Women in the Family Tree of Jesus issue 5/5
I remember specific details about my surroundings during the moments I felt God calling me to step away from the first church I served. The experience was so powerful that I can easily recall where I was and who was around me. I remember the tears that filled my eyes that were almost immediately followed by a heaviness of heart. I remember excusing myself and finding the restroom and sitting on the floor as I experienced a huge avalanche of emotions. In those moments, I felt a lot of things, and most of it was unsettling and scary.
When an angel visits Mary, the Bible says she was greatly perplexed at what he said (Luke 1:29, AMP). The Greek word for this is diatarasso which means to agitate greatly. Mary felt nervous and confused even before the angel would tell her about her unimaginable pregnancy. She was greatly perplexed simply by the angel’s presence and his greeting. Mary received a visit by God’s messenger and it disturbed her.
When we receive a stirring of the Holy Spirit, it is most often unsettling. When God enters our life unexpectedly, it challenges what has become comfortable. We can find ourselves thinking and feeling differently. We may consider options for our life that we never dreamed could be a reality. Sometimes our world is turned on end. Sometimes we are asked to take a risk. Whatever the movement of God asks or reveals, it almost always brings change. And change is scary. We may not have known the word diatarasso, but we know diatarasso.
When we find ourselves in this place, we have two options. The first one is quick, decisive, and oh so tempting. We can ignore the stirring. We can push it down and hold tightly to the life we have. We can raise our palm to it and tell it to back off because we’re just not listening. We like our predictable circumstances the way they are, so no thank you to the invitation to adjust our priorities or direction.
Or we can hear the response of Mary. Confused, troubled, nervous Mary, who considers her questions and concerns and decides to respond to the angel with a brave affirmation of her desire to be used by God in His work. I am the servant of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word. (Luke 1:38, AMP) The news the angel brought was going to change her life whether she embraced her calling or not. But Mary provides for us an example of surrender and trust in the God she serves.
I could not have known, sitting on the bathroom floor that day with tears streaming down my face, that the decision to follow the Holy Spirit stirring and leave the church I loved would catapult me into a season of growth and healing. It didn’t happen all at once. It certainly isn’t finished. But almost seven years later, I see the work that God began in that state of confusion and agitation. I still miss that little church and the friends I love there. But they are in excellent hands with the pastor they have now. And I am in excellent hands with My Creator as I learn to more deeply trust the One who loves me best of all.
Read Mary’s encounter with the angel in Luke 1