Sharing your story is a little like throwing a pebble out onto a placid lake and watching ripples form as the surface of the water is changed. When we share our stories, we create ripples that affect much more than just our own selves. These ripples can be seen in the life of a biblical character we’ll examine today: Mary. We have much to learn from Mary, a young woman who boldly shared her story with a watching world. She shows us that sharing a story has a threefold effect—God receives glory, other believers find encouragement, and those who do not know Jesus hear about him.
In Luke 1:26–38, we first encounter Mary, a young teenager who was pledged to be married to Joseph. As she was going about her normal day, the angel Gabriel appeared to her with a startling message. Even though she was a virgin, she was pregnant. Even though she was a human, she would bear a son who was the very Son of God. Even though she was a nobody peasant, her son would be a king who would reign forever. Her life would never be the same. And how did she respond? With total faith and humble obedience: “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
After receiving this astonishing, life-altering news, Mary traveled to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who was also miraculously pregnant. When Mary entered the house, Elizabeth’s unborn child leaped for joy within her and the Holy Spirit revealed to her that Mary was “the mother of my Lord” (Luke 1:43). Elizabeth received encouragement just by being in the presence of Mary. She was reminded of the goodness of God when she witnessed the miracle that was taking place inside Mary.
Having heard this pronouncement of blessing from Elizabeth, Mary exclaimed in praise:
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” (Luke 1:46–55)
When presented with an unplanned pregnancy, one that would bring great inconvenience and personal difficulty, Mary overflowed in praise to her God. She rejoiced that He was the Holy One who was strong, merciful, good, and faithful to His people. She worshipped Him for seeing her, a lowly Israelite woman, and bringing blessing upon her. She rejoiced that He had remembered her people, Israel, by sending them a long-awaited Messiah.
As Mary’s life unfolded, she grew to understand more and more about this son of hers, Jesus. And undoubtedly she continued to tell the story of His miraculous birth to anyone and everyone who would listen.
When you tell your story, you have the opportunity to be like Mary. You have the chance to glorify God, praise Him for His incredible attributes, and thank Him for seeing you and using you despite your flaws. You have a chance to build up others around you, to encourage them to keep trusting God because of His goodness and faithfulness in your life. And you have the privilege of introducing Jesus to those who haven’t met Him yet. This is why your story is so powerful. If God used the story of an obscure teenage minority girl to testify to His saving plan, He can and will use your story to point others to the even better story of Jesus.