A week ago, through this blog, I challenged us to be more like Joseph, the husband of Mary and the earthly father of Jesus. Today I’m posting an encouragement from Tina Hollenbeck. She, too, uses Joseph and Mary to remind us of some valuable things. If you read our free, twice-a-month email newsletter you’re familiar with Tina. She always writes an insightful column for you. That’s why she wrote this initially, but I want more of you to read it so I’m also posting it here. Read it slowly and let her thoughts sink in.
Mary and Regular Joe
Mary was a young teenager when she gave birth to Jesus. Joseph was a bit older, but he was certainly as unprepared as she to raise the child thrust upon him. The angel who initially encouraged each of them announced that the baby would be “the Savior,” so they had a glimpse of how his life would turn out. But, of course, they couldn’t possibly have guessed the painful journey He’d need to take in the process.
Yet they managed, successfully raising Jesus to adulthood in the face of continual gossip about His paternity and despite living in relative poverty. How did they do it?
God didn’t give them the ethereal halos with which they’re so often portrayed in Medieval paintings. They were regular people, aiming to do their best – no doubt stumbling through plenty hard days along the way – without really knowing the “end game” for Jesus or their other children. They relied on the Scriptures available to them at the time, the Holy Spirit with Whom they’d been infused, and supportive friends, family, and community members. They lived by faith that God was with them and would guide them each day, week, month, and year.
Of course, none of our kids is destined to be the Savior of the world – that job’s already been taken! – but the Lord does have a unique, individual plan for each of them nonetheless. And He will guide us step by step, the same as He did Joseph and Mary, as we choose to walk by faith through the parenting process. Though His plan will sometimes differ from our expectations, He always works everything for the ultimate good of those who love Him. He did it for Mary and her “regular Joe” husband; He’ll do it for us, too.
She enjoys providing useful information and encouragement to those called to educate their own children. In addition to writing for our newsletter, she also co-authored Celebrating Children’s 12 Genius Qualities with me and Brad Sargent.