Week 2: Mother Mary and Keeping the Faith
I have always been fascinated with the story of Mary. A virgin teenager just doing her thing and a angel comes to her and tells her “Hey, guess what, you are going to give birth to the Son of God, okay? Cool.” Well I guess that is not exactly how it went, but you get my point.
Could you imagine? Just doing your thing, living your best life, and all of a sudden you are told you are going to give birth to the Messiah. Not only that, you aren’t married, you are a virgin, and somehow you have to convince people an angel told you these things without being locked up in the loony bin. But, it was Mary’s faith, and devotion to God that is her most remarkable character trait. She never questions it, she just says “I am the Lord’s servant, May it be to me as you have said”. That is that, she carries God’s son, His only son, and gives birth to the reason we are all going to heaven, I mean let’s all give a round of applause to Mary.
Day 1: Luke 1:26-38
We all know the Christmas story of a woman on a donkey riding to Jerusalem when all the inns were filled. So, they went to a manger and gave birth to Jesus, the son of God. We put up our nativity scenes around Christmas time. A little baby wrapped up laying in a straw filled bed, a woman, and a man, then the surrounding animals. Some of them have the Sheppard’s that came, the kings with the gifts, and if you were lucky, the star on top.
I can not tell you how many times as a child I would marvel at my mom’s. It was always on top of our piano in the front room. I would climb up there and play with the little figurines. Breaking probably every one of them throughout my childhood. By the end of it baby Jesus’s head had been re-glued and Joseph had no staph, pretty sure there was a headless donkey at one point. I had heard the story of Christmas in Sunday school. I was an angel in the Christmas show the church threw every year. But, the story always revolved around Jesus being born. I never really thought much about Jesus’s mother. Who she was, her characteristics, her faith, her story.
I mean when you give birth to the son of God you do kind of have to understand you will be in the shadows. But, regardless she was a mother, and there are stories of her throughout the bible.
It is described that Mary was quiet, calm, a loving mother, and a very strong woman in her faith. She obviously had to be for the Lord to choose her to be the mother of His Son.
When Gabriel came to Mary he says “Greetings, you are highly favored! The Lord is with you”. It describes Mary greatly troubled by his word. Wouldn’t you be? I mean I would probably run at first, but then I would get a cramp and have to stop because after all the Christmas food I have been eating, I definitely would not be going far. But, he comforts her. He tells her “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God”. He explains to her that she will be giving birth to the Lord’s son. She will name him Jesus. He will be called the Son of the Most High. He promises her some more miracles, that Elizabeth will also be giving birth, and with all of that Mary says “I am the Lord’s servant, May your words to me be fulfilled”.
One thing that I think that get’s lost in this story is that Mary chose to be His mom. She did not have to be strong in her faith, and she could of turned it down. God gives us freedom of choice, he allows us to make our own decisions.
The bible does not get into it, but I wonder how many woman Gabriel had to visit that did turn it down? Have you ever really sat and pondered that? How many woman did not have the faith, or even the confidence that Mary had? She could of said no, and went back to her daily life.
What are some things in your life, that is happening right now that is lacking in faith or confidence?
Let’s say a prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for all you have done for us over the Christmas week. Sometimes we get lost in the idea of Christmas instead of what Christmas is all about. Lord, please forgive us in that. For the day is about the birth of you Son. Lord, thank you for giving Mary the faith in her heart, and the understanding in her soul to be able to say yes to you. Thank you for allowing her to give birth to Your Son, and thank you for allowing us eternal salvation. Please Lord, for those who are struggling with their faith, show them that you are working right along side of them. For the ones who have been praying hard, and have not been able to fully understand their path, open their eyes to your glory. For those who are struggling with a major decision, comfort them Lord, as you comforted Mary. For those who do not have the confidence in themselves, show them they are your child, and you made them who they are. In the name of Mary’s Son I pray, Amen.”
Mary chose to be the mother of Christ, and it was her faith that drove that decision. It was a life changing decision that will forever put her down in the history books.
What is a decision you are struggling with right now? How can you quiet your heart to God, and allow your faith to make that decision for you? How can you be more like Mary this week?
I think it is important to remember that God never chose the wealthy, the famous, or the “typical” people to do his work. He chose the ones who he knew had the strongest faith. So remember as we start this week, the week of a new year, that it is your faith that guides your path, your story, and your legacy.
Day 2: Luke 1: 46-55
Yesterday we talked about how important it is to have faith. Mary was chosen because of her faith, but she had her own choice in how much faith she really had.
You really see her faith come through in Mary’s Song. She had just seen an angel, the angel told her “Hey guess what, you are going to give birth to the Son of God. I know you are a virgin, but God thinks you are the woman for the role, so buckle up for a crazy ride” She replies “Cool, I have the faith in my God to do this, so let’s do it”.
She travels to Elisabeth’s house and is like you will never guess what happened! As soon as Mary yells out to Elizabeth, the baby in Elizabeth’s belly leaped, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth says to her “Why am I so blessed, why is the mother of my Lord coming to see me?” She tells Mary “Blessed is she who has believed that the lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
Elizabeth was to old to have children. She has prayed her entire life to be able to have a child, but that time never came. She was finally blessed by God because she continued to have faith, and eventually her time came.
This is a great story in the bible because you have two woman sitting together just in awe of our Lord. But it is Mary’s Song that really shows her true faith, her true understanding of the Lord’s work.
“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. For 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 he 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.”
She knew that her life is forever blessed, and forever changed. She is singing to the Lord in praise of his promises to us, and the understanding on how our Father works.
What does Mary’s song tell you about her character and the things that are important to her? What are some things that you take away from her song that you can connect with your own life right now that are important to you?
What is something in your life that you have been praying for and you feel God is just not answering that prayer? What is it that you can relate to Elizabeth with, something you prayed for so long for, and God gave you a miracle?
Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your reflections. Let the scriptures feed your soul with a deeper understanding of God’s intention for your life. Pray for the grace to be like the woman who said: “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said”.
“Dear Heavenly Father, I want to thank you for all you have blessed me with in my life. Some days it is hard to really see all the true blessings that surround me. I want to thank you for allowing me to carry my own children, and for allowing me to be their mom. I pray you fill their hearts with your love as they grow, and I pray that you guide me in helping with the paths you have choose for them. Lord, I want to pray for the Elizabeth’s in the world right now. I want to pray for the woman who have been asking to have a child for so long, and the days keep passing by. I want to pray for the woman who are loosing their faith in this Lord. The ones with tears in their eyes begging for the day they feel that child leap in their bellies. Lord, I want to pray that they keep their faith in you Lord. I want them to feel that even though the day has not come just yet, you always keep your promises, as you did for our ancestors, as Mary had sung. Lord please show them the blessings you have already given them. Let them see Lord that you are always working, and you are working in them too. Comfort them Lord as you comforted Mary and Elizabeth, and I pray that their faith stays strong. In the name of Mary’s Son I Pray, Amen”
Day 3: Matthew 2:13-14
Let’s just take a moment and all agree that being a mom is probably one of the most difficult jobs. You are raising tiny little humans into being normal functioning, loving, kind, successful adults. It can seem so overwhelming at times, I know it is for me. With all of those worries, it is just simply the worry of the unknown. It is also the fear of the unknown.
Could you imagine having all of the normal mother worries in life, and on top of that, your son is the Son of God. I mean talk about pressure right? We talked in Day 1 how with Mary’s faith she chose to be Jesus’s mother, just as much as God chose Mary. She could of said no. But, never having children, I wonder if she really understood all it takes to be a mom? We know she had such strong faith, I am sure that is how she got through it all, and I know on my darkest, hardest mom days, it is my faith that gets me through too.
Now let’s set the picture of this. You just had a son, the Son of God. You are just trying to do your thing, and get through it all. We all know how hard it is during those first few months. When an angel comes to your husband. The angel says: “Listen, this King Herod guy, he is a really jealous guy. He is so jealous he even killed his family, including kids, because he feared they were conspiring to take his thrown. So he heard about your son, and well, he is going to kill him. So you need to pack up and go back to Egypt. Sorry about all this”. Well again, that’s not really exactly what he said, but I like to put things into my own words sometimes. So not only do you have your own normal fears of motherhood, this deranged man is now conspiring to kill your son. So you have to go into hiding. Can you even begin to imagine the fear in all of that? So they pack up, and they head to Egypt. We all know what happens after that, and if you don’t Herod orders the death of every child under the age of 2. So now, not only does Mary have the fear, I am pretty sure she now also has guilt.
Fear, it is such a raw real emotion isn’t it? Just being scared in general. Having fear for your children though, that is a whole new ball game. I do not know a mother who does not fear for their child, expecially in this day in age. The world seems to be such a dark, scary place these days, that having children being raised in it, can seem so overwhelming. There are so many bible verses geared towards fear, and trusting in the Lord. It is very comforting to know, even then, people had fear.
I have read so many writings about Mary, one thing that stays completely consistent is that she was one strong lady. Even though she feared for things, her faith was so strong she got through it. She was always described as calm, faithful, and joyous in the Lord, she was also described as being a wonderful mother. When I pass on, I really hope that is what people say about me.
What are some things that you fear for your child right now?
Write some of those things down really quick, read them over, and say them out loud.
Now read these 6 verses:
Mary feared for her son, she feared for his saftey, she feared for so much. As, every mom does. But it is her faith, that calmed those fears, and it is your faith that will calm yours.
How are you like Mary as a mother? What fears do you share with her?
Even though times are different, it does not mean that we still do not fear for your children. Take a minute to pat yourself of the back, because you are one rock star mom!
Day 4: John 19: 25-27
We all know the story of Jesus, he was born in a manger, sent by God to save us from our sins. He was a great teacher of God’s word, a pure man, free from sin in a very sinful world,and he was crucified at the cross, giving us eternal life.
I unfortunitly am a part of a club, a club no one wants to be a part of, but I am in a club of mother’s who have outlived their child, and a club of mother’s who have watched their son take their last breath. It is by far the worst test God has ever given me in my faith, but it was this test that I really fell into my faith. I know God has a plan for me, and I know my son is in heaven, because he gave us his son.
The greif of a mother is something no one can match. We all greive, but greiving your child is unimaginable pain. I grieve every single day, but I also pray every single day, and it is in that faith, I get out of bed, and it is with that faith I get through the day. The same faith Mary had while she watched her son go through unimaginable things.
Mary was a very involved mother. She was along with most of Jesus’s travels, she was there for him the day he was born, and she was there for him the day he took his last breath. That is something Mary and I have in common. We were always there for our son’s, and it is something I continue to do for my other kids.
Mary knew the prophesy. She was a Jew so she knew the prophesy of the Messiah, so she did know that her son would give His life for ours, even before he was born. Could you imagine having such faith in the Lord that you raised his Son, your son also, with the understanding that he was going to die for you, for the people who were hurting him, and for everyone else?
Talk about wow.
The story says:
“Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son, and to the disciple, Here is your mother. From that time on, the disciple took her into his home”
Jesus wanted to make sure Mary was taken care of, even after his death. He wanted to ensure his mother was safe, and loved. In all of this, Mary never lost her faith. She continued even during his Resurrection being a strong and faithful servant to the Lord.
Imagine Mary watching her son die and remembering her song she sang when she first found out she would be carrying the Lord. How would that song sound to her now? How has your faith changed over your life? How has your faith changed since you have had children?
Mary had a lot of struggles, as we all have had a lot of struggles. Whether you are struggling with trying to conceive, struggling with just being there for your children, struggling with the fear of being a mother, struggling with the loss of a child. Whether you are struggling with your faith in general. Remember that Mary, the mother of Jesus, one of the most faithful woman in the bible, went through all of the same things, she had all of the same struggles. She continued in her faith, as you need to continue in yours.
Let’s say a quick prayer”
“Dear Heavenly Father, sometimes it is hard to understand your plan for us. Sometimes the fear of the unknown overshadows the greatness you have promised us. Your path you have chosen for us can be more confusing than comforting at times, but I know that you are great, and you have given us the best reward. Salvation. And, you gave us that reward by giving us your son, and your son dying for it. Lord, I want to thank you for all you have given me, and I want to pray for the mom’s who are struggling with their grief today Lord. I want to pray for the moms who are scared Lord. I want to pray for the mom’s who are tired, and for the mom’s who are loosing their faith. Lord comfort them and you comforted Mary. You allowed a servant to serve, and we are here to serve you, even though sometimes it seems like to much. Thank you lord for all the gifts you have given us, and please allow the ones who are struggling to see it patience and understanding in your plan. In your name we pray, Amen.”
I could go on for days and days about Mary and how she changed the world. From a servant, a virgin teen, to one of the most faithful followers in the Bible itself, Jesus’s mother. She was a true attribute on how we should all live as Christian woman. How we should all live as Christian parents. With grace, understanding, forgiveness, love, and most of all faith. She never broke her faith, even though I am sure she did question it at times.
As you finish this week, and as we enter into the New Year, take some time to really think about how your faith is. How you can be more like Mary. How you are struggling like Mary struggled. How you can grow in your faith as a mom, and how you can rid your fears as a mom. Take a minute to pray for the other moms out there. Then, take a minute to pat yourself of the back because mommin is hard laddies, mommin is hard.
Next week we are going to continue on faith, and growing our faith. We are going to do 7 stories of great faith in the bible. People, just normal people trusting in the Lord. See you next week!
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