When our daughter’s birthmother tenderly placed Eliana in my arms and said, “I want to be the first one to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day,” I sobbed with joy. After ten years of waiting to be called “Mama,” I was completely undone. As I carried our beautiful gift out of that hospital room, suddenly fear swept over me. Would I be a good enough mother? Who was I to deserve such a gift? This precious baby girl entrusted to me! While I had no doubt the gift of motherhood had been given to me by God Himself, I also knew I was going to need help and support to fulfill this incredible call of motherhood upon my life. I couldn’t do this alone.
Can you imagine how Mary felt with the mighty archangel Gabriel standing before her delivering strange and miraculous news? Mary, you will give birth to the Son of God! As quickly as the joy of such an incredible announcement swept over her, fear certainly followed with equal force. Mary, a young teen from a tiny village in Galilee, somehow had found favor with God to raise the most important child in human history.
Who could she go to talk to about this? God knew Mary needed help and support to fulfill the call He had upon her life, so He made certain Gabriel informed her about her cousin Elizabeth’s own miraculous pregnancy.
As she traveled down from Galilee to Elizabeth’s home, the reality of her situation surely began to sink in. What would Joseph say? Would he divorce her? Would her parents believe her? Pregnant, by God? Who on earth would believe such a tale? Nazareth was a small village, estimated to be anywhere from 500 to 1500 people- her story would be the talk of the town. Her family would be shamed.
Mary desperately needed affirmation and encouragement from the older, wiser Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah, a priest of Israel. During her time with them, Mary had the opportunity to not only draw on her cousin’s wisdom in life’s experiences, she also had the opportunity to be immersed in God’s Word in this priestly household. Suffering through years of barrenness, a condition in those days thought to be a punishment from God, Elizabeth also knew full well what it meant to live in shame and reproach among the women in her village. She understood first-hand the judgment and rejection Mary would face.
Mary needed to know she wasn’t alone in this, humanly speaking. She had Elizabeth, who believed in her, accepted her and rejoiced with her at the work of God in her life. Oh, how greatly we all need an Elizabeth, don’t we?
A co-laborer in ministry: whether it is in our home or elsewhere.
Someone who believes in us when we stop believing in ourselves.
Someone who can remind us what God promised in our darkest hours.
The Power of a Pair
In God’s beautiful design, He sends others into our lives to come alongside of us to help us fulfill whatever call He has placed upon us. He also calls us to come alongside of others. When you feel alone and afraid, ask God to send you an Elizabeth and while on your way, look for a Mary. We are all in this together, and God is for us.
Prayer: God, sometimes I feel alone and afraid. Certain situations in my life can feel overwhelming and it’s scary to admit I can’t handle it on my own. Thank you that I can always bring every circumstance and relationship to you for help. Thank you also that you did not design for us to face this life alone and in fear. Your plan is for us to go through this life with others to help us. Lord, guide me to a godly mentor for my current season of life. Give me courage to reach out and ask for help when I need it. Open my eyes to those around me who need encouragement as well. Give me wisdom to see how my own life experiences might be used to help someone else in similar circumstances. In Jesus’ Name, amen.
Finding your Person
What is a circumstance in your life in which you feel alone or afraid? Who do you know who is going through a difficult circumstance who could use some encouragement? It takes courage to ask for help as well as offer it to others. The Scripture tells us that Mary went to Elizabeth “with haste” (Luke 1:39). And Elizabeth welcomed her gladly. Ask God to open your eyes to those around you with whom He is encouraging you to connect.
Swallowing our Pride
My husband and I recently needed some parenting advice. I called a friend who had college-aged children and asked her what she thought we should do. About three days later, I received a text from her that simply said, “I have been praying for your son every day since your phone call.” I shook my head over the goodness of God. Truthfully, I didn’t really want to admit I needed help. I had to swallow some pride in divulging the issue we were facing as parents, but not only did I get some really good advice from my friend, my son also gained a warrior battling for him in prayer to make better choices. I realized that having the courage to ask for help produced a ripple effect in my family’s life.
The following day I shared a post about asking for help on my social media feed, celebrating God’s faithfulness to me. A young mom private messaged me about her struggle with her toddler and I shared a similar experience I had with my son when he was only two. She got a good laugh and I received the opportunity to pray for her in return. God allowed me to see the ripple effect of my courage seep into other’s lives outside of my own family. Truly, He is a faithful God!
Community Crushes Fear
Mary was undoubtedly a young woman of great faith to have found favor with God and called to such a magnificent task. It’s important to reflect upon the fact that finding favor with God doesn’t always equate to the absence of fear. It usually means He’s calling us to the unexplainable, to something impossible apart from His power. To something beyond anything we could think, ask, imagine or dare hope for in our lives- and that means it’s going to be a little scary, and definitely outside of our comfort zone or current skill set.
I’d say a virgin birth falls into those categories, wouldn’t you? Sometimes we get the idea that when God calls us to things, they should be easy. But this isn’t God’s way. Instead, He calls us to things that drive us to press into Him for clarification, as well as cling to others for affirmation. It is often when we’re scared that God unveils the sacred. He sends someone else to lift the veil from our eyes and see His promise and call more clearly. Mary’s future remained shrouded and unclear after Gabriel’s visit. She could not see clearly what these strange tidings entailed. Yet, when Mary arrived at Elizabeth’s house, her fear dissipated into praise (Luke 1:46-55).
To fulfill any call upon your life- as a student, wife, mom, employee, leader, or another role- God has strategically placed people around you to help transform your fear into faith. He has also surrounded you with others to equip and encourage. We are meant to follow the Lord in community. When we feel alone, we feel afraid. In community, we find courage.
This blog post is an excerpt from Erica’s latest study Unexplainable Jesus releasing on June 4, 2019 from Moody Publishers. http://www.ericawiggenhorn.com/about