Pondering Mary and the expat life

Do you know?

Can we peek into Mary’s life for a minute?

A young girl.

A holy pregnancy.

A million unanswerable questions.

A move to live with family in another town.

A new husband.

A long journey.

A small list of worldly possessions.

A lonely labor and delivery in a manger.

A fear for her little family.

A move to a new country.

A divine call by the Most High.

Ponder what her life must have looked like for those few years.

Marriage, motherhood, and moving…

Do you know?

Painfully familiar for me.

Her life was full of the constant change of friends, houses, cultures, and surroundings.

As I sit here in West Africa, with my twinkling Christmas tree next to me and a yummy homemade eggnog latte in my hand… I ponder her life. Her happenings. Her situation. And I’ve realized that her life looked like mine has looked over the past few years.

Her life was full of change, goodbyes, loneliness, transition, fear, weakness, and less than ideal circumstances.

I can imagine her first response to the call of God, her gasp at an unbelievable challenge and her deep feelings of inadequacy to complete the task.

I can imagine her face when her fiancé learned of her pregnancy. Her gratefulness when he chose to walk the calling with her.

I can imagine and see her tears of difficulty and pain.

I can imagine her questions and her uncertainty.

I can understand the immense feelings she must have experienced with each passing, unplanned experience.

The road blocks. The uncomfortable travels. The unnecessary expenses and desperately long journey.

Pondering Mary and the expat life

Yet as I ponder Mary, I can see who she allowed her situation to help her become. I can see God’s hand at work. I can see the Holy Spirit carving out a road where there was no path before. Mary, allowing God to do something amazing and unprecedented in her heart.

She thrived without a house decked out from Target and Etsy.

She grew into a mighty woman in spite of great transition and drastic changes.

She bloomed under pressure and great duress.

She created a home for her family in new places..

She provided for her family without all the necessary ingredients to the latest pinterest recipe or the exact color paint to match that special pillow in the living room.

She knew what it was like to thrive, grow and bloom in the midst of the craziest of callings.

Her heart pondered the call of God and she still said yes.

She made a daily choice to raise the Son of God.

A daily choice to live the life that God had previously planned for her alone to live.

And that, my friends, is another miracle of Christmas… an often untold miracle of Christmas.

The miracle of Mary, living the life God had prepared for her. Mary walking a difficult path. Mary obeying God through all the change, transition and loneliness. Mary saying yes in spite of cultural difficulties and unknown risks. Mary navigating marriage in a season of great stress. Mary living a miracle.

A miracle that I can grasp on to with both hands.

Pondering Mary and the expat life

I can look and ponder the life of Mary and see a mirror image of the lives our family has been called to live.

Yes… so much of it was different.

Yet… so much was the same.

My latte is now finished. The sun is setting out the window. Jeremy is in the kitchen with the girls frying up some shrimp he found at the market.

And I write… pondering the wonderful gift we have been given in the life and example of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

What a life she lived.

And I can’t help but ponder my path.

The path isn’t easy. The cultures are always changing. The risks are real and great. The challenges are huge mountains in our way.

But we can see, through pondering Mary’s life, we will make it through.

He will give us visions and dreams to guide us. He will speak words of love and provide places of rest. He will send friends to walk with us. He will finish the work he began in us. He is with us in this moment and he will be with us at the end of our journey.

He is the same God that helped Mary through every trial and storm.

He is the same God who called Mary and asked her to live an unimaginable life.

He is the same God who gently guided Mary through the transitions and moves and changes.

He is the same God who gave her the strength to watch her Son give His life for the world.

Her life is miraculous.

And that miracle is true for you and for me.

As I finish typing my ponderings of Mary, I am listening to a new version of a very old song.

And as we ponder her life together, as we learn from her quiet strength, let this song guide your ponderings this Christmas.

As you listen, ponder and wonder that lost in the shuffle of the realities of Mary’s life, maybe the Holy Spirit really did whisper that question to her heart.

“Mary, do you know? Do you realize Who I’ve called you to raise? Do you know? Can you see me at work in this struggle?”

And maybe the Holy Spirit is asking you, asking me, “Daughter, do you know? Do you realize who I’ve called you to raise? to reach? to teach? to disciple? Can you raise your eyes above the difficult circumstance and see the miracle I’m working through your life? Do you know? Do you see the eternal decisions and life changing things I’m doing in and around you? Will you let me keep working through you? Beloved daughter, do you know?”



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