today i listened as one of my friends spoke a beautiful word about walking in faith, even if scared. at my church there is a gathering of women, on tuesdays, that we call Sisterhood. it’s women coming together and being pushed and encouraged and refined to step out and be all that the Lord says they are.
my daughters have this thing about Mary [right. THE Mary. Jesus’ earthly momma, Mary.]. they’re constantly talking about Mary. and they’re always putting on their head coverings. i can’t begin to tell you how many times they’ve raised their voices with joy and pointed excitedly, across the grocery store, as they see a muslim woman in a head covering:: LOOK MOMMA!! she’s wearing a head covering JUST like Mary!!!
so imagine the conversations we have about Mary. i’m fairly acquainted with her because of my girls’ curiosity about her life. (and because we read about her a LOT)
while i listened to the teaching, today, on walking in faith – even if you’re scared – i thought about Mary.
Mary had these dreams. i’m sure of it. she was this young girl. but her Father saw her as faithful and powerful. Mary had no idea about that, though. Mary was just, well, Mary.
just a girl with dreams.
and when that angel came to speak to Mary, everything changed. an encounter with God changes you. sometimes even your dreams change.
Mary’s sure did.
the Word says that Mary was honored by being called God’s favored one. but it also says that the angel had to explain himself, twice. Mary was shocked. confused. and, i would guess, scared at first.
what is clear in the Word is that Mary was so honored that the Lord would choose her to bring the Messiah into the world. she knew what His coming would mean for her people. she knew that this was why she was born. that from that moment on, she would be known to all women for all generations to come.
but still, i can’t help but think that Mary had human thoughts. she was, after all, still a girl. still human. just, as they would say, a Nazarene.
i picture her talking to herself saying: that happened. that really happened. i really just talked to an angel. no one will believe me. but my Father gave me that, that vision. and that was real.
because, see, i believe that Mary knew that when her Father spoke, she could trust His voice. He was safe for her.
but i don’t know, really. because i wasn’t there. i just know that Mary said that she would do what her Father asked of her. Mary was obedient.
but i’m willing to bet that Mary was scared as hell.
because now, all of hell was after Mary.
Mary, this quiet little girl, had changed. now, Mary was a threat to the Kingdom. Mary was a key holder. she was priceless and precious and, holy wow, she was going to be the mother of the Most High on earth. Mary had marching orders.
and i bet she was scared out of her mind.
i bet she wanted that head covering to hide her from all of humanity.
hide me away from the scoffers, Papa. bring this baby safely into your world. let Your promise be so in my life, Abba. oh Father, that your angel was real. that i heard You correctly. they won’t believe me, Abba. but i know what You said. protect me, Father.
and then, Joseph had a dream.
because who would believe Mary? and in His mercy and love, the Lord protected Mary by affirming her visions and dreams with her betrothed.
and Mary sighed in relief.
thank you, Father. someone believes me. someone believes in me. thank you that Joseph sees me as your bride and understands the weight of my importance in Your plan.
Mary was prepared to be a single mother to the living Messiah. the angel didn’t say, “you will become pregnant by the holy spirit and God will give you a husband.” the promise didn’t include a husband. but in His sweetness, the Lord gave Mary even more than her heart could have imagined.
the Lord protected Mary. and He knew that Mary was both excited and scared, and that was ok with God. He could handle Mary’s fear. Mary’s fear didn’t intimidate God. even if Mary had gone ahead and married someone else, that wouldn’t have rattled the Lord either. even if she’d decided to live with Elizabeth and Zechariah, for good, that wouldn’t have scared the Lord either.
the Lord doesn’t get uneasy or shift on His throne when we get scared.
because i believe that when we hear from the Lord in word or vision or dream, that when we take the first step of faith, EVEN IN FEAR, the Lord honors that. and it makes His heart wild in joy with us. and He goes out of His way to show you the fruit of His love for you and blesses your act of faith.
even if all the faith you could muster up was a whispered, “ok.”
even if it seems like you’re having to let go of what looks so good, what feels so good, what seems to line up with what you want. i don’t think, at all, that Mary had planned to be pregnant so young. i don’t think that was part of her dreams.
but she knew the voice of her Father and when she heard Him, even though it seemed odd and uncomfortable, she said ok.
around my house is a fisher price little people car that a miniature Mary rides in. and in my van she sits next to one of my girls as we listen to christmas songs about Mary (yes. this is my life.). and in their rooms, they flip open their bibles exactly to the story of Mary seeing Gabriel. and they ask questions about her being pregnant and riding a donkey. or how she knew to wrap the baby up in cloths. or if she was scared or not.
Mary is a marker of courage. a forerunner of bravery. of blind faith.
Mary was so young and small, but she had the Creator of all saying, “you. yes, you.” and Mary knew that she was precious in her Father’s eyes. she knew her worth.
she might have been scared as hell.
but then, Mary saw all of heaven get behind her, and around her, and in front of her. and heaven protected her all the days of her life. and why? because she carried the savior of the world?
because Mary accepted that, carrying Jesus or not, she had had an encounter with the living God, and she could trust Him. and she was safe with Him. her heart was at ease with Him. and no matter what the world said, no one could take away her moments with her King. they couldn’t prove or disprove those secret place moments with Him.
and so Mary stood out among all women for all generations.
Mary believed the Lord.
and because she believed the Lord, even afraid, her voice is forever heard.
Mary didn’t say yes to her Father because she had to. she said yes because she knew that her Father was safe. and from His lips flowed life. and there wasn’t anything in this world Mary, sweet young Mary, wanted more than to really LIVE.
small town Mary was a key holder.
and my daughters feel that. they get happy talking about Mary. they look at Mary, a girl, and they get to see a woman of honor and integrity. a woman who was scared, but even still, received huge blessings from a God who wasn’t phased for a minute by her fear.
there is peace and ease in knowing that it was likely Mary was terrified when Gabriel showed up. but that as he spoke, she recognized her Father’s voice.
there is hope in that.
walk in faith, scared.
trust knowing that when your Father speaks, you’ll know His voice.
and His voice is sweet and kind and loving and His heart is forever faithful to yours.
you are His sheep. and His sheep know the shepherd’s voice, and they follow Him.
rest easy. if you are a daughter in fear, rest. if you are scared as hell, rest.
because hell’s got nothing on your Father.