I was reading Luke 1 again the other day, and the Holy Spirit lifted something new for me out of this favorite passage of mine.
After Gabriel tells Mary that she will bear the Son of God, she asks him, “How can this be, since I have no husband?”
I wonder the same thing sometimes about God’s plans for me. How can this be?
When I’m too harsh with the kids (all day long). When I can’t seem to get up on time for prayer and chores (and the day sort of walks all over me as a result). When I (over and over again!) spend too much time texting, Facebooking, or emailing to distract myself from the many-small-people who neeeeeeeeeed me all the time. When I get less than half of our schoolwork done for the day (or week or month). When I can’t seem to get piles of laundry off the couch. When my relationship with my husband is strained. When all of those small-stuff, tense little situations with friends or family inevitably pop up.
How can this be His will for me? How’s he gonna pull all this off with messy little me? How does He expect me to correctly navigate my way to Heaven with all of these difficult personalities I have to deal with? How is He ever going to grow me out of my recurring selfishness, insecurity, and sin?
How can this be?!
Gabriel’s answer to Mary was a beautiful answer for me, too: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you…”.
We’re not doing God’s will on our own strength. We’re not along in navigating the mess that is life sometimes, that is our own heart sometimes.
Mary said yes to the mess before she even knew what the messes were going to be. She didn’t know how exactly God was going to raise THE prophesied savior through her and Joseph. The angel Gabriel didn’t explain that Jesus’s kingship was going to look radically different than every single Jewish person of Mary’s time believed. He didn’t explain how she would navigate the confusion and judgment of her family and friends. He didn’t tell her that she would be fleeing to a foreign country pretty soon to escape an unspeakable danger to her son’s life. Gabriel didn’t explain that Mary would spend the next thirty years “just” being a mom, and probably wondering how on earth she could be doing enough to raise a King.
Mary had to trust, over all those years, that doing her best at what God put in front of her must be enough. That he was doing a work in her and through her that was infinitely more than she could hope to accomplish on her own.
In my particular life, God needs me to be a wife and stay-at-home homeschooling mother right now. He needs me to live the season of life He has given me to the best of my abilities, and trust that He’s picking up the slack beyond that. He needs me to remember that, as messy and ordinary and tiring and confusing and tempting and as difficult as my life can be, “with God nothing will be impossible.”
I feel so weak sometimes. So small and inadequate for the task of wife, mother, homeschooler, and life manager for my family. (Bandaids! Why can’t I remember to get more Bandaids? ‘Cuz all the blood, people. And Gianna hasn’t had sheets on her bed for a week. And for some reason my family’s meals are literally all carbs and dairy, all the time.) But I have been thinking lately that God needs us to know how small we are before He can really start to work with us.
You know, I think I have spent all my life reading Mary’s “Let it be done unto me” sort of plainly, dare I say “just” an acceptance of whatever God wanted to send her. But what about the “the Holy Spirit will come upon you” part? I don’t know why I didn’t see it before.
Our yes to God is a yes to His help, too. Gabriel said that, too. Mary said “yes” to that, too.
So here’s the prayer of a humble, hassled, hopeful little momma this Advent: Come, Holy Spirit!
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