Women In The Word - NT: Day 3

Mary of Nazareth

by

Today's Text: Luke 1:26-38, Luke 2:1-20, Luke 2:41-52, John 2:1-12, John 19:25-30, Acts 1:9-14

I don’t know about birthing babies, but I can tell you about making noodles.

It began as a fun skill to impress party guests and my one-day husband, but as I ducked into the stone kitchen in the center of Florence, Italy, I soon realized pasta-making is not an idle pastime, but a sacred trust. I tied back my hair and took a deep breath.

My palms cupped a handful of flour, leading it in a circular motion to create a “well” for the watery mixture to follow. Then, with a fork, my wrist meticulously twisted the powder and liquid together as it dependably, like a slow-motion magic trick, began to feel doughy. I kneaded the cold dough with my fumbling fingers, my impatience growling in tune with my stomach. Slicing the mush and massaging a piece into a snake-like section, I held up my accomplishment: one scrawny piece of pasta. One.

Again, I was instructed. I resumed cupping, twisting, kneading and rolling, holding up my second piece with a little less pride.

Hold it up to the first, I was told, as a hand redirected mine from the boiling pot back to the counter. I was to place the pieces in line for comparison. They were two straggly opposites— one long, one short, the first smooth, the second rough. Yet, somehow, both composed of the exact same ingredients. My brow furrowed, while my instructor’s remained level as he ushered me into his favorite art form. Fine tuning the individual pasta pieces was a disciplined craft—contouring the length, smoothing the edges, adding more flour—and considering each new piece of pasta in light of what was already there revealed a deliciously enjoyable whole.

As I worked the dough with my hands that day, it became clear that this was the Italian way: savoring over striving.

Mary of Nazareth’s most frequented activity would fit right in with this way of life: treasuring.
Though she had plenty of chances to act from her flesh, Mary opted to serve the Lord by savoring her collection of things she knew to be true.

When Jesus is born, others jump up to share the good news. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart (Luke 2:19).

And later, instead of flying off the handle when she finds her son in the temple after three days of searching, Mary treasured all these things in her heart (Luke 2:51).

And while I’m tempted to believe the angel gave Mary a homework pass on suffering, I don’t think her fears were ever numbed or all her questions answered. It’s easy to paint Mary’s character with the joy of Christmas, stringing words like “chosen” and “favored” above her, but I think we forget that culturally and emotionally, she was chosen and favored to walk a lonely and scary path.

Mary, mother of Jesus and servant of the Lord—clad in maternal instincts and love for her son—was the only one present at both Jesus’ birth and crucifixion. Do I think “treasuring it all” meant passively standing by? Oh no, friends. I believe Mary was busy fiercely clinging to the treasured promises of God.

As her circumstances continued to unfold, she was cupping her palms in prayer, pondering outcomes and recalling truths. As if carefully crafting an elegant Italian dish, Mary was actively fighting for the truth with the Truth, massaging the day’s events into her knowledge of God, savoring His promises over her striving.

Mary championed the measured words of my cooking teacher: hold it up to the first. She wrapped God’s promises up in trust, then held each new development—the words of an angel, the rampage of skeptics, a miracle performed, a cross prepared—up to those promises for comparison, again and again. Her arms carried a bundle of treasures that continued to point her to God’s good plan.

So what does the virgin mother’s story leave for you and me? An invitation to usher Jesus in closer, to hold His life within us by treasuring His Word and presence.

As servants of the Lord, let’s join together today in treasuring His promises, for they are sure.

 

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  • Rae Godwin

    Things I know to be true: God loves me unconditionally, I am a daughter of the most high King, Jesus died for my sins, I deserve Hell but Jesus took my place, Jesus is coming back so that we may have an eternity with Him, and through Jesus’ death I am able to have a relationship with God. As life gets busy and hard and I question things, I have other people in my life (thankfully) who pour these truths and promises into me, and for that I am thankful.

  • Rachel Perez

    I really liked this message and passage of scripture because for me it truly spoke about unconditional trust, which is something I can say I don’t have but I wish I did. Mary followed and truest we God every step of the way. She did not fall to the ways of man but only trusted and had faith in the words and directions God gave to her . Mary also treasured the words And promises God gave to her and never asked God once, “what now?” Or “can o have this instead?” She was happy with what a God gave her and never asked for anything more. I find myself always asking God the questions that Mary didn’t. I always feel impatient and untrusting of Gods plan because sometimes I don’t feel compliant in my own life. I always want something more.
    I know I need to reflect and pray more on the blessings in my life I do have. It’s so easy to focus on what we don’t have rather than what we do. I need to trust that there is a reason where I am now instead of where I think I should be. I need to trust in God and his promises to me because I’m the end they are promises and promises are promises. Sure they can be broken but with God, they never can be.

  • Brittany Perez

    “Treasured all things and pondered in her heart” man what a way to think about God’s promises! Especially after reading Elizabeth’s story I think that knowing what I did of Mary beforehand was nothing in comparison to what I understand now. How glorious to have the treasuring heart that Mary had, how wonderful of a thought to treasure the promises. I know I have a tough time remembering the promises then thinking “what else can I have” or “what else don’t I have” but to look at the gifts and promises of God and to meditate on those promises is quite a challenge but I think I’m going to start looking at every morning that I wake up as a treasure, a promise from God that he will give me a future one far beyond my imagination and for His kingdom. And every moment I want something “extra” in my life, like a boyfriend or a husband or a different degree, I will treasure the things I do have instead of the things I don’t.

  • Holly Freeman

    God gives me exactly what I need to remind me to hold on to him even when I do t understand and feel that I have no control with what’s going on around me. I’m reminded today to hold on to his truth that he is in control and is able to change around anything for his good. I pray today to hold it close to my heart his truth and to shut out the chaos around me. He is a able good and let his will be done not mine.

  • Anna Christine

    I’m thankful God has shown women’s purposes through meaningful Scriptures I’ve been overlooking!

  • Mary-Molly Storey

    I pray that we as women treasure up all things from the Lord in our heart- our reminder that all things from Him are good and serve a purpose much higher than ourselves.

  • Loretta Hall

    Jesus’ promises are sure. There is nothing e’empty’ about Jesus…

  • Heather Timmons

    This devotional and comments brought tears to my eyes. I’m currently struggling with motherhood. As a stay at home mom I’m often. Frustrated. I feel like my value depends on the contribution I can make to our bills and finances as we are deeply in debt. But I know there’s a reason I read this today. I’m actually getting ready to sit down and do my purpose board that’s not business related but focused on how God sees me and what he has blessed me to offer my family and those around me. Through these tough times I’m pondering these things in my heart and comparing noodles — how far I have come because I have turned my heart back to God. Thank you for this.

  • Treasuring His promises. For me I sit here and hold onto that. He will never leave me or forsake me. He lays out my path before me. I walk in faith with these words and hold them close to my heart.

  • Luke 1:37″no word from God will ever fail” I am so gratefulful for Gods love and commitment to me and my family. Trust and faith in Gods promises…

  • Chris Minardi

    I really enjoyed this devotion. I wanted to compliment what was said; You mentioned, Mary savored over striving. So true. You said that just as a noodle maker would relish in the process, learning all she could, recognizing its a process, it doesn't just come. We know, we have to wait on His time, so true. But, I love your teachers instructions, "Go back to the first…". In all we do, shouldn't we all go back and measure it against the only "standard" that really matters? Am I good neighbor? Am I loving? Am I a good mom? Am I a good employee? We often say, "since I am the nicest on the block", or, "no one else works as hard as I do to be friendly", "no other mom does this much", therefore, I must be on the right track. It's like, have you ever been at a stoplight in your car and looking at the car next to you and felt your car rolling backward, only to find that it was actually the car next to you rolling forwards? That's what it's like when we measure ourselves to the wrong thing. We will always think we look pretty good compared to someone else in our community, family, work, etc. We tend to even measure our sin on a scale; I don't steal or murder people, I just tell white lies, so my sin is pretty normal and hardly a problem. We need to measure our goodness, sin, and view of ourselves in light of the only measure that matters. Compared to Christ, we are never good or sinless enough. We are wretched. But, because of Christ we are blameless and loved and seen as a reflection of the One who made us.

  • this lesson brought tears to my eyes more than once in just the few minutes it took to read. clinging to His promises. remembering that today. ❤️

  • “…savoring over striving.” Seems this is going to require a bit of slowing down, listening, waiting. Perfecting an ‘art’ over the art of perfection. Less striving, more savoring is my prayer…striving wears me out.

  • Jessie Thomas

    Cling to truths!!!! It’s so easy to get distracted by the world. But cling to the truth. Cling to Jesus. Hold him dearly to your heart.

  • Marianne

    Love this line: “she was chosen and favored to walk a lonely and scary path.” I identify with this line deeply. Going to sleep now thinking and praying about what this means to me…so thankful for this community of faith

  • Debby M.

    hi

  • Because I’m the mama of a little boy I think of Mary often! So precious!

  • Stunning portrait of clinging to God’s promises! ❤️

  • Shaunta Scott

    Amazing! I want to learn from Mary. I’m going through a hard time now of being homeless with five children to fend for with my husband. This is a trying time for me as a mother and I keep asking God why? I keep thinking negative, because it feels like the storm will never end. I have reach out and called numerous agencies in Volusia County, only to be told we can’t help you. We have been homeless for four weeks now, bouncing back and forth from one hotel to the next, for cheaper rates.

    Just this Wednesday, my husband and I booked a hotel room for a week, only to arrive at this hotel and be turned away because we have too many children. I was hurt and felt persecuted like Mary. With no where to turn for help, we were left with a 160.00 bucks. Which covered a possible three day stay at Motel 6. We could not get our money back the same day because we paid with a prepaid debit card and it will take five business days for the refund to be debited back to the card.

    I have read every post here, and I am going to take heed in the words spoken here, because if I don’t I will lose my sanity. My husband and I, are good working people, we have full time employment. We moved to Volusia County from Miami in search of new beginnings and we found that. God has revealed my purpose for teaching and I started off volunteering at my children’s school. I then became a Substitute Teacher, and then I became a Paraprofessional for full time employment at my children school. Now I’m attending University of Phoenix to earn a Bachelor Degree in Education to become a Certified Teacher.

    So God is with us during the troubling time, and I’m falling apart because I’m blind to God’s plan/purpose for my life. I don’t know if this is a test for me and my husband, but I’m asking God to renew me right now and forgive me for doubting him. I asking him to allow me to ponder in my heart, and store up these treasured moments I have with my husband and children in this troubling time. I’m asking God for perseverance, and although I might now know our next step in this situation, I’m trusting Him, to make a way. In Jesus Name I pray Amen! God Bless everyone and SRT for allowing me to share my story.

    • TriciaH

      God Bless you! He is making a way just keep ur eyes on Him and He will not fail! Prayers for you and your family!

    • Tiff Marie

      Your story is beautiful and demonstrates faith and every day you are showing great character to your children. ❤️

    • Charla

      God loves you. Allow his arms to wrap around you and lay all your cares at the cross. I imagine this must be an extremely troubling time for you. Please don’t ever believe the lies that you have been forsaken. You are right; God will make a way.

  • Andie Walton

    She stored it in her heart, every moment. Mary knew and trusted on Gods promises. That is what she held onto that day He was crucified.

  • I am so blessed by all of the comments I have read. I have been gleaning wisdom from all you ladies. Thanks for sharing!! I am blessed that God did call mothers to make an impact on our world for Jesus Christ. Our job has purpose. I let the enemy beat me up so many times for not working outside the home, butt this is where God called me. We all go through various seasons in our lives and raising little ones is one of them. I am thankful for this season. When we teach our children the principles in the Word then our lives are being used for His glory and purposes. All seasons have their own beauty and purposes.

  • Any of you gals have an idea on why in Luke 2:1-5, when Mary tells Jesus that they ran out of wine, why Jesus responds by saying “My time has not yet come” ?
    Been thinking about this today and not sure if it is meant to be a metaphor (like Jesus will fill our cups)?

    • Anna Buchanan

      I’m pretty sure He is saying the time to reveal Himself as King has not yet come. His miracle goes unnoticed by all except His disciples, His mother and a few servants. The party guests just assume the groom saved the nice wine for last. I think Jesus is pointing to the fact that He is in perfect step with His Father’s timing while many of His followers just want the glory to be known by all.

  • Very good picture of pasta/promise comparing

  • Emma McKay

    Wow! People have always told me to ponder in my heart like Mary but it’s so much deeper than I understood. She was building her faith and supporting her Son. All while learning the truth of who he is and keeping to that. It’s so easy to be swayed by our own opinions. But at the end of the day Jesus is truth and life and our Savior. CLING TO THAT!

  • Kasey Summers

    To draw close to Jesus. To cling to Him. To be in the presence of the Lord is to find joy. Psalm 16 . To just treasure Jesus! He is more than enough to satisfy our deepest longings!

  • Ashley Aylsworth

    Yes I agree, this demonstrates a lot about Mary’s character and devotion to God. And I love the motherly phrase how she “treasured all those things in her heart.” It captures the essence of both a loving mother and our amazing Father. Through joys and pains, I need the constant reminder to treasure God’s word and promises. Anyone can take good from good, but He focuses on taking good from bad. And it is He who specializes in taking crucifixions and turning them into resurrections!!

  • Miss Ruth

    I loved this post. I never quite saw Mary this way before. I have always privately wondered about the extreme suffering she must have experienced, that, like you said, is embellished in Christmas songs… no one ever walked her path before: to be the chosen girl to carry the Son of God in her womb! To nurse Him, to put Him to sleep at night… the Bible doesn't give us those details, but her pain must have been excruciating, even as she clung to the promises, to the prophecies. There was a tenderness there, a motherly protectiveness that I'm absolutely convinced that Jesus was keenly aware of: with His dying breaths, He gave John to her to be a son (almost to take His place in a way) and her to John. That's the King we serve: even in the most epic, tragic, redemptive moment of history, He did not forget her, the woman who was chosen to bear Him.

    On a sidenote: I loved the Florence/spaghetti details :)

    • shereadstruth

      Ruth, wow, you're so right! She went through more than I'll ever know, which also gives me a deeper longing for God's Word. I'm so grateful for the way He draws us closer to Him through Mary's story!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • Tanya EJ

    Today’s post really spoke to me. It’s so easy to shout for joy when things go right, say it’s a blessing and God’s will. But when things go seemingly wrong, we cry and shout ‘Why me?’ But God’s plan sometimes does include what we’d labs as tests and trials, but with a PURPOSE. His Purpose, that according to Romans 8:28 will work together for our good for those who love Him. In the midst, it’s definitely harder to recognize that, but the holding up the pasta story (too cute!) and reading about Jesus’ mother holding onto and reminding herself of God’s promise, leave a wonderful imagery for me to hold onto. Have a great day and thanks for sharing! :)

  • Elizabeth

    A homework pass on suffering? She watched Him persecuted. She saw Him hang to die. He was her baby! I can't imagine greater human suffering. I don't think she had a pass at all. I think she teaches us how to suffer with grace.

    • shereadstruth

      Absolutely, Elizabeth! I agree wholeheartedly. Grateful for God's clear presence through her suffering!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

    • Carrie

      And to be corrected by your adolescent son who had disappeared, knowing He was the son of God and right. At the wedding, I picture a mother eager to help, calling on her son, knowing he could fix it, again rebuked by him for asking. Oh the doubt and uncertainty that must have come with raising Him…

      When I read of her pondering and treasuring, I am struck by a desire to understand it all. This is how I process. I take all the information and ponder it, treasure it, knowing its value. Yet not understanding. I picture Mary the same way, not knowing the ending but knowing God’s promises to be true. What a journey it must have been.

  • What an encouragement to drop passivity and actively enjoy the Truth of God and the rich blessings He has given me.

  • “Treasuring in her heart” jumped out at me too, so thanks for giving your take on it, Kaitlin!

    The word treasured is used for when Mary is happy – Jesus’s birth – and when she is most likely scared or frustrated – Jesus’s disappearance. I think of treasuring in your heart like being thankful and counting your blessings. You do it in good times and bad and it always brings your perspective back to Jesus – right where it should be!

  • Jennifer

    I can't help but wonder what Mary was thinking as she prayed in that upper room, after Jesus ( the baby she birthed, the son she'd raised, the man she'd followed all over Judea, only to watch him die and then be raised again) ascended to heaven. I think Mary got the first glimpse of this amazing plan that God had to redeem his people (that's us!) as she watched these incredible and terrible events. As a mother I can't imagine what it would be like to be Mary. She is not on par with God Himself, as no human is with the exception of Jesus the God-man. But she is certainly whose example we can look to.

  • Kimberly Martinson

    Savor, not strive. Good to remember.

  • "Hold it up to the first"
    I think so often I hold up my circumstances to my constructed truth which looks not at all like the His truth. May I ever increasingly compare my circumstances to His truth and align my truth to what HE says.

  • Day 3 – Mary of Nazareth – I never thought about the fact that Mary was the only person present at both the Lord’s birth and His death… it got me thinking that Mary was probably the one person on earth who spent the most time with Jesus, face to face, in conversation, physically touched and impacted in so many ways over 30 odd years. But we are given so few glimpses into that relationship, those day to day interactions. Could it be because each of us has our own intensely personal connection with our Savior that the details are appropriately private, above and beyond any possible comparison? What we are told is that Mary treasured all of these things in her heart… not shared, not boasted about, not even thought “out loud” (as I am often guilty of doing… rehearsing the details out loud as a way of “processing” them in my own mind)… no, she simply treasured them and trusted in the Person she was getting to know so intimately to make clear to her just what she would need to know when she would need to know it… and to provide for her every need… always… perfectly.

  • Stephanie

    I always knew of Mary as simply the mother of Jesus, but today I stopped to understand what that role entailed. Mothering Jesus took more faith in God's plan than I can even fathom. I have a hard time imagining what it must have looked like for Mary in that time, and I realized today that I only wish I had the strength to trust God with my life that Mary did. She unhesitatingly agreed to what God asked of her, and she continued to do so throughout her life. Most of the time I try to argue with God, trying to convince myself that I know what I need to do better than He does, when I should really simply say "okay, I trust you, God." I want my life to be in line with His will, and that takes clinging to the promises of God like Mary did.

  • Lots of things happened at me today, that i cannot contain all of it in my heart. I wanna shout and scream but something in me whispered to be calm and believe that God is watching. Then as i read Mary’s, in times like this, i must be faithful tho its hard. Thinking of Mary saw her son crucified, it’s very painful but she never lose a heart to God, for she knows the promises of God. It is also a way a serving the Lord. This things are treasurable for I know God is with me. God bless everyone.

  • Allie S.

    Love, love, love this! I just love it all. What a beautiful example of clinging to His promises!

  • I have always always loved those verses in the passages about Mary that mention how she "treasured up all these things in her heart". How uniquely wonderful they are – it is just one of those sentences that leaps out at you for its intimacy, tenderness, and complete loveliness as we are given that special insight into the heart of someone in the Bible, a gift of something we don't normally see so directly explained in Scripture.

    I have been thinking a lot lately about the nature of women versus men – how we are wordier and seemingly more pensive and prone to worry in general. In what little we are given about Mary, I am so delighted to see how real she was, how she handles that feminine nature, how so like us she was — how she too paused and considered all that she was experiencing in both her heart and mind, giving full weight and attention to her thoughts, which must have been many. How special it is that she gave over the worries of the wedding party with tact and grace, pointing them to the power of Jesus her son, The Son. I don't know that we could ever begin to imagine the depth of her human nature, the complexities of her emotions, the nature of her worship, the confused or perhaps hateful remarks she may have received or the scope of her pain as a mother of the crucified Jesus while simultaneously being a faithful fellow believer in Him. She carried so much we could never know. She watched him grow, she fed him as a child, she changed him, and never once do we see or read of her boastfulness for being chosen as His earthly maternal figure. She, like us, simply chooses Jesus, glorifying God by obediently following her son, attempting to understand, and walking in faith.

    I really appreciate that throughout this series SRT reminds us gently that we are not to worship these women, but see Jesus through them. How truly important that is to remember here, when so many fail to pass on from the fixation of the miraculous thing that happened to Mary and on to the object of our true worship – forever and always, our dear Lord, Jesus Christ.

  • Why was Mary highly favoured? Not because of what she had done, but because of what God was doing in her. I think at times I’m tempted to give too much credit to Mary. That she must have been such an amazing, Godly young woman for God to choose her for this task. But we miss the point entirely. There was nothing special about Mary. She was ordinary. But she served an extraordinary God.

    Mary was highly favoured, BECAUSE the Lord was with her. It was never about her but about His greatness and power! He used the life of a simple, poor young girl to change the world!!! And oh yes, her response and surrender to God’s plan is inspiring. It helps me to see that ordinary meets extraordinary when there is a surrendered, mouldable heart.

    Friends of Hudson Taylor marvelled at His work in China towards the end of His life and mentioned that Taylor had been such a strong, talented and dedicated Christian for God to use him in this way. HD’s response is amazing: “not so, but I must be especially weak and lowly to be chosen as the instrument for such an important task.”

    1 Corinthians 1

    26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”[d]

    Oh to the praise of His glorious grace!

  • Katie Walder

    What struck me most about the devotional was what a “favored” life meant for Mary. As Kaitlin pointed out in today’s devotional “we forget that culturally and emotionally, she was chosen and favored to walk a lonely and scary path.” It seems like having God’s favor, a wonderful thing, should bring a life of happiness and ease, when the reality is that it likely means the opposite. Such a truth challenges me – do I want God’s favor and His will for me over my plans for happiness that may not actually be the best thing for me? I know God also richly blesses us and gives us great joy – but if life was always like that we wouldn’t grow. Are we willing, like Mary, to endure the hard times that God allows and submit to His larger plan and say “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word”?

    • Meg

      Great insight, Katie! That’s what took hold of my heart today too. I’ve been praying a lot about putting God first and not looking to others for fulfillment. I want to cling to God’s love and promises just like Mary did!

  • Elisabeth

    I just LOVED this morning’s reminder to savor over striving! I know my first inclination towards life is to react, to question, to be this loud and noisy voice towards God. But Mary reminds us to be slower to react, to trust God’s plan for us and to treasure and recall all of the ways he has been good to us. I’m praying for us all this morning, that we would embody such peace and seize each opportunity to treasure the knowledge of who God is in our hearts daily. Love you all!

  • Praying to treasure the glimpses of God in my everyday, to ponder these moments, to praise and cherish them. As a mother of young children, it's easy to feel bogged down by the to-dos and mundane ordinariness of life. It can feel small at times, these little things we do day in and day out. But then there are these glimpses of God, small moments to treasure and give thanks for; my daughter clutching my hand as we cross the street, weeding the garden and a robin landing on the fence post observing our work, a cool breeze through the house as I fold the laundry, His grace, love, and forgiveness bestowed on me in my less patient moments. I pray for peace and clarity to discover, treasure, and celebrate the wonderful gifts God reveals to us.

  • I’ve always *treasured* the verses of Mary ‘pondering these things in her heart’ ~ love envisioning these moments. This was a great devotional highlighting how she chose to cling to God’s promises along her journey as mother of the Son of God! Thank you SRT!

  • Yes! Great food for thought.

    I love Mary's reactions as well. I love that she "pondered" as much as she reacted. Oh that I could ponder and take time to really see truth, rather than react.

  • “I believe Mary was busy fiercely clinging to the treasured promises of God.” I have to do this everyday! I am watching my strong willed 21 yr old daughter live a life without God, right now. It’s the most heart achingly thing to watch. I brought Jesus home. I didn’t just leave His teachings to the Sunday school teachers. I have prayed and fasted and this isn’t what I prayed for. My faith has been shaken upside down. Filled at moments with doubt, fear and sadness. But God. I’m waiting and praying everyday for my daughter’s “But God”! And so, His Word, His love and His faithfulness is what keeps me going each day ( because honestly this isn’t the only big prayer I’m waiting for). So ya, I fiercely cling to the treasured promises of God. And I fight for His joy, not discouragement, to shine in and through me!

    • DeLora

      May our Heavenly Father answer your prayers for your daughter. It is difficult to watch our precious little ones stumble as they become adults. Keep on praying for your child and never give up. God rewards the fervent prayer of a righteous Mom.

    • Stephanie

      Hi, I am an ex-rebellious young woman, drugs, sex, you name it… I took a hard road but it brought me back around to God. I think the thing is that although your daughter may sin outwardly, you probably don’t know what is going on in her heart. Also you don’t know what God plans to do with her, her testimony later, her sympathy with others who have sinned in what we religious people think is a grievous sin. I feel blessed now because I know what grace means, really, because of all the trash I brought to God. Preaching to your daughter and telling her how bad she is will only push her further from you. She will come back to God and He will find her when she is ready. Just love her, don’t condemn, don’t judge… Just do fun stuff together and leave God out of the conversation. He does his own talking. Let the Holy Spirit convict her, he is more than capable, trust me. All have sinned and fallen short, my sin looks worse to us than someone else’s, and someone else’s may look worse to me but to God all of us have sinned. And we are all in need of salvation. I am not a mother so I don’t know what you must be going through. I can only try and give you another perspective. I know God has a great plan for your daughter and no matter what she does He can turn it for good.

    • Debby M.

      There is so much I could share right here, but I simply will tell you…. I know. And it is HOPE I bring you! For I am the mother of not one but two daughters that I have FERVANTLY prayed for for MANY years. And in God’s timing, not mine, He is doing, far beyond me to imagine, glorious and redeeming changes in both of my daughters!! Friend, they’re is always hope and we put that hope in the very One that knows. Not a “well I sure hope it happens” but a sure, steadfast hope of it WILL happen…. in God’s beautiful ways and His perfect timing. Trust Him… even when you CAN’T see. :)

    • Debby M.

      I will lift your hurting mother’s heart up to God in prayer. He knows….

  • One of my favorite pieces to Mary’s story is in Luke 1 as the angel finishes his declaration to her. He closes with a powerful statement for Mary to dwell on… “For nothing is impossible with God.”

    I often try to imagine how I might have reacted to all of this had I been Mary’s neighbor at the time. Would I be found rolling my eyes? Would I try to avoid the crazy girl next door? Or would I call to mind all the miraculous deeds our God had done for His people, and the words of the prophets telling of the One who was to come? Would I remember that nothing is impossible with God?

    My prayer today is that our eyes would be so fixed on the Lord, that we would remember every single hour that nothing is impossible with our God.

  • Abby Dawn

    I love and appreciate the detailed description of making homemade pasta, as I had the opportunity to do the same in Rome last summer. It was one of the most frustrating things and there were many times I wanted to throw in the towel. "Mary was actively fighting for the truth with the Truth." Mary knew how to do this because she was so disciplined, trusting, and obedient. Her story is amazing to me, and reading through it in the middle of July paints a bit of a different picture of Mary than we see in December. A strong and incredible woman who I can learn so much from.

  • Adrienna

    “Mary was actively fighting for the truth with the Truth, massaging the day’s events into her knowledge of God, savoring His promises over her striving.” This part resonated with me so much. In a world that is falling apart and a life that isn’t always what I had planned, I have to constantly be putting the things that I see and experience into the context of God. How can He use me in this situation? What promises in the Word can I hold fast to right now when things are hard? Putting everything in the context of what we know about God, and not putting God in the context of what we can see, is key.

  • So many great “quotes” from today’s commentary! My favorite: “Her arms carried a bundle of treasures that continued to point her to God’s good plan.” It’s so true! Even today, we can carry His promises that He will never leave us or forsake us. He is always, always, always guiding us down the perfect plan for our lives.

  • Margaret

    "Hold it up to the first." – LOVE that. To have a heart so intertwined and soaked in love for God like Mary would be life altering. Her priorities and intentions are so lined up with the will of God, even during her times of frustration and anguish. I pray that we as women of God we can find the treasure in our circumstances and cling to the greatest treasure, the promise of Jesus.

  • Mary is such an inspiration. I want what she has, obedience, in breakable faith, peace and unending love for her baby and savior. I do think the story of Mary is also a beautiful reminder to us that what the world thinks or says is “right” doesn’t matter. What matters is God’s perspective not the worlds. I also love that Mary is a beautiful reminder pushing us towards his word because to treasure his promises we need to KNOW his promises by spending time in his word.

  • I wonder about the conversation once Mary reached Home. The Father, the Son and the earthly mother made new.

  • Kristi Daum

    Just as Mary ” pondered ” over her son, mothers today do the same over the lives of their children. Remember to draw on the promises of God in their lives. Pray for them daily, recount God’s faithful when the days are hard and love them relentlessly.

  • Seeing God through Mary

    Mary said "yes" to God's plan. Eve said "no". Like Christ becoming the 2nd Adam, does Mary become our 2nd Eve? Because she submitted to God's will, something Eve failed to do.

    Was this "yes" part of God's plan in reversing the fall that began with Eve's "no" to submitting to God's will?

    When I look to Mary what I need to see is her obedience to God's Word not just her role in giving birth to Christ. It is her obedience to God, (that comes from faith) that I should desire in my own life, so that God can work through me too.

    May I not block the Lord with my "no" and give Him many "yes Lord"

  • "Hold it up to the first." If I am to be Christ-like, I must hold everything up to Him and His example–my attitudes, my actions, my words, my choices. Are they like Him? Are they in line with His teachings? Do they further His kingdom? Could they draw others to Him? They should Then the big question: can I focus on holding everything up to Him this day…this hour…this minute?

    • Rachel

      Thank you for the great questions to reflect on and ask myself. Like you, the comparison of the 2nd noodle to the first also reminded me how God is so patient with us as He shapes us to be like His son, Jesus.

    • Alexis

      I think I will begin to noodle my days! :-) such a great visual.

    • Kathy

      Exactly. Well said.

  • Leslie Olson

    Pondering Mary’s expectations this morning…..the only kingdom she would have any knowledge of would have been the line of David as we see it unfold in the OT. How did she reconcile the promise of the angel with the reality of her Som on the cross. How? This no matter how it looked on the outside is FAITH that I want a taste of.

  • Caroline @ In due time
  • Kelly_Smith

    Mary learned over time exactly what her vow to "let it be to me according to your word" entailed. It seems each stop along the way opened her eyes to the journey ahead. The angel didn't lay out the plan of redemption, only the next step. She begins to grasp His majesty with the shepherds' visit. She sees His mastery of scripture and gets a glimpse of His ministry in the temple. I imagine she knew He was a miracle worker before the wedding since she asked Him to step in and make the impossible possible. But the cross. Did she see that one coming? Did she understand why it had to be while she stood there watching her Son suffer? Did she know it was for her, too? Maybe it all came together for her after the ascension–the Gospel plan.

    Throughout the journey, from her encounter with the angel to the cross, Mary "let it be…according to your word." One declaration of commitment carried her through the highs and lows of being the mother to the Messiah. The promises of God didn't change, nor did her commitment. I get pieces of my story one at a time. I treasure God's promises when I see them fulfilled and cling to them when I am in the dark. Kaitlin, that concept of "hold it up to the first" is essential for keeping the faith throughout a lifetime. Thank you for sharing it!

  • Mary has always stunned me. I didn't reach any real spiritual wisdom until into my twenties and with our world being what it is, my life was much more carefree, easy going and spoiled than Mary's would have been. While I had every opportunity to know God personally, as a teen I wasn't terribly interested in relationship with Him. So here we have Mary, an angel of God appearing before her, that alone would have had me calling for help, but Mary remains, listens inently and not only accpets what is said, but commits to be a servant of God in a massive way. The announcement would have had my head spinning and I likley would have had 20 questios on the logistics alone. It's very probable that Gabriel himself would have either turned and walked away from me out of sheer frustration, likely ready to tell God … "You got the wrong girl" …. but Mary had only one simple question … "How can it be?" … How can it be? She is faced with a colossal responsibility and her only question is "How?" … When Gabriel answers her, she humbly accepts this and moves in beautiful obedience and expectation. These days, even with a wealth of resources, unplanned babies freak even the well prepared and married out, but we are talking a very very different time and a teenage girl being told that she will raise THE King Himself. I think to her after Gabriel left. How did she feel? Was she all smiles? Was she a bundle of nerves? Too afraid to tell anyone, yet dying to tell everyone? When raising that sweet boy, was she as enamored with his sweet, chubby little fingers, his soft ears and that little peach fuzz that sits atop them. How terribly did it hurt to comprehend the gravity of His fate? UGH Mary!

    Mary humbles me. Her servant-hood and obedience reminds me daily that being a mother is tough stuff and I won't have to watch my children crucified. It is a load God knows is heavy. One mounting with blood, sweat, tears and massive emotion. One in which the raising of little people can try even the most patient of souls and yet He chose to come to this world through a woman …. through a mother. If God Himself chose to seek someone that He could experience a mother relationship with than why would I think that my job as Mom is not hugely important? Why would I allow the enemy for one moment, one day, to tell me that I am "just a mother" …. allowing me to diminish this relationship in the shadow of successful careers outside of the home. I can imagine Mary had her frustrating days, she was raising God Himself …. yikes, but I know through scripture that she DID treasure the moments….."storing it in her heart". She humbles me to take each day and store it up. To cherish the moments with these little folks in my life and connect with them in a way that only a mother can….because "Mother" is a proud title and whether it is one worn by a Virgin, myself or the many women in my kids' life who will never have their own babies, but treat mine as if they are … it is a beautiful title, one swiftly impactful, one turly and entirely about a servanthood to God. We are tasked with raising up God's army … and I'm not going to take it lightly, but I am going to enjoy every minute I can and just like Mary, treasure it in my heart! ~ B

    • Lindsey

      "Take each day and store it up." Yes!

    • tina

      Beautiful -B…Thank you….xxxxxxx

    • Lynne

      I wouldn't agree more. Mother is a title that surely doesn't seem to hold much regard to certain people but to God it is an honor. We are raising children for the kingdom. Thank you for that reminder because sometimes I get weary in well doing. I am a mother of 7 and life seems to be passing way to quickly. I want to treasure these moments I have with my gifts from God. Thanks for the encouragement!!

    • Lisa

      Thank you for this, I resonated with your thoughts/emotions on Mary's story. :)

  • Many of us see Mary as the women in the Christmas manger scene with a white gown and blue veil. But there is so much more to Mary and the depth of her personality, strength and faith.
    Living in that era what faith and trust she had in God when she agreed to a pregnancy before marriage. How blessed she was when God chose Joseph for her husband knowing he would stay committed to her. What beauty she had to humbly give birth to our Savior in a manger. What wisdom she had to “treasure up all these things” to learn about her son’s role for His Heavenly Father and her role as His mother. What pride she had in watching her son grow into the man He became. Finally, what bravery and fortitude she showed during His torture and death.
    My babies did not come with a “How To” manual, I did the best I knew in raising them. Like Mary I “treasured up” all the parts of everyday learning how to be the best Mom I could be. How incredible it must have been for Mary to know who Jesus was and that at some point she would need to give Him up to us. She didn’t have a How To manual either. She relied on prayer and faith and trust in God. Mary showed us how to be accepting, trusting, hearing, listening, behaving, giving, accepting of all that God put in front of her from an early age. If there was only one of Mary’s traits that I would be allowed to have it would be her bravery to willing and with joy, take on all that was sent her way and not loose it’s purpose or her faith and trust. Everything else would just fall into place.

  • I've never tried making pasta from scratch – I can only imagine how frustrating it would be for someone like me who doesn't enjoy cooking. I have tried mothering 3 boys from scratch though (as 29 week old, premature triplets) and it hasn't been easy. And yet, God's promises – words He's been teaching me from the Bible since I was a teenager, have held me up. When we treasure God's word in our hearts and soak it up whenever we can, it will come to our aid when we feel lost and dry.

    • Alexis

      I appreciate your last sentence. Well said.

      • Joey

        ^ Likewise. You've got it, Sheena. "Soaking it up whenever we can", and making His words important and real treasure — He is quick to give us recall and always faithful to save.

    • JudithLuca

      Love it! I found that to be so true for myself as well! I went to do a DTS Bibleschool last year with youth with a mission and was amazed by how often God had already prepared my heart years and years before hand! Services I’ve heard, one on ones I had, people that I’ve met. God works in his timing and I’m so glad! Because no matter how hard I try, his timing will ALWAYS be so much better. So store up these things, don’t ponder on what goes wrong but embrace the things that God is speaking over you!

  • You're right about Mary's path being lonely and scary, especially in that culture at that time. We think of her as pure, but during her lifetime, shame followed her everywhere. The Bible calls Jesus a man of no reputation, and she gave up her reputation to become His mother. I'm sure she didn't feel "favored" in the way we think of favor, even though she knew it to be true.
    In fact, the angel called her favored, but Simeon told her that a sword would pierce her own soul, and I'm sure she carried that with her, along with all the treasured promises. Knowing that she would be pierced and was being pierced, must have given the act of treasuring the truth an even greater urgency. Those truths weren't just pleasant thoughts to cherish in a scrapbook, they were her lifeline.

    • Cat

      This reminded me of the verse in Deut 32:47 when Moses tells the Israelites- “These are not just idle words for you- they are your life.” I think Mary must have felt the same way about her treasure trove of truths.

      • Rachel

        Thank you for the verse. I will ponder on words of life, words of truth, not idle words today.

    • Breanne

      I love your last line, "they were her lifeline". Very powerful, definitely puts things in perspective!

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