“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled. “
Thirty-five years ago, this month, I married my husband. We were young; I was 21, he was 23. I remember meeting his grandfather, whose first words to me were: “She’s just a baby!” That was a strange greeting! I didn’t feel like a baby. I felt grown up and ready to be a wife. All these years later, I understand his grandfather’s viewpoint. I was young; my husband and I were both young! But the young age of 21 was possibly several years older than the age of Mary, when she was told that she would be the mother of God’s son. The angel Gabriel brought the news to Mary: “‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’” (Luke 1:28)
Scripture tells us that Mary was greatly troubled at the angel’s words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
Gabriel’s message continued, “‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.’”
Wow! That is a lot of unbelievable information to take in! But Mary did believe. The only question Mary asked of Gabriel was, “‘How will this be…since I am a virgin?’”
Gabriel explained that the conception of the baby would be the work of the Holy Spirit. Mary’s response was one of humility and faith: “‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled’” (Luke 1:38).
On a day which probably felt like just an ordinary day, God interrupted Mary’s life with His plan. Mary had the humility and character to accept the angel’s message as truth and submit to God’s extraordinary will for her. She didn’t present a list of fears and doubts to Gabriel. She just submitted to God, trusting Him to work out the details.
After this encounter with Gabriel, Mary travelled to visit her cousin Elizabeth, whom she had learned from the angel was also pregnant. When Mary arrived at Elizabeth’s home, Elizabeth had her own greeting for Mary: “‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!...Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!’”
At this, young Mary broke into spontaneous praise to God:
“‘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).
God was doing a great work and Mary recognized it. God was carrying out His promises given centuries before and she had been chosen to be a part of it. Mary also recognized that God was fulfilling her need for a Savior. Yes, she had been chosen to carry, birth and parent God’s Son here on earth, but Mary also knew that she too needed a Savior to save her from her sins. This Savior would come in the form of a baby, grow to be a man, minister to multitudes and then die a horrific death as a perfect sacrifice to redeem us all.
As the narrative of Christ’s birth unfolded Mary treasured in her heart all of the incredible things surrounding it: the journey to Bethlehem, accommodations found in a stable, a visit by shepherds and later the wise men bearing gifts. And 30 plus years later Mary watched at the foot of the cross as her son was crucified, pain ripping her mother’s heart apart. Three days later, Mary was filled with joy as her son, her Savior rose from the dead!
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, have five children, one son-in-law, one soon to be daughter-in-law, and one wonderful grandson. Donna and Bryan have recently moved back to their home state of Arkansas after livingin southeast Alabama the past 23 years. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.