The Young Girl: Part 1 In a Seven-Week Bible Study for Women

Welcome! I’m so glad you’re joining us for this seven-week Bible study based on Love Letters from God: Bible Stories for a Girl’s Heart. We’ll be studying the lives of seven incredible New Testament women. It’s the perfect way to journey through Lent together.

Mary: The Young Girl

Read: Luke 1: 26-38

Scholars believe that Mary was only about twelve years old when the angel Gabriel appeared by her side and gave her news that would rock both her world and ours.

What were you doing at twelve years old? I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t thinking about God much, or angels. I was thinking about boys, and what I might wear to the school disco. But yet I know God was thinking about me, just like God was thinking about Mary.

I was Mary’s age, just twelve years old, when I knelt at the altar rail with my sister and invited Jesus into my heart. I remember feeling special as I rode home on the bus that night… like God knew me.

God knew Mary. God knew her name:

‘Do not be afraid, Mary,’ the angel said. ‘You have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.’

Those words are so familiar to us that they can easily lose their impact, but I would invite you to read them again, slowly.

Can you imagine trying to make sense of those words when you’re just twelve years old, and you’re not even married? Can you imagine an angel standing in front of you as you’re just about to make dinner, his wings all shimmering and shining in the sunlight as he says your name and gives you a message from God?

And this amazing young girl, after enquiring, quite logically, how this will happen, simply bows her head and says: I’m your servant. Let it be.

Mary said yes to God.

Nine months later, when Joseph had gone back to sleep in that small, starlit stable, and the shepherds had long gone, Mary lay awake, perhaps looking at her infant son as he slept, and pondered all these things in her heart.

It’s not hard to imagine what Mary pondered about.

She must surely have been replaying the scene in her mind when the angel Gabriel first came to her in Galilee. She must have been thinking about her cousin, Elizabeth, and their special, shared pregnancies.

She must have been pondering about the shepherds, who rushed in to see this ‘new-born King’, and the choir of angels who appeared to them in the fields.

And surely, surely, like any mom who has held her baby and watched him or her as they slept, she must have been thinking, and pondering, and no doubt worrying, about what the future held for her son.

You can’t give birth to God’s son and not ponder what the future holds.

We don’t meet Mary much more in the gospels. We do know that when her baby was eight days old, she took him to the temple to be dedicated and heard Simeon’s chilling words about how her own soul would be pierced.

We know that like any concerned parent, she searched frantically for the boy Jesus when he went missing on a trip to Jerusalem.

We know she attended a wedding with her grown up son in Cana.

But beyond these glimpses, we know little about Mary. We can imagine that she lived an ordinary life as a mother and housewife, cleaning, baking, doing all the things a woman did, yet all the time waiting, waiting, to see what would happen to her son.

And we all know what happened.

Our last glimpse of Mary is in the place where she surely, surely never wanted to be. We see Mary at the foot of the cross, looking up at her son, the one she gave birth to, watching him suffer an agonizing, cruel death.

Imagine that.

Sometimes, saying yes to God means that we might find ourselves in a place we never, ever wanted to be.

Yet this was not the end! Mary didn’t know it then, but this awful, awful part of her life, this very place she never wanted to be, was actually the beginning of the greatest hope the world would ever know. We’re about to journey towards it, as we step onto our Lenten path.

Friends, I don’t know what hard thing God asks of you. I don’t know what awful place you find yourself in. But hold on to that hope! What I do know is that each one of us is somehow part of God’s mysterious, miraculous, unfolding plan in the world.

Mary; me; my sister, who knelt at the altar; you, who are reading these words… God asks all of us to say yes

God give us strength to bow our heads, like Mary did, and say:

I’m your servant. Let it be.

Questions For Reflection:

  • What blessings have you been given that have come with great responsibility?
  • What hard thing has God asked of you?
  • Where, and how, were you aware of God when you were a child?
  • What is God revealing to you through this story?

Going Deeper:

  • Choose at least three links in this study that take you to different parts of scripture where Mary is mentioned. What else do you learn about her?

12 thoughts on “The Young Girl: Part 1 In a Seven-Week Bible Study for Women

  1. Peggy Manrose

    I think whenever we are blessed with a child, at first when they are tiny all we see is love and caring for their immediate needs. But as they grow up, and even into adulthood, you see that the responsibility to raise a strong confident, and hopefully a spiritual person is a great one. And it’s a job that never ends.

    I think about the very young new mother Mary, filled with love and awe, and then at times not understanding Jesus’s reactions to things, and then to sadly watch her son suffer a painful death. But what joy she must have felt to know God’s purpose had been fulfilled, and the promise for life eternal to everyone that believes in Her Son!! What an awesome person God chose!

    Reply
    1. Glenys Post author

      Peggy, that is so very true about the responsibility of raising our children in spiritual truths! I wish I could have a do-over in that regard!

      Reply
  2. Pauline Smith

    As the sister who knelt at that altar with you I am so touched by this study. Yes, we felt so special as we raced home to tell mum and dad. Special because God knew our names and had a wonderful plan for our lives. I love the verse where Isaiah tells us that our names are written on the palm of His hands – how special are we?
    I think my greatest responsibility has been with being a mum of 4 and it doesn’t ever lessen even as they grow older.
    I absolutely love to think of how Mary pondered, on all that had happened and all that was waiting in the future. Yet she got on with her life, quietly being a mother and raising her children. We need to take our example from her and ponder more, remembering the blessings God has heaped on us.
    Thank you for this study Glenys.

    Reply
    1. Glenys Post author

      You’re absolutely right, Pauline, about that huge responsibility of being a mum, and it’s one that never stops. But if it does say, “Pauline” and “Glenys ” on the palm of God’s hand, then we can know that God knows us, sees us, and will be there for us, no matter what. We’ll just keep trying our best and trusting, like Mary did.

      Reply
  3. Irene Strom

    One my great blessings has been wonderful, loving and supportive parents. I have tried to emulate them as I parent my own daughter. My great responsibility has caring for them as they age. My wonderful mother passed away two years ago after a long battle with congestive heart failure. Being supportive to both she and my father, helping plan her medical care, countless hospital visits, and being with her the last days of her life was the most challenging period in my life. Leaning and depending on God helped me through this dreadful time. Now I find myself on this road again with my father. I continually ask God to give me strength and wisdom.

    Reply
  4. Mary Jane

    Responsibilities are life!! Mary had many great tasks and she followed God’s leading and plan for her. We should do the same!!! The biggest responsibility we have is to find out and know God’s will for us!

    Reply

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