Mary Magill played the part of “Mary, Mother of Jesus,” in a dramatic skit at my church a few years ago. She will return Saturday to play Naomi from the Book of Ruth at FBC Prescott’s annual Celebrate the Season. This time, I decided to learn more about Mary Magill, and Googled her name. I wondered if people my age could relate to her story?
So we had a conversation (via email).
What she shared delighted and sobered me. Her answers reminded me that when we share our stories with each other, God can use those stories to connect the dots. It’s like what C.S. Lewis said in The Four Loves, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”"
Likewise, our pain or struggles feel unique as if no one else went through what we are going through. Then, someone shares their story and we echo C.S. Lewis, “What! You too?” Someone like Mary who appears to have everything under control had her moments when life become very chaotic. It reminded me of a Sanctus Real chorus:
Whatever you’re doing inside of me
It feels like chaos somehow there’s peace
It’s hard to surrender to what I can’t see
but I’m giving in to something heavenly
Sit down with us as I have a conversation with Mary:
NH: Can you tell me how you met your second husband, Matt, and how you became saved?
Mary: I asked Jesus into my heart on June 24, 1964, just before I turned 15. My Mom told me to write my spiritual birthday in my Bible. She suggested I write it by my favorite verse. I chose Romans 10: 9-10.
After 7 years of marriage and two sons, my husband left me for a girl at work. After 13 years of marriage and three children, Matt’s wife left him for another man. The four of us were attending the same church, but we were not friends. When our spouses left us, they quit attending church. Matt and I knew about each other, as the whole church was praying for our marriages. It is a long story… but the following year, Matt and I became friends and we were married on June 12, 1977.
NH: What caused you and Matt to make that decision in 1986 to move to California and work in full-time ministry? Who inspired you?
Mary: We felt like the Lord was calling us into ministry and we knew the directors of the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission and they told us about the position.
NH: After working 18 years, serving as executive director of three rescue missions, being the director of a recovery program, and managing a thrift store in Eureka, what caused you to become a speaker? Was it gradual or immediate?
Mary: Ever since I was young, I was interested and involved in drama. When I was about 10 or 11 years old, I organized a Vacation Bible School for about 8 or 9 neighborhood kids in our backyard. I taught a “lesson” each day and we did crafts. Mom said it was amazing how the kids were so attentive to me! I started speaking at women’s luncheons in the early 1980’s and women’s retreats in the late 1990’s.
NH: How challenging was it to find time for each other through the busy work of managing a business, working at rescue missions, and the dozen other things I read on your about page?
Mary: It was REAL DIFFICULT to find time for each other! We really had to work at it! Sometimes we succeeded and sometimes we didn’t!
NH: Did you ever experience burn out? And how did you resolve it?
Mary: Yes, I did in 1995 and 2002. Matt did a couple of times, too! We stepped back and delegated to others. However, that was hard in ministry. In 2002, I got Christian counseling and that made a HUGE difference!
NH: What is a certified personality trainer and relationship coach and how did you become one? Your website mentions three personalities and how you can help someone understand who they are and why they are here. Explain how this speaking ministry works and give examples of why it’s important to know this. How did you come up with the names of these personalities?
Mary: I was trained through CLASServices (Christian Leaders, Authors and Speakers Services). Their home office in Albuquerque, NM. CLASS was started by Florence and Marita Littauer. Both Florence and Marita have written MANY books on the subject of the personalities over the past 30 plus years. In the 1970’s, Tim and Beverly LaHaye wrote The Spirit Filled Temperament. This inspired Florence and her husband, Fred, to learn more about how God made each one of us. The LaHaye’s taught about the Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy and Phlegmatic temperaments.
There are 4 Personalities…
Popular Sanguine…Powerful Choleric…Perfect Melancholy …Peaceful Phlegmatic.
Around 400 B.C. Hippocrates theorized that what made people so different was their body chemistry. He and other Greek thinkers believed that people could be categorized into four basic groups and that the “fluids” in their bodies was what identified their temperament (or personality). Marita developed modern descriptions along with the original words to make them easier to relate to!
NH: What made you choose to play the drama characters from the Bible like Esther and Mary? How many speaking engagements have you done playing these characters?
Mary: Our Music Director at our church, in the late 1970’s asked me to portray Mary, the Mother of Jesus in a short skit, and it has grown over the years! I am not sure how many times I have performed Mary… quite a few times!!! Also in the late 70’s our Pastor asked me to portray Mary Magdalene for a Sunrise Service on Easter morning. I have performed that many times over the years also! In 2003 I was asked to perform Esther and the Woman at the Well …along with the two Marys at a weekend women’s retreat. So, through a lot of research and prayer, I will continue to write scripts for women of the Bible.
NH: What do you do with the Gideon ministry? How actively involved are you with your church?
Mary: As members of the Gideon ministry, we purchase small New Testaments and give them out to people we come in contact with, where ever we go! The Gideon organization was started in 1899 by two businessmen who decided that Bibles should be in Motel and Hotel rooms for travelers. Matt and I are on the committee in charge of the seniors group at our church. And we also host a small group that meets in our home twice a month.
NH: If you could talk with a famous person, who would it be, and what would you say to him or her?
Mary: The famous person I would like to talk to is…Mary, Jesus’ Mom. I would love to hear how she felt at different times in her life.
Mary also says her goal, “is to encourage women to be the best God created them to be, whatever season of life they are in at the present!” She hopes the women who attend tomorrow’s annual Celebrate the Season enjoy her portrayal of Naomi. If you would like to contact Mary to speak at your next gathering, you may call her at 928-277-6420 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her website is: www.marymagill.com.