I just received the best most humbling compliment from my nearly adopted son. He came up to me and told me I was the best Mommy in the world, then paused and said I was the second best. I was curious about who he considered the best. I figured it was probably his biological mom because he's so proud of her for getting and staying clean even though that wonderful transformation happened after it was too late to get him back. There were a few other wonderful mother's I could think of who he might choose as best. Moms who aren't as loud as me, as bossy as me, as chubby as me... Moms who go on lots of field trips, are smarter, funnier, just plain cooler than me. So I asked him, "who is the best mommy?" He looked up and me and smiled, "the Theotokos." He placed me second to the mother of our Lord! How unworthy was I of such a standing in his eyes! She was the first to say "yes" to Jesus and I have said "no" to Him so many times. She cradled Him in her arms and followed Him to the cross in sorrow and humility. I've run from that same cross when small things seem hard to bear. But she was prepared from childhood to be the mother of our Lord. She said yes in so many ways before she even knew what/whom she was saying yes to. She truly was one full of grace as the angel Gabriel told her (Luke 1:28). She really was and is blessed among women as Elizabeth proclaimed (Luke 1:42). All generations should call her blessed as she attests herself and the Holy Scriptures record for our instruction (Luke 1:48).
In a way I've been prepared from my infancy for the joy, sorrow and chaos of raising many children, including children not born from my body. My childhood was fill with watching my family show hospitality to the poor and needy. Caring for the broken and downhearted. All of those lessons taught to me by demonstration slowly prepared me to be able to want and truly love the children our Lord has brought to our home. When a child innocently compares you to someone who is Holy it is very sobering. It really makes one think of all the mistakes made. The times I've owed an apology but was too proud or lazy to seek the child out and ask for forgiveness. The times I jumped too quickly to a conclusion or exasperated my children. The times I've set a bad example or proved what a hypocrite I am...it is enough to make one fall deep into despair. But if we can crawl through that tunnel of despair and step out on the other side there are treasures there as well. If one can't be perfect then those treasures on the other side prepare us for success in the future. Gems like humility, long suffering, perseverance, edification, joy, love...these all fill our treasure troves to the brim so we can had these gems to our children. Of course sometimes we find that we hand out plastic instead of pearls. When we find ourselves there, through prayer and repentance, we can replace the imitation with the real thing producing in our children treasures our grandchildren can then inherit.
Let the treasure hunting begin:)