Losing Mary

Guest blog post by:

Jennifer Freudenburg, Project Manager        

Concordia Center for the Family

Concordia University, Ann Arbor


What a winter we had this year!  At Christmas, my husband and I put out a wooden 3-D manger scene in our front yard.  It’s sad to say, but our home was the only one in our neighborhood that had anything Christian to proclaim.  This manger scene began with a paper pattern, and was transferred onto 3/4 inch plywood by my husband and granddaughter.  Then they cut it out with an electric saw and discovered how the pieces fit together to create this profound “proclamation of our faith.”  The next step in the process was for the rest of the grandchildren to paint it before assembling it in our front yard.  What a wonderful time we had with that!

The problem this year though, was once we set up our manger, it became thoroughly frozen to the ground. Not just frozen, but mostly buried!  There was no way it could be taken down.  With the amounts of snow we had this winter, and the freezing rain, we were worried that our poor manger scene would be stuck until the summer.

As the snow began to pile up week after week, we would look at Mary (as she was kneeling) and would say to each other, “We’re losing Mary.”  It rained one weekend and we gave a sigh of relief and said to each other – “Oh, there’s Mary.  We can see her folded hands.”  But finally, we lost Mary – altogether. Jesus and the sheep in the manger were a hopeless cause as they disappeared early on, Joseph was at least recognizable, but we lost Mary!  I mean, we really lost Mary!  My husband and I looked at each other in one of the last big snow falls and just shook our heads.   

One day as we were losing Mary, it made me think of how it just happened.  We couldn’t control the snow fall and we couldn’t control that the manger scene was frozen in the ground.  We just lost Mary.  How often has this happened in our homes?  How often have we just felt helpless? 

I think of a young man I knew, who in puberty contracted the worst case of acne imaginable.  It froze him.  He refused to go out of the house, refused to go to school, and just stopped living beyond his bedroom.  I’m sure his parents could have said – We lost Mary (or Brian or Sam).  Events happened that they couldn’t help or foresee.        

Or what about the parents who see their child go through all the pitfalls of adolescence and they may be saying to themselves – We’re losing Mary (or Melanie or Andria).  Events happened that they couldn’t help or possibly foresee.

Or what about the parents who found the diary of their 14-year-old in which she wrote that she had her first sexual encounter that weekend.  I’m sure these parents could say – We lost Mary (or Kaitlyn or Sarah). 

Or what about the parents who see their child slipping into anorexia/bulimia or see possible signs of drug abuse and they wonder – How did we lose Mary (or Rob or Michelle).

Life just happens around us and often we can’t help what is taking place, we can’t foresee it, and we feel so helpless

For our Mary, there is really nothing we can do until the snow melts and the ground thaws.  For your Mary, maybe the only thing you can do right now is to uphold your children in consecrated prayer.

As Chris Tomlin sings in his song, “Into the darkness you shine.  Out of the ashes we rise.  There is no one like you.  Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.  Our God is healer, awesome in power, our God, our God.” 

If you ever find yourself “Losing your Mary,” trust that God is on your side and offers to uphold you as you walk through the tough issues.

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