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Normal and Unique

Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.
- Luke 1:56
Elizabeth was Mary’s much older cousin and served as a tremendous comfort and support to Mary during her first trimester. Earlier in Luke’s Gospel we read about the challenges Elizabeth faced around fertility and how God provided her and her husband Zechariah with a miraculous pregnancy.
The juxtaposition of Elizabeth’s story with Mary’s story strikes us as spectacular.
Throughout the Old Testament we’re witness to story after story of women struggling with fertility and, occasionally, receiving a blessing of a child. Sarah. Rachel. Hannah. When we read Elizabeth’s story, we connect with an ancient narrative.
But what happens with Mary is new.
No one has ever heard a story like this before; at least, not a story they believed. A woman who wasn’t looking to get pregnant … at least, not yet! … suddenly with child. Let’s not focus on the social ramifications of her pregnancy so much that we miss this bigger context.
In PD James’ masterpiece Children of Men she imagines a dystopian world where people stop having children as an unexplained wave of infertility crashes down on earth. For decades, the world misses the cries of children and the hope they bring for the future. And then a child is born.
A child is born.
We live in a world where children are born every day. Those of us who struggle with infertility often experience the pain of feeling left out. But there’s a joy that comes with the arrival of children.
Two women. Two very different fertility experiences. But God is at work in them both.
God can be at work in our lives that fit the patterns we’ve seen in the lives of other. But he can also break the mold. In the end, he brings beautiful, new, extraordinary, miraculous life into our lives.
How can you embrace the new life God wants to give you today? Where do you need to let go of an unhealthy desire to live a “normal” or a “unique” life story?

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