Written by Rosemond Ennin of Brampton, Ontario, living in Belize

Rogeline Dieujuste, a medical student from the United States, has been studying abroad in Belize for almost two years. It’s been an experience where she says it has taught her so much about herself, her career and most importantly her relationship with God. I sat with her recently to hear about her journey leading to studying medicine in Belize. As she began to elaborate about her journey and the experience she has had, I noticed that some of the things she went through could also be identified in Mary, Jesus’ mother. It’s not often that you hear about Mary’s perspective in the story of Jesus. Mary, an innocent, young 13-year-old who probably still played games with her friends, after that one encounter with the angel was catapulted into a new season. What was it like to be singled out by God? What would her friends have said when Mary no longer showed up at the various events they did? Would they judge her?

Since we know how the story ends, we can easily see it as a great honour for her to have been selected by God Himself to carry His Son, Jesus. In that moment, Mary didn’t know how the future was going to play out. She didn’t know how Jesus was going to look or how her community was going to look at her. All she had was a word from the angel.

In that moment, Mary didn’t know how the future was going to play out. She didn’t know how Jesus was going to look or how her community was going to look at her. All she had was a word from the angel.

When she said yes to God, she said yes to being different. Usually being different is what we shy away from, especially as young people. We always want to have a place to fit in. Many times we want to find that comfort in our friends and in our communities. We don’t like to stand out, be the odd one out, be left alone or be rejected. You might be reading this and saying to yourself, “I actually don’t care what people think of me.” But think of this, when you post a picture or change your profile picture, do you take record of those who “likes” your post? I know you do- we all do! Finding acceptance in others is assuring as it validates that we are important and that we matter to others.

As I listened to Rogeline share her story, I realized she too, like Mary, had to come to a place of deciding whose acceptance she would choose – God’s or man’s? Rogeline’s story started when she was a young girl. She grew up reading fascinating stories in the Bible like David and Goliath, Gideon and Queen Esther to name a few. She prayed and told God, “Lord, I want my own story with you- I don’t want to read about you just using others, I want to be used by you as well. Please write my own story”.

To her it was a simple prayer she prayed every night, but to God it was the willingness He desired to order her steps and begin a great work. During middle school she noticed that she grasped concepts quicker than her classmates. Her teachers also notice it too and out of all of her friends she was offered the opportunity to move into an advanced program at school. “The only reason why I accepted it was because the teachers told me that I could at least still see my friends at recess time, she said. As long as she found a way to stick with her friends, she was happy. However, with time her friends began to drift away from school. They started skipping classes and handing in their work less.

By high school, her teacher noticed how her friend’s choices weighed on her. He sat her down and said, “You are going to be successful and do great things…” She interrupted her teacher and asked “ but what about my friends?” “The system is not set up for them like it is for you…they will only become a distraction to you…” She didn’t understand what her teacher was saying.

Deep down she knew her friends were a distraction but she didn’t want to leave them. Have you ever felt that way? Where the plans of God for your life pulled you away from your surroundings or what brought you comfort?

Mary experienced similar changes. Being chosen by God meant that she would be pulled away from being a “normal” 13-yearold girl. As she was engaged by the time she received visitation from the Lord. Saying yes to the Lord put her engagement to Joseph in jeopardy. Would he marry a pregnant girl who was carrying a child that wasn’t his? At that time, that type of relationship was unheard of and far from common. It was a risk she has to take not just to be rejected by Joseph but to be publicly humiliated in agreeing to the Lord’s plan.

The Bible reveals that Joseph was ready to call off their engagement. Just before he could do so, an angel of God appeared to him confirming God ordained the pregnancy. And that is how the Lord works.

When we say yes to Him, though it may come with the risk of looking different and being set apart, He is always faithful to see you through and not put you to shame.

Eventually, Rogeline realized that she had to leave her friends to continue moving forward. God’s plan for her life was bigger than her understanding. She had to trust God in the separation. Little did she know the plans that God had for her included going off to medical school, obtaining a master’s degree and impacting many who she meets.

As the year begins to draw to an end, ask yourself this one question, “Have I said yes to God’s plan for my life?” His plans for you may not be similar to Rogeline’s or Mary’s, but one thing that is certain is He has a plan for you! His plan always includes some sort of separation- from friends, things or from being like everyone else. Whatever it is that you are required to separate from, know that He is not going to disgrace you in order for His plan to be accomplished through you.