Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord;
let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:37
I regularly spurred on by meeting caregivers who are courageously and sacrificially making space for the extraordinary and unexpected callings on their lives.
When Larry and I welcomed Carly into our arms, we had no idea how profoundly she would change our lives, how we love others — or how we ourselves would change by being her parents. Disabilities and complex health challenges have stretched each person in our family beyond ourselves, over and over again.
As we move into the Christmas season, I wanted to spend a couple of weeks reflecting together on the faith-filled history of Jesus’ earthly family. Starting today with Mary, we can find reassurances and vision for our own faith and futures as caregivers.
Mary was given an extraordinary assignment. Humbly cooperating with God’s call on her life was both profoundly beautiful, and threatening to everything she knew. There were many things at stake, including her relationship with her fiancé Joseph and her reputation. And the depth of heartache to come for her could hardly be imagined. The cost for Mary of being Jesus’ mom was indeed profound.
I am inspired by Mary’s immediate worship, her faithfulness to God in a life of uncertainty, and her reliance on God when her losses and heartaches were overwhelming. Mary was strong, confident, and thankful because she understood her value to God. She was willing to live her life without control and stayed in constant communication with her Almighty Heavenly Father.
She made space for the God of the Universe to include her in His plan.
We are vessels for the Holy Spirit too. Mary saw the very face of God in her babe. But God indwells us believers and our young children too — including those who are “developmentally young.” Whether our loved one who requires our special care is a child, spouse, sibling, parent, or friend, the image of God is reflected there. And the unique imprint of His creative vision is on each of us.
We can look upon our situation and know that God’s authority and gifts are captured within that circumstance, and within those lives.
Lord God, thank you for reminding me of what is wildly wonderful about being my loved one’s caregiver. Thank you for reassuring me that this assignment is highly purposed by You. I choose to trust you in strengthening my family for this unique life and calling. Even when my relationships are stretched, my reputation is at stake, my own health falters, my heart fails, and the waiting feels so very long, I ask you to forgive and strengthen me to see again how highly you value me and my family. I want to make my life a space for Love. I want to offer myself to You as Mary did, in worship, trust, and great anticipation. AMEN
NOTE: I am thankful to Francine Rivers’ book The Family of Jesus for inspiring this Christmas series. Check it out if you want to dig deeper into history-changing people in Jesus’ family.
Lisa Jamieson is an author, speaker, special needs family advocate, and ordained pastoral counselor. She is co-founder of Walk Right In Ministries where she trains and counsels family caregivers to walk abundantly in life, faith, and relationships. Lisa and her husband, Larry, live in Minnesota with the youngest of their three grown daughters, Carly, who has Angelman Syndrome.