How do we walk with the Lord on His journey, especially in this year of so much change and uncertainty. Surrender. Endure. Grieve. Resurrect. That’s how.

Day #2: Endure

Two weeks ago, I read the part of Mary for a Stations of the Cross written from her perspective.

I didn’t like it. The poetry is beautiful and heart-wrenching. Each station ends with Mary accepting what is happening in silence: I watched, silently. I cried, silently. I walked, silently.

It confronted me powerfully, as a mother. It forced me to think through the reasons why Mary, Mother of God, whose strong, brave voice raised in obedience is what started this whole ball rolling, would be relegated to silence through the passion and death of her son.

I wanted her to rage—against Pilate, against Herod, against the priests of her own faith who were killing her son. I wanted the women of Jerusalem to rise up behind her, raise their hands and voices to heaven and call down the archangels to smite them all.

This is why women like me don’t get picked for these kinds of jobs.

Fine. But why, then. And what can we learn from it?

I knew this had to be.

This line is also in each station. An acknowledgment that even though Mary didn’t know or fully understand what was coming, she believed that something was coming. She believed it more strongly than the Apostles, more strongly than anyone. She had surrendered to his plan. God had promised his people a savior. Gabriel said that her baby was the Son of God and would assume the throne of David and His kingdom would never end.  She knew, as she followed her broken and bleeding son through the streets of Jerusalem, that this was not that. And though she grieved for her son in his pain and suffering, her faith never waivered.

She endured.

And that my friends, is what we should learn from her. Resilience founded in faith, that God is always with us and we can do hard things. She didn’t turn away. She stayed in her skin. She witnessed his pain and death, she lived her own agony as he suffered and still, she endured.

If she attacked the soldiers, if she crumbled into a broken shell in the corner, or someone tried to shield her, she would have missed it. And the thing is, it would have happened anyway. There was no way to avoid it. Only delay the terrible reckoning: this thing happened. She chose to be present because she believed in God’s plan.

It had to be endured.

The same is true for us. The sorrows in our lives cannot be ignored, unwitnessed, unacknowledged, shielded from us. They will happen anyway. And our attempts to deny or flee them doesn’t save us from the reckoning, only delays it. They must be endured. The only way out is through. Like Jesus, who endured it all for us, like Mary his Mother who endured it for him and, by the grace of God, we too are strong enough to endure. 

Mary Meets Jesus~ Jen


It’s Holy Week. So I’m going to be repentant and reflective one more time. And then, with the Easter season, we will embrace the warmth and light and love of Spring.

When I first saw The Passion, it was on DVD. There was no way I was facing that thing down on a large screen. I knew it would hurt me, and it did. Not when they flog Jesus. Not when they nail Him to the Cross.

When Mary meets Jesus.

She’s following her Son, but not where He can see her. She’s hiding. She knows she has to witness her Son’s pain. But she’s terrified.

She leans against a wall, agonized. He’s coming, she can hear the crowd, and if she doesn’t turn now, He won’t see her. Then He falls. And in her memories, she sees Him fall as a baby. As she did when He was young, she runs to Him and says “I am here”.

Watch it here.

Jesus’ suffering was immense, and purchased my salvation. He is my Lord and Savior.

But I relate to the women of the Passion: suffering Mary, brave Veronica, and the weeping women of Jerusalem. Now that I have children, Mary’s story is personal.  She was obedient, but God asked so much of her and her faith never waivered.

How did she survive it?

My journey this Lent has been to let go—of the paralyzing fear that feeds my need to control and steals my joy.

And Mary’s story, the loss of a child, is the thing I fear the most. The Worst Thing.

I found a story a few months ago, when Glennon from Momastery posted it on her Facebook page. I think that reading this story was the first step on my Lenten path. I believe that examples of Mary walk among us. And I believe this is how we survive the Worst Thing:

Nelba Marquez-Greene’s daughter, Ana, died at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14.

On January 14, Ana’s parents gave an interview to Good Morning America. You can see it here. It’s rough. Nelba’s pain is fresh, her face is worn.

Afterwards, through a mountain of love and support, some folks also called her motivations into question.

Nelba responded on Facebook:

I wept when I read some of the comments after our interviews. Most were beautiful. Some suggested we were actors. Oh how I wish that to be so. It was purely by God’s grace we had the strength to stand yesterday and everyday since December 14th. One comment read, “So fake. These people are actors. What 6 year old loves God”? Well I’m here to let you know that our six year old loved God! So DOES my eight year old. So do I. So does my husband…For me, love is not about what others choose to feel or act or say. It’s about what I choose to feel or act or say. I choose love. 

Then she said this:

Evil visited Newtown. Now it’s our choice to respond. We choose good. We choose life. We choose hope. We choose that even though we’re sad and we weren’t perfect parents we got one thing right- we invested in eternal things.

Eternal things. An Ultimate Plan. A Life after Death.

Jesus died on that cross to save us. It was horrible and painful and bloody. But it was also Glorious and Loving and Amazing. God’s love wins.

That’s what Mary knew. That’s how she survived the Worst Thing. That’s what Nelba knows. That’s how she’s surviving the Worst Thing.

On Sunday morning, we celebrate the victory. No more fear. God’s love wins.