Ahh, Facebook, you double-edged sword, you.
When you’re in your twenties, there comes a time when you log onto “The Book” and it’s like, overnight, every single one of your friends has gotten engaged. Scroll through your newsfeed, and it’s engagement photo after engagement photo, or better yet….babies.
Well, needless to say, it’s happening.
And I’m over here just like, “Hey! Who wants to go to boozy brunch on Saturday!?”
JK, JK… kind of 🙂
Many of these said “engagees” are people that, for lack of a better word, are blasts from the past.
You know: your former teammates from high school, elementary school buddies, that random girl you went to summer camp with one year in middle school who became your “best friend for life.”
Well, this morning, as I was lazily scrolling through FB, I found my mind wandering back to adolescence, reminiscing about my friends, now elegant and engaged, in their former brace-faced and awkward stage.
Adolescence. Boy, I remember it like yesterday. Fourteen years old, braces, Abercrombie everything, feeling on top of the world. What great years.
And spoiler alert: I was a crazy kid. Not crazy in a bad way. But crazy in a wild, goofy, spirited way.
When I was a freshman, I was on the Varsity soccer team. And one of my favorite memories was, as “initiation,” the senior girls picked me up in the middle of the night, and we went and TP’d the house of the captain of the boy’s Varsity soccer team.
For those of you that may be unfamiliar with that term, it’s when you throw toilet paper all over the trees and bushes of someone’s house. This can also include “forking” someone’s yard: aka sticking hundreds of plastic forks in the grass. These harmless pranks are signs of respect in the Midwest. Seriously.
Anyways, that was me, age fourteen. Loving life. Albeit a little irresponsible.
This past week at church, we recounted the history of when the angel, Gabriel, gave Mary the “tidings of good news”… that she was going to have a baby named Jesus.
And the passage in Luke (1:26) continues on to describe how Mary is confounded by this news. She says to Gabriel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” (AKA – she was a virgin). Gabriel replies, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you…For nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary answers, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
Mary didn’t quite understand the how/when of it all, but she said YES.
Although the Bible doesn’t explicitly state it, given the Jewish cultural history at the time, most theologians believe that Mary was 14 years old when this happened.
Allow me to say that again so it sinks in: Mary was 14 years old. An adolescent. A kid.
That is mind-blowing.
At fourteen, I was TP-ing houses, crushing on boys, preoccupied with high school dances, which table I sat at during lunch bell, and learning the hard way that eye shadow is not supposed to be pink and glittery.
What was Mary doing? SAYING YES TO BIRTHING THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD.
Yeahhhh. And I thought high school was tough.
But in all seriousness, there is a lot to learn from Mary. And whether you’re Catholic, Evangelical, or someone who is just searching for Truth and Peace in this crazy world, there is something to be taken away from that little convo between Gabriel and Mary.
When Gabriel told Mary that she was going to give birth to a son, she was absolutely perplexed, because what he was saying was literally impossible.
Mary had never had sex. Having a baby was physically and biologically impossible. And I’m pretty sure they didn’t have a hot tub to test the urban legend that you can get pregnant just by sitting in one.
But what does Gabriel tell her? “Nothing will be impossible for God.”
Nothing. Not having a baby without having sex. Not healing your heart from a recent break up. Not breaking an addiction to porn or online shopping or destructive behaviors. Not the dependence – yes, dependence – on an eating disorder, not alleviating fears or anxieties about the state of the world, or the loss of a job, or a seemingly-insurmountable amount student debt. NOTHING.
This little fourteen year old girl, who –at least in my case- would have otherwise been going through an awkward phase, trying to figure out how to wear her hair, and being a teenager – made the selfless and most trusting decision of all time: saying yes to God. “May it be done to me according to your word.”
But that’s not the end of the story.
Mary, obvs. is a predominant player in the history of Salvation. And, at least in the Bible, significant characters have significant lines. Especially when they’re the first or last words uttered.
And so it is with our heroine. The last recorded words she says, are “Do whatever He tells you.” (John 2:5) And surprise, surprise, this has to do with Jesus doing yet another impossible thing: turning water into wine at the wedding of Cana. (Are we sensing a pattern yet?)
Do whatever He tells you.
I highly doubt my fourteen-year-old self would have had the maturity or grace to make that decision.
But I do know that I spent a long time not doing that: when I was living for myself. Living for ED. And I can tell you with 100% certainty that doing opposite leads only to destruction and decay. Just ask my 78-pound, osteopenic former self.
Nobody is perfect. And though I now try to follow Mary’s example, I still, more often than not, fall short. But the key is to try. I’ve seen God do the impossible in my life: healing my spirit and releasing me from the grip of severe anorexia.
Gabriel is at your door right now. How will you respond?