So when the author of one of my favorite blogs, Holy Experience, recently published a book, my natural instinct was to not buy the book. Would I appreciate that, myself, were I to get such a sweet deal? Of course not, and I knew it was a petty and immature response. So when a friend invited me to join her in getting the book and meeting to discuss it, I put away my small-minded conceit and said yes. It has been a joy.
We have spent time discussing the Lord, His character and ways, our own lives, and Ann's craft and style of writing. She has a way of putting things down on paper that is like needlework. The slim, silver point goes in at one point with a stream of blue following through, and then it resurfaces further down the pages with the brightness of connection showing up again. And she does this with different threads throughout the chapter in varying colors of floss. As a writer I marvel and envy her talent; as a sister in Christ I consider and ponder how these flashes and shades interweave with the story He braids from my own life.
Last week we were in chapter three. On page 59 I came across something that struck me with a luminosity of understanding.
"This thanks for the minute, this is to say the prayer of the most blessed of women about to participate in one of the most transformative events the world has ever known. Mary, with embryonic God Himself filling her womb, exalts in quiet ways: "My soul doth magnify the Lord." (Luke 1:46 KJV)...I grasped at this novel hue.
So might I; yes, and even here.
Something always comes to fill the empty places. And when I give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me. This, this, makes me full, and I "magnify Him with thanksgiving." (Psalm 69:30 KJV),.... I say thanks, and I swell with Him, and I swell the world and He stirs me, joy all afoot."
I have always been leery of anything smacking of Mary worship (again, my skeptical nature showing up), so at mention of her I took a step backward. Yet as I read these reflections, I was struck not so much by Mary, but by God, and what He chose to do with a mere woman. I'm not certain my former pastor, Alan Hawkins, was the originator of this quote, but he once said, "the natural demonstrates the spiritual." The way Ann describes Mary being blessed to carry the Christ opened my eyes to a new layer of understanding of what God was doing in the incarnation.
I know what it is like to be with child, the miracle it is to carry the life of another within my body. I further know what it is like to have the Holy Spirit dwell within me. I know the triune nature of God in the trinity. But for the first time it clicked within my heart and mind what was being illustrated in the immaculate conception - Not only God with us, but God in us - His Holy Spirit,
We read, 'The angel answered (Mary), "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God." Luke 1:35 (NIV)
And, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witness in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Acts 1:8 (NIV)
Sometimes revelation comes like a window opening up to reveal a new view of color and wonder I've just never seen before. This gives me a deeper appreciation for this amazingly creative God we are blessed to call 'Abba,' who leads with cords of loving kindness even headstrong little sheep like myself.