Christmas Encouragement & Hope Purpose

4 Tips You Can Learn From the Virgin Mary if Your Story Doesn’t Look Like a Hollywood Christmas Movie

Today you will learn four tips from the Virgin Mary if your story doesn't look like a Hollywood Christmas movie.

As I sat on the couch watching another “perfect” Christmas love story play out, I thought, “My story will never be like that!”  I went to bed that night wrestling with the comparison factor of my life versus a holiday movie.

Thankfully, I woke up the next morning and found a very different type of Christmas story.  This was a messy story.  It didn’t make sense.  There were rumors about people and difficult decisions to be made.  This one I could relate to. And best of all, it was found in God’s Word!

Today I’m going to walk you through four things I learned from the Virgin Mary that challenged me and gave me hope in my own messy story.  I hope these four tips do the same for you.

To get the most out of this teaching, I suggest taking a few minutes to read this story for yourself.  It is found in Luke 1:26-56.  If you don’t have your Bible handy, you can read it by clicking here: Luke 1:26-56.

This teenage girl, Mary, was an amazing young lady.  God chose her to be a part of something bigger than herself.  He chose her to be the mother of His Son, and when He set her apart, her life got a little messy!  If your life is messy, but you have a heart for God to use it for His glory, read on!

1. Mary honored God with her life.

Mary is not mentioned in the Bible before she is named as the mother-to-be of Jesus.  But her story doesn’t start when she is first mentioned.  Her story begins years earlier.  For years Mary has been faithful in her love of God.  She has chosen to honor with Him with her life.  We know that she has chosen to remain a virgin even though she was engaged.  We also know that she has lived her short life well.

How do we know this? As the angel of God appears to Mary, He says this:

“You are highly favored,” and then goes on to say, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.” {Luke 1:28 & 30, NIV}

As you walk through your own story, you will have many decisions to make.  If you are looking for God to use your story in a way that honors Him, then your life must reflect that.  Mary didn’t begin making healthy choices when the angel visited her.  She decided long before she was in the spotlight that her integrity mattered…that honoring God mattered.  And she live that out day-by-day, even when no one was watching.

2. Mary was open to God’s plan, even though it was messy and controversial.

When this young woman found out that she was going to be the mother of the Messiah, she was engaged.  This teenager was tasked with telling her fiance that she was pregnant and that it wasn’t his child.

When the angel explains to this young lady that her world is about to be turned upside down, that people will wonder if she is crazy…

that people will point and stare and snicker behind her back as her belly begins to grow…

that people won’t believe her outrageous story that she carrying God’s Son in her womb…

that her church friends might disown her because from the outside it appears as though she has made a poor choice…

When Mary hears that God has chosen her, but it is going to be messy, she doesn’t run.  Instead she responds with these words that are wise beyond her years.

I am the Lord’s servant…May it be to me as you have said. {Luke 1:38, NIV}

What about you?  Are you in a place to embrace your story…even if it looks messy from the outside?

3. Mary believes that God will do what He says He would do.

After the angel appears to Mary, you won’t find her asking for time to pray about her decision or ponder the consequences.  Instead, she trusts God and takes it one day at a time.

I’m sure she was excited, scared, worried, shocked, overwhelmed and confused.  And I’m sure she was also wondering: Is this a dream?  Is this real? Am I crazy?

For those of you who are parents you understand that from the moment you find out you are pregnant or have been placed with a child for adoption until the time you meet that child is a unique moment in time. On the outside everything looks the same, but on the inside everything is different…your heart has been forever changed.  You mind races with questions and curiosities about your child. You wonder if it will really happen!  The time flies by and ticks by slowly at the same time.

The same was true for Mary.  Immediately after this life-changing news hits her, she gathers her things and heads to her cousin’s house. And as she arrives at Elizabeth’s house, the Holy Spirit comes over Elizabeth, and God calms Mary’s heart, speaking these words through Elizabeth.

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished. {Luke 1:45, NIV}

Mary trusted that God could do what He said He would do.  She didn’t burden herself with the details.  She didn’t spend time trying to convince others that she was telling the truth.  She trusted God.

Has God given you a clear direction for you life?  If so, do you trust that God will do what He said He would do?

4. Mary gives all the glory back to God.

Even before Jesus is born, before the plan has come to fruition, Mary gives all the glory to God.  She sings a song from her heart to God.  Here is how that song begins. And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.  

{Luke 1:46-49, NIV}

Can you hear the humility in her voice?  She has just been chosen to be the mom of her own Savior. Her heart is overflowing, and she gives all of the glory back to God.

In your own journey, as God calls you to embrace the unexpected chapters of your life, and step out into faith, let the example of Mary inspire you to:

  1. Honor God with your life, even when no one is watching.
  2. Be open to God’s plan, even when it is complicated or messy.
  3. Believe that God will do what He said He would do.
  4. Give all the glory back to Him, even before the plan plays out.

This Christmas season, I am praying for you.  I am praying that you will have the courage to embrace the story God wrote for you. I am praying that even when life is messy, you will keep your eyes on Jesus, and seek His will above your own solution.  And I am praying that God will speak into your heart and show you how He can use your less-than-perfect story to glorify Himself.

If you are ready to take these next steps and make 2018 the year that you begin embracing your story, then I would love to share more with you about the Loving? My Life Study.

Women who have gone thru this study are women who want their stories to count.  They are women just like you and just like Mary whose lives didn’t turn out the way they planned, but rather than merely survive their stories, they wanted something more.  They wanted to embrace their stories and live out their God-given purpose with passion.  Are you ready to do the same?  If so, click here to learn more or join the study: Loving? My Life.

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