Happy feast of the Annunciation!
It’s been crazy busy and I haven’t posted much here but I have been writing a couple posts for other blogs. I am excited to be guest posting for Sarah at Fumbling towards Grace while she prepares to move (with three little ones!) Sarah is a sweetheart who has had a rough past but has risen above it and made a new life with her beautiful family. She is a gifted writer and has the ability to open her heart and draw you in as she shares her soul. I just can’t help but love her. 🙂
Here’s a short piece I wrote about Our Lady and following her example of being a handmaid for the Lord.
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When I was younger, and after my reversion to the church, one of my favorite bible scriptures was Luke 1:38. “Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” The words touched my heart, especially since at the time I was also struggling with whether or not I was being called to a religious vocation. Part of me thought it was a beautiful and noble calling to be the bride of Christ. The other part of me thought, it’s great as long as God is not calling me, a boy-crazy romantic.
Boy-crazy or not, I went away for a summer-long discernment retreat with a group of lay consecrated women. I figured I’d give it a try (and prove that I was not called to that kind of life.) I went in thinking, “There’s no way,” but a curious thing happened in there. First, the amount of time I spent in prayer really started to soften my hardened heart. I keenly remember having to adjust to the schedule and bell that rung moving us from one activity to another. When the bell tolled, we were to stop what we were doing and move on to the next activity. There was no, “Hold on one sec,” or “Let me just finish this last bit.” Obedience to God was obedience to the rules and schedule. We learned to offer it up and say, “I am the handmaid of the Lord…”
As things would turn out, by the end of the retreat, I did not want to go home. I had never felt so close to God and wanted to offer my life in consecration to Him. However, my spiritual director and my confessor both advised me to return home and take a year off to pray and further discern. I did and during that time I realized I was called to be a wife and mother. But God used that summer to show me how to love and how to give and serve generously.
Fast forward sixteen years and now I am married with four children. I do not live in a monastery but our home is a little domestic church. I do not have a bell ringing, telling me to move from one activity to the next but I do have little ones that constantly interrupt my “plans.” Whether it is a sick child that needs attention or milk that spilled all over the counter or a bathroom accident that needs to be cleaned, there is a constant stream of opportunities for me to die to self and say, “I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
I wish I could say that I have learned to kiss the cross and offer my sacrifice with love but all too often the cross is met with a deep sigh and my muttering, “Seriously, Lord? Again?” Yeah, I have far to go but at least I am on the right road and God’s mercy is always there to pick me up and get me going again.”
So on this feast of the annunciation, let’s renew our commitment to follow Mary’s example and say yes to God in whatever He asks of us.
This post first appeared at Fumbling towards Grace.
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