Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mary, How DID You Know?

Luke 1:38
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May your word to me be fulfilled." Then the angel left her.

After a horrendous labor which results in an emergency C-section, I am recovering in a semi-private room. I count myself fortunate that I am its only occupant at the moment. I rest gratefully and ponder the miraculous delivery of my healthy, perfect baby boy. I'm anxious to the nurses to bring him to me so I can hold him, feed him, gaze upon his face.

I am deep in reverie when the door opens.

"Daniel?" I ask eagerly.

"Not just yet," a cheerful nurse announces.

She wheels a young woman into the room and heads directly for the bed next to mine. Politely, I turn my head away while the nurse helps her onto the bed and makes all the necessary adjustments.

It isn't until she leaves that I look over at my roommate. She is lying on her back, staring at the ceiling. Her face is expressionless. Almost stoic.

This is NOT the look of a happy mother.

And, she is very young. Seventeen? Eighteen, maybe?

Not wanting to seem unfriendly, I decide to acknowledge her.


"Hi," she responds weakly and turns away toward the wall. Her back faces me.

I get the message . . .

Anyway, I am busy with visits from family, friends, and my beautiful new baby.

So absorbed in my own cloud-nine world, I barely notice that she has no visitors. And, no baby. A premie? A still-born? I wonder, not without sadness for her.

It is not until late in the night, right after the nurse has come in on her rounds, that I hear her. Softly sobbing. Crying into her pillow.

I take the plunge.

"Are you in pain? Do you want me to get the nurse again?"

"Yes, I'm in pain," she moans, pitifully. "Pain the nurse can't help with and neither can you. You get to keep your baby."

I am stunned. Who could be so insensitive as to place this grieving, unwed mother in the same room with a happy married mom?

With her tears continuing to flow, so does her story. Boyfriend deserts her. Parents are mortified. Want her to abort. She refuses. Insist she give the baby up for adoption. Will kick her out otherwise. Won't pay for college.

And, she is not allowed to see this baby. The one she carried for nine months. The one she longs to hold. The one she longs to keep. The one she loves as only a mother can . . .
Unwed motherhood, even in most of today's cultures, carries the stigma of shame. In Mary's day, the consequences were devastating. Divorce at best. Stoning at worst.

Yet, Mary's absolute faith in God allows her to place all fear aside. She believes the angel when he tells her "with God, nothing is impossible" (Luke 1:37). She trusts He will break through the cultural barriers of her time. That His will will be done.

And, it is.

And, we are saved.
Have you ever known an unwed mother? How did her family treat her and the situation? What was your reaction?

Will you pray with me?
We are so grateful, Father, for Mary's "yes" to your will for her. Our culture can trap us in so many misconceptions and assumptions. Erase those from our hearts and minds. Allow us to see how You see and love how You love. Help us to have the unwavering faith of Mary. Amen.

Psalms 72 or 111, 113
Isaiah 28:9-22
Revelation 21:9-21
Luke 1:26-38


  1. Martha, what a great post! This made me cry for many personal reasons. My mom fell pregnant with me out of wedlock, married my dad but the marriage fell apart before I was born. This was such a scandal for the family that they wanted her to have me adopted. Luckily my grandfather stopped the process. Sad thing, papers were already signed and it took 5 days before she could actually hold me. We live in such a cruel world!

  2. Thank you, Nelieta, for stopping by and sharing your so personal and touching story about your mother's experience with you. I'm so glad your grandfather had the courage to do what he did and you ended up being raised by your biological family.
    Yes, this world can be terribly cruel . . .
    Especially when we forget to love as God loves.
    Blessings, my friend!

  3. Sad and heart rendering story...:-)

  4. Yes, Janu, I know, and I hesitated with this when writing it. But, it is true and life is not always a bowl of cherries . . .
    Thanks, as always, for stopping by today!

  5. I have not come across a situation like this...but have heard of times life puts you in a very difficult situation,and the answer is very painful.
    You always bring the gravest issues so simply in your posts...A pleasure to be here.

  6. Thank you for your kind words, Alpana, and I am always glad when you stop by.
    Yes, it is not a happy issue, but it is all too real for so many young women. When I think of Mary, I always recall this poor girl at the hospital.
    Blessings to you!

  7. Ohhh boy this hit daughter became pregnant at 16 and gave birth at was her choice to have an open adoption...Aiden is 3 years old now and we get to see him ...Ariel stayed in the hospital 4 full days with her baby with her and nursed him those 4 days..bonds were daughter is the most unselfish person I know.. she wanted the best for her baby and thought not of herself.....mind you it still hurts..we still miss having him here with us and we both still cry...but she thought about him..and him only....As always....XOXOXOX

  8. What courage your daughter had and still does! What a blessing she was allowed to hold him, nurse him, and can still see him.
    She did, indeed, place his needs above hers and chose what she felt in her heart was the right thing to do.
    Glad you were and are there to love her through it . . .
    Blessings, my friend, and thank you so much for sharing here.

  9. This hit home with me as well. My sister became pregnant at 17 due to date rape. My father wouldn't have it. Didn't believe her, made her marry the man that had raped her. Told her either marry him, put it up for adoption , or have an abortion or never see your mother and sister again. So when I got pregnant at 16 he was even worse, he already didn't like me. I married and kept my baby she is 36 now and a wonderful blessing, I am so glad I have her. <3

  10. Wow, Jan, I am blown away by your stories here . . . it's so, so hard when families don't support us. I hope everything turned out alright for your sister and I am so gratified to know you kept your baby and love her to this day.
    Now, that's a happy ending if ever there was one.
    Thanks so much for sharing this.
    May God bless!

  11. Yes my sister went through a few years of hell but all is well and her daughter has given her 4 wonderful grandchildren as well as a great grandson. The irony to this is if Deb had given up the baby she wouldn't have any children. She developed cancer at 18 and lost her ability to have kids. We were blessed with decisions guided by right thinking.
    I can't imagine how difficult it must have been for your roommate, what a horrible thing to have happen. I pray all turned out well for her in the end.

  12. Wow, this was a really touching story. My heart goes out to all the unwed mothers. It's hard enough, in today's world and economy to get buy when you are wed..I can't imagine the struggles they face.

  13. I didn't become an 'unwed mother' till after my children were born. I think the nurses probably put that young mom in the room with the PERFECT person even though it might have seemed awkward at the time ;-x

  14. Thank you all for stopping by today!
    @Jan - I'm so glad to hear that, despite initial problems, all turned out so beautifully for your sister - four grands and a great! Wow! Thanks for sharing this uplifting story.
    @Jessica - Yes, it is hard enough with the family intact. Unless family helps out, I don't know how many single, young moms can make it out there . . .
    @Linda - I know exactly what you mean by 'unwed mother' - been there, done that, too. It's tough! I don't think I said anything that I would consider of comfort to this young lady at the time, I just listened. Maybe, that was all she needed.

    Thanks for all your wonderful comments!
    Merry Christmas!

  15. Martha...I'm deeply moved by this...Thank you for sharing..It will be my reflection over Christmas ♥

  16. Martha: The Lord works in mysterious ways. Maybe she needed to see a happy family to give her hope for a different future. We don't know what she needed or what she took from that experience but I believe it was perfect for both of you. XOXOX

  17. Hi, Corinne and Linda! Just love seeing you both here as always!
    @Corinne - I saw your message on FB and am so honored and touched by this. I'm glad it spoke to you so vividly.
    @Linda - Love your outlook on this! I, too, hope that she grew from this and that she and her child have both enjoyed fulfilling lives. It was a good experience for me - I gained an insight and empathy I wouldn't have otherwise.

    Blessings to you both!

  18. That's a sad story and I feel so sorry for the poor young mother...It's hard to believe that they put her in a room with yourself; not a good decision for anyone involved. Mary had unwavering faith that I find that so inspiring. Merry Xmas Martha!!!!

  19. I know, David, and I hesitated to share this at first, but God moved, and I answered. He wanted this story told so we could all maybe understand what Mary was up against when she agreed to be all but shunned from society for the rest of her life. She trusted in God that much . . . yes, may we all have that unwavering faith.

    Merry Christmas to you and to Cody!


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