Have you ever thought, this isn’t how I thought my story would go? I certainly have, and I bet I’m not the only one.
After years of negative pregnancy tests, I mourned because life wasn’t turning out like I thought it would. There would be no gaggle of laughing children filling my home, no crowded kitchen table at mealtimes, no juggling of kids’ busy schedules. My first child would be my only child. And while I was so grateful to have this walking, talking, bundle of love, this wasn’t the way I had envisioned life unfolding. When the news came, I had a choice. I could get trapped in disappointment, or I could trust in God’s sovereign plan. I could get stuck crying “why me” or move forward with “what now.”
Mary, the mother of Jesus, had the same choice. Her life had not turned out like she thought it would. Before Gabriel spoke his prophetic words announcing the Holy Spirit would come upon her that and that she would be the mother of the Messiah, she was well on her way to marrying the man of her dreams. I imagine she thought about setting up house, being a carpenter’s wife, and raising quiver full of Joseph’s children. But Gabriel’s news changed everything.
With the words, “You will be with child by the Holy Spirit,” her life was turned upside down.
Mary knew there was a good chance she would be disgraced by her community, disowned by her parents, and disavowed by Joseph. We know from the other gospels that Joseph seriously considered divorcing her because he assumed that she had been unfaithful to him. (In those days, a couple was considered married during the engagement stage. The wedding made it official.)
And how did Mary react to this turn of events? She remembered God’s character and His ways. She remembered God as Israel’s helper…as her helper. She remembered God as faithful to keep His promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and now, to herself. As Joshua reminds us, “Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled,” (Joshua 21:45 NIV).
Why did Mary mention Abraham and his offspring in her prophetic prayer of praise? Mary understood that her life was part of God’s unfolding story. Gabriel’s prophetic proclamation was not random, but part of the ongoing drama of God’s activity in the unfolding of His eternal plan past, present, and future. And we can be sure of this: no matter what twists and turns our lives may take, our lives are part of God’s unfolding story as well. And for that, we can praise Him.
Mary’s prayer alludes to Old Testament Scripture, including Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 2 with references to Psalm 22, 25, 44, 89, 98, 103 and 147. What a beautiful example of how having Scripture embedded deep within our hearts will help us to keep a Biblical perspective in the twists and turns of life.
- Her knowledge of Scripture helped her accept Gabriel’s message.
- Her understanding of Scripture gave her assurance of God’s promises.
- Her saturation in Scripture enabled her to have the faith to rejoice at God’s call on her life.
What a beautiful example of how knowing and believing God’s Word and His promises gives us the faith to praise Him when life doesn’t turn out the way we thought it would.
Father God, I am amazed once again just how much Mary trusted Your plan for her life. “Let it be done to me as you have said,” are the words I want to say each and every time my life takes an unexpected turn. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
What is one situation that hasn’t turned out like you thought it would that you are willing to praise God for His sovereign and perfect plan?
What if your worst chapters could become your greatest victories?
Many of us feel broken. Our mistakes, the pain others have caused us, and circumstances outside our control taunt us every day, though we long to turn a new page. My new book, When You Don’t Like Your Story, challenges us to ask: What if God doesn’t want us to rip out of difficult stories but repurpose them for good?
Sometime struggles qualify you for an even greater purpose than you would have ever known without them. In fact, the worst parts of your story might just be what God uses the most. So sink deep into God’s life-changing truths. The next chapter is just beginning. Includes an in-depth Bible study for individuals and groups.
When You Don’t Like Your Story: What if Your Worst Chapters Could Become Your Greatest Victories debuts January 26, 2021 and if you pre-order now, you will receive free bonus goodies! Click here to learn more.
Ever since I could remember, I learned to be a mommy, one day. I don’t expect infertility and miscarriage. But God did open my womb with treatment and I had two children. I never thought that ten years later, God would call us to adoption. We adopted two daughters from different parts of the world. I never expected the hardness, pain, and suffering of the drawn out adoption process to bring them home. I never expected so much love and yet so much hurt. These years have been the hardest, but it had left me to need Jesus daily, to grow in faith during the wait, and to place my hope in Him alone. You are right: my life looks nothing like I imagined, and with all the trials, hurts and tears, it is good because I have known the presence of my Savior, the comfort of his arms, and the life of his words.
Thank you so much! I really really needed this right now!
The link to the pre-order plus goodies is not working.
Thank you for this reminder of God’s faithfulness! I look forward to this upcoming book/Bible study! The last few years have been very hard because of learning about some family abuse. I want to heal and move forward and pray God will use this to strengthen and encourage me!
So good. Thank you
Thank you for sharing this devotional, it is so very applicable to me! I’ve been separated from my husband for almost five yrs, I’ve often thought “This is not how my story was supposed to go. “ Yet walking through this journey has caused tremendous blessings & a lot of humbling surrender to God. I’m raising my four kids ( their Dad works away 16 days at a time , he does see them on his days off ) & they too struggle to understand the purpose in their pain….. but I know God has a plan for all of us .
Thank you again for the encouragement this morning ❤️
I tried to pre order your book that’s coming out to receive the added bonuses but could not access for some reason Could you send me the link to do so.
http://www.whenyoudontlikeyourstory.com/ Here is the correct one. So sorry.
Thank you Sharon for always sharing your life stories with us and how God brings healing and restoration! I never thought that I would have two grown daughters who both married and divorced within the first 5 years of their marriage. They were all Christians and active in their churches. One has even estranged herself from us, critically blaming us for her failures, yet she’s quite successful professionally! This has been and is my husband and I’s greatest grief and we pray daily for God’s healing in our family!!! It’s so hard when at one time of all our lives we gathered together and laughed and loved one another! We’ve always been there for our kids! God is stronger and He is our Lord. We are trusting in Him daily and persevering with patience as He accomplishes His work in our lives. We are thankful for our good marriage and hope one day we can love and laugh again as a family! Thanks for your prayers and sharing your life with us!
God’s promises make it possible for me to face the unknown with hope. Knowing His promise of always being by my side makes my life more peaceful.
The link to preorder the book seems to be broken/not working. Kindly check it.
So sorry. Here is the correct one. http://www.whenyoudontlikeyourstory.com
Thank you for this…so true. When I was 48 I was dx with Polycethemia Vera which is a form of blood cancer. The gave me 10-15 of life expectancy. I was filled with fear and disappointment. Then sat down family ( two young adult children and husband) to inform them. I decided to live the time God had given me, continuing to teach my ladies Bible class. !3 years later I went to Mayo clinic and given a new med as I had progressed to Myleofibrosis and now dx with 5-10 years. Now I was thanking God for my disease because I had grown spiritually during the past 10 years. My daily prayer was “God let me live the Plan You have for my life. May I be the Who and do the What I came into this world to do. ” He gave me a testimony that I am still sharing. One is that none of us know how long we have on this earth, but we can take it one day at a time and be a blessing to others. I am so thankful for my disease because it keeps me aware of my loving God and how much He does care and loves me. This past year I had a bone marrow biopsy and given now 1 1/2 to 5 years. I’ve outlived two other life expectancies and you know what? I’m here until God calls me home. Until that glorious time I will thank Him and keep on keeping on. I have now lived to see both my children married and my son having a son…my daughter having a girl…and that precious girl has just given me my first great grandchild. I am still married to my husband of 53 years. LIFE has been good and the After Life will be even better!
What a testimony!! Praise God. Blessings in Jesus name from NY.
Such needed encouragement.
We have our first baby, and she’s got colic, reflux, and I suspect a milk allergy. God has been Faithful through it all to help at every turn. It has been hard. The hardest thing I’ve ever done. Sometimes I get sad and frustrated from the hours and hours of crying. I feel like a bad mom because it does irritate me. I love her so much, and I also feel like a failure from not knowing what I’m doing.
I also have an auto immune disease and my specialist yesterday was so intense. He kept telling me how much a reality of colon cancer, cutting out my colon, lalalala is. I have another colonoscopy to do in 3 weeks. To top it off our dog is dealing with an unexpected eye issue.
I was so stressed yesterday and overwhelmed. I spent time with God this morning, and felt his peace and reminders of how he’s in charge. Worrying adds nothing and he cares for us perfectly.
I am grateful to have the life he’s given me, the precious gifts he has entrusted in my care and am thankful for this reminder.
Praying for you, Holly! You are a wonderful mother and just the one your daughter needs. Nobody can love her like you. Don’t let the enemy win. It will pass. 🙂
I’ve been in the throes of a long journey for over 15 years. God blessed me with a great husband who loved and served God faithfully, blessed with two children, one took a long time to conceive and the other adopted. Then my husband passed and the two children in college made different life choices. It’s been heartbreaking with one trauma after another. In this journey, I have not understood why all this happened, and still don’t, but God gave me the perseverance to cling on to Him and gave me the grace to never let go of hope in Him, believing He is sovereign and He desires none to be lost. In the meanwhile, I have always had difficulty remembering verses of promises and hope and would like this Bible Study help me to better saturate my mine to retain the verses of hope and promises to keep me going.
Life really is not how I expected it, I am raising a daughter as a single parent and it’s hard; there are joyous moments, love my daughter to pieces, and there are the times when I cry because I long to be married. I long to have a husband and father for my daughter. But I see how God walks with me and helps me and I can certainly see the growth I have experienced in my walk with Jesus as I never could have had it not been for the disappointing events of my life, thanks be to God that no experience is ever wasted in his hands. I’m hopeful for our future because God is the one in control of every circumstance.