And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” – Luke 1:35-45 ESV
Luke 1 has been coming to my mind a lot with Christmas just around the corner. I think there are so many lessons that we can learn all throughout Jesus’ birth, from when Mary learns of her pregnancy to after his birth. Yet lately, I have been drawn to noticing the Lord’s perfect timing and provision when it comes to Elizabeth and Mary’s story.
Elizabeth and Mary were very different from one another on paper. Elizabeth had no children. She was barren. She was much older than Mary, and she was married to a well-known priest named Zechariah. When Mary became pregnant though, she was in her teenage years. She was engaged to Joseph but not yet married, which became a societal issue for her at the time of her pregnancy.
However, we see that Gabriel tells Mary of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, and what does Mary do? She goes with haste to see Elizabeth. Mary could have easily sat in fear, doubt, worry, and disappointment after Gabriel departed from her. She could have isolated herself from others. She could have become bitter and angry with God. But instead, she goes quickly to see Elizabeth, her cousin who is also pregnant.
And Elizabeth responds to seeing Mary with rejoicing. Elizabeth who has been waiting years to become pregnant, when she did not think she could ever become pregnant at this point, and finally gets the news that she is, responds to her younger, pregnant cousin with joy and love. She did not act out in jealously, bitterness, or anger to Mary or to the Lord in that moment, even though her circumstances could have allowed her to.
While Mary and Elizabeth had many differences that could have divided them and isolated them from one another, they came together in support and love for one another because of God’s timing and provision.
Over the past couple of months, I have been learning so much about the importance of being in deeply rooted community with women who are ahead of me in different stages of life. Thankfully, I do not look at the differences with judgement or where I lack, but instead, I get to see the areas of life that my friends are at as opportunities for me to learn and grow from them, and they get to learn from my different experiences as well.
After going through some difficulties in a new stage of my life and the transitions I have been through in the past couple of years, I was longing to seek counsel and friendships with those who could pour into me while I am navigating some of the challenges.
I recently read a book about the importance of mentorship and fellowship with multigenerational women in the church. One specific quote that really stood out to me was this:
We need to make sure we’re in a healthy spiritual and emotional place before we intentionally start pouring into other people… So, if we’re in the middle of a particularly challenging battle with brokenness, that’s a perfect time for us to put ourselves under the wisdom, counsel, and covering of loving authority.Sophie Hudson – author of “Giddy Up, Eunice”
I think there are many different seasons of life that we will go through. Some seasons, we will be able to pour into others and their lives. Other seasons, we may really be facing some challenges in which we need people to pour into us and fill our cups up. And there might be other seasons, where we have a good balance of both types of relationships.
Whatever season you find yourself in right now, I hope that you come across someone like Mary or Elizabeth out there who can meet you in this season you’re in. I have been blessed with some incredible women throughout my life who have deeply supported me, encouraged me, and guided me through several hills and valleys I walked through. I pray that God places those people in your life as well.