• Ava Hoffman

Mary + Moses = ???

A few months ago, I asked God a question, and He smiled on my curiosity. I randomly chose an Advent study, and over those 27 days, God introduced me to a girl named Mary and a man named Moses. Through each, He revealed my heart, and He called me to better. He said, “It is time.”


I said, “Time for what?”


He smiled again. “It is time you walk where I have placed you.”


And friends, in order to tell you where I’ve been placed, I must tell you about Mary and Moses.

I didn’t always like Mary, the mother of God, growing up. She represented everything that was wrong with me. She was meek and mild, quiet and subservient. She occupied the background and existed as the perfect archetype of a Christian woman.


I am none of those. I use my voice. I challenge the status quo. I defend the weak. I feel the righteous anger of my Lord in my bones. I am nothing like the Mary my churches talked about. That also meant I am nothing like the Christian women these churches want.


I spent my childhood and college years locked in a battle with my personhood and the Church. I believed I loved God with my whole heart. The Church said if I really did, I would have a different personality. I thought there could be multiple ways to be a good Christian woman. The Church said no. I heard the Church tell me I would remain excluded until I looked more like Mary.


When I first encountered Mary in my Advent study, I was stunned. The author was talking about cultural circumstances alone but wow. So. Many. Similarities. Mary and I are both viewed as worthless in our respective societies. We are young women. We are both childless, and we are poor. Mary was single, and though I am married, I do bear another label that makes me meaningless in today’s world – I am disabled. Mary and I – we are unworthy.


The similarities did not end at the surface, friend.


I saw Mary use her voice. I heard her bold words spoken in the face of uncertainty. She cried out with a bigger vision for people, proclaiming Truth and refusing to be held hostage by perception. Her prayers contradicted everything known. Her words reflected her ability to see the forgotten, the burnt-out, the hurting. She was not content with the hierarchy, and she expressed revolution. She loved the confused, the questioning, the unbelieving. Mary hoped in everything despite seeing nothing.


I saw her submit everything to God, risking death to carry a Son named Jesus. I heard her blessed for believing the Lord would do what He said He would. I recognized the unique giftings, spirit, and character of Mary that enabled her to walk as God called her. I saw her choose faith over fear when fear seemed like the only option.


I am like Mary!


As I sat with her longer and learned to love her more and more, I realized there was one thing Mary did that I’m refusing to do. Brazenly surrender.


See, when a Heavenly Being showed up and gave her explicit instructions, Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. I will go wherever He leads me.” In a breath, she threw out what she thought her life would look like - her dreams, hopes, expectations, family, motherhood. She let go of her present circumstances and the unknown details and grabbed ahold of a promise.


Mary was an unwed teenage girl, and she was pregnant. Her life plan went up in flames. Her security vanished. There was no guarantee that she would live to have this baby when her community found out. The details of how all of this would work out were nonexistent, vague at best.


And yet, she clung to this promise – no word from God will ever fail.


Enter Moses.


Lemme give you a quick run-down on Moses. He heard the voice of God and questioned it. He stood in front of a bush on fire that was not burning and harbored suspicion. He chose to doubt God’s voice, words, and calling. Then he chose fear. Fear of doing it wrong. Fear of failure. Fear of being overwhelmed. Fear that God would not show up and come through. Moses argued with God. Moses told God that he wasn’t capable of what God was asking him to do – he was too timid, too shy, not well-spoken, not knowledgeable. Moses claimed he didn’t have the platform, the authority, or the ability to rise to God’s design for his life.


Do you know what God said? He said, “I will be with you.”


He didn’t tell Moses to shape up. He didn’t tell him to grow a pair. He didn’t shame or provoke or guilt Moses, either. He said, “I will be with you.” You don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to know anything. Just show up. Trust Me. I AM.


Where Mary took God’s hand and willingly stepped into the impossible, Moses crossed his arms and stomped into the future. Where Mary was blessed for believing the Lord would fulfill His promises, Moses felt the anger of God for refusing to take hold of the promise.

I don’t know about you, but I need some of Mary’s surrender. I need the kind of bold that results in God calling me “highly favored.” The abandonment of stepping into God’s call on my life regardless of its lack of convenience or packaging. Yielding to a life that doesn’t look like I thought it would.


I need some of Mary’s spunk. The kind that says, “I have no comprehension of this complicated stuff that will probably throw me into a scandal and bring shame on me and my family, so let it be done just as You have said.”


I need some of Mary’s resolute fearlessness. The sort that says, “Because You go before me, I’ll go where few dare to walk.”


See, about a year ago, God’s voice quietly whispered, “Stop pursuing this life; I have something better for you. Let your plan go and walk in this.”


I didn’t, so God allowed my Crohn’s Disease to worsen. I had no choice – I stopped pursuing my dreams of working in healthcare. Being still was my only option – God handed me a book. I read it. God handed me a contact in an organization. We spoke. I bought more books. I read those books. He handed me an undeniable passion.


God put me in a class. I learned SO much. Then, I was given an opportunity to step into this calling. I refused. God put one girl in my life who needed this passion of mine. And then He put another. And another. And still another needing the conviction my soul carried.


I still refused to walk like Mary did, though. My insecurities seemed too great. My fears too valid. I was protecting my image and that of those around me. My conversations with God mirrored those of Moses in Exodus 3-4.

Who am I that I should talk about these things? Suppose I do this and then don’t have the answer – then what? What if no one listens to my words or reads my pieces? I am not old enough for this. I am not qualified for this. God, send someone else. Use somebody else.


So God plopped me into an intensive healing program at my church, and I began to see. I saw how God viewed His hurting people, how He provided words of hope and comfort for them. I saw how God kept His promise to be with Moses; He provided words for Moses. He gave Moses a roadmap. God gave Moses a list of things to do, topics to address, instructions to share with others. God made a way when there was no way.


I began to reach for His promise, and I saw His vows cross cultures and time periods. The same promise He made to Moses through a burning bush, He made to Mary through an unexpected pregnancy. Mary’s story is not one of God convincing her to come with Him – it is a story of her response to Him.


She sang. She praised. She worshipped. She stepped out in faith. She believed her story was written for such pouring out. She walked in triumph, certain in the One who would uphold her. I can choose these things, too.


I need not be afraid where God is leading me – His promises rang true from Moses to Mary, and they ring true Mary to Ava.

It is time I walk where God has placed me. In an intersection of broken stories, messy lives, and Biblical Truth. A crossing of lies from the past, rebuilding in the present, and hope for the future. It is time to embrace hard conversations, sensitive topics, and touchy matters.


Friends, it is time I start typing, talking, and translating all things sex ethics.

There is so much to my story, so much to this topic! In fact, God has already mapped out over a year's worth of content for this one subject! Which means, The Daily Ava is getting another category – Taboo Talks. Any pieces related to Biblical sex ethics will find their home here.


It is a place where the societally deemed improper and unacceptable conversations live. A tab that will speak on the wonders of human sexuality, doused in Biblical truth, and drenched in the story of an imperfect girl redeemed by her Lover.


Taboo Talks will be a space for broken lives, hurting hearts, and every doubt or question that pops up. It’s a tiny corner of the internet designed with you in mind. A home for your wonderings. A resource for your healing, your decision-making. A corner where gentle truth mingles with a listening heart. May you find restoration in the words that have also led to mine.


Friend, you have a seat here. There is a cup of [insert your favorite drink] waiting for you. I want you here. I am in your corner.


In the coming days, I’m going to share the big pieces of my story that led me here. I’m going to share why this is so important to me and why it is so important to the God that made us all. And if you want to join me on a journey that is sure to be full of unlearning, relearning, missteps, grace given and received, a whole lot of Jesus, and some really sweet moments of healing, I’d love to do this with you!


You are always welcome here.

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