Last night, I sang a solo in church entitled “Be Born in Me”. It’s a haunting and beautifully composed set of lyrics woven around the thoughts that might have spun through young Mary’s mind and heart as Gabriel revealed the news that God had chosen her to give birth to the long-awaited Messiah. Here is a portion of the lyrics:
Everything inside me cries for order
Everything inside me wants to hide
Is this shadow an angel or a warrior?
If God is pleased with me, why am I so terrified?
Someone tell me I am only dreaming
Somehow help me see with Heaven’s eyes
And before my head agrees, my heart is on its knees
Holy is He; blessed am I
Be born in me, be born in me
Trembling heart, somehow I believe that You chose me
I’ll hold You in the beginning, You will hold me in the end
Every moment in the middle, make my heart Your Bethlehem
Be born in me
I am not brave
I’ll never be
The only thing my heart can offer is a vacancy
I’m just a girl
But I am willing, I am Yours
Lyrics by Bernie Herms and Nicole Nordeman
As I held the microphone and listened to the opening notes drift through the air, I bowed my head and prayed, asking God to help me worship Him through the music. Then I tried to put myself in the mind of Mary. What would it have been like to talk face to face with an angel? What incredulity must have first unraveled her heart in chaos before she settled into truth and obedient acceptance? What kind of character must God have seen in such a young girl’s heart to choose her? What would Mary say if she were given the microphone?
That’s when it hit me…Mary would likely have shunned all such attention.
She didn’t need to be heard. Her life wasn’t about her own wants and needs, making a name for herself or even being understood. (Surely she was wildly misunderstood and even ostracized once her condition was known.) Mary longed only to do God’s will. Her heart was the antithesis of the American dream that permeates so much of our thinking. It was a mindset of, “This has nothing to do with me. It’s all about Him.”
She was emptied of herself, allowing God to fill Himself with her completely.
When we lay down our agendas, our plans, our want-tos, and sometimes even our dreams, God can move in and birth impossibilities into reality. But He first needs willing, obedient hearts.
I’ll end with Mary’s beautiful response to God’s will.
And Mary said,
“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