Pink Post-Its and Sacred Secrets
The warm scent of gingerbread and hazelnut wafts through the air as I take my seat at the corner table of my favorite little bakery. During this time of year, you can usually find me spending my only free morning indulging in a cinnamon role drenched in icing and sipping a caramel brulee latte with two shots of whip – not just one.
As I reach for my journal, I see it out of the corner of my eye, wedged into the pages of my Bible—a torn and slightly crumpled pink post-it note. I don’t have to look at it to remember what is scribbled on it. Although it was penned a long time ago, it will remain forever written on my heart.
You are the lady you have been becoming.
That was the mantra of my mentor in high school. She would scribble it on little pink post-its along with a verse or two and stash them everywhere. I would find them in my purse, my Bible and on my car windows. I have quite a few of those pink little lovelies. And just as it had encouraged me back then, so it encourages me this morning. Why? Because it’s God’s sacred intent for every woman to know him in a shaken up and stirred deep down in her soul with two sugars kind of way. It’s His sacred intent for us to be set-apart women of God. It’s His desire to turn bare oaks into fruitful blooms and little girls into ladies of righteousness.
In her book, Set-Apart Femininity, author Leslie Ludy paints a beautiful portrait of the set-apart woman. She says, “Set-apart femininity blends the classic womanly grace and dignity of an Audrey Hepburn with the sacrificial, poured-out-for-Christ lifestyle of an Amy Carmichael. It’s true feminine beauty merged with absolute abandonment to Jesus Christ. It’s the sparkling, vibrant, world-altering, Christlike version of femininity that your King created you to exude” (18).
Beautiful, isn’t it? I know some of you are thinking, “Melissa, that’s all lovely and all, but you don’t know me. You don’t know the lady that I’ve been becoming. I don’t even think ‘lady’ would be an appropriate word to describe it.” I hear you. I’ve been there. And can I just say from one sister in Christ to another sitting over a steaming latte that God is bigger than all of our mess ups? Did you catch that? In Christ—as daughters of the King—we are able to experience His amazing grace. Peace perfected. Comfort complete. Love unconditional. Mercy overflowing. Forgiveness of sin. Freedom from bondage. Are you hearing me, sweet sister? We are able to become the ladies that God desires us—and created us—to be not because of the ladies we’ve been becoming on our own.
Rather, we are able to become set-apart, fruit-bearing, fragrant-offering women of God when we understand what Mary of Bethany came to understand: the secret of the alabaster box.
We find her story in all four Gospels. You might know her as the sister of Lazarus and Martha. Or perhaps you might remember her as the woman who sat at the feet of Jesus, relishing His every word. But perhaps she is most known for her extravagant act of adoration—evidence of the lady that she had been becoming. You see, Mary of Bethany came to understand that the lady she was becoming and the lady that she wanted to become were completely dependent on one thing: her relationship with Jesus Christ. So just who exactly is this lady and what can we learn from her? I thought you’d never ask!
She delighted in His presence.
In Luke 10:38-42, Mary is described as a woman who found joy in the presence of Jesus Christ. In verse 39, Scripture says that she “sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.” Mary understood whose she was—she belonged to Christ—and if she was to learn from the Lord, she needed to spend time with Him, delighting in His presence and listening to His teachings. Do you, sweet sister, desire to become all that God has created you to be? Delighting in the Lord’s presence daily, that is, spending time with Him in His Word and in prayer, are evidences of a lady desiring to become all God has for her.
She demonstrated her love
As Jesus is reclining at a table, John 12:3 says, “Mary therefore took a flask of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” Such spices and ointments that made up such a costly fragrance were often stored as an investment of life savings. So what caused Mary to make such an extravagant gesture? It was an expression of love. Sensing that Jesus’ death was soon approaching, she used her most precious possession—an alabaster box—and broke it at the feet of Jesus. Her action was symbolic of preparing a body for burial and was an expression of her love for the Lord that she had come to know personally and commit her life to His teachings.
She devoted herself to His Lordship
Did you notice that in both times we read about Mary of Bethany she is at the feet of Jesus? The first time we meet her, she is at His feet listening to Him teach the things of God. The second time we meet her she is at His feet breaking her alabaster flask before His feet. In both instances, she is devoting herself to His Lordship. She takes her dreams for the future and the desires of her heart and, in breaking that flask before the Lord, she is not only demonstrating her love; she is declaring by this act of devotion that she desires her life to be a pleasing aroma to the King. I ask in love, sweet sister:
Is the lady you are becoming a pleasing aroma to the King as His daughter or a stench towards your witness?
Mary of Bethany understood that to devote herself to the Lordship of Christ also meant adorning the gospel with her very life.
You are the lady you have been becoming. As women, we often become so distracted by life’s daily demands that we lose focus on nurturing our relationship with Jesus Christ. Choose this day to put mediocrity behind you and pursue God’s sacred intent for a set-apart woman of God.
As I push aside my now finished breakfast plate, I see two high school girls sitting at the table next to me. I had not noticed them come in. They were laughing while sharing a plate of sweets. And that is when I noticed it. Two opened Bibles joined them for breakfast. I smiled and thanked God silently. As they rose to warm their coffees, I took the opportunity to gather my things, tighten my scarf, and as I passed by their table, I dropped a torn and slightly crumbled pink post-it note on top of the opened Bibles. Yes, it is God’s sacred intent for every woman, young and old, to know Him intimately and become the set-apart, fruit-bearing, and fragrant-offering ladies He has created us to be.
(Ludy, Leslie. Set-Apart Femininity: God’s Sacred Intent for Every Young Woman. Eugene: Harvest House Publishers, 2008.)