I’m behind by two review posts, but I thought I owed everyone a real blog post tonight. My mind is cluttered with woulda-coulda-shouldas, and maybe this will help me to clear out the cobwebs. I’m
officially almost done with my first book. It’s not the prize winning novel that I started writing at fifteen (which was eerily similar to any Anne book), but I’m happy. It’s what God has given me to say. And it’s simple, like me.
When it’s finished, you’ll be the first to know. When it’s finished, the success of being completed at all will be largely due to my wonderful family and friends. I have the best, and they are currently editing, critiquing, designing, and ensuring that what comes out of this is actually something worth doing. I don’t think I’d have the guts without them. I know I wouldn’t. Last night, I teased that when this book is finished I will be immediately starting on “How to Self-Publish for Free by Taking Advantage of Friends and Family”. They thought I was kidding.
Thank you, girls!
On Saturday, I’m filling a twenty minute speaking slot at a local women’s event. I was given “courage” as my topic. It’ll be the first time I have spoken in front of people in quite a while. I’d be lying if I said I was nervous, though. I’m not.
So just think of this blog post as a much needed practice run. M’kay?
I think I’m going to start out by reading from Luke chapter one:
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
And then I’ll make some kind of joke like, “Yeah, it was just that simple,” or something that sounds less blasphemous.
I realize that it would be impossible to capture the emotions and details of every noteworthy biblical event. But as a woman, the lack of detail here has always been a little humorous to me. It’s a good thing that God inspired men to write the Scriptures, though. Even though I believe that every word is inspired by the Holy Spirit, it would have been harder for a woman not to ramble.
Especially in a story like this.
In Scripture, every time an angel approaches a person (or every time that is coming to my mind right now), he tells him/her not to be afraid. Now, that’s mostly cause angels don’t look like this…
(cue stuffed angel/cupid that I borrowed from my girls)
But it’s also because of the message the angel is sent to deliver. And in Mary’s case, I think inevitable fear (because the angel wouldn’t tell her not to be afraid unless she was afraid) is due to the message.
28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
I think Mary knew that being favored by God means trouble! And (after the initial shock wore off) I think she was OK with that.
In 2012, very few people are unfamiliar with the concept of the virgin birth. As Christians, it is a building block of our faith and Jesus could not have been God without it. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and He was placed in the womb of a virgin.
But Mary had not heard the stories most of us have grown up with…and neither had any of her friends.
For Mary, proclaiming the gift (to the whole world) that was growing in her womb was akin to claiming an abduction by aliens. God set her up to be crazy! And she couldn’t hide her faith. She was pregnant with it.
In November of 2010, my husband left me. We had had many, many troubles in the beginning of our marriage, but we’d survived them. We’d spent the previous two years proclaiming the miracle God had worked in our lives. Somewhere around a thousand people checked in on us daily to read about our restored marriage. And then, we (both) allowed Satan to get a foot hold, and my husband left me holding a pile of worthless effort and shiny, nonsensical works.
When he left, I immediately knew that everything was going to be OK. More than OK, I knew he would be coming back home. Though I went through my own times of doubt, later on, my immediate fear was not over my situation, but over how others were going to perceive it. I couldn’t even voice this until, while on the phone with Jen, she ironically asked in a hushed and tearful whisper, “What on earth are you going to tell your readers?”
And I had no idea.
God continually, if not daily, told me not to be afraid. He knew I was. He knew that walking through a friend’s baby shower as an abandoned woman, smug marrieds only, my faux diamond catching every possible opportunity to glimmer, made me feel like a six year old girl playing house. He knew how ridiculous I felt in my faith. But He wouldn’t let me hide it.
I wonder if that’s just a small taste of what Mary felt as she walked through town…alone, but less alone than she’d ever been before.
When Jesus impregnates us with faith, He rarely allows us to hide it. He sets us up to look crazy. Maybe that’s when we prove what we really believe. Insanity is staring down the opposed path and finding it welcoming. True courage allows for, even demands, a little fear, but then it also demands that we walk all over it.
I think I’ll say something like that.