Today's post is by my friend Misty Krasawski! We have been friends for years and always enjoy a cup of tea and time to talk.~ Sally
"And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord." ~Luke 1:45
Last week we gathered again; crowding onto couches and pulling chairs in close. Children greeted one another gleefully and raced to their own spot downstairs, stopping only long enough to grab fresh-from-the-oven pumpkin muffins from the table. Knowing I'd be cleaning up chocolate chip remnants from carpet and tables later didn't deter me from opening the door wide. Within moments we were thick in embraces, stories shared and tears shed. And once again I was amazed at the power to be found in a gathering of women.
We gathered to read the Bible, to share our struggles, to laugh and to pray. Tales were told of marriage difficulties and financial challenges. Some were still facing the same mountains that had been looming over them for years. Others had found joy in new places and were willing to share all they'd learned with the rest of us, challenging us to believe for more in our own lives. When it was time to go they lingered over one-last-hugs and we all were so very grateful we'd had yet another chance to gain strength, each from the others.
Much is made of Mary, the mother of Jesus's beautiful declaration of faith, gratitude and wonder recorded later in the passage here in Luke 1, commonly known as the Magnificat. Reading her words gives us a glimpse into a heart that must have spent much time pondering scripture, one full of bravery and willingness to lay her life down in service to God--"Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word," she had said to Gabriel when given earth-shaking news. Some time later she traveled some 85 miles over mountainous terrain to visit her Aunt Elizabeth, and there the incredible words we've all probably heard many times were spoken, ever etched into Christmas cards and holiday plaques. Yet tonight as I look at this first chapter of Luke, something else strikes me: Elizabeth's words to her, which came first ...
"Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? ... and blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord." Luke 1:42-45
Can you hear it? Can you hear the faith and strength spoken by an older woman into the heart of a young girl, carrying a blessing and burden no woman before or since was ever again to bear? Can you imagine an exhausted Mary, lifting searching eyes to her elderly yet extremely-pregnant relative who had been likewise blessed by a miraculous surprise, wondering what sort of greeting she might receive after enduring the whispers and conjecturing of her own community filled with people who couldn't understand or believe what was happening to her?
Elizabeth's gift to Mary was one of strength and love. Her friendship and open door, the meals that surely were shared between the two of them over the following days as they talked together, wondering at God's plan, were an oasis of grace to Mary in a tumultuous world.
She spoke of the truth of the situation--a truth God had revealed to her. How each of us needs friends who are able to do the same! May we hear the words of God for our own friends. May we reach out and declare His goodness and celebrate all He is doing together. May we create safe places where hearts can be shared and unburdened. May we tell our sweet friends that we believe in them and in what God is doing in their lives. May we be bringers of strength, bearing cups of cold water, opening doors to homes that might be imperfect but are welcoming, true shelters for all in need.
And may we utter a few magnificats of our own.
Misty Krasawski is the hopelessly flawed, always optimistic, eternally grateful mama of eight; two of whom have flown the nest and six of whom remain at home in beautiful Colorado. She loves gardening, riding horses, reading her Bible, listening to classical music, baking chocolate chip cookies and drinking Earl Grey--preferably wrapped in a blanket in front of her fireplace with a view of the mountains. You can find her writing once in awhile at her blog, Encouraging Beautiful Motherhood.