And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home. Luke 1: 56
I remember the first three months of my pregnancies as being the longest three months of my life. The effort of keeping the news secret in case something happened to the baby was taxing on my inner spirit. Being nauseous and throwing up at the same time every day was tiring on my body. And my self-esteem took a beating while I was waiting to finally look pregnant and not like I was overindulging on Oreo's.
When the pregnancy was no longer a secret and I was free to share my experiences with others who were already mothers or in the midst of their own pregnancies (there were three of us teaching who were pregnant at the same time), I found comfort in the fact that I was not alone in my “I’m not so sure about what is happening to my body” experience. I found solace with the friends who hadn’t felt great either for the first few months of their pregnancies. Their tender eyes, quick hugs and encouraging words told me they understood and I didn’t feel guilty telling them I wasn’t enjoying this experience very much.
God knew Mary would need a trail blazer before her. He knew she would need someone who was a few months ahead of her on the pregnancy journey to provide her with advice on how to handle the changes that were about to occur in her body. He provided her with a role model to follow on how to handle a miracle pregnancy. Most of all, He knew she needed to help Elizabeth give birth to John in order to be able to give birth to Jesus alone with Joseph in the stable.
God knew what Mary needed and he provided it for her through her relationship with Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s willingness to let Mary stay with her for three months was a profound gift of friendship and faith. Elizabeth may not have realized it at the time, but sharing her life and experience with Mary must have strengthen and empowered her to withstand the challenging road that was ahead of her.
Sweet sisters, we are the greatest gift to each other. When we are willing to open up our hearts and share our faith experiences with each other great things happen. God doesn’t do things by accident. He didn’t send Mary to Elizabeth as a last resort. He guided that encounter on purpose.
I believe God places us in each other’s path for a purpose. Our purpose may change from year to year or from person to person. We may be there to point the way or to offer encouragement to someone who is searching. We may be the one who needs to ask for help or lend support. It might be that our experience uniquely qualifies us to offer compassion and understanding to a hurting heart. Or it could be that our youth might be required to inspire new ideas or to bring hope to someone who has been beaten down by the daily grind of life.
Dear reader, you may be the Mary who needs a mentor, or you may be the Elizabeth who is being called to mentor, but my prayer today is that as women of God we reach out, circle up, embrace our roles and help each other as only godly women can.
Between a husband, 2 sons, and teaching high school my sanity is found in running and Starbucks. I have a circle of running friends who inspire me to be authentic and real as I live a life of faith before them.