Are you blossoming into life or wilting in the heat? She Blossoms will encourage you to walk boldly into the new season God has planned! And who better than strong Biblical women to grow forward with?
This article—Blossoming into Life with Mary of Nazareth—goes hand-in-hand with the last chapter of my book Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back. In our final chapter, we blend the strength and wisdom of the ages by gathering all our Biblical sisters. We embrace Mary of Nazareth and honor her past. We cherish the present while continuing to walk humbly and confidently into the future.
Every chapter has five different Blossom Tips to help you move through loss. Each activity highlights a different aspect of who we are: spirit, heart, soul, body, and brain. Mary’s Blossom Tips show us different ways to grow forward no matter what we’re facing. She was the mother of Jesus, but she was also a woman in her own right. I loved exploring who Mary was as a person—not a saint, idol, or perfect sinless Christian. Mary of Nazareth was a Jewish mom who blossomed into life! And we can learn from her.
How Our Biblical Sisters Blossomed
They said “yes” to God in their own ways. Their faith didn’t protect them from grief or pain. It helped them walk through all seasons with courage, hope, strength, peace, and joy.
In the beginning, Eve said yes by accepting her losses and choosing to praise God for fresh blessings in new seasons. Sarah said an unorthodox yes by marching ahead of the Lord and attempting to fulfill His promises her way. Undaunted, God wove her version of “surrender” into His story; Sarah and Abraham’s children remained part of His plan.
Hagar said yes—after fleeing, fearing, and fretting. She accepted God’s provisions, and let Him lead her and Ishmael home.
Naomi and Ruth said yes by moving through fear, doubt and uncertainty while starting over as widows in Israel. Ruth repeatedly said yes by pledging her allegiance to God, turning away from Moabite idols, gleaning, and risking her life by approaching Boaz. She became King David’s great-grandmother.
Martha said yes by welcoming and feeding people in her home. Her sister Mary said yes by sitting and learning at Jesus’ feet. Hannah said yes by expressing her grief and setting her heart on God’s will for her life. God gave her Samuel, whom she gave back to Him.
Queen Esther said yes by fasting, dressing in her most fetching garments, and preparing delicious feasts. She captivated and convinced King Xerxes to spare the lives of the Jews. Mary Magdalene said yes, yes, and yes! to Jesus’ healing, friendship, and call on her life.
Our Biblical sisters surrendered to God in different ways, depending on their position, personality and predicament. No two lives were the same, except for one thing: They all said yes. These Biblical women learned how to heal their hearts after loss and grow into the women God created them to be.
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If they can do it, so can we.
Why Me? Laurie’s Story
Sometimes we have to wrestle with “Why?” before we get to yes. I struggled with “Why me?” when I was young, trying to make sense of my mad mother. My childhood was a roller coaster of breakneck speeds and drops of doom, with few thrilling heights.
“You were a mistake, and I almost put you up for adoption,” my mom said. “I lived in a home for unwed mothers. They told me to give you away because it’d be impossible to raise you alone.”
I often wished my mom had given me away. I yearned for normal parents, pets, ice-skating lessons. My foster homes were almost too good; living with families made it hard to move back with my mother. And I felt bad for my foster siblings, whose lives were hard. Baby Rocky was born addicted to heroin because his mom was an addict. Wild fourteen-year-old Sylvie kept running away with her boyfriend, who kept beating her up. “Why, God?” I asked on everyone’s behalf.
As an adult, living in Kenya also perplexed me. Why was I born a white girl in Canada while my black house worker was born under a dirty tarp in a Kenyan field? My African friends would have given their right arm to have my “difficult childhood.” They couldn’t go to school, search for a purpose-driven life, or take time to grieve loss. They needed clean water, food, medicine, safety.
What about you – are you wondering why God hasn’t intervened to protect you from pain or tragedy? Maybe you’re with grief, or one terrible situation after another. May you feel lost, hopeless, and scared. I don’t know exactly how you feel, but I how scared and lonely I was in the darkest moments of my life.
What do you think – how are you doing? Share your big or little thoughts in the comments section below! Writing is healthy, especially if you feel confused, sad, scared or lost. It can help you make sense of your experiences and untangle your emotions.
Questions From Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back
At the end of every chapter are Questions for Journaling and Discussion that are directly related to that chapter’s Blossom Tips. Readers are invited to come here and share their thoughts.
The questions in Mary’s chapter:
- Saying Yes: What is the hardest thing God has asked you to accept or do? How did you handle it, and how did it change your relationship with Him?
- Becoming You: On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = nothing; 5 = about half; 10 = everything), how much of “you” do you reveal to the world? What holds you back from becoming—and sharing—more of yourself?
- T-Shirts and Totes: How do you mark seasonal or other transitions in your life? How do you feel about change?
- Surprise! What is the biggest surprise you’ve ever faced? What did you learn about yourself and others?
- Blessings: What do you miss most about being a little girl? What do you know now that you wish you’d known then?
Feel free to answer these questions in the comments section below. Or, share anything that’s on your mind, about anything you’d like! It’s your space.
About Growing Forward…
Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back offers a fresh, practical perspective on moving through loss. I share stories of contemporary and biblical women who transcended extraordinary pain and grief. I weave in my own experiences of growing up with a single schizophrenic mother, living in foster care, and then coping with infertility.
- Accept—and even embrace—a new season of life.
- Take small steps forward in practical, creative, delightful ways.
- Weave faith, trust, and hope into your heart, thoughts, and daily lives.
At the end you’ll have 50 Blossom Tips for moving forward after a loss. Each activity highlights a different aspect of who we are: spirit, heart, soul, body, and brain. This holistic approach ensures the whole self is addressed by incorporating spiritual, emotional, creative, physical, and intellectual growth.
Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back is a comforting, encouraging book for women walking into a new season of life…which also makes it a great gift for women coping with death, divorce, or a difficult diagnosis.
In peace and passion,
P.S. Here’s the full list of Growing Forward articles here on “She Blossoms.” These aren’t the actual chapters of the book, they’re just our meeting places.
- Recreating and Replanting With Eve
- Sprouting With Sarah
- Digging Deeper With Hagar
- Uprooting With Naomi
- Starting Fresh With Ruth
- Growing Roots With Martha and Mary
- Reviving Your Heart With Hannah
- Renewing Your Purpose With Esther
- Growing Forward With Mary Magdalene
- Blossoming Into Life With Mary