Sunday, September 11, 2016

Ready or Not!

I was struck this morning by how many big things happened to Mary that she couldn't have felt ready for.

I guess first, though, I should clarify what I imagine it means to "feel ready". For me, feeling ready has to do with things feeling under control. I feel ready and prepared for something when I've had time to think through what's going to be needed and I've had time to make the appropriate preparations. I also feel ready when I've had time to process the emotions and/or issues that come with whatever I'm preparing for. According to, I'm right.

ready  adjective

1. completely prepared or in fit condition for immediate action or use:
troops ready for battle; Dinner is ready.

prepared  adjective

1. properly expectant, organized, or equipped; ready:
prepared for a hurricane.
Was Mary expecting to be expecting before she and Joseph were married? No. She hadn't been mentally gearing up for an angelic visit announcing to her that she was about to become pregnant by the Holy Spirit. She wasn't that kind of ready.

Was Mary expecting to give birth in Bethlehem? She might have known it could happen, but her birth plan wasn't followed. There was no place for them to stay! I don't believe she gave birth alone. (Seriously? I don't care how busy they were, women in Bethlehem would have gone to help once they knew she was in labor. It's what women do!) But she didn't get to interview doulas and go over her preferred pain-management strategies with anyone. She gave birth in a strange place that wasn't prepared for her and she couldn't have felt ready and under control.

Then again sometime later, she was woken up by Joseph saying Gabriel had come by again. They had to leave for Egypt. Nothing was packed. Goodbyes hadn't been said. Was she ready? Umm, no. Not in normal human terms, anyway.

Oh, this God we serve! Personal and wonderful, merciful and gracious, faithful and always present. Yes, yes, yes. Predictable? Controllable? Not really.

God's ways aren't ours. Sometimes that means that He is working behind the scenes preparing us for things without our awareness. Sometimes He surprises us! Sometimes He asks us to do things that we don't FEEL ready or prepared for. Or maybe we trust that He has prepared us and we're ready in some ways, but not in others because so many details are still out of control.

Have you guessed that's where I am right now? You may or may not already know that when school started this year I was expecting (=ready and prepared!) to spend another year tutoring at the school where our boys attend. I loved it last year and though in the summer I had wondered if God was leading me to something else, by the time school started I figured that I was in for another part-time, pretty-easy-job year.

You know where this is going, don't you?

Tomorrow I'm officially taking over one of the 4th grade classes at our school. I'm going to be a real-deal teacher again. After almost 16 years.

And in many ways I don't feel ready or prepared. My house isn't all organized and our meals aren't all planned and the laundry isn't all done and the classroom isn't all laid out and the curriculum is still being developed. I have SO. MUCH. TO. LEARN.

That's why I'm so glad that God doesn't care about

God looks at the heart. God decided who is and isn't ready. God brings new things about when we aren't expecting it and tells us to walk by faith and not by sight. He promises His overflowing, abundant grace.
2 Corinthians 9:8(NET Bible)And God is able to make all grace overflow to you so that because you have enough of everything in every way at all times, you will overflow in every good work.
As my family and I walk into this new season, that will surely be challenging for all of us in different ways, I am praying that my response to the challenges will be like Mary's. I'm praying my soul will magnify, exalt, glorify, praise, and declare the greatness of the Lord. He is good and He is with us.

Art by Mikaela
And really? As long as God is ready, I can trust that in Him I am, too.