Getting to Know God

Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

—Luke 2: 34-35

Last night these verses were part of my very random devotional reading. While I’ve probably read those words—spoken by the “righteous and devout” Simeon to Mary when she and Joseph presented their new baby, Jesus, in the temple—a hundred times, before I became a mom, I must confess, I never really thought much about them. Yada yada.  Just another prophesy, is pretty much how I saw them. Sorry, but it’s true.

Then, I had kids. Now,  Simeon’s haunting words chill me each time I read them. (Can you imagine bringing your new baby to church and having someone turn to you and say your beautiful baby will pierce your soul?!) Becoming a mother opened my eyes to what was being said to Mary. As a fellow mom, I felt the anxiety and deflating pain she must’ve felt as she heard these words. I think feeling this deepened my understanding of the entire story of God’s redeeming love for us.  From what it really meant and entailed for God to send his son to save us (sorry for you non-Christian readers—I know I’m getting really jargony here. Bear with me!) to what it meant for Mary to bear and raise her boy, the Messiah, to what it means for me as mother to raise my own boys and girl to grow to love and know that same Messiah.

While perhaps I was just dense in my reading of this passage before (and surely you don’t have to be a mom to catch the significance), this isn’t the only passage or instance I’ve noticed that my being a mom heightens my understanding of Scripture along with my understanding of (and questions for!) God.

While I expected motherhood to change me in many ways, getting to know God better by being a mom surprised me. I’ve got to be careful here, I know, because I’m treading dangerously close to the teachings many women have heard (particularly from churches) that they need to be moms to be complete—I don’t mean that at all! God can use all our experiences in life to draw us to him.

But this reread has put me on the look out for other ways motherhood has helped me get to know who God is. And it’s gotten me curious about the ways others have gotten to know God better by being moms. I’d love to hear your stories. 

One Response to “Getting to Know God”

  1. December 31, 2007 at 12:20 am #

    Caryn,
    Being a Mother taught me one of my most important lessons. After a particularly difficult morning with my seven year old daughter I sat on the love seat holding her while we both cried. She had been crying and demanding that she didn’t want to go to school. I had insisted that she would. Driving her to school she complained the whole way. As we walked to her school room she loudly resisted the whole way. The teacher hearing the commotion, suggested that I let her stay home for the day.
    As I held her while we cried I lamented that she didn’t like school. I had loved school, loved reading and learning. I thought about all she would miss if she wasn’t a reader. As I cried with her and prayed, I realized that I was wanting my daughter to be more like me. I had to surrender that right to God and ask Him to forgive me for expecting her to be like me instead of who she was. When I did, I realized that I needed to accept her just the way she was — the way God had made her; not a carbon copy of me. I realized that I really did love her just the way she was — uniquely Renee. It was then that the truth that God loves me just the way I am made its journey from my head to my heart. In accepting my daughter just as she was, I received God’s unconditional acceptance and love for myself. My tears were no longer tears of disappointment or frustration but pure joy.

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