Saying “Yes” – Mary… and Me
by Anita Snyder
The season of Advent conjures many wonderful memories of Christmases past, not the least of which was the long awaited birth of our daughter, Chloe, who after four months of bed rest, decided to make her grand appearance just a few minutes before Christmas Day. Hard to top a memory of that magnitude! But one of my most treasured memories is of a Bible study blunder.
Before I go into that, let me introduce myself. Hello, everyone, my name is Anita Snyder. I am the wife of Charles, and the mother of three wonderful children, Aiden, William, and Chloe. I was born and raised and chose to remain a Presbyterian. I taught elementary art until my oldest son was 4 and I was expecting our newest addition, Chloe. While hauling three little people to the sitters everyday was partly my reason for staying home, the biggest reason was our oldest son’s needs. He has autism; even typing that phrase causes my eyes to well up with tears. At that age, all the programs that he needed to be involved in to “get better” were during the day, and he needed his Momma to take him. Being able to spend that precious time home with the newborn Chloe was icing on the stay-at-home cake. Up until that time, the time we decided I stay home, our lives were filled with appointments, and entertaining a toddler brother in waiting rooms, and drive-thru windows because after a long day of teaching and therapy, neither Charlie or I had it in us to cook a meal. And those days were filled with questions. Why? Why would God choose to do this to us? Looking back, I feel guilty for even thinking it, but a mother’s heart knows no boundaries when it comes to the well-being of her children.
Back to the Bible study blunder. Several years ago, I participated in a women’s Bible study at First Presbyterian Church. The ladies in class took turns leading the group and I volunteered to go next. Marlynn Story was going to leave the agreed upon Teacher’s Guide in my mailbox so I could prepare for the following week. I retrieved the book from my box and began to read. Mary. I thought I knew everything there was to know about Mary. I had gone to Sunday school my entire life, after all! I knew about Mary from countless drowsy Sunday mornings being in a classroom that was always just a little too warm, sitting in a chair that was always just a little too small, while wearing itchy and uncomfortable clothes and shoes that I had to keep unscuffed at all costs! I always listened to the teacher just enough to be able to answer the questions correctly if I had the poor luck to be called upon. I couldn’t bear the shame and the lump in my throat that was the result of an incorrect answer! This was the trend until high school, where we had a teacher that was more of a conversationalist and encouraged us to think past the pages and wonder what the words’ purposes were in our lives. With that mind set, I read the book about Mary.
Just like so many other ways God has shown us His perfect timing, I needed to read that book then. Not five years earlier or five years later. Then. My eyes were opened to the magnitude of God’s plan for Mary and her precious baby, Jesus. Although, most of the time I was reading, it was through tear filled eyes, I was still able to get to the point. Mary said, “yes, Lord, I will do what you ask me to do.” She didn’t question as I had. She went forward in faith, not knowing exactly what was next, but know that God was with her and her son and that was all she needed.
I had been going through my life, fighting for my son, caring for my other children, and fighting to keep my marriage going through it all, but also carrying the overwhelmingly heavy question, “why?” Mary was showing me that I needed to give that heavy burden over to the Lord If I was to lead the glorious life He had planned for me. And so I did.
After that reading experience, I couldn’t wait for Bible Study! I was going to rock those ladies worlds with my epiphany! They were going to want me to lead every week, I could feel it!! Wednesday morning couldn’t get there soon enough. But it did, and as I sat there recounting y experience while reading the book to a room full of onlooking ladies, I couldn’t help noticing they didn’t quite seem to be getting what I was talking about. When I finished talking and we moved on to the discussion questions, my blunder was revealed. They had all read a different book and therefor couldn’t answer the questions about Mary BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T HAVE THEM! Talk about embarrassed! I don’t think I could’ve turned a brighter shade of red!
I couldn’t tell you what book they had read, my mind went blank. All I could think about was how the wrong book was placed in my mailbox, but it was the exact book I needed to read that day. Not five years earlier, not five years later, that exact day, in God’s perfect time.
So, during the season of Advent, I think of Mary, faithful Mary, and how she said, “yes” , and how God helped me to see the beauty in all things and in His perfect time.
Charlie and Anita Snyder have been attending First Presbyterian Church since 2000 and members since 2001. Anita has been Youth Director since 2006 and headmaster of the Snyder Academy. Charlie teaches high school chemistry and physics at Noblesville high school. Both of them have a love of old houses and you’ll find them diligently working on their home in between ferrying their three active children to various activities.