I have always struggled with my identity as a woman.
A few years ago my mother told me that she regretted not teaching me to be more domesticated. That perhaps if she spent more time with me, teaching me to cook, clean house, sew, etc., that I would surely have a mate by now.
She said that when she was raising me, she was told by the media to encourage your daughters to have careers. Don't raise them like you were raised, with limited futures of darning socks and wiping running noses. Now, I am happy to say that my mom just wishes she had raised me to love Christ. That if I learned to love Jesus, then it wouldn't matter whether I had all the skills to be a wife or a career woman, because God would surely direct my path.
What my mom didn't realize was that even though we didn't grow up being taught to have a relationship with Christ per se, we were raised going to church, praying, celebrating Christmas and Easter and developing morals and ethics that could only come from knowing Christ. I am thankful for the foundation that would later lead to a relationship with Christ. (So you see, Mom, you did teach me to love Christ.)
My mother is only one example of a woman who has impacted my life as a result of her relationship with Christ. Over the next several months, I want to share with you about some of the other women who have impacted my life solely because of their relationship with Jesus. I believe as I share, you too will connect with them and discover for yourself how God has always had a plan for you, is working it out in your life and will never leave you.
Mary, Mother of Jesus
Growing up, I did everything from playing with dolls to selling newspapers, climbing trees to owning a worm farm. I am sure I must have put my mother through many days of stress. Much like Jesus must have with his mother, Mary. Can you even imagine being the mother of Christ? Do you think that Mary grasped just how big this was? That she was raising the Son of God?
Let's consider what we know about this remarkable woman. She was engaged to Joseph, and we can assume that she was probably a teenager. We also know that she was a virgin who became pregnant by the Holy Spirit and gave birth to Jesus, the Savior of all mankind.
In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"
The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God."
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.
— Luke 1:26-38
Can you imagine what must have gone through Mary's head? Here she was, about to get married to Joseph and an angel appears to her and tells her she will be with child and will give birth to a son. I don't know about you, but I think I would have pinched myself to see if I was dreaming.
Mary, a single woman who had not had sex, questioned how this was going to be possible. What amazes me is her answer once the angel tells her how. "I am the Lord's servant … may it be to me as you have said." Was she curious and concerned? Sure! But without hesitance she accepted what the angel had told her. I'm wondering how she could be that calm. I would have had a million questions. But that is the difference between Mary and me. In order for Mary to be this calm, accepting and obedient, she must have had a prior relationship with God. She had previous knowledge of who He was and is.
Mary teaches us that in order to be willing to accept God's plan for our lives, we must know him, believe in him, seek him and trust in him. It's a journey that during which through time, as we are obedient with the small things, he will give us more. Where do you think Mary was in her relationship to God to be chosen to be the mother of Jesus?
We further learn about Mary visiting her cousin Elizabeth, who finds herself pregnant after many, many years of being barren. Elizabeth would give birth to John, the man who would one day announce Jesus was coming. We also learn that Mary stays with Elizabeth for the remainder of her pregnancy. I think of how Elizabeth mentored Mary and vice versa. How they must have laughed, cried and eaten everything in sight. How both of them were living lives only possible through God's provision.
What We Can Learn From Mary:
- Trust in the Lord - Mary trusted the angel, a messenger from God. "I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." (Psalm 91:2)
- Love the Lord - Her love for Jesus, and his love for her is evident. Mary stayed by her son 'til the end of his human life on the cross. "Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene." (John 19:25)
- Put God first – She teaches us, through her son, that God must come first, then family. "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:33)
- Commitment and obedience brings provision - Jesus, although he had a different path, never forgot his mother and his provision for her. At the end of his life, he made provision for her, as she was now a widow, a single woman. "When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, "Woman, he is your son." And he said to this disciple, "She is your mother." And from then on this disciple took her into his home." (John 19:26-27)
- Leave a legacy - She was committed to the message to reach those for Christ. "They all met together continually for prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus." (Acts 1:14)
Mary believed and trusted God. She was committed to Christ while also having compassion and sorrow at his death.
Through her life example, we learn how much Jesus loves and cares for women. How he has a plan for all of us, whether we are single or married, able to iron a shirt or run a corporation. He just wants us to come to him for everything we need. He desires for us to have a relationship with him. If you do not know Christ as your personal Savior, then click here to find out more.
If you do know Christ but need to recommit, start by doing this today: spend some time this Christmas season learning about Mary and her relationship with Jesus.
Jesus IS the reason for the season. Merry Christmas!
Kris Swiatocho is the President and Director of TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries. Kris has served in single adult ministry in various capacities for the last 20 years. She is currently working on her second book, "Jesus ... Single Like Me," and her first book, "31 Day Experiment: Singles and Relationships" (Harvest House Publishers), was co-authored with Dick Purnell of Single Life Resources.
TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries helps churches, pastors and single adult leaders evaluate, develop, and support their single adult ministries through high-energy speaking engagements, results-oriented consulting and training, and leadership development conferences and seminars. Click here to request a FREE "How to Start a Single Adult Ministry" guide.
"Singles & Relationships" by Kris Swiatocho and Dick Purnell – ONLY $6.99!
Many singles are Christians who wonder if God will ever bring a mate their way or if they should just stop focusing on a future with a marriage partner and live their single life to the fullest. Kris Swiatocho and Dick Purnell offer solid biblical answers for singles in this newest title in Dick's popular "31-Day Experiment" Bible study. Click here for more information.