My arms were empty tonight. As they have been for several years now.
We went to Candlelight service at our church tonight and I was surrounded by new moms, all with their arms full. Full with babies. Some were cradled, some on hips, some making eyes at those lucky enough to be behind them. Full arms. One of my favorite seasons of being a mom.
I'm out of that season now. I know people told me to enjoy it, and I did. But I don't truly remember the last full-arm-moment. I wish I had remembered to treasure that moment. To remember the why, the smell, the feel, and the moment. Those moments lasted for a long time. But it went fast.
I stood there tonight surrounded by my "babies." And empty arms. I miss my full arms but as I looked at the little young men and women around me, I am enjoying my empty arms. I still glance a little long at the women around me with full arms, but I know that if I focus on times past, I will miss the moments of now. So I welcome my empty arms. Proverbs 31:25 "....and she smiles at the future."
As we sang those old hymns, so rich in picture of that night so long ago, I couldn't help but think of Mary. That night, her arms full, full of joy. She not only cradled her baby, but she cradled God Himself, the sweet Savior. I know she treasured those moments, "But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart." Matthew 2:19 I imagine her savoring his smell, his sweet face, his sounds. Unlike so many countless mothers, Mary wasn't told to enjoy it. It goes fast. No. She was told He would be the Son of the Most High, the Son of God. Simeon told her that a sword would pierce her own soul. He was to be the Salvation for all people. Mary had reason to be fearful of the future. But I don't imagine her to be that way. I believe she smiled at the future. Standing on the promises of God. In that season, in that moment, she had full arms. She treasured those moments when He was cradled, safe in her arms.
She was purposeful in her teaching and as her arms became empty, she watched the young Man she helped to teach and train. I am sure as she watched His life unfold, she missed her full arms but she saw the purpose of her empty ones. He was put here for a purpose, for all people....for her. I can't imagine her season of empty arms. I can't even fathom the heartache she faced. But I do know how thankful she was for empty arms. His empty arms. Stretched out for her. For me.
Tonight, my house is quiet. I am thankful for empty arms. Mine, because I am in a season of mothering that is so wonderfullly fulfilling. I am watching personalities grow and purposes more clear. I am thankful for Mary's empty arms. She cradled and held and loved, full arms, until it was time to let Him go. I am thankful beyond words for my Lord's empty arms, stretched out on a cross to be my substitute. He had nothing from this world to give. His arms empty. But wholly mine.
I pray for empty arms this year. Arms with nothing of this world to give, only myself. Arms willing to take whatever the Lord has purposed for me. Arms raised in total surrender to His Will for me. I smile at the future. And at empty arms.