Today, I mainly want to share with the ladies. However, this is a great read for men too so that you can encourage that special girl in your life.
I am beginning to prepare for my Sunday School lesson that I will be teaching this Sunday. The topic is the story of Elizabeth and Mary. As I was reading over the curriculum, I really began to look at the friendship and accountability that Elizabeth and Mary shared. One of the incredible treasures of the Bible is that it is full of long ago stories that really do apply to today. I used to look at the Bible as a history book, but now I see it as one big, continual story that all of us play a significant role in.
Think about this…Elizabeth was old. I mean old and definitely too old to be having babies (in my mind). I am 46 and my body hurts from my workout yesterday. I can’t even imagine pulling off a pregnancy and then a toddler at this age. God promises her a child. Mary is her relative and is a young child herself. She was probably in her teens when she became pregnant. She is unwed as well. Mary decides to visit Elizabeth. That wasn’t just a walk down the street. It was a hundred mile trip. Keep in mind Mary didn’t have a car. She didn’t have an ipod to listen to music along the way. She didn’t have a new pair of Nike shoes that would track her fitness accomplishments. She simply had the desire to seek the comfort and wisdom of Elizabeth, face to face.
Instantly, when I thought about that kind of encouragement and friendship, my heart ached for so many important women in my life. I have a list that is endless of women who have prayed for me, encouraged me, strengthened me, invested in me, and made me a better person when I simply spend 30 minutes with them. My next thought was how little time I seem to have to visit the very dear friends that are just down the road. I don’t like today’s world for that reason. As much as I want to say I don’t have to subject myself to the crazy rat race, it seems impossible some days.
As I continued to pour over the story of Elizabeth and Mary, another detail became very obvious. Elizabeth who is old and pregnant does something beautiful. Think about her emotional and physical state during this season of life. She had to be hormonal. She had to have some aches and pains. She had to worry about some wrinkles that she would display as she nursed her infant. I bet she could have been a little jealous when young Mary shows up covered in dust and still glowing. If I put myself in Elizabeth’s shoes would I judge Mary? Would I be two-faced and give her a hug while wishing she didn’t look so good? Would I post on Facebook some random accomplishment so that I could feel better about myself during Mary’s visit?
Elizabeth responds to Mary with, “Mary you are blessed.” Scripture is quick to note that Elizabeth was filled with the Spirit. These two women sang, worshipped and encouraged each other. They didn’t worry about whose baby was advancing better or who would deliver first. They didn’t talk about how they would become famous writing a book about being an awesome parent long before they became one. They didn’t put on their high heels and paint their nails before they could get together. Mary didn’t work on the details of a wedding and Elizabeth didn’t register for the latest and greatest baby things. They wanted to share time together, praising God and drawing strength from each other.
No matter how busy we are, we need our friends who lovingly hold us accountable, make us laugh, remind us to pray and hold our arms up when we are weak. It doesn’t have to be time shared when the calendar is completely clear and we look our best. And it sure doesn’t need to only be when we are in a dark and desperate place. I would say we would have less of those if we would proactively be intentional and schedule time with our accountability partners like we schedule our kids’ days.
To the men, watch the kids. Tell your wife to invest in friend time (ladies, the right kind of friend time) and don’t be jealous of friend time. Clean a toilet or wash a load of clothes so she can have that time. I can assure you when life gets hard, a spotless house isn’t going to help your girl. Ladies, pick friends that make you better and keep you humble.
Who is your Elizabeth or Mary that you need to invest in today?