Mothers know how, but God knows when
By Julie Filby
After breakfast in bed or brunch out on the town next Sunday, many families will celebrate Mother’s Day by planting flowers together.
While I can’t speak for the rest of the country, here in Colorado there’s a rule of thumb that flowers simply *should not* be planted any sooner. Up until that time, the chance of snow or a hard freeze remains a real possibility (last year we had “measurable snow” in Denver on May 11). But usually by the second Sunday in May, the threat has diminished, and a day spent digging in the dirt should provide a season of colorful blooms.
I’m reminded it’s all about timing: the beauty of God’s timing. As much as we may want to plant snapdragons in February, we wait it out and trust that sometime around Mother’s Day is the time to plant. We’re grateful for the outcome: signs of new life.
Just like gardening, there’s a lot of timing involved with motherhood. We question if we do certain things at the right time, and we often find ourselves asking: “Where does the time go?”
Consider a child who started first grade in what feels-like-yesterday, who now dons a cap and gown, and walks across a stage to receive his diploma. It’s time for him to leave the nest. While the experience is bittersweet, his mother is grateful for the journey so far, and looks forward to the adventure to come. That’s the beauty of God’s timing.
As much as she may want to keep him under her roof, she knows it’s time to let go. She’s trusted God to guide her in her vocation and now she’s grateful for the outcome: the boundless potential that lies ahead.
She reflects on the early days, how she tried to time her son’s naps, his meals, his milestones (“The house isn’t baby-proofed but he won’t be walking for months, right?”). While she did her best to keep him on track, there were 2 a.m. feedings, 3 a.m. bad dreams, and 4 a.m. trips to the emergency room with croup. She handled these instances with love, no matter how tired she was. That’s the beauty of God’s timing.
These unplanned visits turned out to be moments of grace that helped her develop patience and empathy, and gave her son a chance to feel especially loved in the wee hours of the morning. She’s grateful for the outcome: valuable life lessons learned.
Trusting in God’s timing starts at the very beginning of motherhood, as the timing of some pregnancies can be unexpected: unexpectedly sooner (“But I’m too young,” or “We don’t have any money saved.”), unexpectedly later (“I’ll be so old by the time he graduates from college.”), or unexpected at-all (“What? But the doctor said…”). The blessing of pregnancy doesn’t always coincide with our calendar. That’s the beauty of God’s timing.
No matter how prepared, or unprepared, we feel for parenthood, when that baby arrives we trust in God, do our best, and we’re grateful for the outcome: the gift of life.
God knows what he’s doing when it comes to the timing of our lives, just like he knew what he was doing when he selected a young Jewish girl to be the mother of his Son.
Mary was a teenager planning to marry a carpenter and live out a life much like every other girl in Galilee. Virginal conception, Mother of God, and watching her Son die on a cross were not part of her plan. The fullness of grace she experienced as Jesus’ mother no doubt exceeded any joy she ever could’ve imagined.
Our Blessed Mother is the ultimate example of the beauty of God’s timing. She trusted in God’s will and we’re grateful for what she delivered through Christ: the promise of Eternal Life.
Mother Mary serves as an example to all mothers. An example I’ll strive to follow as I rely on God to control the calendar and the clock, watch my children grow up faster than I’d like, and gratefully dig in the dirt with them this Sunday.