As a first time mom, it is really hard to sift through all of the research, opinions, and personal testimonies that come my way. On top of my own questions regarding motherhood I find myself navigating peoples commentary about their parenting styles and really contemplating if it is something I want to try. It is exciting yet exhausting!
I am a natural planner, but I have had to allow this personality trait to take a backseat over the last few months. Planning for motherhood seems impossible. I do not know if we are having a boy or girl. I do not know what size diaper this little baby will need or if I have enough of the correct size clothes to get us through the first week. I do not know the date or the time that this little baby will make their appearance and to be honest I don't even have our baby names finalized!
BUT I do know, the more I try to plan and control my pregnancy and labor the more tension I feel rising up. I can physically feel my shoulders tighten and I am left with an exhausted mind and fatigued pregnant body. It is so draining to live this way.
There were times that my arms were so occupied with trying to juggle all of my thoughts and plans that I was completely closed off to receiving the beautiful gift of pregnancy and motherhood that the Lord was trying to give me.
It was/is during these times of contemplation that I look to the image of the Pieta. This beautiful sculpture by Michelangelo Buonarroti, depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion. It was pointed out to me on a podcast that Jesus is laying outward in Mary's arms. She is not holding Him close to her chest but with open arms so that we may see the sacrifice that had just occurred. In this image, Mary is giving her son back to us just like she does on Christmas day.
Mary could not have planned for the horrific crucifixion that her son endured. She could not control the outcome of His life and His mission. Mary had such a deep trust in God that there was no need for her to worry about planning out her son's life. God knew from the beginning of creation that Mary would be the Mother of our Lord. He knew from the beginning of time how Jesus would offer up His body and blood for our salvation!
“This is my Body given up for You.” Luke 22:19
Ever since reflecting on the image of the Pieta I can hear Mary say to me, “This is His body, given up for you” each time I attend mass. It is an invitation for me to give my child back to her. I have had to learn how to continually surrender my pregnancy and the life of my child to our Lord each day. It has been an intimate and prayerful experience allowing the Lord to replace all of my thoughts and plans about motherhood with a deep sense of peace.
There is enough room on Mary’s lap for all of our worries and stressing thoughts. Mary desires for us to lay down anything that is causing turmoil and place it in the manger next to her sweet baby. Why not receive the gift of His birth and His saving grace on Christmas with open arms.
My prayer for you is to allow the Lord to bring peace to those areas of pain and worry. Allow Mary to hold in her lap all of the things that are blocking you from fully receiving Jesus this Christmas season. Remember every time you see our Lord laid in the manger or hung up on the cross “It is His body, given up for you”. Release your worries and rest in His love!
Until Next Time~Your Sister in Christ