This is letting-go weekend for me. Two trips to the airport. Two tearful goodbyes. Two childhoods ending. Two farewells to two of my five precious children: one to go finish her ministry degree at college, the other to serve in Africa for six months. My heart vacillates between fulfillment and sadness.

Mary, mother of Jesus, certainly knew what this felt like. From the moment she learned she was to be a mother, she knew that her Child had an extremely special plan for His life. First, though, she had to submit to God’s plan for her own life, and she responded: 

“I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:36 ESV).

Ancient Simeon prophesied that this would pierce her heart (Luke 2:34-35), but Mary leaned into her calling so that God’s will for her own life might be fulfilled.

Ultimately, the day came when Jesus was an adult and His ministry was about to begin. It was time for Mary to let Him go; it was no longer her place to tell Him what to do. She needed to release control, but she still could not resist being a catalyst in His life. At the wedding in Cana, there was a need that Mary knew Jesus could meet, so she mentioned it to Him then told the servants to do what she herself had done thirty years prior:

“Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5).

Mary considered herself God’s servant and submitted to what He told her to do, then she used her influence to challenge others to do the same.

This weekend of my letting-go, Mary’s example reminds me of how I ought to mother. Long ago, I promised the Lord that I would do whatever He told me to do; I’ve been teaching my children all these years that such is their calling, too. This weekend is now a huge marker of my own personal resolve and commitment, as I give my two oldest daughters wings to fly wherever He calls them.

Going to Africa is not safe. Saying goodbye for months and months is not easy. Packing up and putting away all the pieces of childhood is not comfortable. Letting children go to wherever God calls them in His Name is challenging.

And yet, just I know God has a calling on my life, I know without a doubt that God has a calling on each of my children’s lives, too. As a mother, the very best I can do is to be an illustration of obedience then an impetus for them to obey as well.

So with tearful goodbyes, I weep with the resolve of Mary, doing what God has called me to do and encouraging my children to do what God has called them to do, too. This pierces my soul, but, truly, I have no greater joy than hearing that my children walk in the truth, living out their purposes, becoming both illustration and impetus as well.

May my obedience inspire them to be obedient. May my letting-go encourage them to cling tighter – not to me, but to Him.

“Do whatever He tells you.” This is the ultimate calling of every Jesus follower. My soul knows full well that this is how I ought to mother: an illustration, an impetus, and, Lord willing, an inspiration for all the days of their lives.

I am inspired by Mary. And, ah Lord, like her, may it be to me – and to each of my children – according to Your Word. Amen!

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