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Mary

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As women, we fill many roles: spouse, mother, caregiver, friend, and employee. Sometimes our day begins at 5:30 am and ends with a slow crawl to the bed around 11:00 pm. Downtime is only during our five or six hours of sleep, and that too is sometimes disturbed by the needs of others. This lifestyle can cause long-term stress that eventually may cause problems both physically and mentally.

It is hard for us to admit that we are stressed out. As Spirit-filled women, we are supposed to stay calm, relaxed—and oh yes, smile. Long-term stress can affect our health. Some warning signs may appear such as sleeping problems, headaches, upset stomach, difficulty concentrating, and feeling tired most of the time. We may also feel irritated with others for little or no reason, have feelings of depression, anxiety, tension in the neck and back, in addition to changes in our normal weight.

During stressful times, God has provided a very unique way for our bodies to handle pressure. Our brain produces a chemical called oxytocin which has a calming effect on the body. This chemical is released in higher levels during childbirth, breastfeeding, and when we seek support from female friends.

I am reminded of a story in Luke chapter one where Mary was informed by an angel that she, an unmarried young woman, was going to have a baby. There would be no announcement in the local paper regarding her marriage to Joseph, no planning for the big wedding of her dreams, no choosing her wedding party, no showers or walking down the church aisle—yet a baby would be born to her.

I can just imagine that Mary was stressed to the max! So what did she do? First of all, she probably had moments of anxiety, sleeplessness, headaches, a little tension in her neck, along with worry and irritation like she had never experienced before. What in the world was she to do about all this stress in her life? Well, she just packed her little ’ole suitcase, got on Cleo, her donkey, and headed for a town in the hill country of Judea to visit her relative, Elizabeth.

Much like us today, these two women, whose stress levels probably hit number ten on the one-ten scale, begin to talk. As Mary poured out her feelings to Elizabeth, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost and began to encourage Mary. Mary in turn began to sing a new song: “My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!” You talk about oxytocin levels on the rise. I can just imagine there was an abundance of it flowing!

Oh how great is our Creator, to create within our brains a chemical that calms our stressed minds with just the simple act of talking with a friend. God knows exactly what we need; how marvelous is God’s plan for each of us. So get on Cleo your donkey—or better yet, get in your car—head out to the home of your best friend, and talk. Let the oxytocin start flowing. Move from stressed to blessed!

 

Doris Dollins has been in the nursing profession almost twenty years. She has been a hospice RN for the past twelve years. Doris is the mother of four children and thirteen grandchildren. She is a member of the UPC of Paris, Texas, pastored by Robert Myre.

Reprinted with permission from Reflections Magazine.

“And Jesus said to the woman, Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Luke 7:50

Desperation. Anguish. Shame.

Have you ever felt one of these? Perhaps you have experienced all three like I have. You see, I wasn’t raised in this Apostolic truth. Sure, I was made to go to Sunday School from time to time with my Grandparents, but it wasn’t consistent and it wasn’t because I wanted to.

I eventually strayed from what I knew to be right and took my own path, one that would lead to depression, self-harm and misery. I felt worthless and completely unlovable, so I imagine Mary felt similar in the moments leading up to her encounter with Jesus Christ.

She had one task, one motive, and that was to change the course of her life. She took a leap of faith and Jesus, filled with compassion tells her that her faith has saved her. Every trial, every tear that she ever shed and every hurtful name thrown her way, all faded into the background in that moment as her sins were forgiven and she was given new life.

Have you ever experienced forgiveness of sins and new life? If not, there may come a time when you are facing a terrible tragedy and all that can save you is your Faith. Faith that God is still on His throne. Faith that He is a Sovereign, Holy, in-control God who will work it out for you.

Lord, I ask that you would help me to see you at work in my life today. I know you are in control, and I have absolute faith that my mourning will turn to joy, and you will give me beauty for ashes. Thank you for being my Provider and the one who sustains me.

 

For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:37-38, KJV)

When Gabriel appeared to Mary she was startled – an appropriate response I think! He tells her not to be afraid, and that she will bring forth a son and call him Jesus.  I cannot even begin to imagine the questions that would have flooded her mind.  She answers the angel with a simple, “be it unto me according to thy word”. If an angel appeared to me to inform me that I would become pregnant by the Holy Spirit, I can’t say that I would have the same reaction. To have the faith that Mary had to accept his words as true is unimaginable!

Sometimes you may feel that God is pushing you in a certain direction but it is hard for you to understand or believe how it could ever be possible. Remember that with God all things are possible!

Prayer: Lord, help us to remember that through You, all things are possible. Thank you for working in our lives even when we don’t see what is happening. In Jesus name, amen.