Writerly Wednesdays

From The Heart

“…and Mary treasured up all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”

Most mothers love to tell about the day their children were born. These are some of our best stories, overflowing with life-threatening suspense, transformation, the miraculous and in the end, joy. As with all our stories, we make choices about what to include and what to leave out, depending on the audience, depending on the purpose in the telling.

But none of our stories can match Mary’s. How happy she must have been to sit down with Luke and have a chance to tell her account of Jesus’ miraculous conception and dramatic birth, which she had been treasuring for decades.

I read that word, “treasured” and imagine her going over and over her experience in her mind. I imagine her deciding what to include, and what to leave out, how to weave her story in a way that would communicate how unique it was, but also how very humble and human. God wrapped in flesh, dear and helpless, like every baby ever born. Would people even believe it?

A few years back, I conducted a number of interviews with ICW authors about the writer’s life. Those conversations ranged to a lot of different subjects: where our stories come from, the writing process, seeking God in our art. The finished articles were on the lengthier side and when I published them, I received some great comments—but my favorite one came from my Dad.

“I like it, but did you type that whole thing? Isn’t there an app now that can do that for you?”

Dad’s notion was similar to my own thought while I wrote up those interviews. It’d been a minute since I did such a thing, and I’d forgotten how much commitment of time, creativity and resources on all sides, those kinds of articles demand. Journalism isn’t the writing without a net labor that fiction is. But taking on the responsibility to pass on other peoples’ most important stories to the world evokes its own kind of weighty thrill.


My little articles were nothing compared to Luke’s master work. There was Mary, with one of the most amazing stories ever told waiting inside her. Along came Luke, ready and willing to pass on her account to the world, even though it contained information so explosive and counter to the powers that be, it would risk all their lives. He listened to Mary’s story, added it to others’ eye-witness accounts, and wove the jaw-dropping tapestry of Jesus’ life that we call the Book of Luke:

“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendent of King David. The girl’s name was Mary…

“Gabriel came to her and said, Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you… “Behold, you will have a son, and you should name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end… “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; for that reason the holy child shall be called the Son of God…

“Mary responded, Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word…

“And she gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no guestroom in the inn.”

There is so much we don’t know about Mary. But we know this: God called her to make visible His love for all of us, and she was willing to risk everything to do what He asked. So was Luke. So should we all.

Beliefs represented by individual authors are not necessarily shared by all members of ICW.


  • Lisa Michelle Hess

    Lisa Michelle Hess has lived in every state on the Pacific Coast and loved the people in all of them. Over the years, she’s been a journalist, non-profit consultant, bookseller, and literature teacher, which were all her favorite jobs while she had them. Her current favorite career is Bookpusher at the Boise Public Library in Boise, Idaho, where she lives with one husband, one dog, and two turtles. You can find some of Lisa’s other stories in Passageways: A Short Story Collection. The Ghost of Gold Creek is her first full-length novel.

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