Dear Elizabeth,

Will you be my voice teacher? Thank you, elder sister, for teaching me to find my voice in prayer: “The Lord has done this for me” you said, “has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” Was your husband Zechariah your first pupil (after he lost his voice in disbelief)? Maybe you were speechless too in the miraculous bloom of post-menopausal pregnancy until your teenage niece came to visit.

Mary was also “with child”, her story even more incredible. Virgin impregnated by the Holy Spirit greeted rejuvenated crone. Baby John who would grow up to be a voice crying in the wilderness leaped for joy in your womb. You were filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed in a loud voice: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

Elizabeth, your humble voice asking “Why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” honored the infant Godman and dignified Mary’s willingness to carry and birth him. Your Holy Spirited words let loose a crescendo of praise as Mary too found her voice: “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. He has performed mighty deeds; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.”

Like Elizabeth, I’ve found my voice relatively late in life, bringing my mullings to publication.  Wendy Bilen, author of Finding Josie, is like Mary to me now as her courage and devotion invigorate my writing. Wendy’s grandmother Josie was like Elizabeth to her as she gained her writing voice. My daughter Rhonda, co-author of the In Their Own Voices trilogy has long been a Christ-blessed inspiration for me and now for ever more mothers, fathers, daughters, sons discovering their voices anew or for the first time.

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