by Fran Caffey Sandin
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Luke 1: 38
Early one morning with Christmas only a week away, I sat in a comfortable chair near the lace-curtained window. As I rocked our baby boy, listened to his soft newborn sounds, and stroked his velvety cheek, my thoughts drifted to that first Christmas night. Although my comfortable surroundings were far removed from the stable where she gave birth, I felt a common bond with Mary, the mother of Jesus. The love and tenderness we shared toward our sons might span the gulf of time, but Mary’s example remains as a guide for me and other modern moms.
Even as a teenager, Mary’s spirit was tender toward God. She was listening, expectantly, willing to obey when the angel Gabriel explained that she would give birth to the Son of God. Probably stunned and frightened, Mary wondered how it could be, but she did not run away and hide. I considered my active life to ask, Am I tuned in to God? Am I listening to Him before taking the next step? If he calls me out of my comfort zone or to accept a new challenge, I feel unprepared for, will I trust Him and obey?
A willing servant, Mary faced an unplanned pregnancy. Instead of refusing to place herself in an awkward social situation, she viewed herself as part of God’s sovereign plan for humanity and humbled her life before Him. Our culture emphasizes a woman’s need for self-fulfillment, even at the expense of others. And yet, our privilege as wives and mothers is to nurture and train our children to have a godly character. What is more important than protecting a helpless child and meeting his needs? It may not always be fun and convenient, but cultivating a servant’s heart will provide one of life’s greatest joys.
Isn’t it interesting that Mary did not wait for Joseph’s approval before saying “Yes” to God?
With a quiet spirit she waited for God to take care of Joseph, and He did. Instead of divorcing Mary, since they were already betrothed, or having her stoned to death, thinking she had committed adultery, he listened to God and chose a third option. Marry her.
Mary’s submissiveness to God proved to be a blessing as Joseph proceeded to love and protect Mary and baby Jesus. In my early years of marriage, I sometimes tried to take over the reins. I wanted the control in all of our decisions. Since then, I’ve learned to follow Mary’s example, and let God lead how we move forward. Mary waited for God to take care of the details. He did.
Mary was told by the angel: “Fear not.” As women we often worry and fret unnecessarily. But as the angel assured Mary, nothing is impossible with God. Author David Hubbard wrote in his book, How to Face Your Fears: “We can face the future with courage. Why? Because the same God whose presence surrounded the Bethlehem manger will see us through our ‘impossibilities’ of tomorrow. When uncertainties come, let us not shrink with fear, but rather, respond as did Mary, ‘I am willing, Lord.’”
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us the example of Mary, a woman who believed and trusted in You through her difficult situation. Let us learn from her servant heart, quiet spirit, and submissiveness to your will. Help us listen for your Holy Spirit to guide us in making wise decisions. May we exalt you daily and give you praise. In Jesus’s name, Amen
About the author: Fran Caffey Sandin is a retired nurse, wife, mother, and grandmother in Greenville, Texas. She enjoys baking, flower arranging, hiking, and traveling with her husband, Jim. Fran is a church organist, a core group leader for Community Bible Study, and author of See You Later, Jeffrey, and Touching the Clouds: True Stories to Strengthen Your Faith. and has co-authored others. Jim and Fran are parents of two sons awaiting them in Heaven; a married daughter and son-in-law, and three fabulous grandchildren. Visit Fran at her website: www.fransandin.com.
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