Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Dear woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ John 19:25-27

Today, as I read through these verses, I was struck by the love Jesus showed for his mother by referring to her as “woman” instead of “mother”. This wasn’t the first time. Remember John 2:4? Mary informs Jesus the wedding party was out of wine. “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” At first glance, the term seems a bit harsh, but if you were to dig a little deeper, you would find this to be a polite term used in their culture. Polite, yes, but it’s obvious that Jesus is distancing himself from his mother. He is gently breaking the news to her that He is no longer her responsibility.

Let’s linger in John 19:26 a little longer. Moms will find this pause especially uncomfortable. We have an innate knowledge of the power our children’s words hold over us, whether they are 3 or 33. Jesus knew it too.

The word “woman” must have brought immediate comfort to Mary’s heart or else Jesus would have remained silent. As a loving Son, Jesus wanted His mother to remember who He truly belonged to. As her Savior, Jesus wanted her to remember His only purpose in life. His time had now come.

The lesson for us as parents? Remember that our kids are not our own. It was God who wove them together in the depths of the earth. It was His eyes that saw his/her unformed body. It was His omnipotent power that ordained their days before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139: 15, 16) Jesus’ words to Mary over 2,000 years ago holds incredible freedom for parents today who are willing to grasp these truths and live accordingly.

As a mother, I’ll admit there are times when I become fearful over my sons’ futures. I want them to be safe and secure (and okay, close to home.) But as their co-heir in Christ, I desire only God’s plans and purposes for their lives. Whether or not I can see or understand those plans makes no difference. That’s not my calling as a parent.

While gasping for every word, Jesus reminded Mary, and us today, that while parents play a vital role in the lives of their children, it is God alone who gives them a purpose for it. We must decrease that He might increase.

Thank You, Jesus.

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