The Bible focuses on the relationship between Mary and Elizabeth very briefly and gives us little specifics. However, we can infer that Mary went to Elizabeth after encountering the Angel Gabrielle and stayed with her for three months, and they were very close. I’ve been learning so much about the traditions of women during Mary and Elizabeth’s time, and I am enjoying finding out the daily rituals that they may have participated in Nazareth.
Most of my learning has been coming from the books, articles, and religious leaders I have been speaking to for almost three months. But the most profound reflections I’ve had, come from prayer, meditation, and listening to what God is placing in my heart and spirit. One of the more important lessons that I received from God is to not only learn about the “Jewish Women in Greco-Roman Palestine,” (which is the title of one of my favorite books, and I highly recommend it,) but to think about what they both encountered and how important it is to have someone in your life that you can share your joy with BUT ALSO your questions and most importantly, your pain.
Both Mary and Elizabeth had miraculous pregnancies and missions from God to help save the world. It is the type of thing that only the two of them could have understood the fullness of the emotions accompanying something so HUGE! They could have shared this with others, but, really, no one but someone who has been through what you’re going through can really understand.
Secondly, they both had miracle children who had missions that put their lives in danger. Although they both were God-loving, God-fearing women, they were also mothers. They understood the consequences of their son’s actions, which would be death. They understood that they would probably be mocked, ridiculed, and face discrimination from their family, community, and the Roman governing authorities for their sons’ actions. Luckily, they had each other to lean on.
Lastly, God put this in my spirit. They both lost their sons in horrible, life-scarring ways. For those of us that are mothers, the thought of our children dying in any form is unfathomable. And the thought of our children being executed the way Jesus was or the beheading of John the Baptist is…I can’t even think of a word strong enough to describe my fear of such a thought. Even as a believer, which both women were, there is a pain of losing a child so gruesomeness that can’t be understood unless you have experienced it.
I believe God gave Mary and Elizabeth to each other because he knew that there is power, grace, and understanding when you have friends who you can laugh with, talk to, cry on, and support. We weren’t made to struggle through life alone. God gave us one another because we all need friends, and we all need to have and/or be Mary and Elizabeth to each other.
I pray that you can reach out to a friend this week and share your joy, your pain, your worry, a supportive ear, or just say Thank You.