“How will this be, since I am ____?”

2 Dec

In my reflection this morning, I came across a powerful thought that was spoken directly from the lips of Mary herself. When the angel came upon her and frightened her, telling her she was about to bear the son of God, she asked the angel a question that is similar to a question I’m constantly asking God.

She says, “How will this be since I am a virgin?” Good question, Mary. It seems impossible. For all intents and purposes, it IS impossible. Except that it wasn’t.

The question of “How?” surrounds me. If I’m in this hard place, HOW will I ever feel better? If my friends are struggling with getting pregnant, HOW will it ever work for them to have children? If I have so many great single girlfriends, HOW come they aren’t married yet? If my friend’s mom has cancer, HOW will she get through it? If something in my friendships or family relationships is off, HOW will it become right again? If there is so much injustice in the world HOW will God ever be able to make it right? HOW will I ever attain all of these dreams that God’s put in my heart?

“How will this be, God?” Sometimes God takes his sweet time answering. On those days, I honestly just cry through my shower and then cry through my lunch break and cling to the hope that things are going to get better soon. Sometimes on those days I get encouragement from a friend that gets me through it and that’s enough for that moment. But then there are those times that I’m full of hope after asking the “how” questions. Times when I remember that just because I ask how doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. Mary questioned her calling. She questioned God. And yet she still became arguably the most famous woman to ever live. Not that it’s all about fame,  but my point is, God was not disuaded by her questions. She still had an assignment. She still fulfilled it. She was scared. She was young. She was unsure. But she said yes to it all despite the how. She trusted that although she had a How, it would all work out.

So I’ve been asking myself another question. “How am I going to get through the holidays?” They seem harder this year. Lonlier. More “going through the motions.” Luckily, I’ve been studying advent and the anticipation of the coming of Jesus. And in small moments I remember that’s what it’s about. The anticipation. It’s not about me and my problems. It’s not about all of the junk I’ve been carrying around. It’s about that whisper that comes between Christmas carols. It’s about the breath I breathe when I first get out of the car on a cold, December night that’s crisp and smells like burning leaves. It’s about those moments of joy I feel in between my tears. In those moments, the HOW fades away and I anticipate. I remember why I believe. I remember that God is good. I am alive right here and right now. And I think that if I miss those moments, I’m missing the point. Sure it’s okay for me to be in this season. Most days it’s really hard. But I can still ask how. I can still wonder. And maybe in between those moments, I can remember Mary and realize that her “How” wasn’t the end of her story. It was really just the beginning.

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One Response to ““How will this be, since I am ____?””

  1. T December 2, 2010 at 10:07 am #

    M…

    Your recent posts have spoken to me in so many ways and I want you to be encouraged and know that others are praying for you. Near, and far.

    Last year my former church did a 3 part sermon series that I think could be particularly helpful for you (it was for me last year. It is called Christmas Songs and you can find it at http://www.gracedc.net

    Small excerpts about the sermons:

    Christmas Songs: Joy in the Low Places
    November 29th, 2009 by Glenn Hoburg

    Christmas has undergone a makeover in the past decades, from a story of salvation to nostalgia. The music reflects it: “Have yourself a merry little Christmas, let your hearts be light” vs. “Come, O Come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel.” And, in this way, Christmas has become exclusive. If you don’t have a light heart, a happy family around a festive table, someone to smooch under the mistletoe or presents stacked high, it’s hard to get in on the joy. However, the origin of Christmas was never meant to be for the already joyful, rather it has always been for people in the low places.

    Song for the Waiting
    December 6th, 2009 by Glenn Hoburg
    Songs about snow, family gatherings, and gift-giving have their place; they help us celebrate the beauty of winter, community and generosity. However, they do not speak to those questioning, waiting or even doubting. You have to go the original songs of Christmas for that. As we listen in on Zechariah’s song, we learn that Christmas is a season for those who long and wait and wonder: Will God be gracious?

    Songs for the Suffering
    December 13th, 2009 by Glenn Hoburg
    Understanding the original setting of the first Christmas songs help us to really appreciate what it’s about. The songs came to and through people who were oppressed, politically occupied, aching with longing and smarting from shame, yet who saw a marvelous promise come true – the birth of God’s Savior. And the scope of the salvation He came to bring invites us into a comfort much bigger and deeper than the holiday songs offer.

    With Love,
    T

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