“ The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”."
Luke 1:28 (NIV)
In my last year of college in 2007, I was sitting outside of my dorm room and reading the Bible. It was a day I will never forget. I was reading the passage in the book of Luke where the angel came to Mary and told her that she was highly favored, and that the Lord was with her.
As I read the passage that day, I felt the Holy Spirit whisper to me that I was highly favored, like Mary, and that I would also be blessed. With youthful innocence and not fully knowing the ramifications, I ran home to tell my mom what the Holy Spirit had said. I understood only the immense privilege bestowed upon me. Favor.
Fast forward to many years later, the Lord had been highlighting to me yet again the story of Mary. Yet, this time, I also realized all that Mary suffered in her “favor.” She faced ridicule when others didn't understand her pregnancy. The condescending looks she probably received were plentiful. She almost lost her fiancé because of the perceived betrayal. She gave birth in a stable. She raised a child with the understanding of Who He was while many others did not. And ultimately, she watched her precious son die on a cross for sins He never committed. Her favor was a privileged favor, no doubt, but it entailed much suffering.
The Bible talks about this suffering as a cup in Matthew 20:22: “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup (of suffering) I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered.” As I pondered this thought, this invitation, to the cup of suffering, I thought much about Mary. She had a choice, and she said 'yes'.
Ultimately, all of us, as moms, wives, daughters, and friends face this decision and this invitation many times in our lives. Saying 'yes' to Jesus is in the mundane and in the glamorous.
How many times have you said yes to waking up again, in the middle of the night, to feed the little one you love. How many diapers have you changed in love, and spit up have you cleaned? How many late nights have you stayed awake praying for your teen or your prodigal? Mary’s favor was unthinkable. She was given a great gift in carrying the Savior of the world just as we are given great gifts in raising our children. But over her lifetime, there would also be suffering, hard, really hard moments. Her 'yes' to the privilege was also saying yes to the suffering. May we not grow weary of saying 'yes'. May we also be reminded that the great calling God has called us to individually is the same invitation to be faithful when the road becomes difficult. No doubt, Mary is our example of this, watching her own son give His life for us.
Your Fellow Able Mom,
Jesus, thank you for setting the example of what it is to walk in favor and suffering. You modeled it perfectly, and did it ALL with love. Help us to recognize our favor, even when we suffer. Transform us to look more like you in every circumstance!
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