Christmas Blog: Mary, singleness, and me

Christmas tree lights emanate from their halos, Pandora’s carols sweetly fill the room, and manger figurines rest humbly on the mantle. 

ImageI’ve heard the Christmas story hundreds of times. I’ve watched my father act it out with our manger scene pieces (once accidentally beheading one of the wise men…whom we renamed John the Baptist). And yet it wasn’t until this week that I realized the impact of this destiny on Mary’s life.

She was highly favored of the Lord, given the opportunity to birth His Son — Jesus. We think, “Incredible! What favor to be chosen by God for this!” And yes, that is true.

Yet she was unmarried, a virgin. Not only would it be scandalous, but it could have resulted in her death as punishment, or at best losing the man she was betrothed to, and never marrying.

All the signs pointed to the fact that this favor would leave her single, alone, and estranged.

Yet her response? “Behold, the maidservant of the Lord. Let it be to me according to your word.”

Last year when I began traveling full-time, in the midst of the excitement and astonishment at God’s favor, I awoke on my 26th birthday to the haunting thought:

If I choose traveling full-time, will I ever marry?

Do I have to choose one or the other? I don’t think I can do what God’s called me to do and still marry. I don’t want to be single forever!

In fact, people had started asking me, “So do you even want to get married?” And I did, absolutely! But I wanted to fulfill this calling more. Or did I?

When I cried out to God, I sensed in my heart His answer: “You don’t have to answer those questions, because I never asked them of you.” And peace descended on my mind.

Yet Mary faced a far greater and more real possibility of lifelong singleness.

And then the most amazing thing happened: God took care of her.

His angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, telling him that Mary truly was pregnant by the Holy Spirit, instructing him to marry her anyway.

That verse brought such comfort to my soul! As we follow Him, He will fight for us. He will never leave or forsake us.

That doesn’t mean we’ll get what we want every time. It doesn’t mean I’ll definitely get married.

But it means He’s worth following no matter what the cost. It means that He is worth more than every other desire in my heart.

It means that I can trust His Father’s heart to provide for me even when I’m in a seemingly hopeless situation.

Mary’s call put her in the most unrealistic position for marriage, and yet God provided for her anyway.

Where He leads us is the best place for us to be. Sometimes I forget that.

Sometimes I think I can manipulate my future to put myself in the right situation and setting for my “happily ever after.”

Yet when we obey unreservedly, His provision is astounding. I may be in a situation where it seems unlikely to be ready for marriage until it’s too late…but that doesn’t limit God.

I do believe He has a wonderful husband for me, but more than that I believe 100% that He will fill my heart with peace and joy, no matter what the future does or doesn’t hold. I’m right where He wants me to be, and He’ll take care of my future.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus..and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God…For with God nothing will be impossible.”

Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”

–Luke 1:30-38

Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son.And he called His name Jesus.

–Matthew 1:19-25

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