I Want to be a Woman Who Sings

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There are two women in the story—two of them in the same boat. And such a strange and wonderful boat it was. One was young, very young. The other was older, maybe ten or even twenty years older. They were cousins the story tells us, distant cousins.

Both of them were pregnant—unexpectedly, miraculously, stunningly pregnant.

They came together at a crucial moment, offering each other words that sang out with hope and promise, surprise and jump-for-joy abandon. The younger one was full to the brim with Spirit-joy, wonder, and I’m guessing, more than a few questions. When she knew she was with child, she went running, right on up the dusty road, up to the hills, looking for the familiar face of her cousin, so hungry for a companion on the way.

The older one was smack dab in the middle of her own wonderment. For years she cried out to God, begging for a baby who never materialized. Her situation left her aching and isolated. When she was beyond hope, God answered! Now there was a wild-souled boy-child growing inside her.

Their meeting is a picture of the life-giving power that is possible when women who share affection and esteem support one another. Mary, overwhelmed by that heavenly visitation and its remarkable aftermath, headed straight into the arms of someone who knew her well. She went to someone who knew God well, someone who could help her make some sense of all the craziness. She headed for Elizabeth.

“Hello, hello, hello,” Mary sang out, rounding the bend in the road and walking across the threshold of her cousin’s home. At her voice, Elizabeth’s baby boy leapt in the womb and that good woman opened her heart, her home, her arms to this brand-new mama-to-be. “Oh, blessed one! Blessed baby you carry! You come to me? My baby and I are leaping for joy. I SEE YOU. You are the one who believes in the promises of God!”

With Elizabeth’s words, Mary’s questions are answered, her hopes confirmed, her spirit set free. And that girl sang right back to her older cousin, pouring out glorious and prophetic words of gratitude and praise, words that tell the story of a surprising, table-turning God.

This Advent, I want to be an Elizabeth for those who are younger. I want to be someone who offers encouragement, who sings out hope, someone who points to the God of Surprises. Maybe I’ll start with my daughters, my daughter-in-law, my grandgirls. I want to listen for the voices of women around me, women who might need encouragement, affirmation, inspiration, reinforcement, comfort.

Oh, yes, Lord—open my ears, open my heart. And then help me to sing it out! 

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Diana Trautwein
Married to her college sweetheart for over 40 years, Diana is always wondering about things. She answers to Mom from their three adult kids and spouses and to Nana from their 8 grandkids, ranging in age from 3 to 22. For 17 years, after a mid-life call to ministry, she answered to Pastor Diana in two churches where she served as Associate Pastor. Since retiring at the end of 2010, she spends her time working as a spiritual director and writes on her blog, Just Wondering. For as long as she can remember, Jesus has been central to her story and the church an extension of her family. Not that either church or family is exactly perfect . . . but then, that’s what makes life interesting, right?
Diana Trautwein

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Diana Trautwein
  • Beautiful, Diana. You are an Elizabeth. I know it! I love the way you’ve woven this. Merry Christmas to you and yours… and may God be present with you through the new y ear.

    • pastordt

      Thank you amazing Bev – one of the finest Elizabeths I’ve seen out here! Richest blessings of this season to you, too, dear friend.

  • Bridget Baguley

    Wonderful, especially as I’m about to sit down and write my sermon for Sunday; and was heading into trying for something about God birthing the amazing and joyous in the strangest of places, and that once God is on the move, there’s no stopping the Spirit. You’ve been an Elizabeth for me today, thank you!

    • pastordt

      Hey, if anything I say is helpful to anyone working on a sermon, I am thrilled! Many blessings as you bring the Word to the people God has given you. Thanks for letting me know this helped you in sermon prep. I know that gig — it’s such a good one, but also, such a challenging one.

  • Joy is pouring from your words today, Diana/Elisabeth! Absolutely contagious!

    • pastordt

      Thanks so much, Michele!

  • HeleneBurns

    How beautiful…this story of this relationship always brings me joy I want to be a woman who sings too! Much love Diana xoxo

    • pastordt

      From all I hear, Helen, you most definitely are one! Christmas love to you, beautiful lady.

  • I see you being Elizabeth already, Diana–speaking out words of encouragement online, which is often more populated by people of my generation. And through spiritual direction, and through pastoring. We are thirsty for your gifts. Thank you for this beautiful post.

    • pastordt

      Thank you, Heather. Commenting was an initial means of getting to know people when I began out here on the web. I still love to do it, but have added so many blogs to my ‘check-it-out’ list, that it’s increasingly difficult to do! I’ve also added some direction clients and next year, need to ponder whether I want to do something more long-form. With age, unfortunately, comes diminished energy! Other gifts seem to multiply in some ways, but that one? Not so much!

  • “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.” Great post! May we all build one another up like Elizabeth.

    • pastordt

      Amen, Jebraun. Thanks for you kind comment.

  • Nancy Ruegg

    Diana, I love your descriptive name: table-turning God! As the Christmas story unfolded centuries ago, he certainly did turn the tables on a number of folks! I’m so thankful that even today he continues to dispense glorious surprises. May your Christmas include a few!

    • pastordt

      Thanks for those Christmas wishes, Nancy – and right back at you, too, my friend.

  • pastordt

    Thank you, sweet friends, for your kind words. I am traveling today with my husband, and a small getaway in celebration of our 50th anniversary. I hope to write a response to each of you later today or tomorrow.

  • sandyhay

    “Their meeting is a picture of the life-giving power that is possible
    when women who share affection and esteem support one another….She (Mary) went to someone who knew God well, someone who could help her make some sense of all the craziness.””I want to listen for the voices of women around me, women who might need
    encouragement, affirmation, inspiration, reinforcement, comfort.” This is vital for us at our ages Diana to stay tuned into the Holy Spirit. For me right now it is my granddaughters and my small group.

    • pastordt

      Yup, that’s where it’s got to be – those closest to us. The ripples can spread outward as God invites. But it’s gotta start at home.

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  • Justine Hwang

    Thank you for this beautiful post Diana. You are indeed an Elizabeth to so many. Growing up in Asian culture, I was raised to respect my elders… a great value, but I find that it can express itself in a negative way where when I see an older woman I admire, I struggle to approach her, let alone seek out a connection or relationship that might bloom into a mentoring kind of relationship down the road. Or, I assume that a woman who is obviously wise to many would be tapped out of time/energy already with the existing people who might have already sought her out (in addition to life’s responsibilities). I know this has partly to do with my own orphan heart tendencies, but I have always wondered how to go about being open to/intentionally seeking out such relationships, recognizing of course that they are organically grown, and that God is the ultimate Divine mentor-matchmaker.

    • pastordt

      Believe me, Justine, almost every older woman I know would welcome being approached by someone younger! We, too, hunger for contact across the generational lines our culture draws for us. And yes, some may not have the time/energy to fully enter into a mentoring role. But there are other ways to learn from your elders. And I am SURE that somewhere, God has exactly the right woman to step into your life in a larger way. Thanks so much for your good, honest comment.

  • I’ve read this story so many times but have often overlooked Elizabeth’s role as encourager of divine surprises. Thank you for this wonderful insight!

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  • Abigail Harootian

    Praising our “surprising and table-turning God” for this life-giving piece. Thanks, Diana!