In the Waiting: Find strength in joy

In the Waiting: Find strength in joy

When the angel first appears to Mary her first reaction is not joy! In fact, one version of the account in Luke says she was “greatly troubled” and another says she was “thoroughly shaken.”

The angel has to reassure her and tell her “not to be afraid.”

In fact, the reaction from Mary followed this pattern: fear, questions, and then acceptance.

It can be easy think that straight after the angel left, Mary sang her song of praise. But, we need to remember that she visited her cousin. As Elizabeth lived in another town, Mary  would have to make a journey of at least three days to get to her cousin’s house from Nazareth. This would have been three days of thinking time.

I wonder what Mary thought about on that journey. She knows she can’t stay with Elizabeth forever. Her life is going to get harder as more people notice her obvious belly. I wonder if she had already had that all-important conversation with Joseph? Was she mulling it over? Or rehearsing how it would go?

So much to worry and wonder about. And yet, when she arrives at Elizabeth’s house, she responds to her circumstances with a song of praise.

Mary’s prayer of gratitude and praise comes in the midst of very hard circumstances. She didn’t get to praise and gratitude straight away, for that would have been a false acknowledgment of her circumstances. But when she finally gets to her point of acceptance. She chooses praise.

I love this line from the Bethel song that inspires this series:

Sing praise my soul, find strength in joy

Mary faced nine months of uncertainty about her role as a new mother. Nine months of figuring out with her relationship with Joseph. Nine months of dealing with the inevitable questions and comments from her community. But faced with these nine months, Mary learned that the key to surviving the waiting was to find strength in joy.

What about you in your waiting?

Have you gone through the stages that Mary went through? Have you gone through fear, questions and acceptance? Have you looked at all the facets of your circumstances numerous times? What would life look like now if you choose praise? What would it look like if you choose gratitude?

For there is strength to be found in releasing all to the one who can hold it all. There is strength to be found in praise in the face of your circumstances. There is strength in joy.

Reflective Prayer:

Father,
I have been afraid,
I have questioned,
I have accepted
the path placed before me.

Yet still I worry
still I wonder.

I ask you now
to help me
praise you
in spite of
my circumstances.

I thank you
that you are
present.

I thank you
that you
can give me
joy
even in the midst
of the waiting.

Amen

In the Waiting: Hold on to Hope

In the Waiting: Hold on to Hope

The birth of Jesus is not the end of the story. Yes, it is the advent, the arrival that we celebrate at Christmas. But this baby still had to live, he had to grow and learn, he had to start his ministry, he had to gather his disciples, he had to teach, he had to suffer and he had to die.

And there was persecution and challenges right from the start. The second chapter of Matthew details the jealous vendetta of King Herod against this newborn child.

Continue reading “In the Waiting: Hold on to Hope”

In the waiting: slow down

In the waiting: slow down

My youngest daughter decided she was going to read the bible. We suggested she start with the new testament, and after a short while reading she exclaimed, “there’s a lot of babies in this story.”

She had been reading the gospel of Matthew which lists the lineage of Jesus. Starting from Abraham, through David, to his father Joseph.  As the passage itself says, there are 14 generations from Abraham to David, and 14 generations from David to the Babylonian exile, and then 14 more generations from the exile until Jesus. As my daughter said, “That’s a lot of babies!” There is very long time between the promise of the Messiah and the arrival of him.

Continue reading “In the waiting: slow down”

In the Waiting: Advent Devotional

In the Waiting: Advent Devotional

This year has been one of waiting for me. At first it was a waiting that led to a disappointment. Then it was a waiting that I felt compelled to do, even though all that was within me yearned for movement.

I have been waiting on others, waiting on peace, and waiting on God. I feel like it has been a year of many reminders again, and again, of God’s promises to me and yet still I have had to wait.

Continue reading “In the Waiting: Advent Devotional”

Three life hacks I use to snatch time in my week

Three life hacks I use to snatch time in my week

My eldest has a new turn of phrase that she loves to use, “life hack.”

My week can often be about the things I need to get done, and there are days when I don’t get a chance to do some of the things I would love to do, like read, write, and listen to podcasts.

I have been mulling over this phrase life hack, and I realised I have some life hacks of my own that I use to snatch time in my week. Continue reading “Three life hacks I use to snatch time in my week”