If you've ever been curious about women's thoughts regarding their bodies, you need only to become a fly on the wall of a gym locker room. I have overheard some pretty interesting tales at my own gym, while changing modestly behind a curtain; struggling to pull my jeans up over hastily dried legs (all while balancing on one shower flip-flop to avoid touching the floor).
Most recently, I was privy to a discussion between two girls who looked to be in their early 20's. "I'm just not sure I want to do that to my body", one stated matter-of-factly. They were talking about having kids. The possibility of stretch marks, weight gain, and of course, the responsibility of having to look after somebody other than themselves, had incited quite a deliberation between the two.
You see, they knew too many moms who had just "let themselves go" after having babies. They certainly didn't want to be one of those moms if they ever became parents.
I would have loved to be the Christian lady who was full of grace and understanding in that moment of listening, but my initial reaction was muted outrage. "Those moms? Do you have any freaking idea how hard it is to make time to exercise? How hard it is not to eat the last two cold chicken nuggets off the Lighting McQueen kiddie plate instead of pitching them wastefully into the trash?" But then, I got to giggling silently behind that curtain. A scenario began to play itself out in my mind.
Angel to Mary: "Don't be afraid, I'm just one of God's angels and I have awesome news. God chose you to grow and deliver the Son of God!! He will arrive onto the earth to save everybody because of your willingness to be pregnant. He will be called the Son of the Highest!"
Mary to Angel: "I'd really love to, but you see, I'm just a teenager, and these are my most beautiful years...free of scarring, cellulite, loose skin, and stretch marks. I'd prefer you'd come back when I'm ancient and done being 'hot', you know, like when I'm 30!"
Now, be sure that I am under no illusion that every single American girl is as shallow and immature as I have jokingly suggested. It just seems that we girls tend to get our blessings confused with liabilities nowadays.
I wonder, what if God had decided to wait until 2014 to send Jesus? What if the angel had appeared to a modern day American girl instead of a Middle Eastern one and delivered the same news? As a product of this culture, would she have answered the call?
Mary's actual words were, “I am willing to be used of the Lord. Let it happen to me as you have said.”
Mary wasn't brought up reading Teen Vogue or posting to Instagram. She most likely wasn't concerned with which patterns and fabric cuts would slim her waist or what the girls in the next town were into. She probably wore a simple tunic. Even belted, it would have covered her feminine curves. There is no denying the difference in our times and cultures.
She was brought up studying texts that encouraged her to:
Mary was chosen. She was mature and ready because her spiritual life was solid and carefully cultivated. She kept her eye on the prize. She didn't wait until she was comfortable, or confident, or until she had all the answers. She didn't even wait until somebody gave her permission. She just said yes. I bet she even got a stretch mark, though the reward was an amazing adventure story written by God, Himself.
If an average, but obedient teenage girl from Nazareth with no prior fame could have the audacity to say, "sure God, use me", then what are we waiting for? What are you being asked to do as a next step of faith?
Let's not make excuses. Let's risk it! Let's chance the adventure as we celebrate the blessing of our Savior; the beautiful and eternal result of Mary's courageous, "yes"!
Six months after Elizabeth knew she was to become a mother, Gabriel was sent from God to Nazareth. Nazareth was a town in the country of Galilee. He went to a woman who had never had a man. Her name was Mary. She was promised in marriage to a man named Joseph. Joseph was of the family of David. The angel came to her and said, “You are honored very much. You are a favored woman. The Lord is with you. You are chosen from among many women.”
When she saw the angel, she was troubled at his words. She thought about what had been said. The angel said to her, “Mary, do not be afraid. You have found favor with God. See! You are to become a mother and have a Son. You are to give Him the name Jesus. He will be great. He will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the place where His early father David sat. He will be King over the family of Jacob forever and His nation will have no end.”
Mary said to the angel, “How will this happen? I have never had a man.” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come on you. The power of the Most High will cover you. The holy Child you give birth to will be called the Son of God."
"See, your cousin Elizabeth, as old as she is, is going to give birth to a child. She was not able to have children before, but now she is in her sixth month. For God can do all things.” Then Mary said, “I am willing to be used of the Lord. Let it happen to me as you have said.” Then the angel went away from her.
Photo Credit: Mariona Campany, Aral Tasher, and Israel Sundseth of Unsplash
M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy. Earns Crossfit participation trophies. Disaster cook. Enthusiastic wife. #Boymom. Clutches her faith, not her pearls.