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Might as well just come out with it...
I am selfish.
At my core, when I really introspect deeply into myself, I realize I want the world to revolve around me. I want things to line up just right for me, and I want to be happy.
I sometimes just want others to be at peace in this world so I don't have to be so uncomfortable with the mayhem. I want my house to be nice and pretty and clean because I like it like that. I want to be fit and strong so I can do what I want and look good doing it. I don't want to be bothered.
Without Jesus, without His Spirit in me, I'm realizing that even the goodness I want is sometimes still rooted in selfishness!
"But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying." James 3:14, NLT
So there you have it.
A Selfish Mom.
This is terribly apparent as a mom. I frequently mother out of selfishness. Not all the time, but a lot of the time.
I want to raise nice boys so they reflect well upon me and my parenting skills. And of course, I want to instruct them in such a way that they don't irritate me and cause me so much grief! Everything in its place, happiness, peace, kindness...all for me.
Just being honest.
Just a moment ago, my youngest was eating dry cereal on the couch (without my knowledge) and dumped the whole bowl. It filtered into every nook and cranny. I could feel the anger and frustration immediately welling up.
This was so inconvenient for me. His simple mistake as a little boy caused me time and irritation!!
But for a brief second the Holy Spirit caused me to remember somebody. I remembered Mary.
I have so much to learn from a teenage girl.
We have glossed over the nativity story of Mary so many times. We know she was Jesus’ mom. We know the angel, the stable, the shepherds, and the wise men. So cute.
But, we forget the reality of the situation. It’s brutal.
She was so young, probably 13 or 14. She was all alone when the angel visited her. Nothing is even mentioned of her immediate family. We can assume she had parents because she was engaged to Joseph, which was most likely a marriage arranged by her parents. She may not have even wanted it...so awkward.
Did her family love her? Did she have siblings that picked on her? Was she happy? Did she have food to eat? Did she have body image issues as her body was starting to change as a teenage girl?
And now she's pregnant. An angel shows up out of nowhere and tells her the Savior of the World is growing inside of her. How is she going to explain that, to her parents, her fiancé, her community, her church? They would call her a fornicator, pretty much a whore, for years to come. (John 8:41)
Her challenges were just beginning.
Not only is she pregnant out of wedlock and accepting a new identity in the world’s eyes, but she is about to raise a boy that she knows is the GREAT I AM, yet everyone will call him a bastard. Add in the weight of mothering the Messiah…can you even imagine? How many days did she collapse in a heap and feel like she was sabotaging the whole plan?
But was she selfish about it?
Did she whine and complain about her circumstances?
Did she throw a giant fit and tell the angel to look for someone else?
No. She was confused, but she accepted it. She nodded her head, somewhat knowing the gravity of what she was accepting. And then she says this:
"I am the Lord's servant. May your word to me be fulfilled." Luke 1:38
Mary still had to parent this boy under a cloak of disgrace. She still had to give birth in a horrible and stressful situation. (Can you even imagine going through childbirth in a barn?!) She still married Joseph, she still fled so her infant wouldn't be murdered, she still had to wake up at night, she still had to wipe tears and noses, prepare meals, teach obedience, give him baths, take him to church, clean up after him and all the other things that are normal when raising a boy.
"May your word to me be fulfilled."
In other words, "Whatever you say, Lord. Whatever you need me to do."
When do I ever say that? Rarely. My initial reaction is to complain.
But if I took Mary’s posture, I would understand that it’s not about me. I would take the posture of a humble servant, just as she did. I am an instrument for raising these boys for God’s glory and righteousness. They are more important than me, and I pray that God has gigantic plans for these boys. I pray that they will be earth shakers.
Mary knew that her Son was far more important that her. She surrendered, and said “not my will, Lord, but yours”. She was saying yes to so much inconvenience, but she was also saying yes to God.
I am your servant, Lord. These children are yours. The time I invest in them is not for me, but for You. Whatever it takes, Lord...whatever you need to do through me for them. Let it be.
Later, as a grown man, Jesus said "those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." (Luke 14:11). Did He glance at His mom in that moment and give her a wink? Did He go hug her after saying these things and tell her He loved her? I bet He did. Jesus exalted her and now this humble teenage girl who was regarded in the eyes of her community as a fornicator, an outcast, yet pressed on and accepted her calling...well, she's now a household name.
She wasn't perfect, but what we do know is that she was a humble servant. Unselfish. A mom, taking the backseat for the glory of God.
It's a beautiful Christmas lesson for this selfish momma.
"Whatever you say, Lord. Whatever you need me to do. May your word to me be fulfilled."