By: Deborah Zolotareva | Often at this time of year, those of us who have heard the Christmas story so many times can easily pass through this season and not hear the splendor and majestic story of how our redemption came to pass. We hear the familiar words of the account of Jesus’ birth and we might easily miss the grandeur of, “Immanuel – God with us…”
As women, we often strive to be seen and known. To find favor and to be accepted… and so today I invite you, just for a moment, to look at the heart of one woman, Mary, the mother of Jesus.
“Mary, did you know?”
What was deep within her heart that made her so favored with the God of Creation that He would choose her? When the angel appeared, did she already know… the high cost of sacrificial living? What had she already been through at such a young age that God saw, knew, and found her honoring of Him?
Did her heart pound when the angel, Gabriel appeared and spoke words of faith and encouragement, “You have found favor with God…” Is there any greater accomplishment than to have captured the gaze of God and found His favor? And as the angel spoke the specific details concerning her future and her son, did her heart bend under the weight?
“How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
Did her faith ever waver as the angel explained the details of how she would bare a child? Did she wobble with honest doubt? For what is faith without the honest wrestling of that which cannot be seen and can only be hoped for… and yet, this type of faith is one that understands the high cost. It is not blown and tossed about by the wind – unsure of where it is headed. This faith is deep and steady.
This faith seeks with a willingness to believe… To believe that God works all things out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
When did Mary fully grasp the favor? The sacrifice? How her reputation would be tarnished – her good name ruined. And even if she understood why her fiancé, Joseph planned to call off their marriage, did her heartbreak under the weight of the favor? To be seen and known and found beautifully accepted by God.
And in the midst of these swirling raw emotions, we see her nod and reply with words of deep faith…
“I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”
And Mary becomes pregnant, not by natural means – but supernaturally… And how many questions and uncertainties must have surfaced about her future and that of her son… Questions about relationships, family, and where they would live…
With great wisdom and much grace, the angel reminds her of her relative, Elizabeth, who was also experiencing her own personal miracle. So Mary embarks on a journey to search out wisdom, encouragement, direction, and understanding.
And as women, we cheer as a great cloud of witnesses when we see Elizabeth breathe life into Mary’s young heart! Elizabeth – a woman of faith living with her own set of raw emotions as she experiences an unthinkable miracle of pregnancy after a life of barrenness …
Elizabeth digs deep, quiets Mary’s fears, and speaks life. She calls her blessed.
“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.”
From beginning to end… Elizabeth reminds Mary of her journey. She reminds her of her sacrifice, her faith, her humility, her willingness… she calls attention to Mary’s decision to believe that what the Lord said to her will be accomplished.
And Mary responds with worship…
For when dear and deep friends remind of us of our commitment to follow the King of the Heaven into the unknown, when they hold our hearts gently and firmly with words of faith, when they acknowledge the sacrifice and direct our eyes to the Son of the Most High… we cannot do otherwise than to worship.
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior.
For He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed
for the Mighty One has done great things for me-
Holy is His name.
His mercy extends to those who fear Him
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with His arm
He has scattered those who are proud
in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought rulers down from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.”
God did not choose to select the mother of His Son through a contest or prize, monetary success or noble peace award. Mary and Joseph had not performed any such feat. What set them apart was their willingness to say, “How will this work out?” and in the same breath – “We are willing…” Their faith was already there even in the midst of their questioning. Their faith was never in question, their willingness was always present and that is what made them highly favored.
Because in the end, it wasn’t going to just be a willingness to give birth to a son… Mary was going to need to constantly remain in a posture of learning how to raise the Son of God. She was going to have to show up for the census in Bethlehem, while she was heavily burdened by pregnancy and be rejected a place to lay her head – so that the King could be born amongst the lowly. The humble. The broken. God needed one willing to forsake a life of honor and esteem so that He could prove Himself relevant to all humanity.
God needed a woman willing to move and be on the run to preserve the life of her son, with a man of God by her side. A man who might not fully understand, but was willing… A man willing to raise another man’s son. It is the ultimate blended family. Together, mother and step-father, carried the weight of glory on their shoulders.
God needed a woman willing to let her son be about his Father’s business – even while he was committed to being about his stepfather‘s business.
God needed a woman willing to vouch for her son and defend Truth during His debut miracle event… Did she ever doubt that wine would flow from the vats of water? Or had her faith matured beyond a simple mundane understanding of what God could do and wholeheartedly believed the miracle would flow?
Maybe honest doubt still persisted, but the Spirit of God allowed her the opportunity to set the stage for His glory to be made known.
And then we see very little about the mother of Jesus until the moment she loses her firstborn son on a cross of suffering and rejection. Had her faith developed enough to believe the words that three days later He would rise?
As she wept broken before her dying son, was it still the same highly favored heart that knew that somehow it would turn out for good??
And so in this season, for the barren woman and her pregnant counterpart… be filled with faith.
For the mom who changes diapers from morning until night, and the one who would just love to hear her child’s voice one more time… be filled with faith.
For the women who have found favor and are asked to carry a heavy cross… be filled with faith.
For those in mourning… faith.Those who celebrate… faith. Uncertainty. Fear. Depression. Decisions. May you find the strength to believe what the Lord has said He will accomplish in you… and may you be filled with faith?
And as our eyes gaze upon the goodness of God in times of fear and raw uncertainty… may each of us find the path of worship. The strength to praise… To remember that He is mindful of our humble state…
May we never forget that His mercy extends to those who fear Him… Help us to grow in this as we pass this on from generation to generation.
And give us strength as women of God to be Elisabeths to the Marys.To call forth faith in our sisters that they may move from a young virgin faith to bear the mature fruit of God.
“He has brought rulers down from the thrones but has lifted up the humble.”
“God, May we never forget that Your mercy extends to those who fear You… Help us to grow in this as we pass this on from generation to generation. And give us strength as women of God to be Elisabeths to the Marys. To call forth faith in our sisters that they may move from a young virgin faith to bear the mature fruit of God.”
May you find the strength to believe what the Lord has said He will accomplish in you… and may you be filled with faith.
Meet Today’s Writer: Deborah says, “I am a daughter of God, growing by His grace… I am a wife to an adventurous man and home schooling mom to three equally free-spirited kids. I love coffee and conversations filled with laughter and love… I live to serve the Kingdom of God with grace and hope.” Deborah invites you to connect with her through email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deborah.zolotareva