Women of the Bible Podcast

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Elizabeth - Week 3: The Bottom Line

Season:  Elizabeth

Erin Davis: Welcome back to the Women of the Bible podcast. I am Erin Davis, and I’m joined by some dear friends of mine, and we are talking about Elizabeth. I’m going to have you introduce yourselves. Last time you told me your favorite cereal. This time why don’t you tell me you favorite place to go on vacation.

I’m Erin Davis. I think I’m mountains, but I feel beach sometimes. But I’m going to say mountains.

Asheritah: I’m Asheritah, and I’m going to say mountains, too. If I were to pick one place, it would be the Alps.

Erin: Have you been to the Alps?

Asheritah: We went there on our honeymoon. It was gorgeous.

All: Wow!!

Erin: Did you see, “The Hills Are Alive”?

Asheritah: I did! I was great!

Erin: That sounds lovely.

Alejandra Slemin: My name is Alejandra, and I love the beach.

Erin: You’re from the beach, right?

Alejandra: I’m from the beach. It was my backyard.

Jaquelle Crowe: My name is Jaquelle, and I’m from Canada, so I also love the mountains, where it is cold.

Asheritah: They are cold mountains?

Jaquelle: Yes, but I love snow.

Erin: We are talking about Elizabeth. The story is found in just one chapter in the Bible—Luke 1, and it’s not even all of Luke 1. So she doesn’t get a ton of real estate in Scripture, but I think she has a lot to teach us about facing disappointment—which is universal to every man, every woman, every child.

In this week of the Bible study, we looked at the fact that women tend to be fixers. Any confessions that you like to fix? Not things around the house. But what hings are you chronically fixing with your kids?

Asheritah: Don’t hit your sister.

Erin: We get that a lot at our house because it is all boys. There’s a lot of, “Don’t hit your brother.”

Alejandra: Don’t pick your nose.

Erin: That’s a good thing to fix.

How about at your house, I have to get everybody out the door with all their things. “Did you get your backpack? Shoes? (Believe it or not sometimes we get out the house without shoes!) Glasses?” I’m just trying to fix it.

Alejandra: But is that wrong? I hope your children have shoes.

Erin: It’s something the Lord has put into women that can be good.

Alejandra: We can take it too far, but there is a little bit of, “We need to fix them.”

Erin: Girls, if I ever have spinach in my teeth and I’m with you all, I want you to fix that! That is the right thing to do.

So I think there are times when fixing things are good, but as we are looking at Elizabeth this week, I’m really struck by the fact that sometimes, maybe always, you need to get out of the way and let God do the fixing in other people’s lives.

We’re looking at Elizabeth this week. And her husband, Zechariah, has this experience with an angel. And what happens to Zechariah? Do you remember the story?

Alejandra: He loses his voice.

Erin: He loses his voice. He is struck down mute. So the angel Gabriel comes to Zechariah. He tells Zechariah that his prayer has been answered and that they are going to conceive a child.

So this is how we know that Zechariah and Elizabeth had been praying to the Lord, because it says in the text that “his prayers have been answered.”

Zechariah just has a moment . . . a moment of doubt . . . a moment of hesitation, and he is struck mute.

I’d want to fix that, wouldn’t you?

Alejandra: You were in the temple where it is nice and holy, and now you are coming home and not saying a word?!

Erin: I would assume my husband, Jason, was faking it.

We were in the car once and I asked the question every man hates: What are you thinking? He was awake as he could be. Then I asked the question and he slumped against the window and pretended he was asleep.

I might first assume that he was faking it. Then I’d try to fix it: “Let’s go to the doctor.” “My friend has tried this kind of tea for her voice.” Elizabeth couldn’t Google, but I’d be Googling away.

Alejandra: Or I’d put it on me. “He doesn’t want to talk to me! I am such a pain sometimes. He doesn’t want to tell me what he thinks.” We can do that very easily.

Erin: But that’s not what Elizabeth does. It’s not what we infer from the text.

There are some powerful words that we read about from this week of study. They are spoken by the angel Gabriel to Zechariah in the temple. Asheritah, would you read it to us? They are found in Luke 1:19.

Asheritah: "And the angel answered him, 'I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.'"

Erin: Any translation there. “I’m Gabriel, and I stand in the presence of God." The inference there is, “You don’t, Zechariah.” Like, “I am the angel . . . Gabriel . . . and I have something to say.” He’s really speaking to the sovereignty of God.

My husband this past year lost his grandpa who has been this godly patriarch of our family. My husband’s grief is deep, and I want to fix it. I want to fix it because I love my husband so much, and it’s hard to watch. I want to fix it because it is hard.

I’ve felt the conviction that I want to be the friends that Job didn’t have. I want to be a friend to Jason who just sits in the grief, however long it takes. We are coming on almost a year, and I’m wondering, How long will this grief last?

I’m naturally a fixer. And certainly when it comes to Jason, I’m naturally a fixer. But what has helped me to be that kind of silent friend is that God is sovereign. God is sovereign over Jason’s grief. God is sovereign over the process of however long it takes.

Gabriel’s words, I think, are an encouragement to me as I think about that situation—however long it will go on and however it will hurt, God is sovereign even in that situation.

Are any of you currently in a situation where you desire to fix it and God is sovereignly fixing it instead?

Alejandra: There’s a test to our faith when someone else is going through something. It’s not necessarily your disappointment any more, it’s their disappointment. So in this process of grief of losing my father a few months ago, being there for my mother and my brother, I’ve had to go back to Scripture to find comfort for them. It’s tested my faith, too.

Sometimes we see someone else going through disappointment, and we go, “How can I fix it?”

I can go back to Eve. When the serpent came to her and told her they were going to know as much as God and they were going to be wiser, maybe she thought, My husband was given the task of naming all of the animals. So maybe if we get a little bit of wisdom out of this fruit, that could go quicker. I don’t know! Some way of helping somehow. But we can get ourselves in deep trouble.

Jaquelle: We see that with Sarah and Abraham. God promised an heir and Sarah wants to go and fix it because it’s not happening.

Erin: I think she endured her infertility for a season, and then, as we talked about in session one, the weight of disappointment can get heavier. She somehow over time convinced herself that God made this promise, so I better help him along. I think there is a temptation there.

Alejandra: Could it be that Elizabeth in the way she sees her husband in this case go through the struggle . . . I’m not having children, now he has no voice, what are we going to do?

She went to God in the sense of being still. How much are we actually being still and quieting our hearts and ourselves when we see someone else going through disappointment and bringing it to the Lord? Just saying, “How can we do this together?”

Erin: I think in some ways that watching someone you love facing a season of disappointment . . . I don’t know that I’d call it harder, but it’s a different brand of hard. You love that person, and you want to give them relief. You want the season of disappointment to be over. You don’t have any control.

We don’t know what motivated Sarah. We don’t know what motivated Elizabeth. We’d be reading into it. But I know what motivates me. I sometimes have the right desire for the people I love to have relief. I sometimes have the wrong desires, in that, "Your pain is inconveniencing me, so I would really like this season to be over."

Alejandra: Or you might have the right solution.

Erin: It’s very clear to me what you should do! (laughter)

So I think we know what to say to each other if we know the Lord and read His Word and are in Bible study . . . we would know what to say to each other for our own disappointment. Like, “Yes, I’m disappointed, but I know that God is good and God is sovereign.” But when someone we love is struggling, I’m not sure that we always know how to say or when to say it or what to say or when to be quiet or when to give wisdom, and those kinds of things.

Alejandra: Most people don’t know. I don’t think we know. From 2 Corinthians 1:15 we get that we go through struggles—this has caught my attention many times—so we can comfort others. Comforting others means sometimes listening; sometimes it means bringing food to their homes; sometimes it means a hug; sometimes it means wise words.

That comfort comes from what you receive from Christ already and asking Him as you pray for this person, “What can I do?”

We get in trouble when we want to fix it in our own methods and in our logical way. “You’re crying, hey, let’s get going!”

But are we asking them, “How can I help my husband go through this? Or my mom or my brother or my child?” He will get us through it

Asheritah: I think it also comes down to a trust issue, too. In our own lives we experience disappointment, and we might say, “God, where are you?” But when someone else experiences disappointment, can I trust that God is going to meet them in their place of need? Can I trust that He will be enough for them? Or do I want to come alongside and be, “Let me help You along a little bit.”

What I found in my experience is when I jump in too soon in manipulative ways, even if they are unintended, I rob my loved one of the comfort that God Himself can give. I cannot substitute for them God’s comfort.

Paul says, “Comfort with the comfort we ourselves have been comforted by God.” That word “comfort” is used so many times. It’s a personal thing that only our loved one can experience.

Erin: I think disappointment, whether our own or those we love, can really reveal what our faith is made of. We face disappointment, and we know God’s going to come through. But if someone we love is facing disappointment and we just can’t wait it out, we worry that God won’t come through for them the way He’s come through for us. Or we feel like the timeline is too long. That’s really revealing something about our faith.

You mentioned one response to other’s disappointment. We don’t know, we’d have to be saying something that isn’t in the text, that Elizabeth prayed for Zechariah. But we do know that she is a faithful woman of God. So I think we can make some assumptions there.

We know she’s been praying for a child. The text does say that. I wonder if any of you have had someone pray for you in a season of disappointment and what a difference that made.

It seems like that is a passive response, but it’s really something profound to do. Jaquelle, I know that you have praying parents, and you are a young adult. I’m sure there are disappointments that come with that. Maybe this is true or not true. I don’t know your parents well. But have they prayed you through disappointment?

Jaquelle: They have indeed. My parents have, whether I’ve known it or not known it, I know for sure that they have been praying for me for my entire life. I remember when I first realized how much they did pray for me behind closed doors.

There were a lot of times during disappointments that I didn’t know they were praying for me. I kind of assumed it. But I never actually realized it until I came through the season or if something changed, and my parents specifically expressed that their prayers were answered.

We assume that prayer so often is the easiest thing we can do. Like, if we can’t actually fix it, if we can’t give money, or if we can’t do the practical solution, then I guess we’ll just pray. When really, that should be our first response, the first thing we should want to do in either our own season of disappointment or when we look at someone else’s life. Because, we do not have the power to fix it, so we should run to the One who does have the power to fix it.

Erin: It’s a comfort to me in seasons of loss and disappointment and suffering for someone to say that they are praying for me. At points, that has been the absolute lifeline because, “I don’t have what it takes to pray for me right now. This is hard! But someone is praying for me.”

It’s been more helpful than that person who tries to explain it away or give me some sense of false hope or promise that the next day is going to be better . . . maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t.

I’ve learned to pray with people. I pray into voicemails all the time. Just yesterday a good friend of mine was going through something really hard. I knew I was flying to be here to record this podcast, and I couldn’t be with her. I just called and cried into her voicemail. “I’m going to pray you’ll hear it in the right time. I love you, and I’m praying for you.” Rather than me telling her it was going to be okay, because right now it looks like it’s not going to be okay.

I think it can be really, really comforting to people facing disappointment. Pray for them. Pray with them.

Asheritah: Pray with them. I love that you said that. Some of the greatest comfort the Lord has given me in disappointment has come through people praying over me. People just stopping and saying, “Can I pray for you right now?” It’s okay to say, “I’ll pray for you.” I’ve done that before. I’ve also forgotten to pray.

So when someone pauses to pray for me, or when I do that for someone, I think that’s one of the ways the Body of Christ comes together and works to speak the power of God’s Word.

I love praying Scripture. To say, “This is true of who God is. This is true of who you are. This is true of this situation.” I am reminding us of this. I’m reminding God of His promises. There is something powerful there.

Erin: To the woman listening to this podcast, she’s been listening to us talk. She can think of who that is in her life who is facing struggle. Okay, we don’t want to fix it, so what do we do? She could right now say, “I was listening to this podcast, and they reminded me that I could pray with you. Can I pray with you right now?”

Text them a prayer. Drive to them and put your hands on their shoulders and pray with them. That’s a right and good response to someone who is in a season of disappointment.

Asheritah: Sometimes when we are in those seasons, we don’t know what to pray. We don’t have the language. We don’t have the words. We don’t have the feelings. To have someone else pray from us from afar or to actually pray with us can give us the language or the comfort that we can’t get on our own.

Erin: Speak truth to us. I mentioned in the first episode that I left my position in my church recently. It hurts my heart. My pastor said to me in the middle of that, “What can I do for you?”

I said, “I need you to speak truth to me because I can’t quite see it for myself”

So he’ll send me a passage. He’ll call and speak a passage into my voicemail. We’ll speak truth to each other. I think even this passage that we read in Elizabeth’s story where Gabriel says here in verse 19, “I’m Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God. I was sent to you.” Speaking to the authority and sovereignty of God.

A text message sent in due season can be such a comfort, right? If you don’t know what to say. I think passages about the sovereignty and goodness of God are always good and always right and always and encouragement no matter what the disappointment somebody else may be facing.

Alejandra: I think sometimes as women we don’t reach out enough to one another, knowing what season that person may be going through. I think we need to be a little more aware of our sisters and our churches and our groups—just reaching out and coming alongside.

Sometimes we don't need to ask. You see a mom struggling with a baby. You can say, “Hey, can I hold him for a minute?” You don’t have to ask her story and what she is going through. Grab that baby and give her five minutes. As long as she says yes. Give her some comfort.

Erin: Or say, “You’re doing a great job.”

Alejandra: Or, “You have such a beautiful family.” There are seasons when you just don’t want to say what you are going through. You want someone to see the picture and just come and say, “I’m here.”

It speaks about our humility by saying, “I’ve been there. I know what that could be like. I’m going to come alongside you and be here for you.” It unites us as the Body before God saying, “We are together here asking You for mercy.”

That is so important in our homes, because that is the gospel. When our husbands are going through something difficult and we block them or give them the cold war in the house . . . Or our children might be struggling with things even those as little as two years old. I have one of those. You just want to discipline them and let them know who the boss is.

Coming alongside of them and saying, “You’re going to be okay, and we’re going to get through this. The Lord is here with us.”

As we speak those things to someone else, we’re really speaking to ourselves and to the forces of hell that might be around trying to destroy that person. We say, “We’re standing on the rock. We’re standing on Jesus.” We’re doing it together. This person is not alone in this struggle.

That happens a lot in the True Woman Conferences. Sometimes after translating I go around and I pray for women. I believe God gives you the discernment right then and there, without even knowing that person, to speak into their lives. It’s the Holy Spirit through you.

I think if we could be a little more open and open our eyes more to see the people around us that might be going through struggles or disappointments, and how we can come along them and say, “Hey, you’re not alone. I’m going to carry you through this process with prayer and standing next to you through it.”

Erin: Is this happened to you? A name just drops into your head. And weeks or months or years later you realize that at that moment that person was facing a battle of some kind. You know something that you had no way of knowing. My friend describes wisdom that way: Knowing something you have no other way of knowing.

You find out that that friend, or person at your church, or a stranger that the Lord dropped into my heart was facing a difficult season. The Lord brought them to my mind so that I could comfort them.

I’ve learned to just respond. Even if it doesn’t make any sense. I just respond to that person because I assume that the Lord has something.

Alejandra: God can use any of us. Sometimes we think it has to be people on the stage, or the pastor, or whoever has some kind of title. We are the Body

Erin: I’m often comforted by the person who knows me as me, walks through my real life with me, and is brave enough to speak words of encouragement.

Jaquelle: I think when it comes to seeing other people go through disappointments, we really have one of two reactions. Either we want to fix them, or we want to withdraw.

We’re afraid of saying the wrong thing and making things messier. But it is a sinful response to say, “I will receive wounds from the shrapnel of your pain.” When we are called as the Body of Christ to get down and dirty and love our brothers and sisters for the long haul.

Erin: Who walked with Elizabeth through infertility in year one, at year two, at year three? How many were left waiting with Elizabeth in hope at the end of, I don’t know, decades? When all natural hope of a child is gone, did Elizabeth having people speaking hope and truth into her life? I hope so! We don’t know.

Alejandra: It’s true that you say sinful. Sometimes we downplay it. We say, “We don’t even speak the same language. Why should I even try giving this person a hug?” or “We’re not even from the same neighborhood so I don’t know how to get to her. I don’t have her number.”

There’s a lot of studies Youtubers have done on someone on the side of the road and how many people pass by and don’t help them or don’t do anything about it. That’s just one example of how we act even within the church. “I don’t have her number. She’s older than me. She’s younger than me. How can I relate to her?” But we are called to be that hand to one another to help each other out and to seek doing it.

Erin: What we see in Elizabeth is that Elizabeth had a lifetime of “yeses.” She was from a ministry family. She could have walked away from that at any point. She was married to a man in ministry. She could have walked away from that. She could have walked away from the marriage. There was no way to know if she was the problem or if he was the problem. She could have tried to figure that out. Or in this situation where he’s been struck mute, she could have assumed it was due to his sin. He’d been in the temple. He might not have a job anymore. She could have walked away, but we see her continuing to say yes.

You fast forward in her story, she does have John . . . spoiler alert. And let’s be honest, John is weird. This long-awaited child, we don’t know how long she got to parent him . . . This was a legacy of saying “yes” despite a lifetime of disappointments.

I wonder as we are thinking about comforting others in their disappointment, each of us has somebody with a legacy of yes who’s given us a vision for what it means to face disappointment with grace—even over the long haul. I wonder if any of you would share with us who that person is with the legacy of “yes” in their own lives?

Jaquelle: I’ll go first since I have someone right in mind, and I love to brag on her. It’s my mom. Something that is so powerful in my mom’s life is that I’ve seen her walk with me through disappointments, and more, I have seen her walk through disappointments that she has faced. I’ve seen her wrestle with God and not just put on a façade for me that “I don’t have any questions or disappointments.”

I saw her be sad. I saw her pray. I don’t think I ever heard her ask God “why?” but I heard her express to God that she was disappointed as a kid and as a teenager. I saw her fighting to read God’s Word when she didn’t feel like it and knew she didn’t feel like it. She still showed us and did it in public spaces in our home so that my brother and I saw her doing that.

I saw her going to church when she told me, “I don’t feel like it.” It was not because she was trying to follow some rules. It was because she was fighting for faith and joy in the midst of her disappointments. She modeled that for me and my brother in a way that I constantly look back on.

I know that I will face so many more disappointments in life ahead. But I have that legacy that I can look to. I can go to her as much as she has pointed me to Jesus.

Erin: I love that! As a mom of boys, I feel like Elizabeth gets to claim success. To the point of death, he followed Christ faithfully. Your mom gets to claim your faithfulness to the Lord.

I love that you said that you watched her wrestle because as mommas, sometimes we don’t know. My children are terrified of me crying. They back away slowing and start throwing chocolate in my direction.

But you give me this idea that they could watch me face disappointment and that it could build a legacy of faith in them. I love that. I hope my children say that about me one day.

Does anyone else know who your person is who has a legacy of “yes” that you’ve been able to watch?

Asheritah: Mine would be my mom, too. She’s an amazing testimony of trusting Jesus from a young age and going through dangerous situations and continuing to place her trust in Jesus even when she couldn’t see a way out. It’s continual surrender, even imperfectly. But continuing to cry before the Lord and to place everything before Him.

As a young adult, I have the privilege of being the shoulder for her to cry on, and to be the one who speaks truth back into her. She had sown that truth into me. She had scattered the seed of God’s Word in my heart, and I have had the joy of bringing that back and saying, “No, God is our refuge and strength. He’s a mighty tower for us. We run to Him and find rescue.”

Erin: Great job all these mommas. Do you know who your person is?

Alejandra: My mom, my two grandmoms, definitely, Laura, one of my mentors. I could have a good handful of women in my life that I look up to them and think, Wow! My friend, Joanna, who has eight children. That alone to me, I take my hat off.

What I get from this, too, is that if you don’t have that . . . Many of the women of the women listening do not have that mom. Or they just came to Jesus. I think, you need to find one. The first way that you find one is by praying, asking God to send you that woman in my life. That woman can that can be that help.

Make yourself available for her. That’s a problem with our generation. We can YouTube or Google anything, so why even find someone else?

I can say that the importance of that . . . You speak of your moms. I can think of other women. We think, It would be so nice if our children . . . Sometimes we feel, I didn’t have that mom. I don’t have that example in my life. They are there. You have to go and find them.

Jaquelle: I would piggy-back on that and say, “Yes. Find that woman.” And if you are the young woman, take the imitative. “Can we go to coffee sometime?”

Erin: There is tons of evidence that younger women want to be mentored and that older women want to mentor. But it takes someone to step up and say, “I would love to meet with you. I admire your life.”

Jaquelle: I think it is because mentoring is like this huge thing of what should I do? But if you say, “Can we have coffee sometime? Can we just talk about life? I’ve got six loads of laundry, would you mind coming and helping me fold laundry?” It’s doing life together.

Alejandra: You don’t have to be alone. You could find that lady. And stop looking at: She likes this, and I like that; then we’re a good match. Just pray. Bring it to the Lord, “I’m praying about this person.”

Then talk to them. Don’t overwhelm them.

Erin: On that first meeting we don’t what it to sound like . . .

Alejandra: Or that they take it as your nanny or you sitter all the time. Give the lady a break. She already raised some kids.

But use her for her wisdom. Talk to her about . . . What do you think about this? How would you handle that? I’m sure it will be easier.

If you don’t have that person in your family or closer to you. It’s good to start praying about finding someone, and asking the Lord to send to you. And then, reach out to the few you might know. Even if they are in another city or another country. Call them up and say we can skype once a month.

Erin: Or use WhatsApp.

Jaquelle, you mentioned messy. I don’t think we always think of messy women as great mentors, but they are. They can be, because they are in the mess, or they’ve been through the mess. They’ve faced disappointments. They are certainly learned some lessons along the way. The Lord has been faithful to them in in.

Even if they are still in the midst of it. I think of that woman that you look at her and go, “Man, she’s walking through something hard.” But you see her doing it with grace and faithfulness. Then I want to know how. There’s power in that.

One conversation can be a lot. Many, many conversations can teach us so much.

Jaquelle: And I think for us to be aware, no matter what season of life we’re in, to look for that woman ahead of us, and to also look behind us. Who’s coming up. Is there a high schooler who is struggling because her parents’ marriage is falling apart? Is there a college student who is far from home that I can invite to come to the messiness of my kitchen and say, “Let’s bake cookies together”?

You are always further ahead of someone. There is always someone you can pour in to for the sake of the gospel.

Erin: Absolutely!

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About the Teachers

Erin Davis

Erin Davis

Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. She is the author of many books and Bible studies including: 7 Feasts, Connected, Beautiful Encounters, and the My Name Is Erin series. She serves on the ministry team of Revive Our Hearts. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

Asheritah Ciuciu

Asheritah Ciuciu

Asheritah is an author, speaker, and blogger. She grew up in Romania as a missionary kid and studied English and Women's Ministry at Cedarville University in Ohio. Her passion is helping women find joy in Jesus through a deeper walk with God, and she shares personal stories and practical tips on www.OneThingAlone.com. Asheritah is married to Flaviu and together they raise their spunky children in northeast Ohio.

Jaquelle Crowe

Jaquelle Crowe

Jaquelle Crowe is a twentysomething writer from eastern Canada. She’s a graduate of Thomas Edison State University and co-founder of The Young Writers Workshop. She is author of This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years (2017). You can find more of her writing at JaquelleCrowe.com.

Alejandra Slemin

Alejandra Slemin

Alejandra is a sinner who believed in Jesus at the age of seven in her native country, Dominican Republic. She is a wife and homeschool mom. She's passionate about Christ, studying the Scriptures, discipling, teaching, and learning alongside women. Currently, she supports her husband as he serves as a church planter in Victoria, BC, Canada. Alejandra loves herbs, designing headbands with her daughter, being outdoors, and serving her community.

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