Although I have believed this for a long time, and am solid in my belief, as I talked I became aware of the Holy Spirit telling me and solidifying in my soul that what I believe about Mary and Joseph is foundational in the way I believe God works.
I did not express what I was thinking to our friend at the time, because this thought had only just been planted and was still germinating.
As I went through the days after that conversation, I began to see that the greater miracle is that God used Mary and Joseph just as they were, and just like each of us. He uses imperfect people to achieve His perfect plan. It would have been possible for God to make Mary and Joseph perfect, but that would not be much of an encouragement to us today and it would not follow through with what the Lord does with his people.
Just look at a few examples: David against Goliath, Esther in the Persian courts, uneducated fishermen, Paul with the thorn in the flesh. And what did God tell Paul when he asked for removal of that thorn? "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9.
And that is the whole thing: God's power doing amazing things in our weakness. What could be weaker than an infant that can't even hold its head up? Yet God's power and majesty allowed itself to be born from an imperfect human woman, and raised to manhood by an imperfect earthly father and mother.
God used Mary and Joseph just as they were by choice so that the World would know there is a God, both in their time on earth and every generation afterwards to us today.
And why is that such an encouragement to me today?
What this tells me is that God wants to use us in spite of us to let the World we live in know there is a God who loves us and wants to do great things. He wants to use us to reach others and help each person understand that God loves us just as we are, no matter what we've done. It doesn't matter if what we have is what we consider small or insignificant. He causes whatever we have to multiply to fit the need for which He gave it in the first place.
Because God used imperfect Mary and Joseph to raise a perfect man, I know that my imperfections are not limitations to God. He wants to use me anyway.
Do I know how to direct a movie? No.
But God does, and He wants to use me to direct this movie.
I thank God for the knowledge that Mary was not a perfect woman. I thank God that she had just as many fears as I have, in spite of seeing the wonders of what God did when Jesus was born. Seeing how Mary, the mother of God, lived, helps me know I can live and be pleasing to God, even in my imperfect state.