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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