I hope you enjoy the following story I wrote for a magazine in 2005. It's as applicable today as it was then.
Mary's fingers flew across the keys of her new laptop. The precious homework aide was her favorite birthday gift from her mom and dad. She was, finally, sweet sixteen, a straight A-student, and head of school's cheer leading squad. However, after returning from a recent mission trip to Mexico, her aspirations were slowly changing. Cheer leading didn't seem quite as important anymore. Helping others discover the miracle of God's grace had taken center stage in her life, next to Joe.
Joe was the best boyfriend any girl could ask for. He was kind, attentive, attractive, fun, and he respected her godly values. Not to mention, he was already in a carpentry-training program after completing high school a year early. They'd known each other since kindergarten. Mary rested in the knowledge that someday she would rest in Joe's arms as his cherished wife. Glancing down, she twisted the silver band on her left ring finger. The ring's words -- True Love Waits -- helped provide her with the encouragement she needed to face a world filled with so many young people having sex and not waiting for "true love." This tiny piece of jewelry represented her commitment to remain pure until her wedding night.
"Honey, lights out," her mother's voice drifted up the stairs, interrupting her thoughts.
"Goodnight mom, dad," she called out before shutting off her computer and slipping between her cozy, flannel sheets. Life was sweet. She hoped her dreams would be sweet as well.
"Mary!" A musical voice trumpeted. "Awaken, child."
Bolting upright, Mary clutched her comforter under her chin. How long had she been asleep? Nothing could have prepared her for the massive form towering over her bed. His skin was copper and shone like the afternoon sun. A cascading mane of golden hair draped over his muscular shoulders. Dressed in a flowing white tunic secured with a belt adorned with jewels, the winged creature smiled.
"Do not fear God's chosen one, for you, Mary, have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive a baby, and will give birth to a boy. His name is Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end to His Kingdom."
Still terrified, yet honored by his request, Mary had to ask, "How is this possible, angel? I am a virgin. I'm not even finished with high school."
The angel replied, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore the child you bear will be called the Son of God. Also, your loving Aunt Elizabeth is also pregnant in her old age, for with God, nothing is impossible."
The implications of this request were beyond Mary's understanding. However, she did know the One who had sent this angelic messenger, and she could not resist His love. "I will do it, gladly," she agreed.
With his mission completed, in a roaring tornado of wind and blinding light, the angel vanished. Mary was left breathless, her heart pounding like a stampede of wild horses under her nightgown. How would she explain this to her parents? to Joe? to anyone?
Sliding from her bed, her knees sank into the soft carpet. "God help me," she cried, "God help me."
Three Months Later
"What do you mean you're pregnant?" Her father's voice reached a decibel level Mary had never heard in her sixteen years living under his roof.
"Honey, calm down. Let Mary explain." Her mother interrupted.
"Dad, please, listen. I didn't have sex ... "
"Were you raped? I'll kill him! Was it Joe?" Her father's voice again escalated.
"You're not listening! I am pregnant by the Holy Spirit, Daddy. An angel came to me and told me I would have God's Son, and to name Him Jesus." She couldn't believe she'd finally said the words out loud.
"Mary! That will be enough! I've never heard of such a stupid thing. Until you can tell the truth, you can just get out of this house. No daughter of mine is going to be seen pregnant and tell people she got pregnant by God. People will think we're crazy, abusers, something. When you're ready to tell the truth, you can come home, until then, pack your bags." Her dad turned and stormed away; slamming the door with such force their two-story house shook.
"Honey, go stay with a friend or something until your father calms down. I'll talk to him. You and Joe better do something. I know we've always been against abortion, but maybe in this case it might be the best thing." Her mother tried to sound soothing.
"Abortion! I can't believe you're even suggesting that. We love God, remember?" Mary raced up the stairs, her thoughts in a whirlwind. Where would she go? Who could she tell?
Fanatically, shoving her clothing into a large backpack, she raced to get away from her mother, who was no in her room calling abortion clinics.
"Sweetie, this doctor says twelve weeks isn't too late. There's still time."
"Who are you, mom?" Snatching her favorite stuffed bear, Mary bolted from the room. Her mom, whom she no longer recognized, trailed behind, still trying to convince to at least Visit a clinic for advice.
LATER THAT EVENING:
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW.
The photo above is a little girl born at the maternity home, Bethany House. www.bethanyhousenet.org