As a woman, I’ve always been drawn to the stories of women throughout history; Mary – the Mother of Jesus, has captivated me in particular for many years. While I am no historian or theologian, I feel a deep kinship to this woman whose calling has altered history. Her courage and tenacity inspires me. Now as a mother and birth doula, I identify with Mother Mary in a way that expands my previous understanding of this incredible woman.
And I’ve come to the conclusion that Mary was a badass.
There I said it. #sorrynotsorry
In our modern, Christian worldview, I think we sometimes see Mary – mother of Jesus, as a soft, quiet, loyal to her faith, obedient to the call of God, kind of woman. Or at least that’s the image the Sunday school teacher of my childhood painted for me.
And while these qualities are good, noble character traits that I do believe were steadfast pillars in the heart of Mary, she certainly was not weak; her convictions made her a force to be reckoned with.
Mary was a badass.
When the angel came to her as a young woman, her deep strength and faith moved her to say, “yes”, to the miraculous.
- Yes, to the loss of her youth.
- Yes, to the swollen ankles, morning sickness, stretch marks, back aches and rib pains.
- Yes, to the judgments, raised eyebrows and hostile stares.
- Yes, to the possibility of losing any chance of future marriage, family, love or support.
- Yes, to the pushback of rocking the status quo in a tradition bound society.
- Yes, even in the face of potential death for pregnancy outside of marriage.
There were no episodes of Teen Mom back then. The possibility of single motherhood, and all the hard work that goes in it, was not recognized for the feat of loving sacrifice that it is like today.
Slut— or the historical equivalent would have been the words she heard whispered behind her back or spat venomously to her face.
Yet her “yes” was absolute. It was a decision to be courageous, a moment to be dangerous.
Dangerous because in her yes was the answer to a desperate cry from a people longing for freedom.
In her yes, was the earth shaking, heaven-exploding all encompassing redemption for the souls of humanity.
In her yes, was the earthly revolution of love and the eternal kingdom where all are valued, all are seen and all are given a seat at the table.
In her yes, was light breaking the chains of darkness.
In her yes, was the moment the world had waited for.
Oh yes, Mary was a badass.
So with her yes, she travelled across the desert with the man who, against all odds, still chose to be her husband. Pregnant and blooming with life, she carried her boy child to full term. And in the dark of night, while displaced in a distant city with no sanitation or comfort measures and lacking in the care of a midwife or doula, Mary birthed heaven’s King. Surging and reaching down to the farthest depth of her strength reserves, she brought forth life of her womb, carried earth side from heaven, to nurture and nourish through her own body, with strength and tenderness all wrapped in one skin.
Oh yes, Mary was a badass.
With that one final push, she brought forth a weapon no eye had encountered before: the One who would battle on our behalf— offering everyone forgiveness, compassion and hope.
It was a battle plan of love for the world; a girl with no status, public voice or political power birthed the child who would be called, “God with us.” Oh, how the demons must have trembled on that day, as a young mother lifted her child on to her chest and nursed to sleep the One who would change the world forever.
Pretty badass if you ask me.
Related: Visiting the Old City of Nazareth
Photo by Natalie Lennard. You can access the original artwork here. It’s part of a powerful series call “Birth Undisturbed” and depicts the power of women in childbirth. It is my favourite depiction of the Nativity, ever.