My husband and I have lived in five states since we’ve been married. We traveled a lot before we had kids and met so many strong Christian couples who poured into us and modeled what it was to be giving, serving, faithful followers of Christ.
Jim and Julie taught us to love the Church, to serve well and to believe and follow God’s Word.
Bill and Anne-Robin taught us about extravagant and sacrificial giving (and Disney!)
Bruce and Suzanne taught us to serve wherever we are, to love our kids and show hospitality.
Wayne and Donna taught us about sharing your home, the fruit of your lips, commitment to family and faith in God’s Word.
Specifically, when the doctors told me that Lydia was dead in the womb, Donna is the one that laid her hands on me (at her own daughter’s rehearsal dinner!) and called forth life.
I’ve always felt she was the Elizabeth to my Mary. You remember the story?
Elizabeth was the barren wife of Zechariah, the priest. Then, one day, while Zechariah was in the temple, the angel Gabriel showed up and told him Elizabeth was going to have a baby.
While Elizabeth was indeed pregnant, Gabriel visited Mary to tell her she was also going to have a baby. Gabriel let her in on the big news that her cousin Elizabeth was pregnant and what did Mary do? She ran to Elizabeth!
Who else would know exactly how she felt? Who else would be able to assure her that yes, an angel did show up and tell her she was pregnant!
So, when Mary arrived to Elizabeth’s house two amazing…well, three amazing things happened:
- Elizabeth’s baby (later known as John the Baptist) jumped inside of her!
- Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and knew the miracle that had happened to Mary–knew the Messiah was inside of Mary’s womb.
- Mary worshipped God for the miracle.
Here’s why these are amazing–Elizabeth was not in on Mary’s miracle. Gabriel had not told her anything. In fact, Zechariah is the one that had to tell Elizabeth she was going to get pregnant in the first place–which was probably hard considering he couldn’t speak! Mary is the only one who knew of the double miracle. Elizabeth probably didn’t even know Mary was coming to her house. But, she was an open vessel, listening to the Holy Spirit, firm in her faith. She cried out,
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!“
And what did this do for Mary? We don’t know that Mary was doubting God, in fact, according to the text, she was very trusting. But, she was still human. And she did go to Elizabeth’s, presumably to get away from potential gossip in her hometown, but I think she also went to just make sure all this was really happening.
When Mary hears Elizabeth’s greeting–which was part prophetic, part encouragement, part worship, Mary turns to the Lord and begins to worship Him in song! It almost seems as if when those two women got together, when Elizabeth’s faith and joy connected with Mary’s, they were super-charged with more faith and joy.
This is how God works in relationships. You don’t need to be carrying a special baby to have miracles from the Lord. You might have a dream in your heart or a burden on your back. But, when we find other women, especially an older, more mature woman in the faith that can connect to our faith, that can remind us of God’s Word, our faith can be strengthened in ways we can’t imagine.
I wrote a devotional about this story in the new (in)courage devotional Bible. And when I got my author copy, I sent it straight to Donna as a long-overdue thank you for strengthening my faith in a hard time. Just last week, I bought myself another copy of the Bible and before I could even open it, found out there was someone in my family with a fledgling faith who needed a Bible and I got to pass it on to her.
I’m not telling you this to impress you. In fact, I feel very insecure about it! What I want you to see is that wherever you are in your faith journey, you need older, mature women in your life to help lead and strengthen you. You can also be a leader and encourager to other younger-in-the-faith women in your life.
The devotions in this Bible are written by over 120 authors, but it all circles around the theme of courageous women. Not courageous because of their own get-up-and-go, but because of God’s purpose, plan and power inside of them. I hope these devotions inspire you to be courageous with your faith and lead others to do the same.
Need a new Bible? Or wanna pass one off to a friend in your life? Check out this (in)courage Devotional Bible. It is beautiful!