Beverly Nault–The First Miracle
A warm welcome to my guest blogger, Beverly Nault, a contributor to the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series. Her story, “Camouflaged Christmas,” appears in 21 Days of Christmas. I’m excited for her blog post, one that comes just in time for Mother’s Day!
The account of Jesus’ first miracle always intrigues me because it’s not only the first time he exercised his supernatural abilities for all to witness, but when you consider the circumstances, it was truly a humbling way to reveal his divinity. In John 2:1-11, At a wedding in Cana, Jesus’ mother Mary makes a simple request of him, not for herself, but for the hosts. Their wine has run out, and they are left with only water for their guests, an embarrassing development for that era. Even though Jesus argues it’s not the time, he still honors his mother and carries out the transformation of water into wine, demonstrating his devotion to her. He could have refused, arguing that his first miracle should be more epic, more monumentally impressive, in a more earth shattering way. But what did he do? He obeyed his mom, and honored her request. What can we learn from his example?
Here are five simple ways we can honor our mothers, grandmothers, mothers-in-law, and women in mentorship, in the spirit of how Jesus reacted to his mother Mary.
- Share her joy. Maybe her request was simple and insignificant to Jesus, but to Mary, providing the wine was important. In the same way, we may not fully understand our mother’s requests, but they can be an important way to honor her, and even a poignant way to connect. My friend Debbie’s* mother, an immigrant from England, enjoys afternoon high tea, and while Debbie finds it tedious, still makes a point to join her mother at least once a month in the ritual. On several occasions she’s found teashops that offer the service for a special outing. In her case, water to tea is a simple way to follow his example that means the world to her mother.
- Really listen to her. Jesus heard Mary’s request. I imagine he was probably busy catching up with friends and enjoying himself. But he paused to hear her. All our screens, and commitments, and busy-ness distract our attention, but to truly engage, it’s important to focus. Eileen’s got four children and a full time job. Recently, her mother stopped by, and while Eileen supervised homework while distracted by texts from the soccer coach, her mom said, “Please, can you give me just a few moments of your undivided attention? The biopsy was bad.” In those few words, Eileen realized she’d taken her mother, and her good health, for granted. What might we be missing if we don’t really listen?
- Embrace what’s important to her. There’s inevitably an age gap, and most probably differences in approaches to many things, including childcare, time management, even career choices. Finding out what’s important to her can be a stepping-stone to a deeper friendship. Jenny asked her aunt Sylvia, who helped raise her for a time, about her decision not to marry. Their conversation led to Jenny’s understanding that Sylvia had sacrificed marriage for ministry, and gave Jenny a new way to understand her. Jesus may not have believed the wedding wine was of the highest priority on his to-do list, but not only did he change it, he made that water into the best wine possible because his mother believed it was important.
- Forgive her. One of the oldest maxims is that the definition of being a mother is feeling guilty. Every mother, even Mary, is a human being and needs forgiveness from time to time. Is she getting forgetful? Does she say unkind things? Is her filter gone? Does she have quirks that used to be amusing, but are becoming annoying? A gentle hug, a kind word, and a smile can help get past awkward moments like these. When my friend Sandi calls her mother-in-law in another state, she expects her to repeat herself because they have few things in common any longer. Homebound due to blindness, her mother often babbles on, but Sandi tries not to let that stop her from laughing at the same anecdotes or listening with interest to her worn out stories. Perhaps your relationship is strained because of real injustice or slights. Carrying resentment for her won’t heal, but Jesus can, and we can ask for his touch and forgiveness for ourselves as well. Jesus never tires of hearing our requests, listening to our stories, or granting forgiveness, and neither should we.
- Pray for her. Anita’s mother-in-law, Lois, hasn’t fully accepted her into the family, even after eight years of marriage to her son and giving her two grandchildren. But Anita says she recently stopped resenting, and began praying for her mother-in-law, not just for acceptance and full reconciliation, but also for her health, spiritual walk, and all Lois’ relationships. The walls haven’t completely worn down yet, but Anita admits her own walk with Jesus has become deeper. She’s beginning to notice subtle differences and realizes her own pride and refusal to accept her husband’s mother, who is from a different culture and background, was part of the problem. She thinks it will be a miracle if her mother-in-law accepts her someday, but isn’t that the business Jesus is in, even from that first Mother’s Day Miracle?
The fifth commandment reminds us to honor our father and mother, and Jesus’ first miracle gives us an illustration we can follow. Let’s make a commitment to honor the mothers in our lives as God commands by following Jesus’ example.
“What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.” John 2:11 NIV
*names changed for privacy
Thanks again for sharing with me and my followers, Beverly!
Beverly Nault writes non-fiction, fiction, short stories, book reviews, and is a freelance editor. Her popular Seasons of Cherryvale is a six book, cozy fiction series set in a small town where neighbors care, gardeners share, and God allows do-overs.