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Day 22 of 26 :: When the miracles hurt.

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 HANNAH

I'm a writer, author, and online educator who loves helping others build intentional lives through the power of habit and meaningful routines.

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After Simeon lifts up baby Jesus to bless him, the text says Mary and Joseph are awestruck. I imagine the moment was a bit surreal. You carry around this revelation from God for 9 months, half-rejoicing and half-wondering if you are a bit crazy, and then someone finally sees and recognizes what you’ve known the whole time: This baby is the Christ.

It had to be a little jarring for the both of them but great confirmation of what God was doing and had already had done.

But Simeon doesn’t stay put in that moment for too long.

He turns to Mary and says to her, “A painful sword will one day pierce your inner being, for your child will be rejected by many in Israel. And the destiny of your child is this: he will be laid down as a miracle sign for the downfall and resurrection of many in Israel. Many will oppose this sign, but it will expose to all the innermost thoughts of their hearts before God.”

I mean, this had to be a lot of swallow at one time.

Put yourself in Mary’s shoes for a second: you’ve just given birth to a baby. You’ve been told– through an angel– that the baby will great and the baby is someone many have been waiting for. And then this man, who knows exactly who your baby is, interjects the moment of blessing the baby to tell you: you are going to feel the pain of this. Your baby is going to lose his life when he grows older to serve as a miracle sign to many.

I know I would have wanted to put up my hands in protest or say something back like, “Can you hold off a bit? He’s just a baby.” But Mary– being typical, mature Mary– heard what Simeon was saying and pondered it in her heart.

We all want a story of great joy.

It’s stitched in our DNA to want a reason to celebrate.

When we encounter a part in the story that is filled with God’s goodness, we usually want to bottle it up and find a way to freeze time so we can just stay in that place forever. But that’s rarely how life goes.

I’ve learned in the last few years that even moments of great joy can be intermingled with moments of great sorrow and struggle. I don’t think we ever coast to a place where only the joy exists and nothing bad ever happens.

This isn’t a call to live waiting for the “other shoe to drop” but it is a reminder to me that I cannot discount the good in my life when the bad feels pervasive.

Mary was told her inner being would be pierced with a sword. Her heart would be broken. Something horrible would happen but the outcome of it would be great news for all people. Don’t you think she wanted to ignore that prophecy? Don’t you think she wanted to skip that part of the story?

Joy and struggle can exist within the same story.

I’d even say the struggle makes the joy that much sweeter.

In my own story, I am entering into the sixth month of pregnancy and I’ll be straight with you: it hasn’t gone how I thought it would. I expected the sickness to taper off in the first trimester but it has stayed like a constant shadow throughout the last six months and it has forced me into some moments where all I am able to do is simply surrender.

The struggle has been real but I’ve noticed something from it. There are these pockets of time, brief but loud, where the joy breaks through the door and I feel it. I feel it in my innermost being and it’s deeper than I’ve felt in the past. It feels rooted in my spirit, like a deep well.

I want to say it is not my own joy but a supernatural joy God has planted in my spirit to experience within the struggle.

Would I maybe change some things or alter the story? Sure, at first glance, yes. But I know the story will never be perfect. And I know the struggle is always going to be a reality.

It’s not that joy and struggle can exist within the story– they do already. They are both very real and one sweetens the other.

I think we only have one option: we can choose to lean in. All the way into the story knowing that the struggle has a purpose.

Our pain has a purpose.

Our roadblocks, and detours, and “not yet”s have a purpose.

Struggle and joy. Joy and struggle. The greatest miracles the world has ever known contain both.

READING

Luke 2:33-35

STEAL THIS PRAYER

Dear God, I know the story will contain joy and struggle. Sometimes I wish I could rip the two apart but I see your plans in both of them. Please help me to lean all the way into the story– even when it hurts. I want to see your miracles while I am dancing on this earth.


 

 

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Hi, I'm Hannah

I love writing about all things faith, mental health, discipline + and motherhood. Let's be penpals!

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