So as a reader I have a little bloggy pet peeve--I can't stand it when authors are cryptically vague about something that you can tell is specific and probably kind of huge in their life. Ugh I hate it! Why do you play those mind games authors?? But...as a writer who just/is currently walking through some huge life changes...I get it. But because of my pet peeve there were certain drafts I just couldn't bring myself to post without everyone being privy to the details that are underneath. So here is a post that I've been sitting on and waiting to share. If you haven't read about or heard about our big life changes...you may want to do so before you continue.
I used to think about Mary so much during Christmas. What was it like for her? Was her pregnancy one of those easy-breezey ones or was she constantly sick and achey? Was she freaking out? How could she not be freaking out? Thinking especially of my teenage self, I can't even comprehend being so favorable to God that He would have wanted to use me in such a huge way. And then to try and grasp what it must have been like to be pregnant with Jesus in such bad circumstances. It's always fascinated me, I could go on but I won't.
This Christmas though, my fascination dulled a little. Not to mention my love of the cheesy Christmas song "Breath of Heaven" has completely been eradicated.
All this time I just thought--gosh Mary must have been so freaked out!!
And standing here today as a woman who is a couple days away from homelessness and moving in with her in laws, leaving the life she knows with three kids 4 and under, whose husband has not quite been hired for a new job and new career, who is living out of suitcases and about to move across the country with suitcases and family...I think I get Mary more than I ever have before.
I think it is suffice to say that I have good reason to be freaked out and scared.
But I'm not.
When the angel told Mary not to be afraid...I know that was it for her.
How could she be afraid after that? Of course she wasn't.
When God speaks to you personally or sends one of his beautiful heavenly beings to speak to you a message of joy and responsibility and calling and peace and SPECIFICALLY not to be afraid, it hits you in a way.
It hits you in a way you can't even fathom or explain. You hear the shock and fear in the responses of those around you. You note the unorthodoxy of it all. But in a way that no one else can feel or know...you are courageous and fierce and confident and brave.
It hits you in a way that makes you stand tall and take steps that would make the you of a year ago cringe.
In the midst of phone calls and homecomings from Austin that almost always included the phrase "So I was thinking" or "I was talking with so and so today and..." it became harder and harder for me to join Austin on the joyful journey of dreaming and brainstorming. Instead I wanted to be afraid and I was.
But one glorious day in my time reading and praying and drinking coffee (can't neglect that third part, it's crucial to the life giving process of spending morning time with the Lord) the Holy Spirit said clear AS. A. BELL. "Do not be afraid."
"Do not be afraid."
It sounds so simple but it rocked my world. Because God knew that I was nurturing my fear. God knew that each time I heard that fun little phrase "So I was thinking and..." that my heart shrank back and my hand wanted to clamp down on what felt comfortable and safe. God knew that my allegiances to those fears grew stronger, thus weakening my allegiances both to Him and Austin.
Over time Austin would easily become more of an adversary than an ally if my fear continued.
I had my call and I had my choice in front of me.
And that evening as I chopped carrots with my back to the door, Austin walked in and (I'm serious, I promise I did not twist this story for the sake of an anecdote) first thing off the bat he said "So I was thinking and..." And I kept rhythmically chopping away and thought "I won't be afraid. I'm not afraid."
And you know...God saw it through. It makes no sense whatsoever. It's ludicrous. And even though I am grieving the loss of our life here and sad at times....I'm still not afraid. Not one stitch. I don't say that to pat myself on the back but to say "Look what He has done!" I know in my heart it is truly a miracle.