He Gave Her a Voice

Fifteen years ago this December I was pregnant with our first child. I was in seminary in New Jersey and was in my first preaching class. For our first sermon we were randomly assigned a passage about Advent and the Incarnation. The passage I drew was the Magnificat from the second chapter of Luke. Although I had taught school for years, including Old and New Testament, this was the first assignment in which I was called to preach. (although in front of only about a dozen of my fellow students). 

I eagerly dove into the depths of this song of praise while simultaneously feeling my daughter moving inside of me. “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” I couldn’t help but echo that sentiment in my own life as I waited to meet the blessing inside of me. Mary proclaimed this after she had spent time with her cousin Elizabeth and together they experienced joy and anticipation that God was at work. He was doing something extraordinary. “For he has looked on the humble estate of his servant”. This extraordinary event was taking place through a regular person, but not just any regular person, a young woman. She was not royalty or anything special by the day’s standards. “For he who is mighty has done great things for me.” What I found so striking then is that in choosing this young woman in which to grow our Savior, God also gave Mary a voice. A powerful voice. Her testimony would be like no other and she was empowered and emboldened to proclaim truth that women and men alike will have in their hearts for eternity. In her famous song she speaks of the character of God: 

His mercy is for those who fear Him

He has shown strength

He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts

He has brought down the mighty from their thrones

During that Christmas season I did feel a different connection to Mary than I had felt before. Writing a sermon about the Magnificat while contemplating new life within my own womb led me to worship. My soul sang, “for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.” It is no small thing that as women we are able to bear children. I am convinced it is one of the unique ways women have a voice in this world. 

Fast forward 15 years and this Fall I was severely disappointed by a well known pastor (and therefore brother) that I have admired for decades. This man chose to publicly disparage an influential and faithful female teacher in our shared Christian faith. I am not sure why this particular event was so painful for me personally. My heart broke for this woman whom I have never met. I felt such disappointment in the male leadership at the event. I played the video of his words over and over. I guess I was hoping to find out that it was a mistake. Surely these men, my brothers, did not mean to disparage her so arrogantly. Their posture was shocking. Without getting too far into the details of the event, the pastor said the woman should “go home” in a harsh, mocking tone. (rather than have a voice in the public square). 

I began to pour over the scriptures to find the places in which a woman’s voice was found. I believe scripture teaches a woman’s voice should be found in our homes, every bit as much as scripture teaches a man’s voice should be found in our homes. As I searched the scriptures I found her voice in public square and I found her voice in the marketplace. I found her voice in the assembly and her voice in the home. I found her voice ministering with Paul and her voice speaking to Jesus. I found her voice raising Timothy and her voice telling the disciples that Jesus had risen from the dead. And then, Advent. I was drawn back to the beautiful voice of Mary, mother of my Savior. And God our Father thrust her out of her home so that she could proclaim His mighty works in every arena of life. 

Mary proclaimed that God’s hand in her life would cause others to call her blessed.

Mary proclaimed for whom was God’s mercy.

Mary proclaimed what God does to the proud (some men should listen carefully)

Mary proclaimed God’s strength

Mary proclaimed what God does to the mighty

Mary proclaimed what God does for the hungry and what he does to the rich. 

Mary proclaimed that God speaks to his people. 

In her lowly state, in her nothingness, God’s greatness is magnified and we are led to worship. 

Fifteen years ago the day came for me to give my first sermon. I am no preacher but on that day the Holy Spirit used my voice to lead others to ponder the greatness of God demonstrated through the words of young Mary. With one hand on my belly I spoke the words of Luke Chapter 2. I felt her fearfulness found in Luke 1 that says she was deeply troubled. I imagined an angel comforting her and telling her that nothing is impossible with God. He was bringing new life and everlasting life. I spoke the truth found in her words proclaiming the faithfulness of God. When my sermon was over my professor, Cleophus LaRue,  asked me a question I will never forget. He asked me, “Young lady, are you going to be a preacher?” I told him that I was not going to be one. He then said, “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you do not have a voice because you are a woman.” Those words have stayed with me as I have sought to be a faithful voice in the places to which I have been called. 

My daughter is now 14 years old. One of my prayers for her is that she would recognize the powerful voice she has been given as a “regular” young lady who has been created and rescued by a loving and powerful God. My hope is that she will delight in proclaiming God’s mighty acts as much as Mary did so long ago. That she will use her voice to fight injustice,  speak out against hypocrisy, and elevate the status of the outcast and the marginalized…just like her Savior did. 

 

Join My Mailing List

Want to receive my blog posts, or periodic news/updates in your inbox? Join my mailing list. Don't worry, your email address is never sold or shared.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Address Book Address Card adjust align-center align-justify align-left align-right ambulance American Sign Language Interpreting Anchor Angle Double Down Angle Double Left Angle Double Right Angle Double Up angle-down angle-left angle-right angle-up Archive Alternate Arrow Circle Down Alternate Arrow Circle Left Alternate Arrow Circle Right Alternate Arrow Circle Up Arrow Circle Down Arrow Circle Left Arrow Circle Right Arrow Circle Up arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up Alternate Arrows Alternate Arrows Horizontal Alternate Arrows Vertical Assistive Listening Systems asterisk At Audio Description backward Balance Scale ban Band-Aid barcode Bars Baseball Ball Basketball Ball Bath Battery Empty Battery Full Battery 1/2 Full Battery 1/4 Full Battery 3/4 Full Bed beer bell Bell Slash Bicycle Binoculars Birthday Cake Blind bold Lightning Bolt Bomb book bookmark Bowling Ball Box Boxes Braille Briefcase Bug Building bullhorn Bullseye Bus Calculator Calendar Alternate Calendar Calendar Check Calendar Minus Calendar Plus Calendar Times camera Retro Camera Car Caret Down Caret Left Caret Right Caret Square Down Caret Square Left Caret Square Right Caret Square Up Caret Up Shopping Cart Arrow Down Add to Shopping Cart certificate Area Chart Bar Chart Line Chart Pie Chart Check Check Circle Check Square Chess Chess Bishop Chess Board Chess King Chess Knight Chess Pawn Chess Queen Chess Rook Chevron Circle Down Chevron Circle Left Chevron Circle Right Chevron Circle Up chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up Child Circle Circle Notched Clipboard Clipboard Check Clipboard List Clock Clone Closed Captioning Cloud Cloud Download Alternate Cloud Upload Alternate Code Code Branch Coffee cog cogs Columns comment Alternate Comment comments Compass Compress Copy Copyright Credit Card crop Crosshairs Cube Cubes Cut Database Deaf Desktop DNA Dollar Sign Dolly Dolly Flatbed Dot Circle Download Edit eject Horizontal Ellipsis Vertical Ellipsis Envelope Envelope Open Envelope Square eraser Euro Sign Alternate Exchange exclamation Exclamation Circle Exclamation Triangle Expand Alternate Expand Arrows Alternate External Link Alternate External Link Square Eye Eye Dropper Eye Slash fast-backward fast-forward Fax Female fighter-jet File Alternate File Archive File Audio File Code File Excel File Image File PDF File Powerpoint File Video File Word File Film Filter fire fire-extinguisher First Aid flag flag-checkered Flask Folder Folder Open font Football Ball forward Frown Futbol Gamepad Gavel Gem Genderless gift Martini Glass Globe Golf Ball Graduation Cap H Square Lizard (Hand) Paper (Hand) Peace (Hand) Hand Pointing Down Hand Pointing Left Hand Pointing Right Hand Pointing Up Pointer (Hand) Rock (Hand) Scissors (Hand) Spock (Hand) Handshake Hashtag HDD heading headphones Heart Heartbeat History Hockey Puck home hospital Hospital Symbol Hourglass Hourglass End Hourglass Half Hourglass Start I Beam Cursor Identification Badge Identification Card Image Images inbox Indent Industry Info Info Circle italic key Keyboard Language Laptop leaf Lemon Level Down Alternate Level Up Alternate Life Ring Lightbulb Link Turkish Lira Sign List List Alternate list-ol list-ul location-arrow lock Lock Open Alternate Long Arrow Down Alternate Long Arrow Left Alternate Long Arrow Right Alternate Long Arrow Up Low Vision magic magnet Male Map map-marker Map Marker Alternate Map Pin Map Signs Mars Mars Double Mars Stroke Mars Stroke Horizontal Mars Stroke Vertical medkit Meh Mercury Microchip microphone Microphone Slash minus Minus Circle Minus Square Mobile Phone Alternate Mobile Money Bill Alternate Moon Motorcycle Mouse Pointer Music Neuter Newspaper Object Group Object Ungroup Outdent Paint Brush Pallet Paper Plane Paperclip paragraph Paste pause Pause Circle Paw Pen Square Alternate Pencil Percent Phone Phone Square Phone Volume Pills plane play Play Circle Plug plus Plus Circle Plus Square Podcast Pound Sign Power Off print Puzzle Piece qrcode Question Question Circle Quidditch quote-left quote-right random Recycle Redo Alternate Redo Registered Trademark Reply reply-all Retweet road rocket rss RSS Square Ruble Sign Indian Rupee Sign Save Search Search Minus Search Plus Server Share Alternate Share Alternate Share Square Share Square Shekel Sign Alternate Shield Ship Shipping Fast Shopping Bag Shopping Basket shopping-cart Shower Alternate Sign In Sign Language Alternate Sign Out signal Sitemap Horizontal Sliders Smile Snowflake Sort Sort Alpha Down Sort Alpha Up Sort Amount Down Sort Amount Up Sort Down (Descending) Sort Numeric Down Sort Numeric Up Sort Up (Ascending) Space Shuttle Spinner Square Square Full Star star-half step-backward step-forward Stethoscope Sticky Note stop Stop Circle Stopwatch Street View Strikethrough subscript Subway Suitcase Sun superscript Sync Alternate Sync Syringe table Table Tennis tablet Alternate Tablet Alternate Tachometer tag tags Tasks Taxi Terminal text-height text-width th th-large th-list Thermometer Thermometer Empty Thermometer Full Thermometer 1/2 Full Thermometer 1/4 Full Thermometer 3/4 Full thumbs-down thumbs-up Thumbtack Alternate Ticket Times Times Circle tint Toggle Off Toggle On Trademark Train Transgender Alternate Transgender Trash Alternate Trash Tree trophy truck TTY Television Umbrella Underline Undo Alternate Undo Universal Access University unlink unlock Alternate Unlock Upload User User Circle user-md Add User User Secret Remove User Users Utensil Spoon Utensils Venus Venus Double Venus Mars Video Volleyball Ball volume-down volume-off volume-up Warehouse Weight Wheelchair WiFi Window Close Window Maximize Window Minimize Window Restore Won Sign Wrench Yen Sign 500px Accessible Icon Accusoft App.net Adversal affiliatetheme Algolia Amazon Amazon Pay Amilia Android AngelList Angry Creative Angular App Store iOS App Store Apper Systems AB Apple Apple Pay Asymmetrik, Ltd. Audible Autoprefixer avianex Aviato Amazon Web Services (AWS) Bandcamp Behance Behance Square BIMobject Bitbucket Bitcoin Bity Font Awesome Black Tie BlackBerry Blogger Blogger B Bluetooth Bluetooth BTC Büromöbel-Experte GmbH & Co. KG. BuySellAds Amazon Pay Credit Card American Express Credit Card Apple Pay Credit Card Diner's Club Credit Card Discover Credit Card JCB Credit Card MasterCard Credit Card Paypal Credit Card Stripe Credit Card Visa Credit Card Centercode Chrome cloudscale.ch Cloudsmith cloudversify Codepen Codie Pie Connect Develop Contao cPanel Creative Commons CSS 3 Logo Alternate CSS3 Logo Cuttlefish Dungeons & Dragons DashCube Delicious Logo deploy.dog Deskpro deviantART Digg Logo Digital Ocean Discord Discourse DocHub Docker Draft2digital Dribbble Dribbble Square Dropbox Drupal Logo Dyalog Earlybirds Edge Browser Elementor Ember Galactic Empire Envira Gallery Erlang Ethereum Etsy ExpeditedSSL Facebook Facebook F Facebook Messenger Facebook Square Firefox First Order firstdraft Flickr Flipboard Fly Font Awesome Alternate Font Awesome Font Awesome Flag Fonticons Fonticons Fi Fort Awesome Alternate Fort Awesome Forumbee Foursquare Free Code Camp FreeBSD Get Pocket GG Currency GG Currency Circle Git Git Square GitHub Alternate GitHub GitHub Square GitKraken GitLab Gitter Glide Glide G Gofore Goodreads Goodreads G Google Logo Google Drive Google Play Google Plus Google Plus G Google Plus Square Google Wallet Gratipay (Gittip) Grav Gripfire, Inc. Grunt Gulp Hacker News Hacker News Square Hips HireAHelper Hooli Hotjar Houzz HTML 5 Logo HubSpot IMDB Instagram Internet-explorer ioxhost iTunes Itunes Note Jenkis Joget Joomla Logo JavaScript (JS) JavaScript (JS) Square jsFiddle KeyCDN Kickstarter Kickstarter K KORVUE Laravel last.fm last.fm Square Leanpub Less Line LinkedIn LinkedIn In Linode Linux lyft Magento MaxCDN MedApps Medium Medium M MRT Meetup Microsoft Mix Mixcloud Mizuni MODX Monero Napster Nintendo Switch Node.js Node.js JS npm NS8 Nutritionix Odnoklassniki Odnoklassniki Square OpenCart OpenID Opera Optin Monster Open Source Initiative page4 Corporation Pagelines Palfed Patreon Paypal Periscope Phabricator Phoenix Framework PHP Pied Piper Logo Alternate Pied Piper Logo Pied Piper PP Logo (Old) Pinterest Pinterest P Pinterest Square PlayStation Product Hunt Pushed Python QQ QuinScape Quora Ravelry React Rebel Alliance red river reddit Logo reddit Alien reddit Square Rendact Renren replyd Resolving Rocket.Chat Rockrms Safari Sass SCHLIX Scribd Searchengin Sellcast Sellsy Servicestack Shirts in Bulk SimplyBuilt SISTRIX skyatlas Skype Slack Logo Slack Hashtag Slideshare Snapchat Snapchat Ghost Snapchat Square SoundCloud Speakap Spotify Stack Exchange Stack Overflow StayLinked Steam Steam Square Steam Symbol Sticker Mule Strava Stripe Stripe S Studio Vinari StumbleUpon Logo StumbleUpon Circle Superpowers Supple Telegram Telegram Plane Tencent Weibo ThemeIsle Trello TripAdvisor Tumblr Tumblr Square Twitch Twitter Twitter Square Typo3 Uber UIkit Uniregistry Untappd USB us-Sunnah Foundation Vaadin Viacoin Viadeo Viadeo Square Viber Vimeo Vimeo Square Vimeo Vine VK VNV Vue.js Weibo Weixin (WeChat) What's App What's App Square WHMCS Wikipedia W Windows WordPress Logo Wordpress Simple WPBeginner WPExplorer WPForms Xbox Xing Xing Square Y Combinator Yahoo Logo Yandex Yandex International Yelp Yoast YouTube YouTube Square