Drawing Faith From Mary's Story
A couple years ago I had the opportunity to play Mary in a Christmas musical, and through the process of preparing for the performance, my heart grew closer to God's. I hadn't even planned on auditioning because I literally hadn't been on stage for fifteen years. Because of some things that had happened and wounds that had been left unhealed in my heart, the idea of the vulnerability that comes with any performance was the farthest thing from my mind.
But God knew what I needed... A friend was going to audition so I, on a whim, got the monologues and from the first moment I read Mary's part, something in me knew this was meant for me. It was actually scary how connected I felt to and how badly I wanted this role. But I hadn't auditioned in so long, let alone performed a piece so powerful. What if I didn't get it? What if I made a fool of myself in front of friends? I mean I was auditioning for people I know, not complete strangers. But my desire to get the part trumped my fear. Long story short, I got the it, despite feeling like I bombed the audition. Thus I embarked on a journey doing a character study on the mother of Christ... I had always been enchanted by how the Bible describes Mary on the night of Jesus' birth as storing up the events in her heart and thinking of them often. There is just a quiet confident faith that exudes from the idea of all these miraculous things happening, and Mary storing it up as treasures. I imagine they were often the soundtracks of her conversations with The Father. The more I looked into the life of this amazing woman, the more I was encouraged and in awe of her faith. That she was chosen at all to be the mother and home for 9 months for God is unfathomable. When she was born, when her mother and grandmother were born, The Creator already knew that she would be trustworthy and able to love and raise the Savior... wow Her story has long been romanticize and overshadowed by the results of her life, and rightly so. But she was barely a woman when told she would become pregnant with God. Nowadays when a woman gets pregnant without being married, for the most part, there is a period of, well, I can't find the right word. I don't want to say sadness, but there is a mourning of the fact it didn't happen like they dreamed it would. That baby is a treasure and will be loved and was created with a destiny, but very few, if any women plan on doing it alone, or before they are married. But now, no woman is cast out, in fact, people usually surround these women and shower them with love. Not so in Mary's day... Now we all know that God chose an amazing man to be Jesus' earthly father who treated Mary wonderfully, but she didn't know that would happen when she got the news. What she did know is she would be labeled "whore" and her child "bastard". Yet she still responded with simple, beautiful, & awe-inspiring faith. I can't even begin to fathom the range of emotions she would have felt. I imagine in the moment, when the angel appeared to her, there was that blissful "my God CAN do anything" faith that feels easy. But what about after.... What about when she got to the place where faith feels hard... When she told Joseph she was pregant.... When she told her father and mother... When she told her friends... Did people believe her? Did her father want to stone her? Would her mother ever look at her the same again...
The Father often speaks to our hearts on things that are hard to do. Looking back, there have been a couple things I've felt Him leading me to do that seemed impossible. Even now, there is a wrestling in my heart concerning what I think He may be leading me to do in my own life. Being on the other end of history from Mary's story, I can take comfort and strength because she heard & followed, and God's perfect will was done in her life. Her story gives me hope and encouragement to know that my story too, and the story of every follower of Christ who submits to His authority, will end the same way: in the arms our The Creator, for all eternity resting in the fact that He in fact did work everything for our good.