You know that joy you have when God finally answers prayers that you’ve prayed for years? That’s the kind of joy that we have right now.
Our oldest turned 6 this year, but we have known that something wasn’t quite “right” with her. She’s beautiful and very smart, but she had some very obvious (at least obvious to us as her parents) problems. Now, one of those problems was quickly diagnosed as a severe speech and language delay, and we received more information after a few more months of a complex web of sensory processing problems. And we were pretty certain we were on the right path with therapy to address these issues when we found out our insurance would not cover it. So as we stared at the bills and began the process of paying them off, we continued to carry our concerns to the Lord.
That was in 2016.
Since then, we attempted to go through the school system, pulled her birth records from Colorado to see if anything was overlooked, tried to make convincing arguments with school administrators all to no avail. She was smart, but other than two 30-minute group sessions of speech each week, she was “good enough” in their eyes. We enrolled her in Kindergarten this year at the suggestion of one speech therapist and (if I’m completely honest) also because I was at the end of my mental and emotional rope trying to deal with her each day, but we watched 5 years of parenting unravel almost effortlessly within 5 months of her attending. So we did some more praying, and withdrew her and started homeschooling her in February. Needless to say, my life has been really overhauled this year, and I’m faithfully counting down the days to the end of our school year! But this week, God finally moved in the heart of a behavioral therapist, and she is giving the go ahead to test our daughter for a number of things trying to rule out some things, while zero in on what is really going on with her.
I cannot express how overjoyed we are…how relieved we are to finally begin a process that will prayerfully give us some answers, whether yes or no, good or bad. When you’ve been waiting for years for someone to just acknowledge what you are seeing and feeling as a parent about your child, and you’ve been hit with refusal, accusations, and dismissiveness for years….it really really wears you down after a while. And you wonder how long you can keep this up without any answers, any light that could help you better handle, adjust, adapt, care, and raise the child God has given you. But nevertheless, you know that God knows. His eyes see. His ears hear. And He cares.
And as I pondered that, I thought back to this picture I’ve had in mind for years about Mary being the mother of Jesus. I thought about how excited and terrified she must have been to have to take care of and raise the Son of God, and how delightful it must have been to raise a child without sin. But this week I thought about how Mary must have felt when babies number 2, 3, 4 and more came along. Yes, Jesus was the oldest and firstborn, but now she had to deal with the same kind of children we deal with, with the same sinful natures, problems, frustrations, annoyances, and everything else. I considered how many times she must have shaken her head in frustration, or felt like pulling her hair out, or even snapped in anger at her children. But I also thought about how many times she must have had those hard moments, where she just quietly pleaded for some mercy and help, practically begging her children to just listen and obey for just a little while.
And then I began to wonder this: How many times did Jesus see His mother in that state? How many whispered prayers and pleadings did He hear? How many times did He stop His own plans to care and comfort her? Maybe He was about to run out the door to spend time with his friends, but He stayed to help her because He loved her more than Himself.
I don’t know. Clearly the Bible does not offer us that much detail about His home life, but it does tell us that “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief… Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:3-4,) and it tells us in Hebrews 4:15-16:
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
I have no idea how much Mary dealt with trying to raise her other children. I know I bemoan differences in my daughters often. But I can’t imagine the profound differences between a sinless child and a sinful one, and nor would I want to. I’m sure she had to cry, and probably more than once. But just thinking about all that Christ had to observe in His earthly home and how tender His heart must have been towards His mother just helped me to remember that He really and truly is a sympathetic High Priest.
As parents, He knows our hearts, our desires, our weaknesses, and our failures. He knows the tears we cry, the quiet moans when the days feel like they go on forever, and those little prayers that barely make an audible sound as they pass over our lips. He knows. He knows about our children too. He knows about their personalities and their problems. He knows when they are the sweetest things you would ever want to meet and when they’re being downright spiteful and disobedient. He is acquainted with all of our griefs, including those griefs we have at times as parents, whether our children are younger or older.
And so, I just wanted to remind you this evening as we approach Mother’s Day that He still knows. He still cares for you, for your family and loved ones. He still answers prayers. Granted, the answer may not come when you want, nor is it guaranteed to be the answer you want, but His timing will always be perfect. He remains compassionate and sympathetic towards us because foremost, He is unchanging, but also because He loves us. So whatever parenting trials (or just plain ol’ life trials) you have going on, I pray that your eyes remain on Christ and that your hope in Him continues to be as steadfast as His love and His faithfulness is towards us. May He always be the lifter of our heads.