Wednesday, December 26, 2012
But Mary, she is told she's going to give birth to God's son. Man, just giving birth is a wondrous and scary thing, but God's son? Right before she's supposed to get married???
Mary's response? "I am the Lord's handmaiden. Let it be done as you say."
You know, I bet Mary had dreams, just like any other little girl. I wonder what she thought her life was going to be like. I bet she was looking forward to her wedding. What did she want to do with her life? Did she have choices, or was she resigned to the life of a woman in her society?
But just like that, with one late night visitor, her dreams are gone, replaced with a new mission. She gave up her dreams, she didn't know if her fiance would leave her. She gave up her social standing and the respect of her family and peers.
And she accepted it with such grace. I'm sure she didn't understand what was going on, or what all of this would entail. But she allowed God to change her life.
And in the process changed ours.
I had dreams too, when I was a girl. I had my future all planned out. There was only one thing I really wanted, and everything else was planned around that.
I just wanted to get married.
I had it all figured out. I would go to the private Christian university like a good Lutheran girl and I would work hard on my Mrs. Degree. Along the way I would take some classes that could be useful as a mother, and get some certification as a church worker.
I would get married around 24. This was a good age, so that I could have a few years to really get to know and enjoy my husband before we started having children. And I wanted 5. So around 26 or so, I would start having my little bundles of joy. I wanted to be finished having kids at 35 so that I wouldn't be 60 with kids still living in my house.
It was a wonderful plan. Unfortunately the Mrs. Degree eluded me. I worked for a summer at camp, where everyone assured me I would find Mr. Right. Call me Miss Wrong. Even after I graduated and I was looking for a job, I decided to come to Japan, for once slightly thankful that I didn't have a boyfriend tying me down and I was begging people not to tell me I was going to marry a Japanese man and never come back, because it just kinda felt like I was being set up to fail.
And here I am. 33 and still single. All my jobs until now have been "filler" jobs, just to keep me until I got married. You see, I never really wanted a career. I'm not passionate about working, and I have no great talent to pursue.
I just want someone to devote myself to. I want someone who I can follow. Someone to share life with, someone to support... someone to open my heart up to and love...
And they all surrendered to God.
I don't know what God has planned for me, but for the first time I'm considering "What if?"
What if I never get married? What if I have to support myself the rest of my life? What will I do? Teaching English is not really a career. I can flit from job to job, but I don't feel like it fulfills me. Nor is it the most stable job.
I need something more long term, something I can put my heart in.
I'm still thinking and praying about this, but I'm thinking of pursuing a job working with Japanese orphans. I'm sure there are things I wouldn't like about the job, but I think that the chance to give love to children who don't have parents to love them would be worthwhile. It's one of those ideas that just feels like it "clicked" inside of me when I thought about it.
There will be some hurdles I'm sure. I need to improve my Japanese quite a bit to even consider this. And I'm not even sure how many places would like to employ a foreigner.
But this is the first time I've had a future to look forward to.
It's not my original dream, but it's a good dream. And we'll see if this is what God has planned for me.
So this Christmas, like Mary, I'm learning how to surrender, and allow Jesus to grow in me...