It was almost 22 years to the day.
I was 9 months pregnant and due on January 8th. That’s what THEY SAID; SHE had different plans.
When the doctor finished his examination, he calmly stated that I would be having a baby, “TODAY.”
“TODAY, as in TO-DAY?”
“Yes, and we’ll need you to head to the hospital – NOW.”
“What? That is NOT the plan.”
“It is now and if you can’t assure us that you’ll head straight for the hospital, we can arrange for an ambulance.”
I went out to my car, a baby blue Ford Escort, on an absolutely frigid day in Chicago, ice and snow covering the ground. That little car needed time to warm up, so I sat reluctantly patient for a moment and waited, all alone. I was trying to wrap my head around the fact that I WAS GOING TO HAVE A BABY!
The journey had been a long one. I had prayed for years, endured fertility treatments for years and I knew the magnitude of this event. The day had arrived and it looked NOTHING like I had planned.
My husband was downtown in a pre cell phone age, and I needed to get word to him.
Travel plans needed to be changed.
I still had Christmas shopping to do.
I was told that I could not even PACK my own bag; I needed to get to the hospital immediately.
As I sat there in the car, overwhelmed in the moment, a song came on the radio. Now, it wasn’t the first time I’d heard it, but the first time I HEARD it…
” I am waiting in a silent prayer. I am frightened by the load I bear. In a world as cold as stone, Must I walk this path alone? Be with me now ~
Breath of Heaven, hold me together, be forever near me…breath of heaven… Breath of Heaven, light in my darkness, pour over me your holiness, for YOU are Holy…”
In my hormonal state I sat there and WEPT.
For the first time in my life, I imagined Mary, the girl.
Faith and trust in plans that are not mine.
I imagined her hearing the plans for her and submitting out of faith. I am certain that when the angel told her she was going to carry GOD’S child, it was not what she had imagined for herself, nor was the donkey ride to Bethlehem or the barn in which HIS life would begin, OR the “relocation” to Egypt, but she remained unwaveringly faithful to the plans that were never hers in the first place.
I’d LOVE to say that it was the naivety of being a twenty-something and I learned EVERYTHING about trust, faith and patience that day, BUT I’ve come to learn, it’s a LIFELONG process.
5 years later, in another miracle from GOD, I found myself pregnant again at Christmas (there was another miracle birth in between, but she was a summer babe. God knew that I couldn’t handle THREE Christmas babies.) With two in tow to the doctor late in the month of December, I was again in a vehicle, which by this time had been upgraded to a van, and this time, I was IMPATIENT.
Both of my other children had been weeks early and surely this one would be too. I was anxious, and fitful, because again, I had a plan; I was ready! Again, timed perfectly, HE placed THAT SONG into my world and again, I cried.
This time, it brought me back to Mary and her patience. Patience with God’s plan: not her plan, and I sat still in the reminder, not my plan, but HIS.
I THOUGHT I had learned what I needed to five years earlier. Apparently not, and in all transparency, 22 years later I am still learning, aren’t we all learning as we continue to walk towards home.
As 2016 began, we found ourselves in the midst of plans which were once again rearranged. We found ourselves, in essence, back where we began. Back in Chicago, not expected in any way,(sort of like Mary and Egypt ;)) but through a long year of stillness, testing and coming to the Lord with honest, heartfelt prayers, He has proven again His faithfulness, in His time; always and only in HIS time.
Refining patience and cultivating deeper faith and trust and patience: WRECKS me every time.
So, as I prepare my heart for Christmas this year, I find myself dwelling on Mary, her obedience, her faithfulness and her patience. In these final hours of Advent, I am tuning my heart to the grace of abundant, radical faith and patience once again, in a world that would likely laugh at Mary and her response to the Lord.
I pray you’ll linger with Jesus, the breath of heaven, and allow HIM to pour over you HIS holiness. A holiness that dissolves anxiety and brings peace. A holiness that resists impatience and replaces it with trust and faith, even when all hell is breaking loose. A holiness that reflects divine wisdom and truth. It is in that holiness that we can come to a sacred space where we fully and humbly offer those same HARD words that Mary did,
“I am the servant of the Lord. Let this happen to me as you say.” (Luke 1:38)