Four Ways We’re Just Like Mary

Even though I’ve read the Christmas story countless times, something fresh pops out at me when I’m still enough to seek the voice of Jesus.

Mary. This young, pure, innocent girl sometimes seems untouchable to us. Perhaps she’s put on a pedestal because she carried the son of God in her womb for nine months. Maybe we feel like we can’t relate to her because she was the one Jesus called mom.

But looking at her journey a little closer, I think we have MUCH in common with her.

*When the angel announced she’d been chosen as mother of the Messiah, Mary’s world was completely turned upside-down. Her life would never be the same.

Although we’ll never know exactly how she felt, I think we can identify times in our own lives when everything falls part and comes crashing down.  Is something coming to mind? Maybe you’re still wading through raw emotions of something recent that has turned your world upside-down.

*What about Joseph?  At first he did not believe her story. He couldn’t fathom that his bride-to-be was pregnant. She experienced great disappointment in someone she loved.  Although only for a short time, Mary’s pain had to be heart-wrenching.

Do we ever feel this way? Absolutely! Loved ones disappoint us. They break our hearts. Sometimes they betray us, leaving us all alone. A misunderstanding with a friend. A standoff with our spouse. It doesn’t matter if the time frame is short or long–hurtful words cut deep.

*Just when Mary thinks all is calm and everything’s going to be okay, the rug is pulled out from underneath her–again.  Like any pregnant woman in her last trimester, she was in that nesting stage–preparing every little detail to welcome Jesus into her world. (If you’re a mom, you know exactly what I’m talking about). But no! Mary’s nesting moments were cut way too short. She had to immediately pack up only her essentials and follow Joseph on a donkey to a far-away town. She was interrupted and majorly inconvenienced.

We all can identify with this one. I for one do not like my plans to be interrupted (just ask my husband).  And if I’m really focused on a task, I don’t respond quickly to someone else’s request(just ask my daughter). How about you? What is your response to interruptions and inconveniences? Do our circumstances even scratch the surface of what Mary experienced?

*Mary probably had just enough time to accept the fact that Jesus wouldn’t be born in her hometown of Nazareth. Away from her family. Away from her friends. That was probably a hard pill to swallow! But her world was rocked…..again. Not only was she in a foreign town, but she went into labor. (Umm, Joseph? I think it’s time. Do we have a hotel reservation? )  This poor girl had been through enough already don’t you think? How much more could she take? As Joseph led them into a stinky-dirty stable, what must she have thought?  She had to let go of her expectations and accept the fact she was not in control. 

Wow. I don’t know about you, but I really struggle at times with expectations. For others. For myself. For God. And it’s hard to loosen the grip of control we crave so deeply as humans. Aren’t we all like Mary here? Don’t we have to constantly come face-to-face with our expectations and ultimately yield control to our creator?

So look at Mary again. Can you relate to her?

Her world was rocked.

Her heart was hurt.

Her life was interrupted.

She was not in control.

We are just like Mary.

If she was just as human as we are, then what made her stand out? What would move God to choose her?

We’re told that Mary had found favor with God. The Greek word for favor is actually grace in most translations. And the thing about grace is that God gives it to the humble. (James 4:6)

Because of her humility, God showered her with grace. Grace that would be able to withstand the turning of her world upside-down. Grace that would cover her wounded heart. Grace that would handle the interruptions. And grace so pure and powerful to recognize that God is in control and we are not.

I can so relate to Mary because she was human. But oh how I long to have her humility! A humility that beckons God’s grace.

My prayer for us is that we would truly find favor with God.

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Blessings to you, dear friend!

Lisa Preuett



Leave Room for Cream!

If you’re a lover of coffee swirled with oodles of cream, then you understand how crucial it is when you order coffee at a restaurant.

Please leave room for cream! 

Or maybe you’re at a friend’s house and when she gently pours fresh brewed coffee into your mug, you politely stop her from filling it up too far:

Remember…I like lots of cream!

Some of you would even go so far as to say you like a little bit of coffee with your cream! In that case, you are really careful about not filling your cup up too much.

But then it happens. Your server completely forgets you need room for cream, pouring freshly brewed coffee all the way to the brim of your cup. It’s so full, some of it even splashes out, making a nice little puddle right smack in front of you. Ughh! What a mess!


What a powerful picture of what our lives can be like! When we don’t leave room for any margin– cramming our schedules to the brim–everything splashes out and before we realize it, we have a huge mess right smack in front of us. 

We keep filling our lives up with more and more. We say yes to every request without thinking it through. We scurry around with a sense of urgency, afraid we’re going to miss out on something. And just like that server who thinks we like black coffee, we keep on pouring until there’s no room left.

But instead of coffee creamer, in that moment we realize we have no room left.

No room to just rest. No room to sit still and read a book. No room to have even a five-minute conversation with our spouse. No room to let the kids just play outside. No room to listen to our teen unload about their bad day. No room to be refreshed. No room to be still in the presence of God.

It’s especially easy to find ourselves in this overflowing mess during the Christmas season. We say we want to leave room for cream, yet we keep on filling the cups of our souls to the brim.

Gotta send out those 100 Christmas cards!

We already have three parties scheduled, but I think we can fit this one in too.

We’ve already reached our limit of spending, but a little more won’t hurt.

I wasn’t going to buy anything for that friend, but now that they’ve given me something I need to get them something in return.

I wanted to have a simple Christmas at home, but they’re expecting us to be there!

We really want to go to the Christmas Eve service, but we have so much to do. 

My house isn’t decorated like hers, so I’ve got to go out and buy some more stuff to keep up.

And the list goes on. What’s the one thing that causes your schedule to overflow? Have you left room for anything else?

The thing about a cup of black coffee filled up to the brim is that there are only two ways to make room for any cream.

You can either drink the black coffee until you have enough room, or you can pour it out. Either way, it’s going to be inconvenient. If you’re used to sweet cream, the black coffee can be bitter to the taste. And if it’s really hot, you can’t quickly drink it down to where you want it without burning your mouth.

If you attempt to pour it out, you’re most likely going to make a mess as it drips down the side of your cup. Believe me, I’ve tried this many times!

If the cup of your soul is filled to the brim, and it’s too crowded for the peace of Jesus to flow through, what can you do? Sometimes we may have to drink the bitter cup we’ve poured. It’s not pleasant. Maybe we get burned and experience grueling pain. But going forward, we’ll know better. We’ll know next time not to make a rash decision. We’ll know next time to think through a situation, asking God for wisdom. Even when we make a mess of things, God’s grace is always available. We humbly learn that the next time we will leave room for cream.

What about you, dear friend? Are you leaving room for His peace and rest this Christmas season? Are you intentionally slowing down and keeping your focus on Him? Or do you already feel your cup getting too full? Are you allowing others to fill your cup to the brim without saying stop?

Relax with your family. Celebrate your friendships. Rest in His presence. Enjoy your cup of coffee, but whatever you do…….leave room for some cream.

Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.”