A few days ago I mentioned that in the book Giddy Up, Eunice author Sophie Hudson chose the story of Elizabeth and Mary (Luke 1:5-56) as one illustration of women needing other women to listen, to encourage, and to pray for each other. And sometimes that woman doesn’t look at all like what we’d expect.
Elizabeth and Mary’s lives intersected because they each had an unexpected miraculous pregnancy announced by the angel Gabriel. Obviously God wanted these two women to come together because Gabriel made a point in telling Mary her much older, barren cousin Elizabeth had also conceived a son “for nothing will be impossible with God.”
Can you imagine how difficult it would have been for Mary to share the news of her pregnancy with her family, with Joseph, and with the people in her small hometown of Nazareth? Remember, she was likely only 14 years old. Who would believe her story about an angel visiting her and telling her that she would miraculously conceive the Son of God?
God gave Mary a “You, too?” kind of friend. As soon as Mary arrived in Elizabeth’s home, she found “a safe person in a safe place.” Instead of looking at Mary skeptically, Elizabeth entered her joy, recognized Mary’s son as the Lord, and blessed both of them.
When the Holy Spirit in one woman recognizes and responds to the Holy Spirit in another woman, safe places become sacred spaces. – Sophie Hudson, Giddy Up, Eunice; Chapter 2
Sophie points out another interesting relational dynamic: Elizabeth didn’t feel threatened by Mary or a need to compete with her.
I hadn’t really thought about this. Naturally Elizabeth would have been caught up in the excitement of her own special child when her little cousin shows up on the scene, announcing that she will be The Mother to The Savior of the World.
Doesn’t Elizabeth’s response demonstrate humility? “And why am I so blessed that the mother of my Lord visits me?” (Luke 1:43 MSG).
Truly God gave Elizabeth wisdom, grace, and sensitivity that allowed these women to share a bond due to their unique pregnancies. Their relationship as cousins most likely progressed into a genuine friendship as they spent three months together, supporting one another and most likely having some fun and laughing together.
The areas where we are wise are meant to intersect with someone else’s questions. The areas where someone else is wise are meant to intersect with our questions. – Sophie Hudson, Giddy Up, Eunice; Chapter 5