Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mary's Faith: Through Her Eyes

Why did God choose Mary above all the other young virgin girls? Through her journal, readers can join her on her journey through faith, and experience the doubt, frustration and excitement that we all experience as we develop our faith. In the beginning, we can only assume that God looked at Mary’s heart and also saw something special in her faith:

            “Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.”

God had given Mary a direct request. As a young teenager, she did not say, “Wait a minute. I’m not quite ready. I’m too young. I need more time.” Her simple answer is a lesson for all:

            “All I could say was, ‘Behold, the bond slave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.’”

Mary’s faith allowed her to readily accept the Lord’s wish, but did she ever question her eagerness to accept this invitation to serve her Lord, and like so many of us, did she ever have doubts?

            “Why was I so willing when the angel appeared to me? I should have asked more questions, but my mind was racing so fast I didn’t have time to think.”

            “My dear God, how can I do this? Why me? I love you with all my heart, but I am still afraid. Never in my wildest dreams, did I expect to be blessed like this. Though I am having mixed feelings about calling it blessed.”
Things didn’t happen quite like Mary thought they would. Joseph struggled in the beginning, and God did not make things easy for her. But through the trying times, Mary knew her faith would help her overcome any problems she might encounter:
            “I should be afraid, but when I think of the events that brought me to this point, my fears disappear. If God trusted me enough to carry His son, I am confident He will show me where to go and will take care of me wherever that path may lead.”

For 30 years, Mary watched her precious baby grow into the man God said he would. While constantly anticipating that throne of David that God had promised, did Mary’s faith dwindle? Mary’s final prayer before Jesus prepares to join John tells it all:

            “Dear God, give me the wisdom I need to know what I must do. Although he is yours, he is also mine. Please don’t forget I have had him for 30 years. To give him up will cause me much pain. Help me accept and do what you are requiring of me. Your humble servant I will strive to remain.”

Join Mary on her magnificent journey through the first 30 years of Jesus' life through Jesus My Son: Mary's Journal of Jesus' Early Life, available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mary's Pregnancy: Through Her Eyes

Was Mary's pregnancy different from those of women today? Through her journal, readers can experience the pain, fear and joy that Jesus' mother felt as she was beginning her journey, not unlike those of many mothers today.

In her journal, Mary describes her feelings when the Holy Spirit overshadowed her and she became pregnant:

"When Your Spirit overshadowed me, I felt Your presence, but there was no physical interaction. My body seemed to float on a sea of radiant light as the power of the Most High overshadowed me and I received the seed of Your Holy Spirit. I awoke this morning knowing my body had conceived the beginning of the baby of Gabriel’s announcement. My Lord, You chose me for the ultimate blessing among women, but I am beginning to have second thoughts about this blessed journey."

Who can blame Mary for having second thoughts? How can anyone experience the presence of the Holy Spirit and not be afraid? She also feared the reaction of the people when they heard she was carrying the Messiah, the son of God, the redeemer of the Jews. She certainly did not foresee Joseph’s reaction:

"'How can this be? Are you no longer a virgin?' he asked as his big strong hands stroked his thin scraggly beard and… he turned away."

Joseph knew Mary had conceived a child by someone other than himself, her fiancĂ©. By Jewish law, he could have her stoned, put her away privately or marry her. Without some form of divine intervention, the average person would not believe that the Messiah would be born from a humble peasant girl. 

Mary did carry Jesus for a full nine months, but she wasn't sure what to expect:

"From what I understand, I won’t be having any kind of monthly woman’s times for about nine months. I think this will be a typical pregnancy. Since God is in charge, He can do anything."

When Mary visited Elizabeth, she realized God was not going to spare her any of the pain or discomfort from the symptoms that accompany carrying a child:

"God could take away all the pain and discomfort with this pregnancy, but evidently it is going to be normal. My symptoms of morning sickness, nausea, and increase in appetite have been the same ones Elizabeth had. God sent me here to realize that. No matter what happens, I truly know God is in control."

Why did God send Mary to visit Elizabeth? God knew where Mary was going to be when she gave birth to His son. He wanted her to be as prepared as possible for the experience. Mary not only needed to learn all she could about the birthing process, she also needed the encouragement from the unrelenting faith of Zechariah and Elizabeth. When Elizabeth’s baby leaped in her womb and Mary was filled with her song of praise, any doubt she may have had vanished. She realized this visit was a part of God’s plan:

"They gave me the strength I need to get through this pregnancy. The experience of watching John’s birth taught me more than anyone could have told me about childbirth. I know this knowledge will help me in about six months. Who knows? I may be in some desolate place without anyone to help."

Join Mary on her magnificent journey through the first 30 years of Jesus' life through Jesus My Son: Mary's Journal of Jesus' Early Life, available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Inspiration behind Jesus My Son: Mary's Journal of Jesus' Early Life

God lit a spark in my heart for the idea of this book in 2002 on Mother’s Day. I tried many times to let that spark die a normal death, but God would not allow it. He fueled the fire with sermons and magazines, enlightening study of the scriptures and even television shows. Every time I needed an answer to an obstacle in my writing, God provided the solution. It wasn’t long until I was consumed by what felt like a giant forest fire, bursting with information that needed to be shared.

That spark was the result of looking at the events of the redemption ceremony through Mary’s eyes. When Joseph held that precious baby boy, our Messiah, the Redeemer of the Jews in his arms, and redeemed him with two turtle doves, the sacrifice of the poor, how did Mary feel? What was going through her mind? How many other times during those first 30 years of Jesus' life did Mary wonder, “Is this how it is going to be? Is this really the way the Messiah of my people is going to live? Gabriel mentioned my son would inherit the throne of David. When will this come about?”

Looking at events of the birth through a mother’s eyes, I wanted Mary to be able to express her innermost thoughts without the stigma that existed during those days. I wanted readers to learn of the Jewish customs and how Jesus might have lived—the games he played, the food he ate, the clothes he wore, the chores he had to perform. What was it like for his earthly family living with Jesus in his first 30 years? Thus, the journal idea was born.

Through her journal entries, we learn of her heartfelt emotions as she watched her little boy, God’s son, mature into the man God intended him to be. All that time, Mary anticipated her son would soon inherit the throne of David. Through Jesus My Son: Mary’s Journal of Jesus’ Early Life, readers walk the streets of Nazareth. They live in the humble abode shared by Jesus’ brothers and sisters. They join Joseph and Mary as they celebrate the same milestones we celebrate today—a first tooth, first word, first step, first day of school and many more. By viewing Jesus as a loving son, our relationship with him grows as we feel Mary’s astonishment and her pain.