“Graciously Preparing Me”

“God had been graciously preparing me during many years…”
– Mary Baker Eddy

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes that “God had been graciously  preparing” her for many years for her discovery of spiritual healing. How did God “graciously prepare” Mary Baker Eddy? Well, let’s see… she lost a beloved brother at a young age; she was widowed shortly after she married her first husband; she was separated from her only son when he was just four years-old, and he was taken across the continent and raised by others; she was challenged with chronic health problems; and endured a failed marriage… for starters.

I’m grateful to say that nine years ago God “graciously prepared” me, too, for future challenges that I couldn’t foresee at the time. Nine years ago I began my journey through a massive depression. At the time I was going through the depression I didn’t see an end to it – I feared I would spend the rest of my life in mental agony. I felt hopeless, helpless, guilty, and fearful. I contemplated ending my life, lost my appetite, and felt like I’d lost myself, too. My struggles turned me to God, Love, in a way I’d never before turned to God. I clung to Love like a drowning man clings to a board on a stormy sea. In time, I learned not to battle the waves, but to surf on top of them. I learned that if I could love I had a reason to live. I learned I could be happy even when I was sad. I learned to focus on now and move from moment-to-moment, step-by-step. And when, in a year, I came out the other side into the light, I recognized my own strength, and the tender love God has for me, and for all Her creation. I came out of the depression with a fearlessness that I hadn’t had going into it. I felt reborn.

The other day I realized that I needed that experience in my life – it helped prepared me for the challenges my world is facing right now. At the time it seemed like the worst thing I’d ever experienced. Now, looking back, I realize it was a wonderful blessing.

 Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart…
– Psalms 10: 17

(Click here to behold a way cool rendition of Godspell’s Prepare Ye the Way that I found on youtubeThis’ll get you in the Christmas spirit. 🙂 )

Prepare ye the way…

Preparing for Christmas here. This year I’ve decided I’m going to start with what’s “inside” – my thoughts – and work my way out from there. 🙂

 Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart… – Psalms 10: 17

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. – Isaiah 40:3

But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist… – Matthew 11: 9-11

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I’ve been thinking about John the Baptist this week. Born of a woman who, according to the first chapter in Luke, was “barren” and “well stricken in years.” The Scriptures tell us that an angel appeared unto John’s father to let him know that his wife, Elizabeth, was going to give birth to a son. According to the account in Luke, John’s dad was a little freaked out by this, but the angel told him to chill and rejoice:

And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord… and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. (Luke 1: 11-17)

Not long after this Mary conceived Jesus. And when Mary and Elizabeth met, it tells us in Luke that “when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost…”

After John was born, his dad looked on him and made a prophecy: “And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways… Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Pretty cool that John’s father recognized the worth of his son from the get-go, eh? Yeah, I’m thinking that’s how all parents should usher their babies into the world.  In the next line The Bible tell us “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit…” In Matthew Jesus says of his cousin: “…among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist...”

So, using John as my example, I’ve decided I’m going to prepare my own heart for the arrival of the celebration of Christ. I’m going to guide my feet “into the way of peace” – fill my heart all up with  joy, gratitude, forgiveness, hope, calm, serenity, acceptance, love.

“Throughout all generations both before and after the Christian era, the Christ, as the spiritual idea, – the reflection of God, – has come with some  measure of power and grace to all prepared to receive  Christ, Truth.” Mary Baker Eddy writes in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, andEvery valley of sin must be exalted, and every mountain of selfishness be brought low, that the highway of our God may be prepared in Science.”

Every time I hear the words “prepare ye the way” I think of that song from Godspell. I’ve just spent the last half hour trying to find a clip of that song being performed on youtube – went through the clips from the Broadway performance, found a clip of it performed on The View – but none of them seemed quite right, and I was just about to give up when I found this perfect little clip from a performance by a Presbyterian church in Davenport, Iowa. God bless them. They did good. 🙂

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8E5VHT3kfQ0

Let us learn of the real and eternal, and prepare for the reign of Spirit, the kingdom of heaven, – the reign and rule of   universal harmony, which cannot be lost nor remain forever unseen. – Mary Baker Eddy