Patti Armstrong is an award-winning author and was the managing editor and co-author of Ascension Press’ bestselling Amazing Grace series. Her latest books are: Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories From Everyday Families and Dear God, You Can’t Be Serious. She has a B.A. in social work and an M.A. in public administration and worked in both those fields before staying home to work as a freelance writer. Patti and her husband live in North Dakota, where they are still raising the tail end of their 10 children.
Have you ever searched for three days for your car keys? Or your wallet? Have you ever tried to get reservations somewhere that was completely booked? It’s stressful. Yet, it’s nothing compared to riding a donkey––as opposed to a heated car—while pregnant, looking for a place to have a baby; or searching for three days for Jesus, knowing he’s the Savior, yet not understanding why he is lost.
While meditating on the Seven Sorrows of Our Blessed Mother, I considered that agony of Jesus was her agony also. But besides the pain of her son’s passion and death, were the stressful situations that came with being the mother of Jesus Christ. For instance: her betrothed thinking the worst of her pregnancy, Simeon’s prophecy that a sword would pierce her, fleeing Egypt in the middle of the night because Herod wanted her son dead, murmurings of ill-intent among leaders, the accusations that Jesus was working with Beelzebub and also breaking God’s law on the Sabbath. Yet, the Blessed Mother never lashed out: “He is God, you fools!” Nor did she wring her hands and tell God: “I think I’ve had about enough of this!”
The Blessed Mother had stress, but she was never stressed out. She couldn’t have been. She had total faith in God and a complete union with whatever he was allowing in her life.
First Miracle About Stress
During adoration while I was still working on this article, the thought suddenly came to me that the very first miracle Jesus performed in the Bible was due to Mary’s response to someone else’s stress. I’m convinced God let me know that I had forgotten to mention something very important regarding stress and his mother.
Of course! I thought as the magnitude of my inspiration sunk in. Mary did not just experience stress first hand but the first miracle took place because she cared about the stress of others.
Years ago, during a homily, I heard a priest say that Jesus’ occurred only because his mother asked him to help when the wine at the wedding at Cana had run out. Jesus said it was not his time yet. However, his mother came to him for help, not for herself but for someone else. Jesus responded by changing water into wine.
The priest noted that changing water into wine seemed to be the least important miracle Jesus ever performed. It was not about life and death, exorcism, leprosy, or a physical handicap; it was about wine. “If they had drunk all the wine, did they even need any more?” the priest asked.
The miracle at Cana was done to relieve someone’s stress. That is an amazing response by God through the intercession of his mother. The Blessed Mother cares about our stress and will ask her son to help us.
Gary Zimak is an author, speaker, and radio host that specializes in getting stress and worry under control. Before he was able to do that himself, anxiety used to overwhelm him. His most recent book is Stop Worrying & Start Living.
In an email interview, Zimak stated that Our Blessed Mother certainly experienced stressful situations and knew what it was like to be confused. “Sometimes we forget that the Blessed Mother had free will and could have rejected Gabriel’s invitation to become the mother of the Messiah,” he said. “Mary wasn’t given all the answers up front. She was told what God wanted her to know and that was it.”
“It was through Mary’s great trust and desire to do God’s will that she consented to the request of the angel,” Zimak said. “And as a result, we received our Savior.
“The Blessed Mother is your mother and wants to help you,” Zimak said. “Turn to her whenever you become overwhelmed with uncertainty in your life.”
Mary always wants what God wants and God doesn’t want us to worry, according to Zimak and God tells us that throughout the Bible. “He wants to help you and is willing to hold your hand and walk with you each day if you’ll let him.
“No matter how bleak your life looks or what problems you are facing, God has given you another day—and he has big plans for you,” Zimak said. “He loves you unconditionally; nothing you do will ever change that. Everything that will happen to you today is sent by God as an expression of his love and designed to help you get to heaven.”