Written on December 3, 2015. By Shari Norvell
This week’s blog is a little late. Well, posted a little later in the day than usual. That’s because my day has been a bit WONDERful. No delay in this day. Just a few pauses in which to feast upon the meaning of the word Pappa gave for what I would write.
To pull all the pauses together, I will describe the last one. Entrusted to watch the grands for a bit while Momma and Daddy ran some errands, I got them both up to nap time. Ryder snuggled and sleeping on my bed, check. Knightley tucked and tiptoeing through dreamland, che…
Before sitting down to write, I made one more round through the corridor outside Knightley’s room. What I heard inside caused the pause. Noises and giggles galore. And these were not “I don’t want to take a nap” noises. They were bursts and blazes that can only be described as fantastical. It was too much for me. I had to go in and see what was going on.
So enthralled was the little man, he didn’t even know I came in at first. And what did I discover upon my entry? A little boy beholding something. A ray of sunlight filled with dust particles. He was running his hands through it, blowing into it and placing all his stuffed animals, blankets and toys in different places the light touched. Once in their perfect placement, he would look at the way the light refracted among them with a whispered “wow”.
It was then that he noticed me. I thought he might give me the “Uh-oh, I’m in trouble” look. He didn’t. Instead he gave me the biggest grin his face could hold and said, “you come” while pointing to the light pouring in through his window.
Responsibly, I should have probably put him soundly back in his bed. But, I’m a Marmie and maybe not quite as responsible as I should be. What did I do? Ummm, I sat down in the big middle of his room, joining him in blowing raspberries (the little things you do with your mouth that make an awesome noise). I had no idea until that moment how incredibly cool a few spittles look mixed with light and dust. And how pleased a little boy is when his Marmie does such a thing with him.
I never put him back in bed. When I left, he was wrapped in his blanket right in front of his window, gazing out, singing a song, completely content that someone was held in awe by the same things he was. All was well with him.
In the early morning, before even the sunrise had awakened and stretched itself across the sky, I lay remembering the dream I had in night’s starlight. I thought of it as I walked back to my room. I don’t always know how I get from point A to point B. Maybe, with some AWEsome “random” thoughts in between. Just glad to get there!
Mary was coming from some time with her friends. Upon her face hung a discouraged look as her mind replayed their conversation. It had happened again. It always happened. Something simple, like a leaf blowing across their path on the breeze. And she, would float along the breeze with it. Eventually, the rest of the group would call out to her, trying to draw her back. “Get your head out of the clouds Mary or you will fall right upon the earth we stand on.” And then the laughter. Explanation would trip over itself on its way out of her. The tumbled heap, now out in the open, would bring blank stares.
It was God. He was speaking, moving, touching.
“That’s Mary. Always waiting for a miracle. That was the God of old Mary, not now.” They spoke of the God told of in the books (Torah). She spoke of the God she held in her heart.
She didn’t blame them really. For stories such as the ones that captured her heart, had not been told for some time. For over four hundred years in fact. Oh, how she longed for their return. For them to be as real to the world around her, as they were then. As real as they were inside her, pulsating and pounding.
There was the breeze again. She loved how He spoke and spun on the breeze. Yet, this time was different. It seemed more powerful somehow. The breeze turned wind in pursuit of her. As she stopped to catch her breath, she heard the voice, insistent and relentless.
Behold, favoured one, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are you! And she, having seen, was troubled (stirred) at his word, and was reasoning what kind this salutation might be. And the messenger said to her, “Fear not, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And lo (behold), you shall conceive in the womb, and shall bring forth a son, and call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and the Son of the Highest he shall be called and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father and he shall reign over the house of Jacob to the ages; and of his reign there shall be no end. And Mary said, "How will this be, seeing a husband I do not know?” And the messenger answering her said, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon you and the power of the most high will overshadow you. Therefore, also the Holy One born from you shall be called the Son of God. And lo (behold) Elisabeth thy kinswoman has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month to her who was called barren because nothing shall be impossible with God. Luke 1:28-37
Behold is a very full word, meaning much. Yet in the context of this story we know so well, it can be narrowed to two words, "be present”. Be here, because it is where I AM. Be here, because I AM about to do something you would have believed without seeing. Yet, it is time to see. Be here as I remind you of something already done, right in your midst, that tells the telling, that I have always been here, with you.
Mary responds the way my heart ever aches to do.
And Mary said, “Behold, the bondservant of the Lord, be it to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. Luke 1:38
She said, "I’m present. I’m here. In fact, I’m not going anywhere until it is done.” Boldly broken. Bravely beautiful. Now, the God of her heart would occupy every part of her. There would be no place in her where He wasn’t held.
Joseph, bewildered and betrothed. Upheld in reputation by those around him, till now. He had before him the choice of what he would uphold. Holding loosely to what was once his greatest asset and clinging to the hope of the treasure laid before, he laid down to rest, believing sleep would come. It did, and with it, the word.
Joseph, her husband, being righteous and not willing to make her an example, did wish privately to send her away. As he considered these things, behold an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream saying, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. She shall bring froth a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sin. All this hath come to pass, that it may be fulfilled that was spoken by the Lord through the prophet saying. “Lo (behold), the virgin shall conceive and she shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which means "God with us” or “With us he is God.” And Joseph, having risen from his sleep, did as the messenger of the Lord directed him and received his wife. Matthew 1:19-24
“Be present Joseph. Be here.” Though his seed did not conceive Christ, his heart would. For he could believe all God said. Though he had not known his wife, He knew his God. There was much on the road ahead. To walk it, he would carry a name, the meaning of a name, until time to bestow it. The child was hers to carry. The purpose was his.
Emmanuel. God with us. But wait. There is more. With us, He is God. We make Him fully God. Without us, it isn’t complete. He’s not complete. The name that traveled from Heaven to earth and to the ends of it within someone God didn’t want to deliver it without. Deep and raspy in a cave, Joseph cried out, “He is with us. And with us, He can be God in every way He wants to be.” That was the yes of Joseph.
I made my own journey today as one thing led to another. And I recalled when the absence of angels and miracles ended in our family. When they returned to those wild enough to remember and not weary enough to forget.
My grandmother lay awaiting an airflight to another hospital. The doctor said she probably wouldn’t make it, but it was the only facility nearby that had the equipment that could possibly save her life. No one could make the flight with her, so we began the drive, looking for every way possible to comfort my grandad. Since no one in my family can ever remember all the words to a song, singing was out. We prayed, we laughed, we cried. And when we got to that hospital, we beheld. Before us, grandmother lay, with machines whirring, yet she was beaming. A bit later, she was out of the woods. Another meaning of behold came forth that day. “To be well.”
A bit later, she began asking for the nurse that was on the flight with her. The one that sang to her, spoke her favorite scriptures, caressed her face and played with her hair. We were told that no nurse made the journey with her. And we knew. An angel had flown with her, ministered to her and asked her to behold. To be present. To be here.
Here she stayed for some years to come. And there was no place in her where He wasn’t held.
Years later, I lay sleeping and my person happened upon the angel, playing with my hair. And she kissed his cheek.
I think of that and remember something else. Angels invading our home. We couldn’t pray without knowing they were there. Fragrances, glimmers and whispy reminders filled the house all the time. And each time they said, “Behold”. Be present. Be here. I realize now, that has always been their invitation to us. And I recognize, we were healthier than we have ever been. We were well.
And we couldn’t take our eyes of Him. Once, when we were trusting Pappa for everything (haven’t stopped!!) and angel of inheritance came and revealed itself to Axel Pearl. It wasn’t so hard to wait and see what He wanted to do. It was a lot more exhilarating to let Him be God, His way.
Oh, and the evening we set aside a time to meet with Him and had communion. Angels filled the little tabernacle we built. The kids saw the angles darting and dancing. They said they were playing hide and seek. I’ve never taken communion the same again. I am present. I am here.
And I want, more than anything, to let it be done to me according to His will. I know you do too.
In my windy writing way, I come back to Mary. For I think today, I caught a glimpse of how she held Him so fully. She received him as He filled her physical being until she held Him in her arms. She raised him, lifting him up, encouraging him until the day she utterly upheld Him at the cross. There is only one way its possible. He was never beholden to her. He was never in debt to her idea of who He was meant to be. It looked different. It felt different. Though the difference may have hounded her, she never let it hinder Him. She would not stand in the way of Him being Him. She would not, did not require His purpose to bow to her plan.
Journal about a time when Pappa asked you to be present. To be here. Maybe He sent an angel. Maybe He did it another way. As you write, let the reality of what it looks like for you to be present looks/feels like pour forth. How is life different when you are?
Ask Pappa to reveal any way He is beholden to you. Any place where you may have required or expected His purposes to bow to your plans.