Updated: Dec 21, 2019
I was coasting. I knew I was coasting. I felt depressed, less than, and I was blaming my stage of life. This new stage of life that I had prayed for, I had begged for, this gift of being a Mom, which God had graciously given me, was making me feel less.
I felt less because I could no longer devote 40 plus hours a week to staff, which made me feel like I was failing. I had enough energy, barely to say hello to my husband, and I felt distant. And I always felt like I didn’t have enough time for my daughter. I can’t even mention the time I devoted to Jesus, because my time for Jesus, was whatever I had at the bottom of the barrel. In every area of my life, I felt like I had less capacity. And I felt like I was unable to change that, I felt stuck, like I was coasting.
So, I coasted into Church on the third week of Advent, unprepared for what God had in store.
That Sunday, we celebrated joy. As I looked at the passage, I wondered how could she possibly have joy? Here was a pregnant woman, who her community could potentially shun her because she was pregnant out of wedlock. She did not have financial prospects. And for all, she knew that her fiancé could leave her. She doesn’t even have Pinterest to find advice about giving birth to a savior.
Despite her bleak outlook, Mary was not spiraling in a cloud of depression. She hadn’t thrown her hands up and given up. Mary didn’t even coast. Instead, she accepted her new calling with thankfulness and joy. It is with faith that she crafted and said the iconic prayer, that we now call the Magnificent.
My husband and I had wanted a baby; we prayed for this little girl, and yet I hadn’t accepted the fact that my life had changed. Nor had I been thankful for the new life that God had so graciously given me.
I was no longer the wife who could spend hours at night talking with my husband. We could no longer drop everything to see a movie or listen to music. Even running out to get ice cream was now an ordeal that required planning. My role as the girlfriend who could join you for drinks or debate politics all night had changed. While I still was a campus minister, my work was confined to when we had childcare. Gone were the nights of responding to students late night text messages or hanging out with college kids till way too late.
My life had changed. But this new stage of life, with all the limitations and rules, was where God had called me.
The Magnificat was an invitation to hear my new stage of life as a blessing. God spoke through Mary’s words, saying, “I’ve blessed you with this child and with this new stage of life. It doesn’t make you less than, it doesn’t make you half a staff, or half a wife or half mother. I’ve called you; I’ve given you this child. And your stage of life is what makes you perfect for the calling I’ve given you.”
The words of the magnificent planted a seed of thankfulness in my heart that began to bloom. I became thankful that my baby taught me the importance of rest and modeling that rest was a blessing to my students and my team. Having a baby and less time taught me to be intentional with my friends and husband. And I’m so thankful for the gift of intentionality. And the hours I’m away from my daughter, model for her a commitment to my calling and teach me to trust the Lord with my most precious gift.
As women, we treat our circumstances as something to overcome rather than a gift from the Lord. If we are single, we consider ourselves less than because we don’t have a marriage to honor the longings God has given us. If we are married, we feel less than because we don’t have the freedom we had a single woman. Every stage of life appears to be an obstacle to overcome. However, if we see God as the author of our life and our stages as a gift from the LORD, then we have the freedom to be thankful for the blessings we are to the kingdom.
Now, as I sit rocking my second baby, a precious little boy, who we prayed for, my heart cries out, I’m tempted to be resentful of being back to sleepless nights and chained to the whims of a newborn. But instead, I pray,
“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.”