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The Story of Mary
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By Melissa Nelms


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“The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” -Luke 1:30


When I read Mary’s story in the Gospel of Luke a painful image comes to mind. Now when most people read this story, or at least the commentaries I’ve read, Mary is seen as the ever-humble, ever-obedient, overjoyed expectant teen mother of our Lord and Savior. No questions. No doubts. No fears.


Really?! An angel of the Lord appears to this 14-year-old girl, who is engaged but not yet married, and tells her she is going to have a baby. And the immediate response of this young, unmarried girl is humble obedience? I don’t think so! The angel would have had no reason to say, “Do not be afraid” if he hadn’t seen fear in Mary’s face, seen the tremble of her hands, the quiver of her lip, the tears welling up in her eyes.


She was scared. And who wouldn’t be! I’m a mother. We planned and prayed for Anna when we were 24 years old, 3 years married, degrees in hand, careers begun. And even still, mixed in with the excitement, there was a twinge of fear. There were questions of whether or not we were really ready, whether we would be good parents, whether we would have a happy, healthy baby. The fear is always there.


However, the image that will forever be engrained in my mind when I hear Mary’s birth announcement will not be of my own experience of becoming a mother. It will be of a young 14-year-old girl whom I had loved and mentored for several years. A young woman who had become like a younger sister to me. We had been paired by Big Brothers Big Sisters when I was a junior in college and she was just 11 years old. We saw each other at least once a week over that three-year period of time. Days full of Sonic runs and dance parties in the car, sleepovers and mani/pedis, cooking lessons and ice skating. She was full of life and a little sass, but it made me love her even more.


It was after one of our weekend sleepovers just three months before her 15th birthday that she walked out of my bathroom with the positive pregnancy test in her hand limp at her side, face ashen and eyes brimming with tears. I happened to have a box in my bathroom because, as I said before, Andy and I had been planning and praying for our first child, Anna. It was just a few weeks later that we looked at our own positive pregnancy test with joy and excitement, and for me a twinge of pain because of the all too raw and recent memory of an all too young mother’s positive pregnancy test. That moment together in my living room is forever etched in my memories of our time together. All the air feeling as though it had been sucked from the room. The dog barking obnoxiously in the backyard. Then the feeling of her collapsing into my arms on the couch as she asked over and over, “What am I going to do? What am I going to tell my mom? How am I going to go home?” That moment was far from joyous, far from calm, far from any image we see of a young Mary hands raised, face glowing, praising God beneath the wings of an angel in a stained-glass window. It was instead the face of overwhelming fear, shame and guilt.


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It cripples us. Whether you’re a 14-year-old teen mother or a 50-year-old changing careers and pursuing new goals and long-held dreams. The fear of inadequacy grips us. Paralyzes us even.


So how did Mary do it? How did she move from point A to point B? From crippling fear to “My soul magnifies the Lord” (Luke 1:46). She remembered the angel’s greeting, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28). And again, when he tells her not to fear, “for you have found favor with God” (Luke 1: 30).  The very name of her son was a constant reminder – Emmanuel, God with us. She had no reason to fear, for she was favored by God. God created her good. God made her enough. God was with her, overshadowing her and filling her with the Holy Spirit to change the world by birthing the very Savior of the world.


So, do not be afraid. Hear the good news this Advent season! You are favored by God. God created you good – no, very good. God made you enough. God is with you. Now go! Magnify the Lord!


I look forward to worshipping with you and your family this weekend as we explore the story of Mary. We will be discussing the topic of birth and teen pregnancy, so if you’re not quite ready to have those conversations with your children or pre-teens I would invite you to check them into the nursery or children’s programming during worship this weekend.

EPS No School Wednesday, Oct 17 - All Day
JH Fall Break Mission Wednesday, Oct 17 - All Day
DCPS Fall Break Thursday, Oct 18 - All Day
EPS Fall Break Thursday, Oct 18 - All Day
JH Fall Break Mission Wednesday, Oct 17 - All Day

Friday Evening
 6:30 p.m. - One Church Worship

Sunday Morning
 9:15 a.m. - Worship at Acts 2
10:45 a.m. - Worship at Acts 2

4848 W. Covell
Edmond, OK 73012
Click here for directions
Phone: 405-359-2287

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