*This is a narrative piece written from what we think may have been Mary’s perspective. It includes Biblical facts but is by no means meant to replace, alter, or add to Scripture.
Now I see, now I see God’s plan.
The distant past is always easier to understand than the present or future. Even my conversation with an angle wasn’t enough to erase all my fears and doubts about what lay ahead. Now I know why, Jesus, but none of it made sense to the teenage me, staring at my fiancé, trying to understand my unplanned pregnancy.
This is my story.
When you think of a savior, of a king, you would never picture me. King David was a king, and the fact that I was in his family tree was about the only royal thing we had in common.
I didn’t dress in rich clothing; I was a peasant in Nazareth, not a princess. I wore rags, not robes. Baths were few and far between and my hair was more brown because of dirt than my natural color. But then it happened. I don’t even know how you explain it—I saw an angel.
“God is with you!”
I froze, like what these days you might call “a deer in the headlights” only this was an angel…slightly brighter light.
“Mary, you have nothing to fear, God has a gift for you, you will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call him Jesus. He will be great, called the ‘Son of the Highest’.”
To this day I don’t know if that was supposed to ease my mind or what, but my mind was racing, reminding me of every possible earthly objection and fear:
‘No one’s going to believe I’m a virgin now; what will my religious leaders think?’
‘Joseph, my fiancé, is one of the godliest men I know; he’s for sure going to break our engagement…’
‘I’m not married, what will JOSEPH think? How am I supposed to convince him I didn’t cheat on him?’
I managed to get one question out to the angel and, yes, it’s the one you’d probably ask first, too:
“How is this even possible? I’m a virgin…”
‘What Lord and Savior would use a selfish, sinful girl to come into the world? This just doesn’t make sense.’
The angel explained that the Holy Spirit would come over me and supernaturally place a baby – the savior of the world – in my womb.
This didn’t exactly clear anything up for me. No one in their right mind is going to believe what just happened? What was I supposed to tell people? At that point this was the least of my worries, but I braced myself to become the laughingstock of the town.
It was hard to sink in…I mean, I had been taught the Scriptures, but you don’t ever think you’re going to be the one they were written about. Why me? I’m not qualified or ready to be a mom, much less to the Messiah. How is anyone ready to be the mom of the Messiah? Why was God choosing to send him in this way?
I don’t know how to explain the moment. How was I to make sense of the fact that an angel had just told ME, a teenage-unwed-virgin, I was going to give birth to the Son of God? But somehow, in that moment, in the presence of an angel, I felt complete peace. I didn’t have answers to the million questions racing a million miles per hour through my fearful mind, but I had God…and God had me.
I took a deep breath and said, “I’m ready to serve,” and then the angel left.
I didn’t know what to do or where to go, so I headed to a place called Judah where my friend and cousin Elizabeth lived to tell her what happened. Like a Godly best friend does, she just started singing with excitement. In that moment I was so overwhelmed, the reality of a life living inside me hit hard. But thanks to her encouragement and God’s gift of peace, I felt like the luckiest woman on earth. I was a mom.
The God of the universe gave me a son…how was I supposed to control my emotions?
Months later, I gave birth to Jesus. As if the start of this story wasn’t crazy enough, wait until you hear about this night…it gives the word ‘labor’ a whole new meaning.
Joseph and nine-month-pregnant yours truly had to travel back to his hometown for a census (it’s how they kept track of people back then) and of course, in keeping with the theme of the impossible, my water breaks. Not in a nice room, not in a hostel (we tried but they were all full), but in a stable with cows. My baby, the King of kings, came into the world and dried manure and rotting apples was the first thing He smelled.
That’s the thing about giving birth though, somehow, some way, holding my son for the first time made that moment magical. Holding Him and hearing Him breathe made all the smells and sights fade away. I only saw happiness–nothing else.
In that moment, I fell in love with this sweet child.
I never knew what to expect, there wasn’t a book or point of reference on how to raise the Son of God. I’ll never forget His teenage years, finding Him preaching in the temple as just a boy. Or His first miracle, when He turned water into wine at a wedding. I was excited to see miracles, don’t get me wrong, just didn’t think THAT would be the first one…regardless, it was unbelievable in every sense of the word.
I wish I could say raising the perfect child meant the perfect life, but it’s actually quite the opposite.
Now we enter the darker part of this incredible story.
No parent should ever outlive their kids.
That statement is as true today as it was in my time thousands of years ago. But no matter how much that should be a rule, it’s not one that this earth follows. My son performed miracles, he healed the sick, fed the poor, and changed nations without money or the help of a single politician. Everywhere He went, people were made better just for being near Him.
Which makes it impossible to explain the next part of the story.
They crucified my son…crucified.
In case you don’t know what this word means, it’s the most grotesque version of the death penalty. It was so bad the Romans exempted their own citizens from receiving it and was reserved for people who committed the worst of crimes.
After being betrayed by one of his closest friends, Jesus was flogged 39 times instead of 40 because 40 meant death. Then they made him carry his cross through the town while people mocked him and spit on Him … the same people He helped, people He served, people He loved. They gave Him a crown of thorns and stripped off His clothes. Then they built this wooden cross and used nails to hang my naked Son to it. They hung Him between two thieves, His punishment was the same as murderers even though He never hurt a person. I wanted to kill every one of those people laughing, mocking, spitting. You can mess with a mom but you NEVER mess with her kids. Jesus was my son.
I stood there, helpless, watching as my naked son was nailed to a cross. All I could do was scream.
The agony of a mother losing her child is indescribable. I had held Him for His first breath and I watched through tears as He breathed His last.
I didn’t even ask God to make sense of that moment because I knew no explanation was going to calm the pain in my heart. I didn’t want to understand, I just wanted my son back.
I wanted my son. I wanted my Jesus.
Fast forward to three days later.
I was still in my nightmare, wishing all feeling could be removed so I could just be numb. After mostly sleepless nights, I’d wake to the hope that maybe it had all been a horrible, terrible dream, only to be reminded of the reality that my son, was gone.
The only words you want to hear are, “Your son is alive.”
Then, somehow, that’s exactly what I heard next. People ran to me frantically screaming “The tomb is empty, your Son isn’t there!”
I didn’t believe. I didn’t want to believe. My heart had already been through too much. I didn’t want to believe because I was so scared it wasn’t true. But soon, news of his coming back to life spread far and wide, and a new way of living as a “Christ follower” was born.
Being a mom is hard because there are too many emotions all of the time. And even when your child is the Son of God nothing is as easy as you would think. But it was worth it. Every minute, every second; I wouldn’t change a thing.
I don’t know what you’re going through and regardless of what people say NO two situations are alike so I can’t even imagine the challenges you’re facing. But I know this, I didn’t have answers, but I had God. My life was nothing but chaos. Forget plans; it was straight chaos, but it was an adventure that the world still talks about.
God is with you. You don’t need to know the answers, just trust the One who has them, Jesus. Impossible is God’s playground and there’s nothing greater than getting to be part of his wild, crazy, beautiful plan.
The greatest gift in my life was an unplanned pregnancy.