Lessons from Mary

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lessons we can learn from mary


As I write this, my cheerful baby gurgles in her bouncer. Hannah Grace is two months old and a sweet joy to our entire family, especially my seven-year-old daughter. Naomi holds her, touching her nose to little Hannah’s and whispering in a soft song-like hush, “I’ll push you in the tire swing, and we’ll climb trees together—we’re going to be best friends.” My heart twists with joy at her words . . . and fear.

Hannah was diagnosed with a small mass on her lung before birth. It’s caused no symptoms, but the surgeon wants to have a CT scan done to see if it should be removed or not. How I’ve lived the emotional roller-coaster—up and down, stopped, and thrust forward. This fearful anticipation stretched me spiritually in ways I never thought I could stretch. I’ve prayed with an anguish that I’ve never felt before, torn between the surrender in knowing His will is so much better than mine and the fear in not knowing what His will is for Hannah.

As I watch my daughter holding Hannah, I’m reminded of another mother faced with uncertainty. When the angel appeared to Mary, she had many reasons to fear—shaming her family and death at the top of the list. Her response? Let it be to me according to your word. (Luke 1:38, ESV). Oh, how I want this attitude, trusting that He is good and He knows what’s best. I’ve feared the sedation for the CT scan, the contrast dye, the intense radiation, the recovery, and then—after that whole ordeal—the ultimate decision of whether or not she needs surgery. When I was in labor, I had to push into the pain. I’m experiencing a different type of labor right now, fighting my desire to give-in to fear and doubt, to stay up late to find more clinical studies on Google, rather than push into the pain of uncertainty and surrender, saying like Mary: Let it be to me according to your word.

Christ’s birth must have filled Mary with awe and uncertainty. What did it mean that He was the Son of God? She probably didn’t know the extent of the suffering He would face nor the riches of His glory. Fast forward from His birth to His journey to the cross, what must she have

thought? Her boy whom she’d almost lost in Jerusalem. Her grown son whom she’d seen perform such miracles so that town after town sought him out. Let it be to me according to your word.

Dear reader, do you find yourself under the weight of a trial? Suffering and joy have a strange way of going hand in hand. Sorrow lasts for a night, but joy comes in the morning—we can’t have the resurrection without the cross. Like Mary, let’s learn to say, “Let it be to me according to your word.”


Carole Ruffin is wife to Jesse and mom of five wonderful kids. She’s the author of Kids, Crayons, and Christ early elementary art curriculum, and also a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art. She blogs about practical ways to include art in every subject, and also creative ways to teach older kids when you have a new baby. Here’s her blog:

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"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).

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