Tree is decorated. Cards are in the mail. Presents are purchased, wrapped and under the tree. I am prepared for Christmas to happen. The hustle and bustle hasn’t caught me off guard. I wonder if Mary felt the same way. Her engagement was set. She was marrying her love. She was prepared. She knew what her life was going to be and then an angel appeared.

26-28 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her:

Good morning!
You’re beautiful with God’s beauty,
Beautiful inside and out!
God be with you.
29-33 She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus. (Luke 1:26-33 MSG).

I like to be prepared. I like to have a plan. I like to know where my life is going. “She was thoroughly shaken,” is a phrase I can relate to in many ways. There have been times in my life when being prepared hasn’t mattered because God had a different plan. Resigning my job at the church to care for my husband’s grandfather, writing a book, anytime I have had to “promote” myself, are a few times that God left me thoroughly shaken. I had thought my life was going in one direction and He had me change or alter course.

He does this in smaller ways throughout the week. He asks me to give up time for a friend or family member. He nudges me to make an uncomfortable phone call. He encourages me to offer kindness to someone else.

Being prepared has it’s place and benefits, but if I’m not listening to the nudges that God sends my way, I’m missing out on moments of joy and peace that come when we follow Him. Mary willing followed shaken and all. She felt unprepared for what was ahead of her, yet she set fear aside and followed.

When I’m struggling to follow God’s desires for me, I think of Mary. If she could follow in that moment, surely I can, too. How about you? Are you always prepared? Are you willing to change course when God asks? Share your story here and breathe life and bring hope to others.

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