I've been getting into the Christmas spirit a little early this year.
I'm tackling an attempt at writing a Sunday School Christmas Play, one where all the children are angels, watching the Nativity story unfold from afar. This has me researching and contemplating the story a little early (it's only October, afterall).
Mary has caught my attention. Her response to Gabriel, to God is the most beautiful and relevant thing I've read in a while.
I've had a Psalm 142 kind of month. (highlights: v.1 "I cry aloud to the Lord...."; v.6 "Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need...") I mean, every aspect of my life was touched by tedious, overwhelming bad stuff. There have been lots of things to be thankful for - there always are if you look for them. But, my month has been a doozie!
Reading about Mary, as she responded to the news that would change her destiny forever, gave me hope. Sure, she had just found out she would be the mother of the promised Messiah, that she was above all women, blessed. But she surely would have known that her life would never be the same - that she was kissing her imagined future goodbye. Yet she trusted God. She believed that His future for her would be better than any she had imagined for herself. And she said,
"Let it be to me as you have said."
And this has become my prayer. I hold my hands open to God and repeat it aloud. I say it under my breath when I'm feeling overwhelmed for the 6th time since breakfast. I breathe it. I'm learning to live it. I want to sing it. I want it to burst out of my life like applause.
Let it be to me...
This week I took Ash to an orthodontist appointment. Ash has no simple need for straight teeth. He needs so much work. This year he will have bone graft surgery to put some bone from his hip into his jaw so they will have somewhere to put implants. The end results will be wonderful - Ash will have back molars for the first time since he was 6. Imagine chewing all your food with only your front teeth. This surgery, and all of the appointments surrounding it, is necessary. Ash can't even remember what it's like to really chew food. But the pain is so intolerable. And the prospect of the surgeries that he will undergo this year - he's really overwhelmed at the thought of it. The timing is terrible. Ash is in grade 12 and really wants to go to university next year to study forensics. But to do that he has to do well in his final High School year. He is also dealing with side effects from the hormone therapy he needs. The dental surgeries seem to be just too much. Every appointment means he is missing school that he has to get caught back up on.
So this week, when he came out of the orthodontist office almost in tears, I had the difficult job of reminding him that all of this pain, all of this difficulty, is actually a gift! A gift because he will be able to really eat and enjoy food. Even though he is on soft food for the next 5 weeks, and has a couple of surgeries looming that will require liquid-diets, it is all for his good. He can't even imagine how thankful he's going to be that he had the opportunity for all of this work. The pain will be behind him and he will enjoy the results every day, three times a day.
And I heard God speaking to me through my own words to Ash. "I have a plan," He whispered.
I was able to sing, like Mary, "Let it be to me as you have said." Because I trust that every moment of pain is for a purpose of good. Good that is more amazing than I can even imagine.
I know someday I will "taste and see that the Lord is good," but for today it is enough to know He chooses my pain with care - planning for me a future of blessing I cannot imagine.