Today we remember the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary who, according to apocryphal sources, were named Joachim and Anne. At the beginning of one such account—the Protoevangelium of James the Less—we find Joachim fasting in the wilderness and Anne mourning in her garden, both yearning for a child. Foreshadowing another heavenly visit, an angel appears to Anne with the joyful news that she will conceive. Anne and Joachim share a ‘tremendous embrace’ and Mary arrives, dedicated to God in thanksgiving by Joachim and Anne. Scripture continues to the stories we all know: another angelic appearance, a world-changing ‘yes,’ a flight to Egypt, and a tumultuous walk through motherhood.
Though the canonical scripture contains no account of Joachim and Anne, it does tell us so much about the faith of Mary and her trust in God. I think most parents hope that the seeds we plant for the faith lives of our children will grow and strengthen in the years ahead. Sometimes they blossom quickly, and others take a season or two to bear fruit. One of these seeds is trusting in God’s love for us and desire to see us whole.
Our family recently embarked on a huge leap of faith that required my best ‘I’m trusting God’ face for my children. My husband is a priest and took a new call, so we moved to a new state, church, school, daycare, and house. I cannot speak for Paul, but I spent lots of time in prayer asking God for reassurance that this was the right choice for our family.
Would my children make new friends easily?
Would this new church treat Paul well and be a loving hub of ministry?
Would our daughters like their new school and teachers as much as their old ones?
Would our toddler’s new childcare provider share the same love as the one who had been with him most of his life?
And what about me? Would I find new mom friends and how would my relationships with my current, close-knit group of support and guidance change? I mirrored our daughters’ feelings when they expressed anxiety, but also sought to convey stability and optimism in the face of my own questions.
We drove for two days through pouring rain and arrived in the new state and new house, which I had never seen before. Paul visited on his own as I had work and parenting commitments, so he came home from his interview with videos and personal reflections. We walked through the door and the reassurance I had been so desperately seeking for two months washed over me. Our new home is bright, beautiful, and bursting with love notes from our new community in the form of a stocked pantry, fridge, gift cards to local businesses, and even a binder with babysitter information!
Sure, this is the honeymoon phase where everyone loves each other and there is very little conflict. But I also have absolute trust that this is where God has called us. It is difficult to describe the confidence I feel other than to say that it is, as Paul writes in Philippians, ‘a peace which surpasses all understanding.’ Trusting in God, as Joachim, Anne, and Mary knew so well, is always a leap of faith. Thank goodness Mary had strong examples to reassure her that God would be with her.
Even when an angel appears to you, like your mother, with unbelievable news.
Even when you are raising a teenager.
Even when unthinkable pain descends on you.
Especially on Easter morning.
Take some time to journal about the topic of trusting God. Describe a time it was difficult for you to trust God or pray about something for which you are still seeking clarity.