|Martha Murdy Orlando
"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