Can you remember when you were 14? I can. I was going to change the world. There wasn’t anything I wouldn’t attempt. Especially if someone told me something was impossible. There was the time my brother drove across a bridge and saw me in line waiting to jump off with my friends who were swimming below. Needless to say, that was one feat I didn’t pull off.
Fourteen-year-old girls are not only fearless, but loyal to a fault. If I gave my word to do something for someone, wild horses couldn’t keep me away. If I was asked to keep a secret, you better believe I did. You could count on me. One of the very few times a friend and I skipped school, a nosy neighbor turned us in. I got called into the office and the principal demanded to know who else was with me. Well, he could forget that ... I wasn’t telling. Not even if he peeled off my fingernails and toenails. My friend was never found out.
I always encouraged my girls and their older brother to participate in friendly competition between church districts in music and sports. I’ll never forget the last time I insisted that the girls play piano solos. My precious daughter marched up to the piano, arranged her sheet music, pasted a smile on her face and proceeded with her song. I was the only audience member who could see that her left leg was shaking so badly she couldn’t control it. If there had been trophies that day for bravery, she would have won first place.
I’ve read about a 14-year-old girl who did change the world. Her name was Mary. She told a crazy story about an angel coming to see her. Crazier still, she claimed this angel told her she was going to give birth to the son of God. After she told that tall tale, I think the tongues were wagging so much in her hometown she had to go away. She went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, and stayed with her for three months. Elizabeth believed Mary because the angel had also spoken to her husband and confirmed Mary’s story. Elizabeth was pregnant too, so she must have been such a comfort to the teenager. I wish I could have had a cup of coffee with these two.
I’ve often wondered why God chose a woman-child as part of His plan. But looking back on my childhood and the childhood of the two teenage girls I raised, there’s no mystery. Determination, resilience, loyalty, that’s a way of life for a Godly young girl. Mary told the angel to bring it on. She was ready. And her obedience changed the course of history.