“And blessed is she that believed:  for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord” (Luke 1:45).

These inspired words, spoken by Elizabeth about her young cousin, Mary, who was pregnant with the Son of God, may have gotten lost in the Christmas story we’ve heard so many times. However, their application to us personally, as God-fearing women, is profound.

Indeed, Mary heard “things which were told her from the Lord.” The news of her divine conception was delivered to her during an epic visitation by the angel, Gabriel. She accepted his message, put her faith in his startling proclamation, and was exhorted as a “blessed believer” by her now-famous cousin. As we read on in our Bibles, we know there certainly was “a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord” following this event.

My concern is that we become so awestruck by this Biblical account that we dismiss the fact that we, too, have heard things which were told us from the Lord! Significant things, with mind-boggling, long-range, implications.

“Hmm...not me,” you may reply.

Really? Perhaps I can persuade you to reconsider...

No, there will never be another Virgin Mary, and there’s only one Savior (Acts 4:12), and I have yet to see an angel, but as I ponder my thirty-three years of knowing Jesus, my thirty-one years of marriage, my five sons, baby granddaughter, and my twenty-plus years of homeschooling, I have to believe that those things which were told me from the Lord so many years ago took root and continue to bear fruit to this day. The faith I applied to what I heard from Him became the fertilizer that nourished His promises to me, allowing them to grow and become the reality in which I live today. Surely there has been a “performance of those things which were told...[me] from the Lord,” and the same should be true of you.

But you may not see yourself through eyes of faith. You may relegate such Scripture to “someone else”—those “blessed ones” who did things right, those model families. After all, you’re living in the real world, created by all the choices you’ve made (some being tinged with bitter regret). Not to mention that the people living in your house are far from perfect too. So, in actual fact, the glories of God’s Word are more like a beautiful fantasy to be put off until eternity. Right?

We’ve all felt that way. I haven’t been living on Easy Street either, since I began my journey of faith more than three decades ago. At times, the remarkable answers to prayer I experience and the astounding, even flawless way life’s circumstances play out simply takes my breath away. At other times, life hits like a punch in the gut, leaving me a different kind of breathless altogether.

But I refuse to lose hope, because I’ve found that a woman of faith is a woman who endures many difficulties and yet finds God in the midst of her troubles. With feet like a deer (Psalm 18:33), she climbs up and over the craggy rock boulders of tedium, trial, and temptation. She is not wafted away from her struggles by angelic beings. Trust me.

A powerful life in God is not a spotless, happy existence, peppered with “hallelujahs!” at every turn. Quite the contrary. Real life, even lived in faith, can be quite messy. Life is verifiably hard, rife with surprises, twists, turns, and lots of sinful human beings. It’s guaranteed to confound us at times. Psalm 34:19 underscores this truth, reminding us that “many are the afflictions of the righteous.”

You may be hurting today. Suffering. Living with a diagnosis. Dealing with marriage issues (what married person isn’t?). Continually trying to blend a blended family. Perhaps your kid’s not exactly on the straight-and-narrow. Whatever it is that you’re facing, you’re not alone. If we’re honest, all of us must make the best of some difficult circumstances on a daily basis, even though we love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). The rains will fall and the winds will blow (Matthew 7:25), but what will be the testimony of your life?

No matter how ordinary your situation may seem, you can become no ordinary woman, experiencing the glory of God right where you live. What do I mean by that? I think it’s really quite simple.

Here are some earmarks of a woman who carries God’s glory:

Most importantly, she lives by faith!  For me, marriage, child rearing, and home educating is a faith venture. My version of Luke 1:45 goes something like this: “Blessed is she that believed [and believed, and believed, and believed...against all odds, despite how she feels],” because living by faith is a daily process of applying one’s active faith again and again, tirelessly, in order to experience “a performance of those things which were told...[us] from the Lord.”

When Mary said “yes,” agreeing to bear the Savior, it wasn’t just one decision. It was the one decision that led to all the others, determining the course of her destiny. It was a “yes” not only to carrying a miracle baby but also to carrying a stigma her entire life. Jesus was born a stumbling block (1 Corinthians 1:23), creating controversy wherever He went, and He died a criminal’s death, placing Mary in a position that drew harsh criticism and loud public opinion until the day she left the planet. Surely Mary had to apply very intentional faith to her circumstances not just once during her encounter with the angel—but repeatedly throughout her journey on earth.

It’s easy to say “yes” when angels visit during prayer. But then comes Monday! Girls, what are we at home? Are we truly faith-filled women or women with a little faith? One-minute devotions may do the trick for others, but we are called to live devoted lives, 24/7.

Mary knew her God. We must know our God. Let’s endeavor to build an altar daily and connect with Him, whether it’s on our knees in our living room or in an airplane seat at 36,000 feet above ground. Psalm 132:3–5 inspires me: “I will not enter my house or go to my bed—I will allow no sleep to my eyes, no slumber to my eyelids, till I find a place for the LORD, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

Women of faith choose victory every single day. It’s my only option. I hold fast to the promise of 2 Corinthians 2:14: “Thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ.” I’m determined that shouts of joy and victory will resound in my home daily (Psalm 118:15), because as an obedient child of God, according to Psalm 1:3, every [little] thing I do is going to prosper!

Believing women should be delightful people. What are you radiating as you go about your daily routine? There’s a lot of truth in the adage “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Are you unknowingly casting a shadow over your household by your uncomely demeanor? Take a peek at Galatians 5:22–23 and see if an adjustment is in order. Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance should be qualities we strive to embody.

Women of faith are sustained by God’s Word. I love God’s Word. On some days it’s more like oatmeal than heavenly manna, but I cling to it nonetheless, and by faith I proclaim, “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103). If God’s Word isn’t “richly dwelling in us” (Colossians 3:16), we are malnourished and weak, with very little hope of walking in victory.

“And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord” (Luke 1:45).

One sentence. An entire message. I want this to be the story of my life. I want this to be the story of your life too.

Denise Mira, author of No Ordinary Child: Unlocking the Leader Within Your Child, has been married to Gregory for thirty-one years. They are the parents of five sons.  Denise has traveled extensively, both nationally and internationally, inspiring change as she shares the message God has given her for families. She would love to have you visit her blog, and she can be reached at contact@denisemira.com. Find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter!

Copyright 2012, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine. Read the magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com or read it on the go and download the free apps at www.TOSApps.com to read the magazine on your mobile devices.

Publication date: August 2, 2013