Today I’m happy to share a post from my friend and fellow M.O.M. Initiative contributor, Julie Sanders. Julie’s new book EXPECTANT: 40 Devotions for New and Expectant Moms offers encouragement and biblical perspective for new mothers.
In EXPECTANT, Julie reminds us of the precursor to the Christmas story—the tale of Elizabeth and Zechariah, who waited into their old age for a child. Are you a mom in waiting? Are you struggling to reconcile the realities of motherhood with your dreams of what you thought it would be like? Julie shares how Elizabeth’s story applies to each one of us. Read and be encouraged!
When it was his turn, her husband Zechariah went to serve in the temple. As if to answer the couple’s shared, but tired, expectations, an angel of the Lord met Elizabeth’s husband beside the altar. The messenger brought news that God would do more than they had asked year after year. Abba would defy their age and destroy what everyone expected, giving them a son. Their prayers had been heard. The aged mom-to-be secretly said, “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me,” (Luke 1:25a).
By the time the news came, Elizabeth had long since laid her expectations to rest. For so many years, she hoped with hesitation turned to heaviness. She waited to feel her womb full with a child long enough for other women to conceive, grow, give birth, and raise their beloveds to families of their own. But her womb and her arms had been empty even as she dutifully welcomed child after child.
Whether a woman embarks on the mothering journey at a traditional time in a typical way, or at a surprising time in singular way, God reveals Himself in motherhood. Children are given under the Father’s tender, watchful eye. God knows the longings and limitations of His own children, and He sees how every mother’s heart is expectant.
Elizabeth conceived as the angel foretold. For his lack of faith, her husband waited wordlessly throughout her pregnancy. He believed in the power of his expectations, instead of the One who exceeds our hopes. Together, the aged man and wife became the humbled father and mother, for becoming a parent has a way of exposing our weakness and sending us to our knees. The elderly first-time mother must have wondered if she could manage an infant in her season of life, but as I share in EXPECTANT, “If He has given you a child to nurture, He can give you the energy and wisdom and desire to raise that child well.”
After most of a lifetime spent waiting and wondering, God did more than Elizabeth could ask or imagine, giving her a son who would be John the Baptist. Her boy was born just before Jesus and was sent to announce the coming Prince of Peace. God exceeded her expectations in the perfect time and in the perfect way.
Could God want to do more than what you expect in your life and in your child’s life? Mothers have the chance to see God do more than a mom’s heart could ever hope.
It’s easy to expect the normal path of family and mothering. I find myself struggling to have faith when it’s not like I expected. Help me trust You. I need You to lead me on this journey as a woman. Would You go beyond my small expectations and do more than I have hoped?
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Julie lives where tea is sweet and grits are cheesy. She and her husband of 25 years have two nearly grown kids. EXPECTANT: 40 Devotions for New and Expectant Moms was born when God brought a group of young couples into their lives, just as they began to long to grow their families. Julie loves to teach God’s word to women in her hometown and across the globe; she is passionate about fighting human trafficking and helping women of all tribes and tongues find God’s peace for life. Check out Julie’s blog home Come Have a Peace (www.juliesanders.org) and Marriage Mondays to find reasons for peace and information about her ministry.