Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
Listen for The Voice. Not a voice.
These last couple of weeks have been a blur, on a personal level my schedule consisted of finishing my current degree program, making arrangements for the next steps in my new degree program and discerning God’s will pertaining to the direction in which I needed to walk this summer concerning internship and career opportunities.
And of course celebrating Easter.
As I was going through the processes listed above my first and foremost thoughts were tempted to revolve around what I am not. I am not qualified. I am not done. I am not ready. I am not sure.
I had and have these great dreams of doing these great things. (Not earth shattering great things, but personally world shaking great things). The things I have deemed would be great to do. The purpose I believe God may have created me for, what motivates and inspires me. My dreams.
But there is something about those next steps.
Taking the next step is absolutely terrifying.
Taking the next step is all we want to do, all we plan for, all we patiently train and study and move toward…
But when we reach that threshold there is this moment.
A moment of complete vulnerability as we realize this next step will not only reveal the strengths we have carefully crafted, but the weaknesses we have yet to uncover and develop.
The path has changed so many times before. I have no doubt that it will continue to take unexpected turns. Unfortunately I have not been able to convince God to hand over the map- not even to let me get a quick glance.
So in the middle of the chaos of life and choices and unworthiness and vulnerability-
Easter broke me.
Easter shattered everything. Easter shatters every prerequisite, every sensible and rational doubt or reasoning.
Easter is the epitome of the impossible, improbable and impractical. Defined by love more powerful than the depths of Hell and by a mission not even satan could foretell.
Easter reminds us that we don’t have to be qualified. We don’t have to know the answers. We don’t have to be ready. And we don’t have to go alone. He will qualify us, He knows the answers, He is ready and He is already there and right beside us.
Standing in the threshold is like the dawn of Easter morning. Coming out of the dark into the light. Behind you is where you’ve been and ahead of you is what is next.
And you may not know exactly what that day is going to bring and you may feel as if you had all the wrong answers and you may be fighting doubt and fear and despair and remembering “better” (aka safer) days but…
What is on the other side is so brilliantly and dazzlingly worth it, something that you yourself never could have imagined in your wildest dreams.
How do we know this? Amid everyday, ordinary life, how do we know that something as simple and complex as taking the next step will ultimately lead to something so awe-inspiring and wonderful?
Because He has called our name.
Just as He called Mary’s. Mary who had just come through the darkest night.
Mary who I am willing to bet was surrounded by voices telling her all she’d believed, all she held true, all she’d trained for was wrong. Mary who was surrounded by those waiting to crush her.
Can you imagine? I am sure that between Friday and Sunday morning, more than once the enemy had come against her, that the enemy had attempted to put visions of all the stones being picked back up in her head. As she clung to Jesus words, I do not condemn you either. I love you. You are worthy, not because of what you have done or who you are, but because of who I am and what I have done.
Easter reminded me to look closer when I was tempted to look back.
Because amid all of the failed paths and unexpected turns, I can see how it has all shaped me and brought me to exactly where I am now. I can see the story that they’ve crafted and I can recognize that had those paths gone the way I had planned it may have been good, but the story would not be nearly as great as the one I am in now.
And as much as I love a good story, only God knows what it means to me to be part of His Great story which we have only yet begun to grasp.
There is a song by I Am They titled Scars. The beginning includes the lyrics:
“Cause my brokenness brought me to You/
And these wounds are a story You’ll use”
God used Jesus’ scars to tell the greatest story. And that story has not ended…
As I set aside all the doubts and questions and replace them with the memories of the times He has done all He has promised…
He qualifies me. He strengthens me. He enables me. He calls me.
And the scars? Those twisted paths? Those thresholds?
They’re apart of the greatest story, one we have not yet fully imagined.