22 November 2014

Mary, Mary Quite Ordinary?

Mary, Mary, Quite Extraordinary

There are so many questions I would like to ask Mary.  When I think of all she went through being the mother of Christ, the sacrifices she made, the ridicule and shame she faced being pregnant and not yet married, the glares and questions, and then her own inner voice causing her to doubt or question what was about to happen to her.  I wonder how she did it.  

Motherhood is no easy task.  And here this young girl from Galilee was chosen to be Jesus mother.  Just an ordinary, every day girl from a normal little town.  It baffles me that God didn't choose a woman from an upscale home, someone with wealth, someone with prestige, someone with experience.  God always blows my mind when he chooses the ordinary.  It is just His way of shining his glory in the midst of the every day ordinary human and doing something unexpected.

When an angel came to Mary and called her "favored one," and said "the Lord is with you"...that also amazes me.  The fact that God called her favored.  What was his favorite part of her I wonder?  Does He call us favored?  What was so special about her? And then that the angel was sure to add: "the Lord is with you."  God is constantly reminding us of His presence.  He is all around us in everything.  It can be in simple things like looking at your own hands and seeing the veins and thinking of the process of our circulatory system and how He designed all of our body systems.  Or even when you watch a sunrise or sunset and you see the beauty in nature, or the power of the waves on the shore.  I am constantly reminded of Him when I hold my newborn.  She is so small, and needy, and perfect and I think of how amazing it is that God knew her before she was born, that He knows how many hairs are on our heads, that he knew our names.  And to know that that same God of the universe cares about us...and is always with us...knowing that He loves us is mind blowing.

He is always with us.  It goes against everything society says about us.  We aren't favored unless we are beautiful, wealthy or brilliant.  And here, God chose a young, poor girl, who honored Him, and He called her "favored".  So basically, she was special, because God said so.  She had value because He created her for a purpose.  She was favored not because of what she could offer but because of who made her and because of His plan for her life.

The angel goes on to tell her that "you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the most High."  She finds out that she is having a baby while she isn't even married.  Her question to the angel is..."How can this be since I am a virgin?" I love the simplicity of Mary's question...How is this even possible?  And then I think of verse 37 "for with God nothing will be impossible."  So often I think we get stuck in the thought of the impossible.  We can't even wrap our brains around how God works, how He can make tough situations good, or how He can change a simple heart of stone to a heart of flesh.

Mary was so unselfish.  She didn't protest or tell God, "Look this isn't in my plan! I am not ready to have a baby!"  How did she know that God's plan was even bigger than she could imagine?  How did she know to just accept it and move forward without fear?  How was she able to be the Mother of Jesus and have the wisdom to raise the Son of God?  Wasn't she overwhelmed with the thought of all that was expected of her?  She simply says, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." 

That was it.  She listened.  She trusted.  And she moved forward in obedience.  Mary was ordinary, yes, but she was willing.  She was obedient to God's plan and His calling on her life, even though it would be difficult.  And she praised and glorified His name.  

So often I feel very stuck in this life.  The days are long and hard and extremely lonely as a stay at home mom of 4 kids.  There are so many tasks before me and it is easy to feel overwhelmed, discouraged, and hopeless.  But then I am reminded of my purpose.  I am reminded that I am not alone (God is always with me) and I don't need to be afraid (or worry).  I am still in awe of this young girl Mary, Jesus' mother.  She was pretty amazing. 

 "My soul magnifies the Lord.  And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.  For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.  For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.  And his mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation." Luke 1: 46-50

Questions to think about...

1. Mary made major sacrifices to be the mother of Jesus.  It was a huge calling.  What sacrifices does God ask of us daily? or personally? 

2. Mary faced the shame/ridicule of being pregnant before being married...do you ever face shame/ridicule to be a follower of Jesus, what is your response?

3. Mary trusted God so easily.  Do you find it easy/difficult to trust?

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