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Each Punch, Each Stride, Each Step

So, I’ve been solidly single for ten years.

Oh, sure, I’ve dated a few guys and been on a few dates here and there, but I am still solidly single. Such a prolonged single season has really rocked my faith in God and my sense of worth so that I’ve had to practice self-control.

Self-control is one of those concepts that I know is a fruit of the Spirit:  love, joy, peace, patience, etc., etc. and SELF-CONTROL.  But, I always thought of self-control as being more of a theory than a practical virtue to be practiced and maintained until I needed self-control in my singleness desperately.  At some point in my late 20s, I realized my thoughts were being controlled by fear and disbelief instead of faith.  My sense of worth was crippled because I thought I was less than because I wasn’t married, so that negative thought pattern determined my belief about myself.  Here’s the thing:  God doesn’t say that everyone is going to be married at 21, so it takes self-control to not surrender to disbelief, doubting that God has a plan during the period of waiting.  And He does have a plan.

Self-control is mandatory if we are going to live lives that are pleasing to our God.  Paul said in I Corinthians 9:24-27 that everyone who competes in athletic and spiritual competitions exercises SELF-CONTROL in ALL THINGS.  The athletes he referenced were Greeks who trained their mind and bodyfor ten months to concentrate on winning their unique competition.  He compares our individual, God-given destiny to running a race or boxing with aim, so that each punch, each stride, each step of your life is focused at a the target of God’s purpose.  Paul disciplined his body so that he would not be disqualified because he relented to immorality, sensuality, anger, jealousy, strife, etc.   I’ve almost been prey to letting the same “deeds of the flesh” disqualify ME from my God-ordained destiny, until I realized that “it was for freedom that Christ set us free” so I didn’t have to clothe myself daily in my old sins, habits, and thought patterns – I was and am free because of Jesus.

Sexual sin, lust, and negativity may be what our culture permits and even encourages in singleness, but we cannot live effective lives for the glory of God if we let our bodily passions and minds run the show.

Keep your mind strong in the power of GodPractice self-control. He has set a race before you that only you, in whatever relational season of life, can run with boldness and courage.

 

QUITE YOUR SOUL — Worship Song:  “No Longer Slaves” by Jonathan and Melissa Helser.

“I’m no longer a slave to fear – I am a child of God.”

BE ENCOURAGED — Read these Scriptures:

I Corinthians 9:24-27–“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize?  Run in such a way that you may win.  Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things.  They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.  Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”

Galtians 5:1It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

DIG DEEPER — Life Evaluating Questions: 

  1. Evaluate your mind. Do you control your thoughts or do they control you?  What thought patterns have you allowed to dictate your worth?
  2. Identify areas in your life over which you need to control yourself. Pray over these weaknesses, allowing God to strengthen you in His power and truth
  3. Pray over yourself and for your God-given, unique purpose. What does God want YOU to accomplish with your talents and gifts for the kingdom of God, regardless of your relationship season?

 

-Heather Carey

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Victims Become Conquerors

When victims find their voice, they release healing to others who are still being held hostage by sins that where committed against them.

There is power in your testimony. There is a release that occurs when we share how God has come into our lives & healed the darkest & deepest pains.

We can release healing when we share the love of God with others; victims become conquerors when they find their voice.

We, as women, need to rise up and empower each other.

Empowerment means to give power of authority to; authorize, especially by legal or official means.

Through the death & resurrection of Christ, God has given us the power and authority over those things that have hurt us.

In order for us to go from victim to conqueror we must be courageous.  We need to dig deep inside of ourselves and find that courage we once had to get past the sin that was committed against us.   When I was a child & I was being molested it took courage for me to look others in the face as if I wasn’t carrying around this huge burden of guilt, shame & fear. It was then that courage was built into my DNA.

In Deuteronomy 31:6 Moses is speaking to the children of Israel, he is worried that once he leaves they will leave God.  He gathers them together to give them words of encouragement / words of empowerment.

“Be strong & Courageous. Don’t tremble! Don’t be afraid of them. The Lord your God is the one who is going with you. He won’t abandon you or leave you” [Deuteronomy. 31:6]

When God raises up those He wants to carry on his work (you & me) He ensures their success.  How do you know you have been called?  You did not fall victim to your circumstances, therefore you have been raised up to carry on His work.

While the children of Israel had the power of God fighting for them, they had no reason to fear all the power against them.  They found their strength in God. They were no longer victims but became conquerors.

We must trust God that He will give us everything we need to be courageous.  We must encourage and support each other to not give up, to fight the good fight for our freedom and to break the chains and bondages of our past.

1 Corinthians 15:58: “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters STAND FIRM. Let nothing move you.”

Courage is something every Christian possesses. For we have no reason to be fearful for we have an everlasting God and we will live with Him for eternity.  We must however, ask God to equip us so that we can be ready for anything that comes our way.

I believe one of the most courageous things we can do as Christians is to look into the eyes of those who have offended us, hurt us and or committed sins against us with the love of Christ.  This does not mean we are approving of what they did or that they get a “get out of jail free card” this simply means that we are looking at them from a conquerors perspective and not a victim perspective.  Know that our God is bigger than any hurt or sin. Knowing that God is for us & longs to give us everything we need.

We can be bold and free when we are in the presence of God and therefore have the courage and confidence to look the past in the face and conquer it with the love of Christ, allowing us to empower each other.

-Laurie

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All the Single Ladies

As little girls, we dream of our wedding day and what it will one day look like. When we get older, we begin to dream bigger and pin date night ideas, engagement photos, and wedding décor ideas on Pinterest–even when we’re still single! It is a fun and exciting moment to imagine for yourself, but can also get in the way of what the Lord is trying to teach you while you are single.

The constant desire for a relationship gets in the way of allowing the Lord to move in this unique season of your life.

We get so distracted and discouraged when we see all of our friends on social media posting about new dating relationships, engagements, wedding pictures, and even new additions to their families. Instead of being excited for our friends and their new phase of life, we get discouraged about our singleness—WHY?! Don’t get me wrong, I am in the same boat as the rest of you single ladies, as I too get discouraged and feel out of loop: not good enough, pretty enough, etc.  We begin to believe the enemy’s lies, and doubt ourselves and the plan God has for our lives.

Singleness is a time to work on you as an individual, and LEARN, LEARN, LEARN! It is a time for you to work on your spiritual walk with the Lord, and make it stronger and more intimate. In this season, you can learn patience, complete trust in the Lord, and acquire godly wisdom.

I am 23, have only dated once–my freshman year in high school–and am still single! My relationship with the Lord has become stronger, more in-depth, and more intimate than ever before.  He has been using this time to teach me to be more reliant on Him, to not waste valuable time worrying about “what ifs”, to be patient and to grow my faith in the Lord and His timing, as well as the person. He has taught me that this time of singleness is not a time to waste, but to be used, as He has opened so many doors.

He has used this time to grow and stretch me. He took me out of my comfort zone to teach me to become vulnerable in sharing my testimony with others, to encourage them with overcoming past hurts and trials. He has given me a new confidence and a new perspective because I looked to God during this time of singleness, rather than taking matters into my own hands and heart’s desires.

You’ve been told: “trust God’s timing.” While you may have understood this to be a cliché to describe the most miserable waiting game of your life, think of it this way: “Why would you rush God’s perfect preparation?

We always think that we are ready for a relationship, but, in reality, we probably are not. The Lord may be teaching and growing our future husband in their spiritual walk, and is waiting until he becomes the godly man He has desired to give us. The same goes for us, the Lord may be working in us still in becoming godly women for our future husbands, and, therefore, we are still single.

A few wise words I have received during my time of singleness have been:

“A man can never complete or fulfill you, he can only complement you.”

“Don’t you want to pursue God as much as you pursue a relationship?”

“If we don’t work on having an intimate relationship with God while we are single, how is that going to change when we are in a relationship?”

We get distracted with the desire to be in relationship and lose focus on the most important relationship of them all, the one with God that can fulfill and complete us. Our time of singleness is a time to be used by God in a unique way, and we should be encouraged by this.

Remember you are not the only one who struggles with singleness. Use this time to encourage one another, form new friendships, accountability partners, and a time to seek The Lord like never before. Allow God to use you during this time, as He will make you stronger and give you a new perspective as He continues to teach you!

“A woman’s heart must be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him to find her.” — Maya Angelou

–Natalie M.

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The Cracked Door to My Guarded Heart

The concept of “guarding my heart” has always been a little lost on me. I never really understood where the line was from or what that really meant, so I didn’t. I decided that the best way to be loved by someone else was to open up the deepest parts of my heart to them. This decision was then followed by a string of awful high school relationships, and then a few bad college relationships. Somewhere along the line, I decided to shut everyone out. I had decided I was going to finally guard my heart, and for me, that meant building walls to keep everyone around me out. I was broken, desperate, and searched for anything that would offer temporary fulfillment. When it was all over, I finally, really and truly met my Jesus.

Except, I only let myself meet a Savior who forgave my sins and offered endless streams of mercy and grace. I didn’t let Him really love the deepest parts of me. I was broken and hurt, and had no idea how to let someone in, especially a God who wanted to know the innermost parts of my heart. It was too dangerous, too risky. I mean, how could I fully trust what I couldn’t see?

Everyone around me just seemed to “get it.” They all LOVED their Jesus, and I started to think I was broken, because I couldn’t feel what I thought I needed to. I spent countless hours in my closet crying out to God, because I wanted the “more.” I wanted to know what I was missing. I wanted to fall in love with Jesus. But I just couldn’t seem to.

Then, in the most unexpected way, I came face-to-face with all of my baggage. I finally heard God say, “Just crack the door, my daughter.” I took it step by step. I need to move the dresser I had shoved in front of the door, unlock it, turn the knob, and then slowly but surely open the door to my heart that I had closed so long ago. And His perfect, still, overwhelming love came rushing in. His love that whispers, “You are enough. You are beautiful. You are worthy,” flooded my life in the most intimate way, and I was changed forever.

My God that says,

“Put me like a seal over your heart, Like a seal on your arm, For love is as strong as death, Jealousy is as severe as Sheol; It’s flashes are flashes of fire, The very flame of the Lord. Many waters cannot quench love, nor will rivers overflow from it,” Song of Solomon 8:6-7.

While I was trying to guard every piece of myself, I was being violently loved by my God, who never ceases His pursuit for my heart. While I was building walls and blocking everyone out, He was there, gently knocking. When I finally cracked the door His love came rushing in, and nothing in me could deny that He was good and trustworthy.

Sweet reader, you only have to crack the door. His perfect love casts out all fear. My prayer for you today is that you have the courage to crack the door, and that you will really know that His banner over you is beautiful, pure, perfect love.

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A Day in the Life of Junior High Me

I was thirteen, in seventh grade, and felt a sense that I just didn’t belong. My hair was breaking off. I had just hit puberty, and had acne like CRAZY! My self-esteem was so low it was sickening. I hated myself. I hated the way I looked, and I was taking it out on everyone; especially the ones who loved me, my parents.

No one wanted to be my friend. A boyfriend? Ha! Please! Forget about that.

I just wanted someone, other than my parents. to love me, but no one did. WHY?!

In March of 2003, I couldn’t take it anymore. I wasn’t getting along with my parents. I couldn’t find peace at home or school. So, one night after a big argument with my mom and dad, I went to my room and closed the door, hoping to never have to open it again. In one of the corners of my room laid a picture that had fallen, and its broken glass. I picked up the longest piece and put it to my wrist. I wanted to bleed out. I wanted  to feel the pain, because I was sure it didn’t feel as bad as what I was going through. At the time, I was wearing a gold cross around my neck that had been given to me by my mother.

Moments before I made the first cut, the necklace fell from my neck, in front of me onto the carpet. I remember, at first, staring at it, and then beginning to weep. That’s when I knew I needed Christ.

Once aware of this, I went to my mother, asking to go to church. We were invited to a church by a friend of my mother.  Soon, we were going to church every Sunday, and I got involved with the youth ministry. During one of our youth plays, an invitation was given, and I presented an outpour to God telling him that with Him is where I wanted to be. With that, I gave my life to Christ.

Since accepting Christ, I would be lying if I said that life has been a cakewalk. Dealing with our sin nature is never an easy task, but my journey towards spiritual growth has been awesome.

I must admit that I have slowed a lot of my own progress because I wanted to do my own thing, or got myself distracted over someone or something that had no relevance in my life.

One of the things that I love about God, though, is that He never makes you start over, but simply presses play from where you left off.

I dedicate this blog to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for bringing me so far. As I fight back tears writing this, I know that you’re not done with me, and have so much more in store for years to come.

—Day M.

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Joy in His Timing: It’s Worth the Wait

Today, I am in a season of waiting—a season that God has put me in as I wait to be healed. I have been waiting for almost three years. Though this seems to be a long time, I am thankful for it.

So you may be wondering,” What is this girl dealing with?”

In the summer of 2012, I was given the opportunity to go to Zacapa, Guatemala. When I found out that I had been selected to be on the team, I was overjoyed—and that is an understatement. The day came for us to leave, and little did I know that in the next 48 hours I would face sickness, death, and the scariest moments of my life. We finally reached our mission base, and an hour in I began to have a breathing attack—this is an attack that is similar to asthma but caused by my vocal chords. I was rushed to a local public hospital. There, I was not allowed to have a translator, was held down by Guatemalan doctors as they shouted words in Spanish and much more that would leave anyone traumatized and asking many questions. Upon returning to the states, it was found that I had broken and fractured ribs, as well as ripped muscle and cartilage. To this day, the doctors are still not sure why I have pain in my ribs, which leaves me still looking for medical answers.

During my waiting, I have often questioned:

Why God has not healed me yet?

 Why he allowed me to go through such a traumatizing event?

Yet, I have come to the conclusion that it is not my place to ask.

Instead of looking at this event with such a “poor me” outlook, I must look at all that God  has done, and is still doing through this event and my injuries. During the accident, God did not leave me; he kept me alive and protected me. He has drawn me closer to him through this, and is continuing to draw me closer to him daily, as I rely on his strength to continue through life.

The fact is, I have seen God work in my life more in these past three years than ever before. Now do not get me wrong, it is a struggle to get out of bed, get dressed, and go on with my daily duties. There have been days (and weeks) that I have not gotten out of bed, times that I have been angry and sad; but,  looking back on these almost three years, I have had to rely and have chosen to rely more on God then I ever thought was possible.

I have learned to find joy in God’s timing. Psalm 27:14 states, Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (English Standard Version). In whatever you are waiting for in your life today, be patient and joyful in the Lord’s perfect timing.

–Chloe S.

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Faith: A Five Letter Adventure

In July of this year, I left my full-time corporate job to work full-time for our ministry. I remember my very last day at the office. I came home emotionally exhausted from the stress of that week. I fell into a deep sleep, waking up later that night with a migraine. Although I was incredibly excited for this new chapter of my life, I was extremely stressed wondering if the transition would turn out okay.

It is now December, and six months have gone by. It is unbelievable to reflect on how God has moved in this season of my life. I have been able to travel all over the country with our conferences, and from my exciting excursions with Autumn Miles. God has revealed so much to me about who He is and what He has for me in the future. The over-arching theme: faith.

Faith is something that sounds so simple, yet is a daily battle for many Christians.  I wanted to share three truths about faith that I go back to constantly.

1. The most important thing about faith is that it is a process.

Faith comes before true blessing. If we knew the outcome of situations, faith wouldn’t be needed! We need to place our faith first, so that we can watch God fulfill what He has promised to us. Hebrews 11:1 explains this clearly when it says, ” Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

2. Secondly, take a look at whom God uses in Scripture.

God takes the most unlikely people and does some thing truly remarkable with their lives. He doesn’t choose the wealthiest or the most famous. Instead, He chooses the ones who came from small beginnings. Sarah, Abraham, Mary, Joseph and David— just to name a few! We can look at these circumstances where God has worked, and can trust the same faithful God is moving in our lives.  When struggling, take a day to go through all of the promises God has made us throughout Scripture. Pray and declare them back to the Lord. What He says, will happen!

“a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time,” Titus 1:2

3. Recently, my pastor said something that really stuck with me:

 “We need to be thankful that we do not answer our own prayers.”

I started to think about all of the instances in my life in which I wanted things that mean nothing to me now. Jobs, relationships, or opportunities that I thought would be “it” for me, are, thankfully, not what He had in mind. The Lord has been faithful to me; therefore, I can have faith in the fact that His way is best, always.

No matter your circumstance, have faith. Nothing will satisfy like the will of the Lord.

“Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your Faith and hope are in God.” 1 Peter 1:21

 –Katie

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Why, God? Trust in Tragedy

Your best friend just found out she has cancer and has a year left to live.

You broke up with your boyfriend because you found out he was cheating on you.

You see news about ISIS and watch innocent children die.

Your parents are fighting and might get a divorce.

You hear about how abortion has wiped out a whole generation.

There is worry about Ebola spreading.

You are barely scraping by with finances and just found out that you got laid off.

You see tsunamis and earthquakes demolish whole countries and flatten towns.

You hear about shootings in schools.

You are struggling with keeping your grades up.

Other people make fun of you and you start to question if you are worthy of love.

There’s sickness, death, abuse, broken relationships, infidelity, crime, sorrows, regrets, injuries, discontentment and heartache.

How can a loving God let all of this happen?

There is no simple answer to this question. It’s hard for us to understand sometimes why God lets certain things happen. One thing we must not forget is that this world is NOT our home. Jesus is coming to restore the brokenness and there will be a day when there are no more tears or pain—only joy! God’s plan is perfect and He is always good. It is our job to TRUST  IN HIM alone—even when our circumstances get tough because He is orchestrating every detail of our lives for His glory. He, alone, can see the big picture.

Andy Rau, author and blogger for Biblegateway.com explains it perfectly:

“So when tragedy strikes, as it will; when suffering comes, as it will; when you’re wrestling with pain, as you will – and when you make the choice to run into His arms, here’s what you’re going to discover: you’ll find peace to deal with the present, you’ll find courage to deal with your future, and you’ll find the incredible promise of eternal life in heaven.”

So, we can decide whether to turn bitter or turn to the God of peace for comfort and courage. Our suffering will pale in comparison to what God has in store for His children!

Psalm 46:1-3:

“God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.”

–Karinna J.

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Intentionality in A “Busy” World

 

The older I get, the faster time seems to pass, as life gets busier and busier. From running to class, the gym, work and everything else I am involved in, I can easily get caught up in going through the motions of my crazy, busy life. Do you ever feel this way? I think if we are honest we have all felt this way at some point in our lives.

I have been reading in John recently, and have noticed something about Jesus that I really didn’t before. In John 4, when Jesus stops in Samaria and talks to the woman at the well, this realization hit me.

If you have your Bible handy or the Bible App on your phone, open to it while you finish reading this.

Before stopping in Samaria, Jesus had been in Judea teaching and baptizing (John 3) . John 4, however, starts with Jesus setting out from Judea and heading for Galilee. This trip would have been about 70 miles long and would have taken about 2 1/2 days.

Jesus was not in a climate-controlled SUV with the new Taylor Swift album on the radio and drinking His favorite Starbucks beverage. He was probably walking or riding on an animal like a camel. It was probably extremely hot and dusty. He wasn’t exactly sleeping for 12 hours a night in a cozy bed at a Marriott either. He was probably doing most of the intense traveling early in the morning or later at night to avoid the heat of the day. I imagine Jesus tired, sweaty, smelly and extremely dirty from the sand-like silt on the roads He had been traveling as He arrived in Samaria for a quick stop.

John 4:6 says this, “Jesus tired out by His journey, was sitting by the well, it was about noon.”

Take a second to imagine if you were in Jesus’ position, exhausted from this long trip that still isn’t over and now you are sitting in the hot sun in the middle of the day. If I am honest, I wouldn’t be my most “joyful” self, and I know I’m not alone! 😉

The story continues with a Samaritan woman drawing water from the well and Jesus asking for a drink, which was unheard of in that time because Jesus was a Jew and Jews and Samaria’s did not associate with each other, let alone share things.

Then Jesus and this woman have a conversation that literally changed the course of eternity.

In verses 4-15 Jesus tells her of Living Water that she desperately needs. I imagine her being kind of sarcastic with Him and thinking: “This guy is crazy!”, but verses 16-18 really shock her. He says, “Go call your husband and come back.” She said, “I have no husband” and Jesus said, “You are right in saying ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five, and the one you are with now is not your husband.”

This is her HOLY CRAP moment where she figures out who Jesus is, and a few verses later, her life is forever changed when she makes the choice to follow and obey Him.

John 4:39 says, “Many Samaritans from the city believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony.” Not only was her life changed, but MANY OTHERS were changed, simply by hearing her story!

This is a perfect example of Jesus being intentional with someone and loving her exactly where she was, even though Jesus was exhausted, dirty, and hot. Jesus could have gotten caught up in the business of getting to Galilee already or his overwhelming exhaustion and not said a thing to this woman, but He did not. He was intentional with someone who was not highly thought of by others and eternity was forever changed because of this quick, intentional encounter with her.

I then came to this realization: Jesus was a heck of a lot busier/ more exhausted than I am and He was still a heck of a lot more intentional than I am. WOW. Let that sink in for a second, it still gives me chill bumps as I type this. It might sound obvious, but it’s a truth that’s been rocking my world: Jesus was constantly busy traveling, preaching, healing and spending time with thousands of people; yet, always intentionally personal with each person He came in contact with no matter what, and, in this case, with a woman with a bad reputation at a well, because He knew everyone he came in contact with had the potential to change this world for His kingdom based on the specific callings He had placed on their lives; whether he or she knew Jesus already or not.

This passage has lead me to seriously reflect on how intentional I am with everyone I come in contact with no matter what is going on in my life – the janitor in my dorm, the Starbucks barista, my family, my waiter at a restaurant, my roommates and especially my friends who don’t know Jesus. Sweet reader, the only way to be intentional with others daily is to first be intentionally with Christ daily, fill up on His word and then go intentionally love this world. Jesus has given you influence in countless social circles in your life, don’t let these opportunities to be intentional slip by because things are hard or you are exhausted. Jesus had it harder than we do and was still intentional!

When we fully rely on His strength, Jesus can, and will, use our intentionality to impact the people in our circles of influence for His glory. Imagine how much the world would change if all Christians intentionally loved everyone in our circles of influence. Let’s be the hands and feet of Jesus, as He graciously works through us to radically transform this world for His kingdom.

Love you, sweet reader, keep fighting the good fight.

– Hunter Scott

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Lessons of a Manger Mom

Christmas is my favorite holiday, by far. My family comes from all over and we pack into my house like sardines. We play endless amounts of board games. We eat until we can’t fit any more food. Our Christmas even includes a Wii bowling tournament with brackets AND a trophy. My fondest memories come from this holiday.

However, the thing that I remember most is growing up and acting out the nativity story with my siblings. Every year, as we were splitting up the “parts” that we would play, I would stake my dominance as the eldest sibling and make sure that I got to play the part of Mary.

I have always been fascinated by the nativity story, as I’m sure many people are, but there was just something about Mary that captivated me. This captivity is easily understood, when you think about the surreal nature of the story:

A young girl gets a visit from an angel who tells her that she is going to give birth to a son, the Son of God to be exact. She’s not married, but she is engaged. She lived in a time period where she could be stoned for being pregnant out of wedlock. In all of this, she accepts what she has been told and praises the Lord.

Now, I have to admit, at 5 years old, I can’t say that this plot line was the reason for my fascination with Mary. Regardless, my fascination with her has taught me a lot. That’s the thing that I love about Scripture– you can learn something new from that same passage that your Bible almost falls open to because the binding is worn. It is living and active and still, years later, I’m learning things about God through Mary’s story.

This year, what struck me the most is Mary’s willingness. I know that in Luke 1, her first words, after the angel spoke to her, were, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let everything you have said about me come true” so the willingness is obvious, but it seems that her willingness says something about God’s character.

I have been learning about God’s faithfulness this year, and I think that Mary’s response to God says a lot about how faithful He truly is. Mary was referred to as the “favored one” by Gabriel; so clearly, she walked closely with the Lord. She trusted Him to be faithful to carry her through what He had promised her– even when, in her culture, what was being asked of her meant death.

The same God that was faithful to carry out the birth of His Son in her is the same God today. He is still just as faithful and you are favored in His sight as His beloved Child!

So, this Christmas, whether your holidays are filled with joy and family, or that’s not your reality this year, know that God is just as faithful now as when He asked Mary to give birth to His Son. Know that you are His beloved and favored child!

-Becky Schwarz