Love Labors, Love Bears, Love Lives {Chapter 5}

Today’s Post is written by a very dear friend of mine, Meredith Bernard! Oh, she has made me giggle and we have shared us some Holy Spirit tears. Her pictures captivate me and her words give music to my soul, because in them all is a glimpse of Holy love. Someday, I hope you have the pleasure of standing in line for coffee with her, or better yet, get lost with her in a Southern rain in search of a warm bowl of soup! She has blessed me oh-so-much! Please welcome Meredith!

~

“In Christ our barren lives become rich and full, our sorrows grow dim in the light of his promises, and the shame of our sin is banished forever.  An even greater miracle than the birth of a child. An even greater cause for joy.”
- Liz Curtis Higgs, The Women of Christmas

In those last days, more than anything, I just wanted it to be over. While forty weeks may not have been near long enough to prepare for a baby, it was more than long enough to grow one. If every inch of my swollen body didn’t prove that, a few minutes alone with me would.

What I didn’t get then, that I’m only starting to get now, is how beautiful and necessary the preparation for bearing new life is.

In Chapter Five of “The Women of Christmas,” author Liz Curtis Higgs beautifully portrays “Heart and Soul and Voice” surrounding the circumstances of both John and Jesus’ birth.

“There is nothing romantic about the birthing process,” she says. Can I get a witness? Amen, Liz. Amen.

Her reminder that “God was laboring with her (Elizabeth),” reminds me that He is laboring with us before, during and after whatever birthing process He brings us to and ultimately delivers us through.

Just as Elizabeth was not too old to bear a Son with God’s grace and mercy, neither are we ever too old, used up or ill fit to birth something beautiful for God, by God and through God.

Chances are great the process leading to new life will be messy, hard and sacrificial, but the end result is always worth the price it took to get there.

God didn’t choose standout women to bear His God-child son and predecessor, He chose stand-up women.

Elizabeth boldly proclaimed the name of her son John in the wake of the people’s questioning. Mary’s “Yes” to God signaled the end of her un-stained reputation.

As the book points out, Elizabeth’s shame came from having “a husband but no baby” and Mary’s shame stemmed from having “a baby but no husband.”

The glorious difference in Elizabeth and Mary from so many other women (especially the one whose skin I wear) is that their shame didn’t stop them from following God’s call on their life. Nor did the men in their lives.

Joseph could have easily had Mary killed or at the least, as he originally planned, divorced her quietly. This would have left Mary with no chance to marry and forever marked an adulteress.

BUT GOD.

Instead the woman, who could have been defined by a scarlet letter, bore the Child whose blood would save all mankind.

Elizabeth and Zechariah had given up on having a child. The priest who “was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied” (Luke 1:67), had no son heir.

BUT GOD.

What shame threatens to kill, God gives life.

Elizabeth and Mary may have been isolated, but they were never alone. They may have been outcasts, but they were seen and loved by the one true God in whom all things are made possible.

shed and sun_edited-1 copy

What was the deciding difference in these souls?

“When the Holy Spirit filled Elizabeth, he changed her forever,” Liz says so perfectly well. This woman who never expected to have a child, was given a son (a son!) that would be the second greatest to the Christ-child, her cousin Mary would bear. All this was “a fitting legacy for a woman who lived at full tilt for God.”

Oh, that we Daughters of the King would live full tilt for God! What beautiful blessings could He birth through even a small group of women living wholly devoted to Him? Only God knows.

How can we? How can we let go of the shame, the fear and the disappointments to allow God in so He alone can be our overflow?

“Love. That’s what is written across our hearts and throughout this story,” Liz says.

Love is the answer. Love is, has been and will always be the answer to this story, your story and my story. Just love. And thank God He loved us this much…

Sweet sister, what can you do to be more like the original Women of Christmas today?

~

new-1Meredith is a perfectly imperfect thirty-something Daughter of the King, who is a hot mess most days. She answers to Mama (hundreds of times a day) from her three-year old cowgirl and six-year old cowboy. When she is not chasing littles, she follows her Cattle Man around fields raking hay on her tractor or on an ATV rounding up cows. After 10 years in corporate sales, she recently quit to pursue motherhood, homeschooling and God’s unavoidable call on her heart to glorify Him through her Pen and her Lens. She lives in daily awe that Jesus would rescue and redeem a soul as wretched as hers, and she longs for others to know the same sweet release. Meredith’s love language is all things food and she would love for you to follow along with her kitchen mishaps, farm life wonders and blunders, with a dose of encouragement for anyone who shares her same imperfect tendencies. Find her blogging at meredithbernard.com and follow her through Facebook, Twitter and IG.

We are spending this advent with Mary, Elizabeth and Anna through Liz Curtis Higgs’ book: The Women of Christmas . You can find other posts in this series here and here.

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14 Comments on “Love Labors, Love Bears, Love Lives {Chapter 5}

  1. Pingback: Come and Behold Him, Born the King of Angels {Chapter 7} | Faith 2 Shine

  2. Thank you for this post. This subject of shame (perceived before people, although certainly not in God’s eyes) in the Christmas story always moves me. I love your lines here: “The glorious difference in Elizabeth and Mary from so many other women (especially the one whose skin I wear) is that their shame didn’t stop them from following God’s call on their life. Nor did the men in their lives.” Amen!
    As I was reading, I wanted to share with you the piece I happened to post yesterday on this same subject – “When Glory is displayed in the disgrace” http://frontporchinspired.com/2014/12/16/when-glory-was-displayed-in-the-disgrace/ Reading your words here was great affirmation of how God had been teaching me on this subject as well.
    Thank you and God bless!
    Anne

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    • Anne,
      WOW! Girl, your words have reached in and brought hope anew to my heart! I loved this: “Jesus absorbed shame so fully, so completely, it bled crimson out His side – shame before people as well as eternal, condemning shame before a righteous God on behalf of humanity, of you and of me.” He beat shame to death and then overcame it with such radiant life, and it lives in me and you.
      Thank you so much for coming by! I am one encouraged heart!

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  3. Pingback: Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel {Chapter 6} | Faith 2 Shine

  4. Sounds like a very good book that I will have to check out. I needed to hear this today. Have a blessed day 🙂 Mellie @JustMellieM #BloggerCareGroup

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    • Hi Mellie! I am so glad you came by! This book has taken me so deep into the story of Christ’s birth that I have often simply wept. So much beauty that I have passed by simply out of familiarity. I pray your Holiday is one of breathtaking glory and sweet, tender moments with those you love!

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  5. Oh Meredith, I love this! Yes, love is the answer. How easily we forget that and try to make it so complicated. “What shame threatens to kill, God gives life.” Amen, sister. Amen. Thank you for this. Love you.

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  6. Meredith- This is so inspiring and moving. Thank you. This line took my breath away: “Instead the woman, who could have been defined by a scarlet letter, bore the Child whose blood would save all mankind.” Beautiful, friend.

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  7. Fun to see you over here at Brandi’s place Mer! Great reflections and loved this in particular, “God didn’t choose standout women to bear His God-child son and predecessor, He chose stand-up women.” May we be the stand-up women (a little comedic but mostly committed to carrying the Savior).

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  8. “Just as Elizabeth was not too old to bear a Son with God’s grace and mercy, neither are we ever too old, used up or ill fit to birth something beautiful for God, by God and through God.” This is so beautiful, Meredith–the whole post. Liz’s perspective on these women and now your additions have given me such a new look at this very familiar story. There is so much to be seen if we just take the time to really look…to search…to see beyond the words and the songs and the senitments. Thank you for giving me a new glimpse of what God has done…and is doing in all of us. Blessings to you, sweet friend!

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    • I too am guilty of passing by these details, Sabra. This book has melted my calloused – shopped out – over decorated – hyped on sugar soul into one of awe and wonder. Sharing this with friends has made it all the more beautiful! Thank you for coming over today!

      Like

  9. Pingback: No Shame for the #WomenofChristmas. » Meredith Bernard – Living in the Light through My Pen and My Lens

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