I don’t know when it happened. When my heart got to the place of choosing not to feel anymore. I don’t even know what circumstance happened to make my heart shut down. Maybe it was the stress of this December. Maybe it was my frustration with how America acts during the holidays. Maybe it was spending time with family I don’t know all that well anymore. Maybe it was how my heart so many times was pocked and prodded, broken even, because of the pain that comes with learning to love unconditionally again. Maybe it was because I was tired of lessons that had to be learned.
I don’t think I will ever fully know the reason.
All I know is that it happened. My heart stopped feeling. It stopped wanting to live despite pain. It stopped looking for beauty.
One of my favorite parts of the Christmas story is where Mary signs up to live a life of simplicity and suffering, yet more than imaginable greatness. More blessing than she would have even hoped for. She signed up for the greatest gift the world will ever know.
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her. Luke 1:38
When Mary said that she knew she would have rejection for being a virgin with child. She knew that what she had planned for her life would be altered completely. She knew that pain would come her way.
But that didn’t stop her. She said yes anyway. And then she said this:
"My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
even as he said to our fathers." Luke 1:46-55
Among the suffering she knew she would have to go through, she knew what God was doing in her. Through her. For her. She will be called blessed until the end of time!
This morning I realized I had done the same. When I signed up for the life I live right now I knew pain was coming. But unlike Mary who looked forward to it I let my heart stop. But because of God’s goodness, He kept after me, working to make me feel again. I don’t know when my hope started to come back.
Maybe it was when my car was stalled on the interstate an angel knocked on my window. Maybe it was when I heard “And in His Name all oppression shall cease.” Maybe it was when I let go. Maybe it was when I was sitting in that McDonalds and heard “Word of God Speak” playing loudly. Maybe it was when I laughed so hard I cried. Maybe it was when I realized only God could give me a miracle. Maybe it was when I walked into Starbucks behind security and was asked, “Can you explain this verse to me?” Maybe it was on that long flight with my sister. Maybe it was walking through Macy’s in Philadelphia. Maybe it was sitting and talking to Priscilla and sipping Roots coffee. Maybe it was when I walked out from behind security and my best friend was there to give me a hug. Maybe it was when a generous mechanic fixed my car to perfection. Maybe it was when Jesus whispered to me “Alana, my beloved, I have prepared you for this. I am here with you.”
I don’t know. But on this day before the celebration of the greatest gift coming to earth so all men could be saved, my heart has started to take flight again. He, our SAVIOR is here with us. And no matter the joy, pain, frustrations or circumstances that make our lives into interesting adventures, He is here with us!