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JUST US: Pondering

But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Luke 1:29

Have you ever wondered how many young women Gabriel approached before encountering one that said, “yes”? Or how many shepherds walked past the bush that was burning yet not burning up before Moses finally stopped to notice? What was it about Mary and Moses that made them wonder about what they saw and heard? I imagine they practiced pondering experiences that revealed the Presence greater than themselves.

Recently I have been prompted to contemplate the first time I remember experiencing a Presence greater than myself. Something different than stories of God I learned in Sunday School…

In the early 70s the Vietnam war was raging. Its fiery destruction fully exposed on the evening news was a lot for a kid to take in. One evening in particular I climbed the stairs to go to bed with the nightly news playing in my mind and fear waging war against my soul. I crawled into bed and looked about my room with its pink and white shag rug and lavender walls (like I said, it was the 70s, ha!). I was safe and secure in the home my parents built nestled in a quiet neighborhood. And. I was terrified it would come to an abrupt end in the split second it took to drop fire bombs on us. As I laid there with my body tightening around the knot in my stomach, somehow I was stirred to pray.

I prayed about my fear. I prayed about the awful happenings in the world. I prayed for safety and all the “what if’s”. At some point after my words stopped I became aware of my body relaxing, the tension retreating and taking my fear with it. All that remained was the calm rhythm of my breathing…and a sense of peace that lulled me to sleep. Nothing had changed; my parents had not come to comfort me. Yet as I confessed my fear, it no longer possessed me. Peace beyond my understanding had descended, taken over, and freed me. I can still feel the peace of that moment when I sit with it.

What is your first memory of experiencing a Presence greater than yourself? A quiet moment, in someone’s words, awe at nature, unexpected strength? I wonder how you have carried it through the years and what might be birthed from it?

In this Advent season that tempts us from watchful anticipation into busyness, may we be intentional about pausing to notice, to be curious, and ponder the unexpected greeting, the Lord IS with you.

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