Monday, May 15, 2023

The #1 Clue

 By: Joanne Viola

Yesterday was Mother’s Day – the day to celebrate mothers everywhere.

I will always remember the miracle of birth. Giving birth to my daughter, my first born, shook me to my core. After the activity settled down and everyone left my room, I was alone with this baby, and I truly had no idea what I was to do with her.

In the stillness of the night, I unwrapped her swaddling and looked at her hands and arms; legs and feet and toes – checking out what they looked like. I marveled at the perfection of this tiny body. All the body parts in the right place, perfectly formed.

And the tears began to flow.

I remember wrapping her back up and apologizing to her. I shook with fear as the enormity of her birth fully hit me. I knew I was not ready to be a mom and now, there was no time to get ready.

In the stillness, I did the only thing I could do – I prayed. That first night, I begged God to help me be a mom.

How does an imperfect woman, full of flaws, raise a child to be healthy and functioning? How does a woman, yet struggling in her own walk with God, raise a child that will want to know and love Him?

Fast forward seven years to the birth of my second born. Surely this will be easier.

In fact, it was harder. I had seven years to get comfortable in my role as a mom to a daughter.  I didn’t say she was easy, but at least I felt I was handling my daily responsibilities.

And God knew to knock me back to my knees … He gave me a son. Again, I felt overwhelmed.

How does a mom raise a boy to love God, to be a balance of manliness and gentleness?

My own reminiscing brought me to wonder about another mother. We tend to reflect on her at Christmas time. Mother’s Day seemed like the perfect time to see if she held any clues to motherhood.

What were Mary’s thoughts and feelings the morning after giving birth?

Was she overwhelmed to think that she had just given birth to the Savior? The Messiah? The Holy One? Did she shake with fear as she held the baby whose “kingdom will never end!” (Luke 1:33)?

Mary was a young woman herself. This was her first born. A son. A son to raise and yet, in many ways, He was never hers at all.

Returning to the familiar Scriptures in Luke, we find some clues to Mary’s mothering:

  1. Humble obedience. Eight days after giving birth, Mary brought her son to be circumcised. It was at that time the baby received His Name – Jesus. Mary obeyed all which the angel had spoken and gave her son, the Name.
  2. Sacrificial obedience. When the time of purification was completed for a woman following childbirth, a male child was to be dedicated to the Lord. Mary and Joseph offered the sacrifice of the poor – two young pigeons – in sacrificial obedience.
  3. Preparative obedience. “Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast.” (Luke 2:31, NLT). As parents, they took Jesus to the feasts and to the Temple, for Him to learn and to be about His Father’s work.

Mothering – a responsibility that can overwhelm. It will require an obedience on our part which is also humble and sacrificial. As moms, grandmothers, and women our influence will have the most impact only as we spend time before God, letting Him tend to our souls.

The #1 clue to Mary’s mothering?

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
(Luke 2:19)

May we also treasure and ponder His Word in our hearts.
It's the #1 clue into mothering. 


What have you found to be most helpful in your motherhood journey?


Image by Terri Cnudde from Pixabay


  1. That one sentence - that she treasured things in her heart - that always went straight to my heart. I need to think about the Top 10 Things that made the most difference to me - I think that when I started recognizing stages with the third son - that made a huge difference. For example around age 10-11, boys get really blue. When I realized it was a stage - and I told my son - and recognized it - I think we both realized we hadn't broken anything - we just had to grow through it. Thank you for this sweet, morning after Mother's Day post. How you chronicle your journey was grace-filled joy!

  2. I love your observation that there were stages you recognized. That had to be most helpful. I have been amazed the many lessons parenting brings. We grow in so many ways along with our children. Thank you for reading my post, Maryleigh!

  3. Prayer has definitely been the most important thing in my motherhood journey. I only wish I had known sooner just how important it is!

  4. I remember being overwhelmed, too. But that cast me upon God for help. I had not thought of those incidents from the standpoint of Mary as a mother, but they are richly significant.


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