Moms know this often-used description is correct. You can do some shaping and molding, but it's never easy, and kids grow up quickly and become "hardened" in such a hurry! A mom hopes to leave a significant imprint in that wet cement, and by the grace of God, that imprint can be a blessing and reminder of grace all her child's life.
The Bible hints to us that God specifically chose Mary to be the mom of Jesus to help imprint the wet cement of the Savior. There was something about both Mary and Joseph that led God to choose them to love, raise, form, and shape the Messiah!
Some are a little uncomfortable having anyone talk about mortals leaving an imprint — a mere mortal making an impression — on the Lord, our Savior, the Son of God. Yet if we listen carefully, the Holy Spirit quietly whispers this truth to us.
At age 12, after Jesus had declared that he had to be focused on his Father's work at the temple, the Bible says:
Then [Jesus] went down to Nazareth with them [Mary and Joseph] and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man (Luke 2:51-52).
At some level, Jesus realized his responsibility to honor God as his Father. After amazing everyone in the Temple courts with his understanding and answers to religious questions (Luke 2:45-47), Jesus went home. He obeyed his parents. He continued to grow up under their influence into the young man God wanted him to become!
Jesus was still wet cement, and Mary and Joseph were responsible for molding, shaping, and imprinting that cement! They weren't alone in this; God was at work shaping Jesus' life (Luke 2:40), much like he is partnered with any godly parents to form children of faith (Psalm 139:13-16; Ephesians 6:1-40).
Mary and Joseph's influence on Jesus was no accident! They were chosen by God (Luke 1:28-32). God chose them for some reasons we will probably never know, but Scripture does give us clues about some of the reasons he chose Mary and her betrothed, Joseph, to raise the Messiah. They were people of righteous character (Luke 1:34; Luke 2:39-40), gracious compassion (Matthew 1:19), and had godly family connections (Luke 1:5-17; Luke 1:39-45) with a group of very devout people who longed for God to intervene and bring redemption (Luke 2:21-38).
The role of a human mother and father shaping the development of the Messiah doesn't diminish the divinity of Jesus; it was part of God's plan. In Jesus, God chose to become human flesh and live among us as one of us (John 1:14). Jesus was God among us and one of us in every way (Hebrews 2:14-18; Hebrews 4:14-16).
Mary and Joseph remind us. As parents, we are in a divine partnership to form God's child "on loan" to us for a while. Our role is to shape, influence, mold, and imprint that child in ways that glorify the Father. We see parenthood redefined as something much more than contributing DNA to make a baby. We understand the vital role of moms and dads as nurturing a child to discover his or her calling; the calling God designed into that child when the Father created that child uniquely, with purpose and for a relationship with him (Psalm 139:13-16).
As we approach Mother's Day, I want to remind each mom — biological mom, adoptive mom, grandmother mom, church mom, foster mom — that you are so much more than a Michelangelo. Legend has it that someone came to Michelangelo and asked if he could watch the master sculptor as he did his magic in marble. For several days, Michelangelo did nothing other than look at the massive block of marble from every angle and in different lighting conditions. Finally, growing tired of this indiscernible process, the onlooker broke the great sculptor's concentration and asked what in the world he was doing. Michelangelo reportedly said, "I am looking for the masterpiece hidden in this marble I must release."
Moms unlock the masterpiece embedded in the gift of the child God has placed in her care. God chose you to add value, to help shape, to use your influence, and to leave your imprint in the formation of a person who will live forever! You don't work in marble or even wet cement but in flesh and blood and soul. You are a divine partner with God, seeking to leave an imprint of faith, hope, and love in a child given you by grace to love, influence, and mold.
Happy Mother's Day, and thanks for all you have done to leave an imprint of faith in our lives!