Mary's obedience and service stand out from the first time we meet her. She was, of course, not perfect. However, she consistently showed herself to be a faithful follower of God's very unique plan for her life.
We meet Mary in Luke chapter 1 when Gabriel tells her that she will be mother to the son of God. I love Mary's response to the difficult-to-believe situation. She says, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word."
Mary's view of God may be best summed up in the Magnificat. At the beginning of the poem/song Mary says, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name."
Prior to Jesus' death and resurrection, Mary did not understand his full significance (see here and here). However, she knew that he had power and position beyond that of any normal person. Her words to Jesus at the wedding in Cana show this.
She also undoubtedly suffered various forms of scorn and persecution during her life due to the circumstances surrounding Christ's conception and birth. This is one example.
Mary was faithful for the entire life of Jesus. She was present at the cross, even when most of the disciples scattered. Mary was also part of the early church in Acts. The final mention we have of her occurs in Acts 1:12-14, "Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away. And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers."
Within the church today we tend to downplay Mary's significance. This may be a reaction against Roman Catholic faulty views of Mary. Regardless, the way we think about Mary ought to be driven by what we see in scripture.
From beginning to end, Mary's life can be described as one of obedient, faithful service. If we could talk with her today, Mary would in no way want us to elevate her. Based on her humility we see in the bible, we can surmise that she would accurately point our attention to her son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Mary is one of several ladies who stand out as wonderful examples to us in the New Testament. She reminds us that the church is full of amazing women.