What Mary Knew


This time two years ago, I was walking on air. I just finished writing out my life story and knew it was going to be published immediately. Also, I just knew I was going to have a baby. God was going to bless me with another child.

Through select passages of Scripture, and life events, I could feel it coming. And so, I voiced it. I spoke it. And I believed it. I told my husband, “I’m going to get pregnant.” And in going through my writings from that time, I can see I was reading the very passages I’m reading now.

I was in the book of Luke two years ago. And on December 6, 2011, I wrote out a verse encircled by a heart. To me, confirmation a baby was on the way…

“Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Luke 1:45

One week later, a test confirmed what I already knew to be true. And I thought it amazing that six years earlier to the very day, I found out I was pregnant with my little boy. December 13. It had to be a God thing. A child destined to arrive on my little boy’s birthday.

So, you can imagine my utter surprise when the sonogram revealed there was no heartbeat. The baby I just knew I was going to have was not going to be after all. I was heartbroken.

The following month, the manuscript I submitted to a writing competition failed. It wasn’t even in the top 66. And so, I spiraled downward into a pit of doubt, depression, and unbelief. Total confusion, for I didn’t understand. I thought I knew what was going to happen… but things just didn’t pan out the way I believed they would. Not with the book and most especially, not with the baby.

And here we are at Christmas time. Thus, I wonder about Mary… the mother of Jesus. Do you think she fully understood what was going to happen in her child’s life?

This morning I have to wonder about that. Because when the angel appeared to her, he brought good news…

He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.” 

Do you think this good news eclipsed what she knew to be true about her child’s destiny? Do you think the excitement of carrying God’s own Son diminished what lie deep in her heart? Because Mary had to know. She was Jewish and familiar with the prophesies. Being a daughter of Abraham, she had to have known what would befall Jesus.

But Mary simply inquired how her pregnancy could be for she was a virgin. In reply, she received more good tidings. He said, “Consider your relative Elizabeth-even she has conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, was old. And even she, a barren woman, conceived. Like Mary’s own, an absolute miracle. So she did what any woman would do. She hurried off to greet her cousin, eager to share her own good news.

Or you know, just maybe Mary wanted to witness an impossibility with her own eyes. Because the impossible was about to take place with her. A barren woman and a virgin, both with child. I imagine the sight of the old lady’s belly, swollen with life, comforted Mary. And assured her. And confirmed what was to be…

See, John leapt within his mother’s womb at the sound of Mary’s voice. And Elizabeth, filled with the Spirit, proclaimed, “She who has believed is blessed because what was spoken to her by the Lord will be fulfilled!”

Mary’s response was a hymn of praise… “He has helped His servant Israel, mindful of His mercy, just as He spoken to our ancestors, to Abraham and his descendants forever.”

Yes, it’s clear. Even then, Mary must have known Jesus’ fate. For as she remembered her forefathers, she must have remembered God’s promises, too. The ones proclaimed through the mouths of prophets. She had to realize her child was not her own. Instead, He was sent for all mankind.

Even so, the old woman and the virgin spent close to three months together. And oh, what they must have shared. Delicious anticipation. And hope… wrapped up in the fate of their unborn children. For their destinies were intertwined from the beginning.

Before Zion was in labor, she gave birth; before she was in pain, she delivered a boy. Who has heard of such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day, or a nation be delivered in an instant? Yet as soon as Zion was in labor, she gave birth to her sons.” Isaiah 66:7-8

The time came for an old lady to give birth. And according to law and custom, the child was circumcised on the eighth day. He was given a name and at that moment, the promise of John became reality… the forerunner of Christ.

Not long after, there was another birth and another eight day. Mary’s Son. God’s own.

I imagine Mary to have been bittersweet. Filled with joy at one moment, only to be brought low within a blink of an eye. No doubt, the prophetic words of Simeon penetrated her soul and darkened the joyous day. For he told her, “Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed – and a sword will pierce your own soul – that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

A sword would pierce Mary’s own soul, is what he said.

Was it then she fully understood? Did all the prophesies come crashing down upon her at that very moment? Yes, her Child was the One to come… He was the salvation and the light of the world.

But at what cost?

“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like one people turned away from; He was despised, and we didn’t value Him. Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains; but we in turn regarded Him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds. We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the LORD has punished Him for the iniquity of us all.”  Isaiah 53:3-6

How hard it must have been for Mary to release the hold she had on her child. What was it like for her, transitioning from one who taught to being the one He taught?

At the first miracle when Jesus told His mother, “My time has not yet come,” were His words stinging? Or did relief flood her soul. Because Mary knew when His time did come, His death would be that much closer.

See, the prophets of old pointed to it. Thus, Mary knew when her Son’s time came, there would be great sorrow. And grief. As Simeon said, her own heart would be pierced.

What child was hers, and God’s, but a child destined to die…

… because He submitted Himself to death, and was counted among the rebels; yet, He bore the sin of many and interceded for the rebels. Isaiah 53:12

Mary knew a lot. More than any mother really wants to know, for she knew the pain of watching her child die. However, Mary also knew the hope that lie within His death.

Thus, Mary was blessed among women. For she was fully aware of God’s mercy and compassion because mercy showed up in the form of a child, knit together in her own womb. Mary intimately knew the hope of a child.

Just like her forefather, Abraham, knew the hope of children. And promises God made to Father Abraham were promises for her. And through faith, the promise of children God made to a man long ago becomes a promise for us all… today.

Like Abraham, we are promised children.

As many as the stars.

Even if we’re old, and even if we’re barren, and even if we feel like it’s too late for us, there’s still time. There is still the hope of a child. If we can believe.

“Rejoice, barren one, who did not give birth; burst into song and shout, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the forsaken one will be more than the children of the married woman,” says the LORD. “Enlarge the site of your tent, and let your tent curtains be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your ropes, and drive your pegs deep. For you will spread out to the right and to the left, and your descendants will dispossess nations and inhabit the desolate cities.” Isaiah 54:1-3
As for me, the picture becomes a little clearer today. Two years ago, I didn’t fully understand. For I thought there would be another child in the Anderson brood. I thought my arms would once again carry a nursing babe. But now, I see. I can still have more children… just not as I imagined.
 There is still the hope of a child. For my husband is my Maker and the Word is His seed. And as His word is implanted into a fertile heart, a miracle takes place… conception. And that which conceives gives birth to new life. And behold, there is one more child with a destiny to fulfill. This is what Mary knew. And now, I know it, too. I know that there is always the hope of a child.
“Will I bring a baby to the point of birth and not deliver it?” says the LORD; “or will I who deliver, close the womb?” says your God. Isaiah 66:9

What Mary Said


And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38

Who doesn’t love the Beatles? Don’t most of us sing along with Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison? When we hear those familiar tunes, don’t we all love to belt out the lyrics to “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” or “Twist and Shout,” or “Here Comes the Sun.” I do. When I hear them, I can’t help but join in.

And so, this morning’s revelation kind of stopped me in my tracks. Because today was the day I realized that the Beatles sang Scripture. And so, when millions of people sing along with Paul McCartney, they too, are singing Scripture. For “Let it Be” is biblical. It’s found in the book of Luke, chapter 1, verse 38. “Let it be…” And the words belonged to Mary. It’s what she said.

Sing along if you know the lines…

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be…

Today I contemplated the lyrics of this song for the first time. Ever. Despite having heard the song hundreds of times, and having always understood that Mary is the mother of Christ, today I paused to consider their deeper meaning. “Let it Be.” What Let it Be could have meant to the Beatles. And what Let it Be means for us today. What wisdom lie within those words uttered by Mother Mary. Let’s consider…

Mary was a young virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph. And like any young girl who is soon to be married, don’t you think her mind was filled with what was to come? For she was soon to be a woman. She would soon leave her family to be joined with a man… becoming one flesh. But one day, everything changed.

An angel appeared to her, startling her with his greeting, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” Mary was troubled, and so the angel encouraged her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” He proceeded to tell her of what was to come, but she couldn’t imagine how that could be, for she had never known a man. The angel’s reply…

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”

Imagine. This was a young girl. She had never been intimate with a man but she was told she would conceive. Do you think she was joyful? Or full of trepidation? For a woman didn’t have as many rights then as she does today. No, an unwed, pregnant girl would surely endure hardship.

And what of her engagement… what would Joseph think? If we had lived then, and found ourselves in similar circumstances, would we have responded as Mary did? In the face of harsh reality, could we have done the courageous thing.

Knowing with certainty that people would scorn and ridicule her, Mary accepted her fate. She was destined to be the mother of God’s Son, and she welcomed her circumstances. And despite what was sure to come her way, Mary said the courageous thing. She spoke words of wisdom and replied, “Let it be to me according to your word.” Let it Be. To me.

Mary may have been a young girl, but she was wise. God chosen one. And blessed was she who believed, for there was a fulfillment of those things which were told her. For she knew with God that anything was possible. Thus, she faced what life served up. She walked in courage and in strength for she dwelled within the shadow of the Most High. And as she poured herself into Jesus, her Son grew within the shadow of her love.

But over time, as she watched Jesus grow in stature with God and with men, she realized her destiny was complete. Because God’s love for the world, which was housed in a man called Jesus, soon eclipsed Mary’s love for her own. For Jesus was God in the flesh, and He had His own destiny to fulfill. And so, again, Mary had to let it be. Circumstances were beyond her control.

Let it be were the wise words of Mother Mary. They were also the words of the Beatles. And I just learned that circumstances may not have been so favorable at that time, for “Let it Be” was their breakup album. Perhaps those young men were drawing strength from Mary’s words at a time when they needed to be encouraged. Because Paul McCartney cries out no less than 36 times, “Let it Be!”

See, the band was parting ways, soon to venture off on individual paths. Was it an angry split? Or was it just time? Regardless of the reason, I’m sure a bittersweet season hovered upon their souls. And so Paul’s words must have come from a deep place. Words spewed forth from a turbulent heart. And ours too, as we echo his refrain, “Let it Be.”

I’m sure Paul meant what he sang. And may we feel the same. When life serves up something we’re not quite sure how to handle, may we face it courageously. And in our darkest hour, may Mary’s words be planted deep inside sprouting forth the peace we crave…

“Let it Be, unto me… according to your word, Lord.”

As for Mary, she was wise indeed. And she had a way with words. Even after Jesus was a grown man with His own ministry. For there was a wedding but the wine ran dry.

Mary knew what to do, though. She turned to Jesus. He replied, “My hour has not yet come.” She must have been persistent, though, for she directed the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”

More words of wisdom from Mary.

And the people listened to her. And did what she said. And what He said. Then, they beheld a miracle. Water turned to wine. And Mary? She probably wasn’t surprised. For she knew…

With God all things are possible.

And she knew her Son. For she grew up in the shadow of His love.

Mary turned to Jesus in an hour of need. And she pointed others in the same direction. She did so by speaking words of wisdom…

Let it Be…

It’s what Mary said.


Who I am


The One who comes from above is above all. The one who is from the earth is earthly and speaks in earthly terms.  The One who comes from heaven is above all. John 3:31

I’d never given much thought to John the Baptist before this week. I knew who he was and what he did and what Jesus said about him… “I tell you, among those born of women no one is greater than John…” Luke 7:28. But really, I just never settled on him. But today, I think for the first time, I caught a real glimpse of who John was. And what opened my eyes was the realization of why he never fully captured my attention before now. Basically, he didn’t stand out because he wasn’t supposed to. That’s because he did exactly what he was called to do as He fulfilled his mission on earth. He decreased so that Jesus could increase (John 3:30). You will find that he never pointed to himself, rather, he always pointed to Jesus. He didn’t proclaim who he was. Instead, he heralded the One to come.

And child, you will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways, to give His people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of sins. Because of our God’s merciful compassion, the Dawn from on high will visit us to shine on those who live in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. Luke 1:76-79

Yes, John was a prophet of the Most High and his job was to prepare the people for the One to come. But until his time came, he remained in the wilderness. And it was there that a miracle occurred, for God’s word came to John the son of Zechariah. And as he went out, he caused a bit of a stir. John developed quite a following in that he had his own disciples. And because he was such a force, the Jewish authorities sent out messengers to question him. See, their traditions were messed with as change arrived on the scene. And they didn’t like it. So, the Pharisees sent out priests and Levites to question John, “Who are you?” But John didn’t give out his name. Despite his being chosen by God and the voice, he simply replied, “I am a voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord…” See, John was humble. He didn’t exalt himself because he knew One was coming from above. And he knew the One coming from heaven was above all.

Today John the Baptist captured my attention. Fully. Because today I realize I need to be just like him. In the past year, so much has occurred. I climbed high with God, only to fall down into the pit of darkness. But, part of the climb was self-seeking. And much of the reason for the fall was pride. I’m the one who dug the hole. And it’s there, in the dark hole of my wilderness that transformation took place. I was humbled and turned to God. And there, in my wilderness, a miracle occurred. For God’s word came to me. And now, I believe he’s sending me out. However, it’s not Pam He’s sending out. Rather, He’s sending “a voice of one” to cry out from the wilderness. My mission being no different than John’s. For in looking back, I see One thing remains the same. Just as John pointed to the One to come after him, I can do the same today. For the One who comes from above is coming back. The Dawn who walked the earth in John’s day will return. He is the One I can point to. As John decreased, I must do the same. So that He may increase.

And so today, I know. If someone asks for my name, or demands to know who I am, I can answer as John did. I can say, I am a voice of one crying out in the wilderness…

“Prepare the way for the Lord; make His paths straight!”

For He will return.

They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen Him going into heaven.” Acts 1:11