The Woman Who Lived The Impossible

By on November 9, 2014
Elzabeth and Zachariah with baby

By Carole Towriss−

Elizabeth shifted on her cushion on the floor. For the last five months their house had been silent, as Zechariah could not speak, could not hear. She had no one to talk to and had not left their house. Still, every day she and her husband silently rejoiced together in the angel Gabriel’s good news.

Three months remained until her child would make his entrance, yet she grew more uncomfortable by the day. Her only dream had finally come true, but she had never considered the physical aspects of pregnancy. How could she, when she had avoided pregnant women and all talk of them after years of failing to conceive?

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She leaned on her hands and pulled her knees under her, then pushed herself to her feet, groaning as she stood. She shuffled to the courtyard of their tiny home as a gray donkey arrived at the gate. Who would be visiting them way out here? All their friends knew Zechariah was not speaking. Shading her eyes, she stared into the afternoon sun.

Her breath caught. “Mary! Mary, my dearest cousin! What are you doing here?” If she weren’t so pregnant—not to mention old—she’d jump for joy.

The young girl alighted from the animal and pushed open the wooden gate.

“Elizabeth, I hope it’s all right that I came unannounced. I just had to—” As she neared, the babe within Elizabeth kicked hard.

“Mary, you are blessed more than all women!” Words Elizabeth could not control spilled from her mouth. “The child you bear is holy, and I am blessed that the mother of my Lord has come to me! As soon as I heard your voice, my baby leaped for joy within me.” She grabbed Mary and pulled her close.

The next three months were a balm to Elizabeth’s soul. Her cousin was so much more than someone to talk to. No one else could understand the miracle they shared—not even their husbands. But when the time came for her babe to be born, Elizabeth had to let her go. Her heart ached as she watched Mary ride away.

Eight days after the babe was born, Elizabeth and Zechariah stood in the Temple courtyard holding their newborn, surrounded by neighbors and relatives. She cringed as the arguing around her grew louder.

“But no one in your family is named John! Why would you name him that? Surely you intend to name him Zechariah like his father.”

“No. We will name him John.” She kept her voice low but firm.

Her relatives gathered off to the side as if she couldn’t hear. They spoke among themselves, throwing furtive glances toward Zechariah. “Ask the father. He has the final say.” They turned back to the couple.

Elizabeth gently bounced the baby, smiling down at him. Perhaps they wouldn’t notice as she rolled her eyes.

The relatives gathered around Zechariah, skillfully cutting her out of the circle. “You want to name the baby Zechariah, right?”

Her husband motioned for a tablet and wrote, “His name is John.”

Gasps rippled though the crowd.

Elizabeth suppressed a smile.

“Praise to God!”

Elizabeth’s head jerked up and her heart raced at the sound of her husband’s voice. How sweet after all these months!

The crowd fell silent as Zechariah sang loud and strong to the Author of all life and thanked Him for such a precious gift.

And in her heart, Elizabeth silently sang along.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Elizabeth could have shouted from her house in the hills of Judea that God had finally answered her prayer. Instead, she went into seclusion, living in absolute silence, not talking to or even seeing another living soul for five months. Luke tells us she praises God with her last words: “The Lord has done this for me…. He has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”

Somehow, without hearing from anyone, Elizabeth knew that Mary had become pregnant, although still a virgin, and carried the Son of God. She also called the baby Lord. “But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Only the Holy Spirit could have imparted this information to her. And though she was older and had lived a long, obedient and righteous life as a descendent of Aaron, married to a priest, she showed no sign of jealousy that her much younger, untested, teenage relative was chosen to carry the Son of God, while she would give birth to the one who would announce His arrival. Instead, she praised Him for for His work in her life, whatever He had chosen that should be.

Elizabeth’s life is proof that nothing is impossible for God. She was so far past the age of childbearing that John’s birth could only be attributed to God. John’s birth, if not his conception, is as much a miracle as Jesus’.

The next time you think your situation is unique, unfixable, unchangeable, irredeemable, impossible, remember Elizabeth.

“For there is nothing that God cannot do.” Luke 1:37 (GNT)



About Carole Towriss

Carole Towriss grew up in beautiful San Diego, California. Now she and her husband live just north of Washington, DC. In between making tacos and telling her four children to pick up their shoes for the third time, she reads, watches chick flicks, and waits for summertime to return to the beach. You can find out more about her Biblical fiction novels at

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The Woman Who Lived The Impossible