Mary has been an example of faith to me for a long time. I think her story can resonate with many people whatever their church affiliation is. I admire her courage to say yes to God’s plan and her devotion to our Savior Jesus.
Grieving Single Mom Meets Mary The Mother of Jesus by Matthew Kohrell
“Grieving is a process that differs for each person, so there is no one way to grieve that is the right way. You will find your way through the process.” Marlys tried to find reassurance in those words as she left her grieving support group, but she wondered if anyone could really understand the depths of her loss. She was weary of cliches she was hearing from acquaintances at church, people she only knew in passing. Emptiness was her constant companion and it was relentless in causing her agony. Still after group, for some reason she thought it might be helpful to stop for a caramel frappe at The Harbor, so she drove over after her support group.
Cindy and Jessica knew Marlys from church, so when they saw Marlys approach the door they looked at each other and nodded the mutually understood need. Jessica went to the backroom to pray while Cindy chatted with Marlys as she took her order.
“Marlys it is good to see you here,” Cindy sought to reassure her friend.
Marlys mustered a slight smile, “It is good to be here Cindy, How are you?”
Cindy didn’t want to press too hard, “I am good. I am glad you are here. Do you want your usual?”
Marlys nodded yes and then stepped back to wait for her frappe.
Cindy finished the frappe, turned around and handed it to Marlys, “Here you go sweetie.”
Marlys managed to whisper a simple thanks and went to sit down by the window. It seemed safer to just sit alone and stare out a window looking at many things but actually not focusing on anything at all. She was lost in her thoughts and memories of her late husband Dan and her son Joshua. Dan had died of cancer several years ago. She had moved on with her life as a single mom of two, her son Joshua and her daughter Anna. It is one thing to lose a spouse. Losing a child is a pain too terribly deep to handle at times especially for a mom. She could still vividly remember the night when her Joshua was born and holding him in her arms for the first time. She treasured the memories of his first steps, his first words, when he learned to ride a bike, his first day of school, graduating high school. He was just about to begin college when that drunk driver hit Joshua while he was riding his bicycle to work a few months ago. Marlys was deep in in her mind oblivious to all around her when there was a gentle voice trying to get her attention.
“May I join you Marlys?” the kind voice asked.
Marlys turned to see the woman. The woman had kind eyes and a gentle spirit about her. Marlys nodded yes as she looked down a bit.
The woman looked into Marlys’s sunken hollow eyes. Marlys’s spirit was broken and it showed through her eyes. “Marlys I know you just came from the support group. I am here to chat with you if that is okay.” The woman explained.
Marlys was confused, “How do you know I was at the group? How do you know my name? Who are you?” Marlys asked not in a demanding way but more from a sort of dazed curiosity.
“I know you were at the group and I know your name because God told me. My name is Mary. I wanted to talk with you because I can understand what you are going through,” Mary replied.
“How can anyone understand me?” Marlys was skeptical and felt it wasn’t possible.
“I can understand because I have experienced the death of my husband and my son,” Mary confided.
“How did it happen?” Marlys asked. She was beginning to feel a slight glimmer of hope.
“My husband Joseph died of natural causes years before my son died. My son was executed as a criminal even though he was innocent.” Mary shared.
“A criminal? Who was your son?” Marlys wanted to know.
“My Son is Jesus the Son of God and I am Mary the Mother of Jesus. My son Jesus was crucified for our sins. The religious leaders conspired for it, The Roman governor agreed to it. But the charges were baseless.” Mary explained.
“So you are saying you are Mary the Mother of Jesus?” Marlys inquired more out of a desire to clarify.
“Yes, I am and I am here for you Marlys because my Son Jesus loves you. He knows you are hurting. He also knows you are his faithful daughter. I am here because as a mother I can understand what you are going through.” Mary elaborated.
“It’s just that I feel so empty, so hollow. I don’t want Jesus to think of me as a failure, but when I go to church, I feel nothing. The pastor is kind and his wife is too. I just feel numb.” Marlys was able to finally confide in someone.
“I understand Marlys. I felt so empty myself. More so when my son Jesus was crucified, My husband Joseph was a good man and took me as his wife even though I was pregnant with God’s son. He was older than me and had been sick for a while, so it was not a surprise when he died . Life was difficult but Jesus was old enough to take over his earthly step-dad’s carpentry business, so that made life somewhat easier.” Mary shared.
“My husband Dan had a great life insurance policy, so I could focus on my kids after he died. But my Joshua. He had so much life ahead of him. I can’t handle this.” Marlys was finally starting to feel she could express feelings for the first time.
Mary continued, “I know. The death of someone young is hard especially the death of one’s child. No matter how old they are, for us moms, they are always our children. My son died when he was in his early thirties and at what seemed to me to be the height of his ministry.”
Marlys was feeling a calmness in her spirit for the first time in months, so she expressed, “I don’t know why, but I feel I believe you when you say you are Mary the mother of Jesus. Can you tell me more?”
“Certainly,” Mary replied. “Jesus had been active in public ministry for about three years when his passion week happened. I shouldn’t have been surprised. Even when he was a baby a man named Simeon warned me that a sword would pierce my own soul too. I had seen the religious leaders of the day, the Pharisees, oppose Jesus. But when he was arrested, it surprised me. I was there at the cross and watched him die. He was barely recognizable because of the severe beating they inflicted on him. I wanted to comfort him but all I could do was stand there so he could see I was there. I wanted to hold him, to hug him like I did when he was a boy, but he was up on the cross and I couldn’t reach him. Even if I could reach him, I would not have been able to because of the soldiers standing there. Even in his suffering, he was such a good son. While he was dying he gave me over to the care of John his close friend and follower. In those days a widow needed to be cared for by someone because we did not have anything like life insurance. Even as he was dying he showed he was truly God’s son when he asked The Father to forgive the people who did it to him. When he took his last breath and died, a sword of suffering cut through my soul and spirit. I couldn’t believe that my beautiful son who healed people had just died. Strange things were happening all around us that afternoon, but my son Jesus was my only focus. When he died, all of us thought it was over. He was supposed to be the Messiah, the promised one. He was supposed to be the Savior of the world and there he was dead. The grief was so sudden and overwhelming that I could barely walk. John and my friend Mary Magdalene had to help me walk.”
Tears were flowing down Marlys’s face as her lips quivered, “You do understand how I feel. Death is so horrible. My beautiful boy is gone.”
“But not gone forever my friend,” Mary reassured. “Jesus was dead but not done. He died on a Friday before sundown. On the third day, Sunday morning, he arose from the dead. He defeated death. He was alive again and forever more. The good news is that he will share that eternal life with anyone who believes in, trusts in him. And I more have good news for you Marlys.”
Faith was bubbling up in Marlys. For the first time in what seemed like eternity, Marlys felt hope. She jumped at Mary’s comment, “What good news?”
“Your son is in heaven. He has no pain. He only knows the wonderful joy of being with Jesus in heaven. And because of your faith in Jesus, one day in the future, you will see your son again.” Mary encouraged Marlys.
“Oh yes, I can see my Joshua again.” Marlys responded. “I feel sorry for not remembering that. I am so sorry for being in such a fog. I am, I mean I don’t know how to tell Jesus.”
Mary stopped Marlys by tenderly taking Marlys’s hand. “Dear, Jesus understands you. Remember, he is our sympathetic high priest. He lived in this world. He was there when Joseph died and helped me through that experience. He understands you. There is one more thing my dear.”
“What is it?” Marlys asked.
“You still have a purpose in this life. Your daughter needs you. You have friends here. Let them in. God has more for you in this life and when the time comes, many years from now, you will see your son again and also your husband. I need to go now dear. I think your friend is coming over. Bye for now.” with that Mary was gone.
“Hi Marlys, Can I join you?” Cindy asked.
Marlys looked up to see Cindy’s soft brown eyes that reminded her of Mary’s eyes. “Yes, please.”
From the author- I hope you have a blessed Good Friday and Easter and I hope this story blesses you as a part of the observance of our Lord suffering, death, and resurrection.
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