Nineteen, unmarried, recently separated from her live-in boyfriend, sick to her stomach, and a pain in her abdomen that she had never experienced before. Could it be? What if it is? What will she do? She needed to be sure. A quick stop at the local drug store to grab a test led her to go to her mom’s house, where she knew she would be safe no matter what the result. It only took seconds for the second line to appear.
Tears, rapid heart rate, fear, anxiety, yet there was a little excitement and a strange joy at the same time. “Mom,” she yelled, “Could you come here?” Her mom knew the feelings. She had experienced it all herself many years before. Her mom quickly ran through the options as she listened. Yet there really was no option. There was a life inside of her, and that life had value because it was created in the image of God, Imago Dei.
As she packed the final box and walked out of the apartment she had shared with her boyfriend for several months, he said, “I hope you’re pregnant so you come back to me.” She smirked and walked on. Now she had to tell him. Cell phones were not a thing back then, so she tracked him down at a friend’s house and left a note on his car to call her. It read, “We are in the pink.”
An unexpected pregnancy led to an unexpected expectancy of what life could be. They had a quick wedding that included premarital counseling with a pastor giving the marriage five years tops.
That marriage is now in its thirty-fourth year. The baby arrived not on her due date of December 25th but two days later. The baby is all grown up and is now a married mother of two with a master’s degree in education. She has three younger siblings, and her mom is an ordained minister in The Wesleyan Church.
This is a very short version of my redemption story. I was not the first woman to experience an unexpected expectancy, and I won’t be the last in this world. My pregnancy was a result of working outside of God’s plan, but the Christmas story highlights a God-ordained unexpected pregnancy.
Many years ago, in the land God set apart for his people, He chose a faithful young woman to bring the long-expected Savior into the world:
- a Savior that the prophets of old had talked about
- a Savior that Israel longed for
- a Savior that had been expected for so long
He was now unexpected by most.
In Luke 1, verses 26-38, we read about the angelic encounter the Virgin Mary has with Gabriel, God’s messenger. Verses 30-33, “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “For you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name 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 ancestor David. And He will reign over Israel forever; His Kingdom will never end!” (New Living Translation)
God called Mary to be used in his plan for the salvation of humanity. In the Greek language, favor is “charis,” which also means grace. Not just any grace but grace that draws one to God, according to Strong’s Lexicon in the Blue Letter Bible App.
God’s call on Mary’s life might seem higher and holier because she is the mother of God Incarnate, but God’s call on any life into his service says that He finds that life “favored!” Those called out by God to serve in ministry, to be his mouthpiece today, in this time, in whatever place, are favored. We should respond as Mary did, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” An unexpected expectancy, an interruption in life’s plans, may not fit in the schedule, but trusting in God’s plan and God’s will and obediently saying yes is so worth it.
G5485 – Charis – Strong’s Greek lexicon (NLT). Blue Letter Bible. (n.d.). https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g5485/nlt/mgnt/0-1/