.

1. Mary said yes to God before she said yes to what He was asking.

When I understood my journey as a parent wasn’t going to be what I would have called “normal,” I wanted God to do something that would give me back the journey I thought I signed up for. It felt too hard and I felt unprepared. While I can’t remember the moment I connected to Mary’s response, I can tell you that her words pulled me through every educational, medical, and emotional maize we struggled with. “May it be to me as you have said.”

This sentence stopped my “I can’t do this" thinking and reminded me that God oversaw the journey and that He was resourcing it. I could say yes to Him when everything in me wanted to shout “no” to some new loss, diagnosis, or crisis. Starting with what I thought I could handle is backwards. Starting with what God can handle always carries me through.

2. Mary had to submit to God’s purpose for the son she raised, not hers.

It helped me to know that Mary didn’t get everything right. She had questions. She didn’t understand why they had to go back to Jerusalem to find the son who should have told them where he would be. She didn’t understand his answer about doing his Father’s business. However, I believe it was a chance for Mary to get back on board with the bigger mission God had asked her to do: to raise His son according for His purpose. Was it a coincidence that the verse that follows this parenting lesson for Mary sounds like maybe Mary took another look at what God was asking of her? I think she returned to Nazareth editing her dreams and refining her energies to help Jesus grow “in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” (Luke 2:52)

More than once, I had questions about what God wanted to do with Lisa. Everything I thought she could have done was blocked by some challenge or disability. It took me a long time to understand that God’s plan for Lisa was bigger than my ideas. It was another way to learn what the words “May it be to me as you have said,” meant. They weren’t just for submission to God at the beginning of a parenting journey. They required submitting every detail of my hopes and dreams for Lisa so that I could cooperate fully with God’s purpose for Lisa. It was a prayer that turned me inside out more than once, but always gave me a deeper understanding of God’s love for Lisa and for me.

Mary’s model led me through some of my darkest moments as a parent. She gave me a picture of submission that was deeper than a one-time offering at the beginning of her journey. She taught me that the gift of submission is release. It is the gift of letting go of anything that holds anyone back from understanding and living God’s purpose. It is the rhythm of giving back to God again and again, the child/ren He loaned us so that we can co-parent with Him. There is freedom when we let go of the need to know because we have complete confidence in the One Who does.

If you want to take a deeper look at Mary's story to find your key lessons, click here to download a one-page Bible study or go to Devotional Guides where you can download today's and any you missed.

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