Reading the story of Elizabeth and Mary this morning in the silence of a dark, sleepy house, I had these thoughts:

Both Elizabeth and Mary were expanding women.  Despite the gap in age, they found themselves in much the same predicament.  Something was growing in them that was pushing the edges of their physiques.  They were expanding beyond anything their bodies had ever experienced.

But not just their flesh, their minds and hearts too were being stretched.  What was God up to?  How is it that the old woman and the virgin are in the same position?  Neither should be pregnant.  What about all the messiness since angels had appeared and delivered their messages?  How would they explain what they knew to be real?

I remember being pregnant with our first child and looking at my rounded belly at six months thinking, “oh this isn’t so bad!”  Little did I know the stretching of joints, organs, and skin that would take place the following 12 weeks!!  Just when I thought I could not get any bigger – that surely I had reached the limit of my expansion – my skin magically found a way to stretch even more.

And so it is with God, I think.  He comes and plants something in us – something to be grown to fruition.  He finds us unprepared (and full of questions) for what He is about to do but that does not deter Him.  Instead, He grows us and stretches us to make us fit habitations for His handiwork.  He doesn’t ask us to understand but just to respond with Mary, “I am the Lord’s…may it be to me as you have said.”  Then He stretches our souls and hearts past the point of recognition – little by little…..and arrives (many times) in messiness and at an inconvenient hour!

Lord,  I know I carry You in me – in my flesh.  What I do not always know is what You are growing in the dark recesses of my body.  Sometimes I feel nothing – even doubting that I could be pregnant with Your Spirit.  Other times, a flutter, a kick, reminds me of Your presence.  More often, an uncomfortable stretching sensation – for You are expanding the limits of my heart and soul.  But it causes discomfort and I can no longer wear the clothing I used to wear.  I cannot see the inward development that is occurring.  Instead, I must trust that this expansion is from You and will be delivered in the proper time.