Mary: A Woman of the Word


For more than 2,000 years, Mary's life has provided a portrait of godliness for women just like her—those who want to be used by God.

An available woman

Equipped with the promises of God, Mary’s response was simply, “I am the Lord’s servant... May it be to me as you have said” (v. 38). In other words, “Lord, I’m available. You are my master; I am Your servant. I’m willing to be used however You choose. My body is Yours; my womb is Yours; my life is Yours.”

In that act of surrender, Mary offered herself to God as a living sacrifice. She was willing to be used by God for His purposes—willing to endure the loss of reputation that was certain to follow when people realized she was with child, willing to endure the ridicule and even the possible stoning permitted by the Mosaic law, willing to go through nine months of increasing discomfort and sleeplessness, willing to endure the labor pains of giving birth to the Child. Mary was willing to give up her own plans and agenda so that she might link arms with God in fulfilling His agenda.

A praising woman

When God puts challenging circumstances in our lives, we either worship or we whine. I’m ashamed to say I’ve done more than my share of whining—even about ministry. “Oh, Lord, I’m tired of traveling. Do I have to go there? This is so hard! Why do I have to deal with that person?” I am reminded of the children of Israel in the wilderness who murmured incessantly. “If only God had just let us die in the wilderness,” they whined. One day God finally said, in essence, “You want to die in the wilderness? Okay, you’ll die in the wilderness!” (see Num. 14:2, 28–30). Be careful what you say when you murmur—God may take you up on it.

But when Mary’s world was turned topsy-turvy, when she was faced with a drastic change in plans, she responded in worship and praise. “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (vv. 46–47). So begins her Magnificat—one of the greatest hymns of praise ever lifted up to heaven. She worshiped God for His wonderful acts, for His mercy, and for choosing her to be a part of His great redemptive plan.

A woman of the Word

Her prayer in Luke 1:46–55 includes at least a dozen quotations from the Old Testament Scriptures. In those days women did not have a formal education; Mary was probably illiterate. But she had listened to the reading of the Word and had hidden it in her heart. Her life and her prayers were filled with Scripture.

One of our greatest needs as women is to become women of the Word, so that our prayers, our responses, and our words are saturated with God’s way of thinking. The world does not need to hear our opinions. When friends approach us for advice about dealing with their children, their boss, their finances, their fears, their depression, or other issues, they don’t need to hear what we think. We should be able to take them to the Word and say, “I don’t have the answers you need, but I know Someone who does. Here’s what God’s Word has to say about this situation.”

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