I was desperate. John was 16 and had started working where he met a fast group of older boys. Soon he was climbing out of his window at midnight to join them. Steve and I got stricter, but he was rebelling. I traveled to see Shirley, just as Mary traveled to see Elizabeth. Shirley’s children were grown, walking with the Lord, and I had observed firsthand what a tremendous mother she was. She told me three things: to pray fervently, to release him to God, and to keep loving him. I told her I was so angry with him. She said I could still love him. Even if I had trouble talking to him, I could give him shoulder rubs, I could play chess with him.
When you are afraid, you feel like you are driving in a blizzard. It is such a welcome sight to have a car pull on the road ahead of you. That car’s tail-lights can keep you from going into the ditch. Shirley kept me from going into the ditch — she was a little further down the road from me and had handled blizzards wisely.
John did turn around — dramatically. The story is in The Friendships of Women. I have always been thankful to God for Shirley and for working in John’s heart.
Elizabeth was a little further down the road from Mary. These questions sometimes ask you to read between the lines, and we may vary in our thoughts — but that’s good. Don’t be afraid to speculate or to disagree with someone in love. All of these questions are based on Luke 1:1-56 and, for Joseph, Matthew 1:18-25.
1. How much further along was Elizabeth than Mary in her pregnancy? (Give a Scripture reference)
2. (Challenge question) Mary stayed three months. Why do you think she might have stayed so long?
3. What similar reactions did Zechariah and Joseph have to the news of their wives pregnancies?
4. Challenge question. If Mary had fears about returning and telling Joseph, how might Elizabeth have been equipped to mentor her?
5. What other mentoring might have happened during these three months?
6. So often we look for a mentor and neglect to mentor. Think about the blizzards God has brought you through — if there anyone in your path going through similar blizzards? How might you show her you are approachable?
7. What’s your take-a-way this week?
In November, I’d love to address and get your input on friendship questions — so start asking them, and we’ll work on them in November. Either post them here or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org I can keep them anonymous if you send them there — or, if you have an anonymous name, you can simply post them on the blog.