This week in the GPS guide we will explore the lives of Mary and John, and their lives both as they witnessed the crucifixion and after as his followers received the Holy Spirit and began their ministry as Christ’s people.

As a mother, Mary is near and dear to my heart, and an example to follow. I always thought I was ready to do hard things God asked me to, at least in theory. Then my children reached adulthood and started following God’s call on their lives. That’s when I discovered what real faith and commitment meant and began to truly appreciate Mary. God’s call on my children’s lives has included some real adventures for them, and many, many sleepless nights for Mom!

I’ve heard God ask, “Whose child is this? Yours or mine? Are you willing to pray for My will to be done in this child’s life, whatever it is?”

I won’t even pretend that my answer was as instant or as graceful as Mary’s, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” To me, the greatest example of faith in Scripture is that when Simeon blesses the child Jesus and prophesies his future and then tells Mary, “…and a sword will pierce your own soul, too,” Mary continued on, through his adulthood, ministry and horrible death. She remained faithful and saw the risen Jesus and the beginnings of the early church.

God is good, and I have come to remember that those amazing human beings I think of as mine are, indeed, God’s children and I want God’s will for their lives, scary as it may be.

You may have a child, or some other loved one, that you hold so dear that their struggles and pains pierce your heart. Mary must have taken comfort in God’s promises, and that is what we must do when we pray for God’s will for those we love.

Since this week also brings us St. Patrick’s day, I offer this prayer and blessing from the Celtic Christian tradition, to pray for all those nearest and dearest to our hearts, and for ourselves as well:

May the Father of Life pour out His grace on you;
may you feel His hand in everything you do
and be strengthened by the things He brings your through;
this is my prayer for you.

May the Son of God be Lord in all your ways;
may He shepherd you the length of all your days,
and in your heart may He receive the praise:
this is my prayer for you.

And despite how simple it may sound,
I pray that His grace will abound
and motivate everything you do;
and may the fullness of His love be shared through you.

May His Spirit comfort you, and make you strong,
may He discipline you gently when you’re wrong,
and in your heart may He give you a song:
this is my prayer for you.

May Jesus be Lord in all your ways,
may He shepherd you the length of all of all your days,
and in your heart may He receive the praise:
this is my prayer for you.