She stands, eyes cast down, face thin and pale. Mother Mary, who said yes to carrying the Son of God in her womb. The fear! The joy! The expectancy! The submissive spirit, casting reputation to the wind!

Nine months to wonder—who will he look like? What kind of personality will he have? What will his mission be?

Eighteen years of boyhood: Skinned knees. Tears. Giggles. Games of tag and hide’n’seek. Building forts in olive trees. Learning woodwork at Joseph’s knee.

Did she know of the suffering ahead? Would she had said “yes” if she did? Would she have agreed to stand beneath that cross?

Hand on heart, without a word, Mary relays a message to me:

Keep on saying yes when you want to scream no.

Your heart, like mine, is large enough to contain a universe of joy and tears. Remember the gift He sent to live within your heart—the Holy Spirit, Breath of God, who brooded over the chaos as God considered his artist’s palette before He began the work of creation.

Yes, she whispers. I weep. You weep. God weeps. Jesus weeps. Spirit weeps. We weep over wrong turns and bad choices; rejection and unkind words; mental and physical illness.

Yes not only means accepting the suffering that comes with deep love. It also means opening your heart to the effervescent joy that erupts in perceiving ALL that God has wrought—woodpeckers pounding, river rushing, birds serenading, leaves letting go,  healing flowing—God’s creative power all around you and within you—in your heart that breaks open again and again.

Reach down and pick up an acorn. Know that it’s only with the breaking open that seeds break forth in green tendrils tenacious enough to form a mighty oak! 

Break me open, Lord. Let me be a woman who trusts that you are a God who is there in the midst of ALL of it—the mud and the mire, the dying to self, the cracked relationships. Let me walk forward as a bearer of your light; a light that shines out of the wounds I’ve so struggled to understand and accept.  Amen.

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