Tag Archives: Jesus

So. How was your Christmas?

Mine was pretty much like the rest of this year – an absolute whirlwind of the loosely planned being usurped by the surprising. Though I learned the hard way that if you spend half the day holding small children and hefting a turkey in and out of the oven your arms will ache for atleast a week. Even brushing my hair is a challenge - sorry to anyone who has to be seen with me in public right now.

Christmas Joy: Getting to meet my 6-day old new favourite
Christmas JOY: Surprise visit from my 6-day old new favourite

I must confess, I was not ready for Christmas this year. I don't understand how its come and gone already, I'm still waiting for summer. I was the most Grinch of all the Grinchs and so reflecting on the reason for the season was not forefront of my mind. But what I did realise is that Christmas is all about abiding - Jesus came to abide (live/dwell) with us, so that we could abide (live/dwell) with him.

The birth of Jesus was the beginning of the end of our separation from God. It changed everything. Jesus came to abide (live/dwell) as light in the darkness, offering us hope, peace and joy.

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God was no longer as distant as before. But here. Present. With us. Immanuel.

And just a few short decades later the death and resurrection of Jesus would change it all again. Giving us access to a home we could fully abide (live/dwell) in together. Forever.

But it’s not just for the future, if nothing else, this absolute madness of a year has taught me that abiding is also for right here, right now. This very moment. Here. Present.

Everyday in China I asked God for the grace to make it through just that day. And the next day I asked the same. And the next day the same again. But I think what I didn't have the words to ask for was this:

O Lord. Life passes by swiftly. Events that a few years ago kept me totally preoccupied have now become vague memories; conflicts that a few months ago seemed so crucial in my life now seem futile and hardly worth the energy; inner turmoil that robbed me of sleep only a few weeks ago has now become a strange emotion of the past; books that filled me with amazement a few days ago now do not seem as important; thoughts that kept my mind captive only a few hours ago have now lost their power and have been replaced by others... Why am I continuously trapped in this sense of urgency and emergency? Why do I not see that you are eternal, that your kingdom lasts forever, and that for you a thousand years are like one day? O Lord, let me enter into your presence and there taste the eternal, timeless, everlasting love with which you invite me to let go of my time-bound anxieties, fears, occupations and worries.... Lord teach me your ways and give me the courage to follow them. Amen." Henri Nouwen

This is what abiding this year has looked like - an invitation to let go of my time-bound anxieties, fears, occupations and worries. To live fully loved, at peace, joyfully, on a foundation of trust.

Is this what I've been doing all year? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha (pauses to breathe and then resumes hysterical laughter) hahahahaha.

No.

I had to go to China and back to figure this out, let me save you the journey and the planet the carbon emissions. Turns out sometimes abiding feels like a picnic in green pastures beside still waters.tanguy-sauvin-3118-unsplash

But also, abiding can feel like being on a rollercoaster, holding on to the edge of your seat, both eagerly anticipating what’s next and dreading it, uncertain whether to laugh/cry/vomit/all three, wondering why you’ve put yourself in that position AGAIN and why no-one told you it was a bad idea, clinging for dear life/faith/sanity onto the knowledge that God is good and God is with you always even if it doesn’t feel like it, and praying it will all end soon so you can get off and return to life on terra firma.

Christmas, a solid reminder than wherever we find ourselves and whatever is going on God abides with us. Our choice is whether we abide with Him at the picnic, the rollercoaster or elsewhere.

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By Jessica Hagy
By Jessica Hagy
This simple diagram has led me to so much fun and gotten me in so much trouble.
I love comfort. I love not having to embrace the difficult, the stressful and the uncertain. And yet…
Life outside my comfort zone has taught me things I couldn’t have learned any other way. Life outside my comfort zone has developed my character and helped me to grow in faith and hope and love.
Life outside of our comfort zone is both exciting and terrifying. There’s always the possibility of failure with a side plate of embarrassment and wounded pride. But there's also adventure beyond anything we could imagine.
Ever been asked what you would do if money were no object? Apparently, retire tomorrow and travel the world with my friends is not the response people are after. But maybe the question is too narrow – it assumes our only limiting factor is finance. Perhaps a better question would be: what would you do if you trusted even just a little bit more in the goodness, faithfulness and love of God? What would you be brave enough to attempt?
Would we be bolder? More adventurous? More generous? More loving? More forgiving? More hopeful? Would we find it easier to ignore the lies of doubt, fear and worry? Would we be more willing to push the boundaries of our comfort zone?
Jesus said he came to give us life in all its fullness. A fullness which empowers us to make decisions based on faith and not fear. Faith that God loves us beyond our understanding and there's nothing that can separate us from his love. Faith that God is with us wherever we go - whether we're riding the wings of the morning, going into a difficult situation or even to The Gambia. Faith that God is good all the time, and all the time God is good - whether everything goes well or whether we have to rise from the ashes.

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Confession: This life outside the comfort zone is not the life I usually live - I like comfort, did I mention that already? Though occasionally, I dare greatly enough to start a chain reaction that means I have no choice but to leave my Empire of Comfort and embrace the terrifying, exciting, uncertain and unknown. Case in point: I've waved a fond farewell  to my colleagues and have quit my job with no plan  more detailed than 'travel/volunteer in the general Africa or Asia area.' There’s not much about this that sits in my comfort zone.
I keep being told I’m brave, I don’t know about that – brave, foolish, there’s a fine line between the two and given that it feels like I’ve set my life on fire and at least five times a week day hour I ask God what I’ve done and why I couldn’t be content to just be normal, it certainly doesn’t feel brave. Rachel the wild hippy with flowers in her hair would be disappointed at my inability to embrace this unknown. So here I am, currently navigating the outer reaches of my comfort zone – if anyone wants to come join me YOU’RE MORE THAN WELCOME - I have drinks, food and an epic playlist. The sunrises are amazing and the night skies are devastatingly beautiful. And I have a small idea of where we might end up. Everyone but my Nan and sister will love it!
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Sometimes I make myself sick because the very fact that I've written this post means I need to go out be be braver than I want to be. Well done Rach.
What would you do if you trusted even just a little more in the goodness, faithfulness and love of God? What would you be brave enough to attempt? Dare greatly team.

And so, dear reader, the year of endurance is almost over. Rejoice! Celebrate! Kill the fatted calf and pour the drinks! Next year I’m gonna be the Queen of quitting.
I’d love to have a nice shiny pearl of wisdom to impart to you, some eloquent revelation about endurance and what it means. But all I have is three words – stay with it.
Endurance is about staying with it when you’re tired, when you’ve run out of options, when you just want to give up and all you have left is an itsy bitsy teenie weenie tiny glimmer of mustard seed sized hope.

Stay with it – stay with doing hard and holy things, stay with believing God for impossible things, stay with brazen hope, just stay with God through it all in this season you are in." Ann Voskamp

2017 has not been my favourite year (17 is a prime number so we were already off to a bad start - prime numbers are selfish and I don’t like them). But if nothing else, this absolute non-ironic 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife kinda year has taught me that sometimes all you can do is take a deep breath, take your shoes off (it’s grounding) and choose to stay with God.
Endurance is about sticking with faith/hope/love through the minutes/hours/days/weeks/months that started with such promise but seemed to crash and burn despite your very best laid plans of prayers and intentions. Endurance is about sticking with it through the doubt, the fears and tears. Endurance is making decisions based on faith and not fear. Endurance is about staying with the hard and holy things. [Disclaimer: Endurance is not about staying with the abusive, unboundaried and destructive things. Run like you’re about to miss the last train home from those.]
Stay with brazen/bold/barefaced/shameless/unabashed/audacious/unashamed hope – I JUST LOVE THIS.
The secret to endurance? It’s there, written to a people who were being beaten up, jailed and killed for choosing to follow Jesus. We endure by keeping our eyes on Jesus. The number of times I have had to relearn this lesson over the past 12 months is quite frankly embarrassing.
When we take our eyes from Jesus we can find ourselves looking at the situation and start to sink, just like Peter walking to Jesus on water. The weight of what we carry can seem too big. We forget that Jesus invites all those wearied and burdened to come to him for rest.
I used to think endurance was about continuing to move forwards  through the difficult things. But actually, maybe it’s sometimes just about staying on the course - sticking with faith and hope and love when absolutely everything tells you to give up.
Endurance is Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego about to be burnt to death – “We know our God is able to save us, but even if He doesn’t, we will not worship your idols.” They had brazen unashamed wild hope, and yet acknowledged that God might not intervene. They based their decisions on faith and not fear.  They had faith enough to keep believing, faith enough to stay in the race and faith enough to not let their situation dictate their actions “even if…”
Endurance is faith enough to stay with it. Faith enough to pray through the mountains in our way and faith enough to not be offended by prayers unanswered. Faith enough to say this:

I know You're able and I know You can save through the fire with Your mighty hand. But even if You don't, my hope is You alone." Mercyme

My prayer for you in 2018 is that you stay with the hard and holy things with brazen/bold/barefaced/shameless/unabashed/audacious/unashamed hope.
Stay with it babe. In hope and anticipation of the absolute JOY to come in 2018.
Much love x x

 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honour beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. Hebrews 12v 1-

So I managed to drag my sister out of bed for another Saturday morning run and even a bank holiday Monday one today too! This time she only thought she was going to die once. I call that progress. Although some old lady did overtake us a couple of times. Whatever. We got out of bed to run, neither of us threw up, fainted or cried. I call that progress.
This week I was reminded of how important it is to focus on running YOUR race.
No-one can run your race but you and you can't run anyone else's. So why do we spend so much time comparing our race to everyone else's?Quotefancy-806363-3840x2160
Running with endurance means we need to avoid distraction from constantly looking around to see where everyone else is and then stopping to comfort eat cake and compare our race, our lives, to theirs. We look at our shaky start on faltering legs and compare it to their solid and sturdy beginning. We look at how their path stays so straight and wanders far less than ours (THEY DIDN'T EVEN GET STUCK IN THE WOODS OR AT THE BAR). We look at how they didn't get distracted by Netflix and just give up for a while. We look at the numerous people cheering them on and compare it to the few who seem interested in our progress. We look at how easy they make it seem to run without breaking a sweat, melting their makeup, getting injured or slowing down.
I'm not saying don't look around at all - where would be without the cloud of witnesses, the encouragement of saints both old and new, those who ran before us and those running alongside us? I'm not saying don't look around and see those who may be struggling and in need of encouragement - cheer them on with banners proclaiming they have the X-factor too!
But to run with endurance, to not let comparison hinder us, we need to fix our eyes on our goal, on our purpose, on Jesus.
And so, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down (including comparison), especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. Hebrews 12v1-2
So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs. Mark out a straight path for your feet. Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong. Hebrews 12v12-13
ICYMI: We need to talk about Endurance - Part One here

I’ve never had any known enemies (well, apart from that one girl at school who mistook quietness for weaknesses – her mistake). But I recently overheard a conversation that jolted me from the verge of an exhaustion induced breakdown halfway across the Atlantic, to wide awake and brain running faster than a Concorde at the realisation that maybe I do have enemies.

“So, the UK are joining us in bombing ISIS now, so that’s good.”

I was in a travelling induced news vacuum when the UK government were voting on whether or not join the USA in bombing ISIS when I overheard a conversation between a couple of air stewardesses. I’m a peace loving almost hippy. I’d never thought about having enemies. Ones who stand against what I believe in and would take my freedom and even my life if I stood against them.

“So, the UK are joining us in bombing ISIS now, so that’s good.”

I don’t know what it was about how she said it. Maybe it was her sunny Californian accent. Maybe because she had just been talking about calling her parents and her nephew’s baseball game. But for some reason I sat up (not like I had a choice flying economy) and took notice.

“So, the UK voted to join us in bombing ISIS. So that’s good.”

Really? That's a good thing? Since when was bombing people a good thing? Since when was taking someone’s life a good thing?

Jesus told us to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 4:43-45). I don’t remember him saying kill them because they hate you, kill them before they kill you.

You can argue that it’s easy for me say that because ISIS haven’t driven me from my home, haven’t killed any members of my family and from thousands of miles away from the people and places they are destroying its easy to say don’t kill them.

I don’t pretend to know what the solution is.

But I do know that killing more people isn’t going to help. I do know that killing more people will only fuel the hate and anger of those who agree with ISIS both abroad and here in London.

I do know that standing by and just watching what happens isn’t an option either. I don’t pretend to know what the solution is.

But apparently there are some people I should be praying for - peace and a change of heart for starters.

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It's supposed to be simple right?...

Love God. Love people.

And then...

Serve refreshments after church. Live intentionally. Read your Bible more. Pray more. Seek first the kingdom. Don’t worry. Pray more. Youth group. Home group. Kids’ work. Be missional. Be a supportive friend. Be a supportive colleague. Honour your parents. Lead by example. Breathe & repeat. Love God. Love people. Serve refreshments after the service. Live intentionally. Read your Bible more. Pray more. Seek first the kingdom. Don’t worry. Pray more. Youth group. Home group. Kids’ work. Be missional. Be a supportive friend. Be a supportive colleague. Honour your parents. Lead by example. Oh yeah, spend time with Jesus.

Ever found that in-between all the things of life the yoke gets harder and the burden heavier? Ever felt like drowning someone in a sea of your to-do list when they ask you why you look tired?

No? Just me? Not likely.

I’ve heard the story of Mary and Martha a million times – literally, I’ve counted. But I’ve only just understood it.

As Jesus and his disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a village where a woman named Martha welcomed them into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he taught. But Martha was worrying over the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said “Lord doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her “My dear Martha you are upset over all these details! There is really only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it – and I won’t take it away from her.”

Hold. the. phone.

There was Martha, slaving away over the hot fire trying to prepare a feast for Jesus and the many many people in her home. As the fire gets hotter and there’s more and more to do she notices that the person who would usually help her is casually sitting round listening to Jesus. Of course she would be frustrated. She was trying to serve God. It's not every day the Son of God rocks up to your house.

Last Christmas I gave you my heart but the very next day my Sister & I took control of our kitchen to avoid the usual Holmes family dramatics over an oven that's simply too small to provide food for 15-20 people (you just can't be dealing with burnt stuffing and soggy roast potatoes on Christmas Day. It's not acceptable). We delegated all meat cooking to various family members to do at home, smiled and told everyone that we had it all under control when we didn't have a clue what we were doing but it was teamwork only that got our feast to the table before New Year 2015. If my Sister had been sitting around while I was running through the kitchen looking for the pastry knife I would have been all the names of purple furious. So I can feel Martha's pain - the oven's hot, people are getting hungry, it's an important meal and there's no-one to help.

But Jesus turns to Martha and says,

“You are upset over all these details. There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it – and I won’t take it away from her.”

Now I’m not sure Martha wouldn't have classed all her food prep as mere detail, but that's what it was.

So what was it that Mary has discovered?

Look back a few sentences - Mary sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he taught.

Mary was spending time with Jesus. Listening to what he taught. Even though Martha was running around to serve Jesus - it was still just detail compared to spending actual time with him.

It's not that the cooking wasn't important. I'm not saying that we should stop serving God through activities at church, outside of church etc. But the main thing was spending time with Jesus.

So this week. In all the busyness of life I will try to remember that there is really only one thing worth being concerned about.

Because if the yoke isn’t easy and burden not light then surely we haven't received what Jesus offers.

Last last weekend I ventured into the wilds of Basingstoke-shire to see some of the East London crew.

It was a weekend full of the usuals and the unexpecteds:

The usual apprehension about trips to the country:  no street lights, axe murders hiding in the trees, no phone reception when being chased by said murderer, amazement at big open green spaces and seeing an actual live cow. A real cow. Not a burger.

Some of the unexpecteds: managing  to eat celery and mushrooms without crying, wifi,  & going for a walk by myself in the country without getting lost and/or murdered by a mad axe man (win win).

I was reminded of why I found leaving Bethnal Green so sad. I was reminded that my story, though important, is not the only one. Let me break it down for you...

Mary and Martha were friends of Jesus and their brother, Lazarus was dying. So they did the most logical thing when someone you love is seriously sick and you happen to have a friend who can heal - they sent Jesus a message to let him know. They probably hoped that Jesus would come right away and heal their brother – bringing an end to the pain and anxiety of Lazarus being on his literal death bed. (Read John 11 for the full story).

But Jesus arrived four days after Lazarus had died.

Four days late you could say. Four days of heart wrenching grief. Four days of pain and sorrow. Four days of so many tears you have none left. Four days of so many tears you think you have none left but somehow they appear from somewhere over the rainbow. Four days of wondering how Jesus could have stood by and let this happen to you. Four days of wondering why you even bothered to tell Jesus what was happening – because apparently it made no difference. Four days of wondering if Jesus didn't even care. Four days of people trying to say the right thing and making it worse. Four days of people saying the right thing and bringing some comfort. Four days of wondering what the future holds. Four days of wondering why it didn’t turn out as you hoped for with all your heart. Four days of unanswered questions. Four days of trying to remember that death is not the end. Four days of clinging to the hope of resurrection and heaven. Four days of heart wrenching grief.

Ever been there? Hope deferred and heartsick? Ever wondered why what you hoped for with all your heart is as dead as Lindsay Lohan's music career?

The thing about Mary and Martha was that God had a bigger plan than just healing their brother. God had a bigger plan than just restoring their family and ending their pain by bringing Lazarus’ back from the dead. Their story was not the only one.

Many people had come to mourn with Mary and Martha, and many of them were at the tomb when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. As a result of witnessing this miracle many of them believed in Jesus. They were still talking about it a few days later in Jerusalem.

So when Jesus first heard that Lazarus was sick he could have gone straight away and healed him. And maybe only a few people outside of their community would ever have known – and maybe few of those would have believed that it was true.

But God’s timing meant many people witnessed the miracle of life being brought back to a dead man. Many people outside of their community heard about it.

It was never just about Mary, Martha and Lazarus. They were part of a bigger story.

Ever been there? Hope deferred, heartsick and wondering why.

I would like to promise you that if you stick it out, just have a little patience, God will do the unexpected when you have lost all hope. Maybe He will. But maybe its just like my invite to Beyonce's next party - got lost in the post and never gonna happen.

Or just maybe you’re part of a bigger story that though painful will mean much to many others.

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. John 16v33

We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. Romans 6 (The Message)

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"...when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards." The Lion, the witch and the Wardrobe

So, it’s been six months of Exile already. Time to stop collaborate and listen pause and reflect.

There is much to be learned in Exile.

I’m learning new ways to block out that annoying thing called light when you’re on your way to work.

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Using time wisely

I’m learning that celebrating International Womens' day by choosing to spring clean my bedroom and buying myself flowers is just as revolutionary as not shaving your legs (or armpits if you're Madonna) – because I am privileged enough to make my own decisions about how I live my life (thank you Destiny's Child and the Spice Girls for lessons in being an Independent Woman). But there are millions of women and girls who do not have that privilege, here's why its important...

I’m learning that one of the purposes of Exile is to show God’s provision. There can be new life, new meaning, new dreams, new routines and new community in Exile. There is life in the seemingly barren places.

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I’m learning that not everyone has a problem with clipping their nails on the DLR whilst on the way to work.

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Eww

I’m learning that in the same way that faith produces good works, Love Does. Love doesn't stop at thoughts and feelings. Love takes action. Love enriches others' lives. Love Does. Bob Goff has this down to a T.

I’m learning that life without risks where you have no option but to depend on God, is boring, stagnant and uncomfortably comfortable.

Shout out to Jessica Hagy for this creation.

I’m learning that revolution in the suburbs isn’t always that subtle – don’t like the fact that they’re digging up half the street to change the electrics or something? Simply don’t move your car.

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I’m learning that though the love of money can be the root of all kinds of evil, the joy of generosity can overcome it.

I'm learning that dancing in the hailstorm is so much easier after you've praised Jesus first.

I’m learning that streams in the desert and ways in the wasteland can be hard to find, but once found, following the path and drinking from the stream brings Life, in abundance. Hallelujah.

Teacher: Today we are learning about Mary. Who Christians believe is the mother of Jesus.

Child: Who?

Me: Mary, Jesus. They’re in the Christmas story.

Child: What Christmas story?

Me: You know, the reason why Christmas is celebrated. Mary and Joseph and Jesus...

Child: Oh yeh, from the Koran. My mum read some of it to me.

Me: No. Today we’re talking about Christianity. Do you know why Christmas is celebrated?

Child: No.

Me: Which religion celebrates Christmas?

Child: I don’t know.

Me: Christians

Child: Oh.

Thus began RE day. A day in which the normal timetable of maths and literacy is scrapped and instead we talk about religious concepts. Today’s concept was Holy. In particular how Catholics see Mary as Holy.

I've seen several modernised versions of the Christmas story – my fave being Mary of the council estate. But if I’m honest I've never stopped to consider Mary. But today I realised that Mary's response to the angel Gabriel's message is amazing (actual AMAZE-to-the-ING not that over used and abused 'amazing' that we hear on every street corner used to describe everything slightly better than average).

There she is, going about her day when BAM! an angel appears – cue the angelic chorus. The angel tells her that she’ll have a baby, the very Son of God and messiah that they have been waiting for, by the Holy Spirit and she is to call him Jesus. The angel then tells Mary that her cousin who everyone knew as being unable to have kids was actually six months pregnant. The angel then finishes the message with "For nothing is impossible with God." To which Mary replies “I am the Lord's servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”

I find this incredible. An angel comes and gives her life transforming news that not only is God with her, but she will become pregnant with the Son of the Most High who will save the world and Mary responds with “I am the Lord's servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” 

I can't imagine my reaction being quite the same.

There I am going about my day - on the packed train on the way to work/getting some exercise books from the supply cupboard/cooking dinner/chilling with friends (my life is exciting). When BAM! an angel appears. Cue the angelic chorus. I’ve never had an angel personally deliver me a message but I’m guessing it’s like one of those hinge moments in life when you become oblivious to what is happening around you. You know, like when Luke discovered who Darth Vader really was or when Elizabeth danced with Darcy for the first time. Everything else slips away and your sole focus is what is right in front of you.

What if the angel then told me that I was going to run a multinational development social enterprise that would help lift thousands of people from poverty? What if the angel told me I was going to be lead singer in a band that would be bigger than the Spice Girls, Mumford and Beyonce combined? What if God told me I would play a pivotal role in world history? What if God told me I would play a pivotal role in local history? What if God told me I would play a pivotal role in one other person's life?

I can tell you that unlike Mary my reaction would probs me much more like, "Me? You’re talking to me? Are you sure?" And then, much like Sarah (check Genesis) I would probably have laughed in fear and doubt (maybe my parents did prophetically name me after all).  I would have laughed because I feared the path described before me. I would have laughed not because I doubt God, but because I doubt myself. The immensity of the task and journey ahead would sing and dance in my thoughts more than the quiet confidence of God who can use us despite our perceived failings. 

It must have been Mary's quiet confidence that got her through the next few days of conversations with Joseph and her family that would have been so Jeremy Kyle...

Pan to Jezza “Let’s meet Mary. She’s engaged to be married and pregnant but her fiancé is not the baby’s Father. She says an angel told her to call the baby Jesus and he will be the son of God. Her fiancé, a carpenter, is sticking by her. But their families want some answers. Let's bring them out.”

Mary had a confidence in a God who can do all things. Even if those things are life alteringly big. Mary had a confidence in God who can do all things despite the immensity of the tasks ahead.