“Wait for the Lord, Be steadfast and wait for the Lord.” -Psalm 27
As I sat with Jesus in the Church, this was the prayer of my heart. There was a silence and stillness of a Monday evening, mixed with the quiet hiss of incense burning. Around me were a handful of other devoted people, quietly bringing their cares before the Lord. And there was a peace which seemed to surround us all in prayer. But among this silence and peace, there was this interior noise in my heart, a wrestling with the Lord.
Waiting. Recently this has been the summary of my life. I know desires I have in regards to my vocation, and yet circumstances have not seemed to completely fit together. I know what hopes and dreams I have for my job, but there are things that I still have to wait for. I know what God is asking of me in my family life, but things are taking longer than expected.
My wrestling with God…I cannot tell you how many times I have yearned, pleaded, and cried out in longing to Him in prayer, bringing Him my desires.
And this is the wrestling of all of us - of all humanity. The truth is, God does His work in waiting.
When you examine Scripture, the Old and New Testaments are filled with waiting. Salvation is rich with it. The greatest stories of God’s power and love are found in stories of utmost waiting.
Adam. Hannah. Abraham. Israel. Elizabeth. Mary. Me. You.
These stories present a reality to us women. They present a call, seen in who we are.
We are all created to receive love, and a woman’s body does this in particular. Seen in the context of marriage, we see that once we receive love, a life can grow from that love. But that life only comes after a time of waiting…A parent only holds a child after waiting nine months.
In this time of waiting in my own life, I have been pondering one of the beautiful models of womanhood and waiting for the Lord - Mary. But I have been pondering a mystery quite unlike what we commonly pray through. It is one moment in particular that we often skip over…Mary’s pregnancy with Jesus.
We often hear of the Annunciation. We hear of the Visitation. And we hear of Jesus’ birth. But it is not very often we hear about the waiting of Mary for the nine months before she physically held Jesus. Mary’s body teaches us the beauty of waiting.
Mary said yes to the angel Gabriel. Like the rest of us would have been, she probably was so very excited to hold Jesus in her arms. But in order for Christ to develop to His fullness, in order for Him to fulfill His mission, he needed to grow in a quiet stillness in her womb for nine months.
That is the silent, but powerful beauty of waiting. While Mary probably waited often for the joy of Christ being physically present to her, she also knew the present moment was filled with the gifts of the Lord. She knew that all things had their proper time, and that God was at work. In this love of God, all things, even the waiting, spoke to her of His love.
The waiting stirred in her heart an even greater desire to fully receive Christ when He came at His birth. And it is the same for us.
The waiting in your life; it can be a cross. But it can also be the desire which stirs in your heart to be filled. It can be the void that God is cultivating so that you receive the gift all the more when the time is right. The waiting is God leading you to receive Him who is the source of all gifts and the ultimate desire of your heart.
So in your waiting, be Mary. Like those nine months of anticipation for the Savior, she rested in the Lord in hope. In those moments of feeling Christ’s feet press in her womb, she knew He was coming, but it still was not the proper time. As her belly grew week by week of pregnancy, her joy increased as things came closer to Christ’s coming. Her waiting led to great desire and anticipation. Likewise, we have moments where we feel God at work in making our desires known to us, and yet, He does not have it work out completely yet. In such moments, let us ask our Lady help us model her patience and hope in the Lord. It is in such hopeful waiting that Christ can come to full growth within us, and be born into the world in the proper time.