Have you ever struggled to do something you knew had to be done but you really didn't want to do it? Or maybe you were willing to do it but it seemed impossible or too costly and overwhelming. Now that the new year has begun, as we reflect on the life of a young woman named Mary and her beloved, betrothed Joseph, I believe God challenges us all to embrace this new year with resolve to give birth to something new! In considering their journey and how God walked them toward the miraculous, our faith is challenged. They were a couple called to step out and birth something new that would cost them more than they had bargained for. In every new year is a new beginning. Its an opportunity to start over and walk forward toward our own miracle. The question is, are we willing to choose this new season with intent to listen for the breakthrough voice of the Father and answer His call.? God beckoned Mary and Joseph to give life to a miracle bigger that they could imagine! In the pilgrimage of this chosen couple, we can be encouraged that the choice to follow wherever God leads will be worth the blessing in the end. Make this a breakthrough year for your marriage and family!
Envision being filled with the excitement of new love, engaged to be wed, when suddenly an angel appears with the message of an unplanned baby and the call for you to bear its birth? How overwhelming the idea must have been, and what an internal struggle it surely created. Being chosen to birth the son of God had never happened before and it would never happen again. Mary said, "Let it be to me as you have said.," and Joseph took the word of an angel that she was in fact a virgin carrying the foretold Messiah. God was asking them to surrender their hopes and dreams, and in Mary's case, even her womb, for the sake of an earth-shattering, world changing miracle! A "miracle" that meant disappointing family and friends who would not understand. Despite the risks, God had chosen a future for them more important than what they had planned for themselves, a miraculous child that held the hope of the world in his hands.
Will You Embrace the Call?
As Mary embraced her calling, and Joseph embraced his expectant bride, their nine month journey began. In scripture, the number nine means "the end of a matter as far as God is concerned; the end of God's judgment." How fitting! Mary was carrying our saving grace, the end of God's judgment over mankind, in her womb. If you've ever had a child you know as the baby grows so do the parents. Each trimester representing a different part of the development of the miracle as the mother and father prepare for the birth. In Mary and Joseph's case, each period of time was equipping them for the coming King!
Will You Surrender?
The first trimester was all about surrender. The expecting parents were getting used to the idea of a baby on the way while yielding to the idea of parenthood. Letting go of life as they'd known it and grabbing hold of the life that would come. Mary had to give up her dignity, her reputation, and possibly her fiancé' in order to obey the call. Joseph surrendered his pride, his dreams, and his expectations of taking a chaste maiden until the birth had occurred. They did what we all have to do when God calls us to birth something new. Whether it be a baby, an idea, a new career, or even a ministry, it requires the yielding of our own will, laying down whatever we're hanging on to, in order to grab hold of the greater blessing God has to offer.
Surrendering our dreams, letting them die, and giving birth to new reality is one of the hardest things we ever have to do as human beings. Mary and Joseph had reached a cross road, a choice of following their plan or embracing the unknown God had prepared. Their surrender meant walking blindly into destiny without the birds eye view of God while believing the journey would be worth it. Scripture says, the one who hangs on to his life will lose it, but the one who surrenders it all, will actually find it. They laid theirs down.
Will You Grow and Prepare?
When surrender is complete, the second trimester begins and growth and preparation ensue. It's a season for physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional formation preparing for what lies ahead, gathering the things needed, and learning what's required to be ready to deliver. During Mary's second trimester, she traveled to her cousin Elizabeth's house while Joseph, by Jewish custom, would have been preparing a place for his bride. Mary's bump would have been showing while Elizabeth's would have been about to burst forth. Elizabeth was a part of Mary's story. She was having a mid-life miracle baby destined to lead the way for the ministry of the Messiah. His name would be John the Baptist.
The Bible doesn't tell us everything the two expectant women shared, but Titus 2:4-5 says, "The older women can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home...." Mary was growing in her understanding of how to carry out God's plan through Elizabeth's example.
When God calls us to give birth to something new, many times we won't be prepared, but if we draw close to the Father he provides what or who we need in order to move us into his plan. Mary stayed with Elizabeth until she delivered. I imagine when she left for home, she was showing and glowing, accepting her destiny, and embracing her responsibility. She knew what to expect and she understood what was at stake. The call of God to birth something new will never leave us unprepared. He will faithfully provide what we need to birth a God sized dream by giving us the opportunity to watch others around us give birth to their own. We can gather information and learn from their example in order to manifest the miracle he has prepared.
Will You Walk in the Journey Toward the Blessing?
When the third and final trimester arrives it's about walking forward and making the journey for the sake of new life. Many times as delivery draws near, doctors recommend lots of walking to speed up the process of labor. In the birth of the Messiah no detail was forgotten. The prophets of old had foretold his arrival and proclaimed Bethlehem as his birthplace. As divine order would have it, Caesar Augustus decreed that a census of the world should be taken and everyone should return to their hometown. Even Joseph's birthplace had played a role in his future destiny. Mary and Joseph packed up their things and began the long walk to Bethlehem to be counted. From Nazareth, around seventy miles, it would have been a five-day journey by foot and donkey. That fateful walk lead them directly toward providence, speeding along the process of the wonder. They took their journey of faith one step at a time to a town where uncertainty awaited.
Often when God calls us to move, it's only in stepping out that the miracle begins. It's when the path seems the hardest. It's the point where need is the greatest, and the cost is the most demanding. It's usually the place where doubt floods in and what you see doesn't match what God has proclaimed. It's where the voices of reason say, "give up" and impatience bears down. Desperation for the flood gates to open ;presses in.
Will You Embrace the King?
On that starry night in Bethlehem, labor began as the water broke. The rush of living water was flooding into the night and our hope was bursting forth! Mary wasn't just birthing a son, she was pushing forth a new beginning for all of mankind. In that tiny, musty, damp stable the opportunity for good tidings of great joy was starting to rise! Joseph supported his young bride as Mary travailed and delivered our deliverer. As his faint cry filled the night-time sky, the hope of the world was proclaimed!
Just as Mary and Joseph embraced the new born King, we too can find ourselves in that tiny stall when we embrace the Savior and the love he brought us all. When we open our hearts, reach out our arms, and take hold of Jesus, we grab hold of the greatest gift ever given. We find ourselves thrust back in time standing in the middle of that damp and musty stable where the aroma of royalty fills the air.
Birthing life in the midst of what seems like poor timing, might just be God's perfect plan as it was for Mary and Joseph. As you and your family enter this spectacular new year, take a moment to look for the messenger. Choose to surrender to his call. Prepare for the arrival of the miracle God has, and walk in faith toward your destiny. No matter how challenging or poor- timed it might seem, God will meet you where you are and help you walk to where he wants you to go. Choose to cradle the peace of Jesus over chaos, embrace palace living as a child of the King over poverty or wealth. His love is the only provision you will ever need! May you and your family find true peace in knowing the love of the Messiah in this new year because knowing him will assuredly bring the miraculous joy of giving birth to the blessed and glorious life God has planned just for you!
NOTE* The remainder of January always involves fasting for direction for the new year at Simple Faith Ministries. Visit the blog in February for an exciting article on the role of the wife unlike you've ever read before!
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