There’s Something About Mary – Part Four

New town.
New home.
New baby.

Oh yeah, a new husband too.

Whew. Been there. Done that. Not easy.

With my first pregnancy, we had just moved to a new city, which meant settling into a new home, a new job, and a new church. So I experienced all the normal transitions into motherhood without a single friend or relative nearby.

In this small way, I feel like I can relate to Mary. Babies are a joy, pure and simple, but having a baby brings a lot of changes too. From pregnancy to postpartum, everything can be challenging enough – but even more so when done without support.

Mary was alone.

Thankfully, she had the opportunity to spend part of her pregnancy with her cousin Elizabeth. But once Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem, their only visitors were strangers. Some shepherds dropped by with a story about angels singing in the sky.

But where were the girlfriends?
You know, the girls she grew up with.
The girls she giggled with.
The girls she dreamed aloud with.

They were back in Nazareth while Mary was alone in Bethlehem.

After that silent night, away in a manger, Joseph and Mary found a more permanent dwelling and stayed in the little town of Bethlehem for the first two of years of Jesus’ life. Perhaps it was easier being far away from home – far away from gossip and slander.

Nevertheless, Mary had a lot of adjustments to make in a short period of time.

Married life.
And in that order – even more complications.

Without the help of moms or sisters or friends nearby, Mary had a lot to figure out on her own.

As the youngest in my family, I wasn’t ever around babies when I was growing up. So when I was expecting my first child, I didn’t know the first thing about how to take care of a baby.

Being thus clueless, I did what I always do when I don’t know what to do. I bought books. Lots of them. And I read every word I could find on the topic of newborn care.

But Mary didn’t have the benefit of a local Barnes and Noble in Bethlehem. Nor could she take advantage of Tragic, I know.

Even under the best of circumstances, it’s normal for new moms to feel overwhelmed. I can’t help but wonder what those early days of postpartum were like for this young girl. Probably pretty hard.

Perhaps a woman next door took Mary under her wing.
Maybe someone in the neighborhood helped Mary with nursing.
Or maybe someone came over for a few hours each day to hold the baby while Mary rested and recovered.

Maybe not.

No matter how difficult things get, they are always a little easier when we have a friend we can talk to. Yet, Mary didn’t have the luxury of discussing these spectacular events with her small group. She didn’t have the pleasure of pondering out loud with her favorite pals. She couldn’t even blog about her journey on donkey-back, and all the hardships they endured, so her friends and family back home could send encouraging e-comments.

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” – Luke 2:19

There’s something about Mary.

When our earthly support system is gone, for whatever reason, we are faced with a fork in the road. We can either become embittered by the harshness of our personal reality, or we can look heavenward for the help He is just waiting to give.

Mary looked heavenward. Without a friend to talk to, she treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

I once heard a pastor say, “You don’t know that God is all you need until God is all you have.” Sometimes God allows everything to be stripped away: home, family, friends, job, and reputation. Everything. All to get us to the point where we truly recognize that God alone is all we ever really need.

I believe that Mary, at the age of fourteen, understood deeply that God alone is all she truly needed. Mary had Joseph, of course. But her quiet confidence rested in the God who divinely delivered them time and again.

More strange visitors.
Three scholars.
Three gifts.
Another dream.
Off to Egypt.

Another new town.
Another new home.
Perhaps another new baby?

After all, Jesus had several younger brothers and sisters.

Then another dream.
Back to Israel.
Another dream.
Back to Nazareth.

Another move.
Another new home.
Perhaps another new baby?

This young couple must have been exhausted. Not to mention a little afraid (Matthew 2:22).

This was no 12-month trial with a tidy happy ending. This was ongoing for years. Surely this wasn’t what either of them imagined life together would be like when they first got engaged. Still, they served a God who is bigger than anything they might face.

Mary believed.
Mary trusted.
Mary obeyed.
Mary inscribed the Word on the tablet of her heart.

Mary pondered. Alone. In her heart.

When she didn’t have a friend to turn to, she turned to God.

There’s something about Mary.

To be continued . . .

Has someone recently moved into your neighborhood who you could reach out to?
Is there a new mom at church who could use a little support and encouragement?

(This is a seven-part series. I will post every Monday-Wednesday-Friday until its completion.)

4 thoughts on “There’s Something About Mary – Part Four

  1. Really like this commment: “You don’t know that God is all you need until God is all you have.”

    And about buying books … that is ALWAYS a good idea under any circumstance!

    I really like your Christmas posts. wb

  2. Your posts on Mary, for me, have added some flesh to her waiting. And maybe even to my own waiting, too. There's a real humanity in waiting. We're not so different from each other…

    My wife moved here from Canada once we got married. There was a good deal of pain in the transition. And if I remember correctly about pregnancy, transition tends to be the most difficult stage of delivery. I'm sure Mary understood that, too.

  3. D.J. I love the reminder of how human Mary really was. Called by God to birth the Savior of the world, but still human. And I love your practical suggestions at the end. I'll be sure to catch your Christmas devotionals this month. Check in on mine too if you get a chance ( Blessings to you!

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