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.