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"God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at the break of day."Psalm 46:5

As we enter into the Christmas season, I am always struck with the awe of thinking of Mary and what the approaching birth of Christ must have been like for her. My heart is for the unborn and for helping to prepare those who have waited for decades for a child, and mentoring those who never imagined that pregnancy would be their fate. So when I ponder young Mary, her pregnancy was incredibly both- one that had been planned from the beginning of time, yet was unexpected and scandalous. But isn't that life?

For me, 2017 has been the best and the worst year of my life. I have seen breakthrough that I have prayed for tirelessly, (including little Haven finally walking!). Crisis has also invaded and left me quite broken, (or so I thought). What I have come to understand is that, not only is life not black and white, but it's not all good and bad. There are really no such things as "good days" and "bad days" when you are walking with the Lord because His light is ALWAYS shining no matter how thick the darkness.

As Mary traveled to Bethlehem with the hope of a Savior in her womb, she did so unwed with stares and judgement from those who could not comprehend just how God does things... His ways are mysterious and shocking; they broaden our view of Him and keep us focused on how HE sees us and our situations.

A poignant moment in my life happened aboard a cruise ship in Alaska, of all places. I was sitting on the high deck of the boat, crushed in spirit and devastated. With my arms around my knees and my head bowed with tears, I heard the Lord say, "There is so much beauty all around you if you will only look up." Snow capped mountains and a bald eagle flying were right in my view when I set my gaze just a bit higher.

God is in your midst- whether in a joyous or in a stressful holiday season. Mary's was both and she models to us that life doesn't have to be perfect to be just as it was planned by the Almighty God ages ago. Her story is a beautiful example of obedience that gave way to life for all.

No matter your struggle, look up. Let your heartache grow into a heartbeat that becomes life for yourself, another, or both.

And Mary said:

"My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.

From now on all generations will call me blessed,

for the Mighty One has done great things for me-

holy is his name.

His mercy extends to those who fear him,

from generation to generation.

He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;

he has scattered those who are

proud in their inmost thoughts.

He has brought down rulers from their thrones

but has lifted up the humble.

He has filled the hungry with good things

but has sent the rich away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel,

remembering to be merciful

to Abraham and his descendants forever,

just as he promised our ancestors."

Luke 1:46-55

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