Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Mary "Beloved"

Dr. Genovia Holmes
Mary | “Beloved, or loved by the Lord; Cherished”
“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!” – Luke 1:45

One of the most popular women of the Bible. Many know of her as the mother of Jesus - the Son of God. Let’s take a journey into the life of Mary. There will be three major stops along the way called, Acknowledgement, Acceptance, and Connection. Each stop will offer nuggets of new perspective, revelation, and wisdom as Mary’s story can be relate able to many different women.
At the young age of approximately 13 or 14 years old, Mary was betrothed, or engaged, to Joseph. One day, Mary received a mighty word from an angel named, Gabriel, informing her that she will conceive the Messiah through the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:28-33). Imagine yourself in Mary’s shoes for a moment. She is now pregnant and her fiancee, Joseph, is not the father. Talk about a good Maury episode! Indeed, this created a great strain between Mary and Joseph, so much so that he contemplated calling off the wedding. In this depiction, we see that Mary’s great expected blessing also created a great burden in her life. Perhaps you can relate. If so, where was your focus? On the blessing? Or the burden? Now let’s take our first major stop to see how she dealt with this conflict between her blessing and burden, as well as the experience and encounter she had with God.
First stop | Acknowledgement
The first thing Mary had to do that we see depicted in this story was to acknowledge her true identity from God’s perspective. Not her own. Not her fiancee. And definitely not that of the world. From her own perspective, Mary was just a virgin. Thus, she had a virgin mindset, and subsequently, her virgin mindset struggled to absorb all the information Gabriel disclosed to her – including her favored identity by God. Wow! God truly does regard His children much higher than we often regard ourselves. Many times, God will speak to us from a perspective, or mindset, that is too big and often intimidating to us. “Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be” (vs. 29). So, we either deny it, or question who God says we are like Mary did when she asked, “How will this be, since I am a virgin (vs. 34)?” Denial and questioning are the fruits of a “virgin,” or small-minded, perspective when it comes to the great and unimaginable things God wants to speak into our lives. Yet, it was Mary’s virginity that qualified her for her purpose and blessing. Furthermore, there is only enough storage in the virgin-mindset to capture and contain the burden of a blessing, and not the blessing itself. Therefore, Mary had to go to her settings and delete those old beliefs and cognitive schemas about who she thought she was to shift her thinking to acknowledge who God says she is. We then see the shift and transformation from virgin to favored manifest in verse 38, “I am the Lord’s servant…” Who are you, my beloved sister? What kind of mindset, beliefs, and cognitive schemata do you possess? Have you acknowledged who God says you are?
Second stop | Acceptance
Before you can accept your purpose, you must acknowledge your true identity. Not only does verse 34 inform us that Mary struggled with her identity, but she also had difficulty accepting the calling God had for her life. I, like many other women I know, have also wrestled with this notion. For example, have you ever said “Yes” to God and then when He revealed His will for your life, it was not what you thought or expected it to be? That is because we tend to imagine what God’s will looks like for our lives based on our fleshly mindsets that have been shaped by the world and culture in which we live. Similarly, Mary could not imagine being pregnant as a virgin nor as the fiancée to a man she had not yet become sexually intimate with because this situation deviates from the standards and worldviews of the culture she and Joseph lived in. However, this is exactly how God often operates. He uses His faith-filled servants to disturb and disrupt the views, values, and beliefs of the world, to reveal the truths of His word and bring glory to His name. Though we are not of this world; however, we do live in it (John 14: 16). Therefore, it is imperative we “do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Then you will be able to test and approve [or accept] what God’s will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2). When Mary fully accepted God’s blessing and promise for her life, she rejoiced and praised His name (vs. 46-49). We, too, must be careful to accept what God plans and wills to birth in our lives with joy and praise.
Third stop | Connection
Mary’s story also highlights why the right relationships are so important. Mary’s identity and assignment were both confirmed and affirmed through her connection with Elizabeth. “In a loud voice she exclaimed: ‘Blessed are you among women and blessed is the child you will bear! ...Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her! (Luke 1:42, 45)” Mary began to walk in her anointing and purpose upon visiting Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist, during her third trimester. Mary’s anointing was so powerful, that when she greeted Elizabeth, her baby was immediately filled with the Holy Spirit (vs. 41), just as the angel had prophesied to Elizabeth (Luke 1:15). As relationships are reciprocal in nature, this divine exchange was also confirming and affirming for Elizabeth. In other words, we see in the text that the right relationships will not only bless you, but those connected to you, including your seed. Consider your relationships and think about what words/messages are they depositing into your life. Do they confirm and affirm what God says about you?
In conclusion, “Destiny is in relationships,” and are necessary to carry out God’s will and plans for our lives. Acknowledging and accepting our God-given identities and purposes for our lives are the pre-requisites for establishing the right relationships, also known as divine connections or destiny relationships.

“for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is His name.” – Luke 1:49

Genovia Holmes, PsyD is currently completing her postdoctoral fellowship at a private practice that predominantly caters to children, adolescents and their families, in which she provides individual, family and group therapy, psychological/psychoeducational testing, and parental consultation services. Upon obtaining her license, Dr. Holmes plans to open her own private practice, offering comprehensive psychological services for children and adolescents, families, couples and young professionals throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area. In addition, Dr. Holmes promotes and provides self-care services to women, both young and old. She also is a public speaker who discusses topics related to self-care, mental health, relationships, and all things motivational/inspirational. She has a heart to serve others, notably youth, women, the Black community, and young professionals. 

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