‘So often life does not go the way you think it will. You’re given things to do that are too big for you. You are asked to believe things you don’t even understand. You are forced to trust people you hardly know. ‘ The Winter seeking, by Vanita Hampton Wright.
When this year began, I knew it was the year of birthing, as last year was one of new beginnings. I looked forward to it romantically, as though in a cloud, thinking the gleefully of the reaping that would be mine, not realizing that even the act of reaping would be an act of work. I, of all people, forgot the journey of pregnancy, the discomfort and anxiety of the early months, whether the pregnancy is expected and embraced or not. The extra care, the changes in lifestyle demanded by the changes happening to you. The loneliness of the journey, even when one has an active but dedicated husband on their side – the fact that in all the crucial ways, it is the one who is pregnant that must adapt to these changes. The nausea is your own even when someone holds you in the bathroom as you throw up. The fatigue, the unexplained ‘knowing’ of the status of your pregnancy throughout. The feel of the baby’s first kick, the real evidence of its existence when you probably are not really showing yet. The strong unprecedented impulse awakened to protect your pregnancy even when it is considered a crisis in itself. The ability to enjoy your pregnancy even when it compels you to be still. I won’t even start on the effect of your pregnancy to all those that are watching you… that is their story, for another day. Finally the real possibility that the child you bear, would not necessarily conform to your understanding of life – that there are no guarantees even after a successful pregnancy.
Bearing a child that Herod the Dragon wants to kill is extra risky. That was the plight of Mary, and our plight today as we submit daily to God’s purpose of designing us. To reach that point in your life, where you tire of all the mediocrity and cry out to God for the realization of your purpose to live. I am realizing now, that it is God in His Grace that sparks off that hungering and thirsting for an authentic life. AS He turns towards us, with the realization of just WHY He made us, we suddenly feel duped into that situation. We know, without first seeing what is in His Hand, what is being proffered our way, that it is something much bigger than we see ourselves to be. It is a rock that either crushes you or you can stand on as your solid foundation. And you are almost sure it with be the former only. I have realized through my own life, that the rock has to do both for you to enter into your purpose. First, you must die… be crushed into the dust from which you came, and allow the Hand that molded you in the first place, to do the work of re-making you, and breathing His life into you. You realize, that both your frame and the Spirit in you are borrowed from God, and yet, by this posture of humility and acceptance, you completely own that life. We are given a choice at every stop, to rise to a life higher than us, dependant on The Rock from which we are carved, or stay dead beneath its weight. Many choose the latter, sadly, because there is a lot of company there, and it makes more sense.
Choosing to have the child, comes with the risk and the reality of daily death. Others know it too. That is why there is this scaling up of assault, why even when they themselves chose death, they poke their decaying claws into your wounds and talk about the smell of them. They think your choices are mad and gather beneath the rock to mock and laugh at your wounds. They justify wounding you, because to the blind it distracts them from their own and each others’ decay. Talking about you, brings in them the only passion they can muster: planning worse things for you, allows them some kind of sordid pleasure. I want you to remember though, that you are alive, and that you become like the thing you focus most on. Choose wisely therefore, who will hold your gaze? Is it God, Who is Lord even over the ragging sea, or is it to those with the gusto, who really have no control over their very lives, but are reaching out to try define yours and reduce it to levels they can manipulate.
You have a high calling…so walk through this pregnancy. Your calling does involve trampling over snakes and scorpions, but not anyone that Christ died for. It calls for a humble posture, it calls for joy in the midst of the storm, and it calls for searching through the winter for the One that would give you life. Finding Him and then searching again, for the life of the child you bear, the destiny given to you, that you realize is bigger than you, depends on the depth of your surrender. Your high calling is captured in the words of a song by Josh Brandon that I was listening to last night
You raise me up so I can stand on mountains,
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas,
I am strong when I am on your shoulders,
You raise me up to more than I can be.
Mary started her walk with a glorious visit from an Angel… but her destiny involved the risk of death from the beginning. Even though Joseph married and cared for her, it was she that endured the final moments of her pregnancy in labor on the back of a donkey, far away from home, praying for just one miracle – space to be relieved of the wracking pain and deliver the child safely. When the miracle came, it involved laying besides the animals in a stable and opening her most vulnerable self to bring salvation to a world that did not understand the importance of the child in her arms. She began her postnatal journey with this child, scaling a continent to find safety, and her broken heart climaxed when she stood at the foot of a cross, where love for those who hated Him kept him submitted to their mockery, rage, and hilarity at finally getting Him on a spot He could not wiggle from. She must have seen Him upon His resurrection and ascension, but for 34 years, she nurtured a ministry that she knew would break her heart. And Elizabeth, after praying, then probably giving up all hope of a miracle, God gives her a child many must have thought was nuts. He took of to the wilderness, lived on fruits and nuts, and words of his cries seemed so unwise because they rattled the comfort of the authorities of the land, by never letting them stew in their sin. What could have been on Elizabeth’s mind had she known the truth; that the head of the miracle she had waited a lifetime for, would be paraded for the merriment in the courts of those who opposed his ministry?
When you think of your high calling, what is it that comes to mind? Are you confident of your commitment to walk the course, even when the glory of that which you bear is considered by some, as a shame. My comfort is knowing that the strain of the mountains and the fear of still and stormy waters, will be quieted on the shoulders of Him Who would again share His life and death through my own. Have a blessed winter.