It may not have been the Angel Gabriel who informed me that I was pregnant, but that little plastic stick was still pretty effective in turning my world upside down in the most wonderful way. My daughter’s conception wasn’t exactly immaculate, but there is no question that her birth was miraculous. After discovering that there was a tiny little heart beating not all too far from my own and tiny little ears that were soon to hear my heart beat from the inside I found a great deal of joy in pondering Mary’s experience when she learned her own life changing news. I considered many of the different aspects of her story as they compared to and contrasted my own.
I love that in Luke the first thing we hear she did after the angel left her was go to her dear friend Elizabeth and tell her the news.
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
Mary hurried! I recall how I was just dying to share my news with some of my favorite ladies when I found out! I love that I have been blessed with dear friends who shared in that excitement with exclamations and leaps of joy! It was with this close sister in Christ that she shared her innermost feelings about her new calling.
And Mary said:
“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 down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”
I could not think of better words to describe how I felt about my pregnancy than those Mary exclaimed to her cousin and dear friend. My soul was swelling with gratitude and my spirit was absolutely rejoicing in God, my Savior. Maybe not all generations would call me blessed, but those who know me in this one certainly would. I love comparing these aspects of my own story with that of Mary’s.
There are two things, though, about Mary’s story that vary greatly from my own. My husband and I have treasured countless moments of looking at our beautiful baby girl and sharing the awe of a whispered, “we made this”!
Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
The situation was certainly quite different from my own, but I cannot imagine my husband’s first reaction being that heartache of assumed unfaithfulness and then intent to divorce. How incredibly blessed I am to have a husband whose joy matched my own with no question that he was the father to the child growing inside me. We have certainly shared in sleepless nights or apprehension about our parenting decisions, but outnumbering those moments by the multitude are times that we have grown so much closer together because of our shared calling as parents as we bask in the beauty of our growing miracle.
She is a miracle, but she will also be fighting and occasionally losing a daily battle with that prowling lion who is waiting to devour her. Mary’s son, our Savior, was perfect and sinless. My little Norah is far from. I cannot fathom Mary’s journey raising a sinless Son of God. Mary, a sinner herself, certainly endured her own unique frustrations in this endeavor ranging from losing track of Jesus as he taught at the temple when he was only 12 years old to mourning at the foot of the cross. All generations do call Mary blessed, but her story is not one without pain and heartache.
As the mother of a child with a living and active “Old Adam,” I know that I have a great responsibility and important work to do in her life. I have been instructed to “train her up in the way she should go.” My heart aches already not only for the hurt I know she will see in her life, but also for hurt she will cause because of her sinful nature. We all miss the mark, and I know my Norah will be no different. I hope and pray that I can teach her to appreciate the mercies that are new every morning.
I love her with an intense love that I did not know before I met her, but I am a sinner too. It is her Savior’s love for her that I value above all else. I will take seriously my charge to lay her foundation in Christ. I rejoice, though, that without me- all is not lost.
It is her Savior’s love and guidance that will bring her through life and to her home in heaven. I thank God for his love for me, and am moved to know for his love for my daughter.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.