Wednesday, December 4, 2013

In Her Sandals -- Elizabeth

John. I rub my hands over my belly and call his name and smile.

            Five months in this house with a man who can’t talk or hear. Think about it. Could you do that with your spouse? Honey, I need some wheat. We’re out. Instead I walk to him, look him in the face and mouth my words. For some unknown reason I speak very loudly and slowly as if that is going to help him to hear me or understand me. Isn’t that hilarious!? HONEY, I. NEED. WHEAT. GO. GET. SOME. PLEASE. Then he gets that confused look on his face, and I show him the empty wheat bag. Ding, ding, ding. The light goes on, and out he goes. We also play charades a lot. Why he acted like he was taking out the garbage, I don’t know, but I come to realize that he’s trying to tell me something about the laundry. I giggle. He gets frustrated.

 Don’t think that just because he can’t hear me that means I’m not talking. Some days drift by without a word being uttered in this house, and then there are days, when mine is the only voice bouncing off these walls. I tell Zechariah all kind of things. Of course he’s deaf and can’t hear me, but it doesn’t stop me from talking to him. I love him, and I’m happy in my position, but I confess there are days that the walls begin closing in. And then in my sixth month, I get a visitor. Never have I been more excited to receive a guest! A person who can hear me and talk to me. What a gift! What a blessing!

Mary, my young sweet cousin, Mary. She greets me, and I am beyond excited. As a matter of fact, there is a feeling that washes over me that I’ve never felt before, and I know it is the Spirit. And my baby, John, leaps in my womb. He leaps so hard that if I had been sitting, I’m pretty sure he would have knocked me off my seat. Something is stirring in him as well. I can feel it. Oh the excitement! There is something powerful going to happen! God is moving again. He’s speaking again! Hallelujah the dark ages are lifting. My thirsty soul is being fed by the Spirit.

            You know that someone had the nerve to ask me if I was jealous of Mary? The Lord may have answered our prayers for a baby, but Mary’s son is the Messiah. Are you kidding me!? I don’t give those people any place in my head much less my heart, mainly because they are both so full that they are overflowing. I’m just humble by the fact that the mother of the Messiah came to see me, an old pregnant woman. I can’t help but smile when I say that. Plus, she needed encouraging. Bless her heart, she’s 15 and only betrothed. There will be people who won’t believe her. There will be people who will want to stone her, and who knows what Joseph, her fiancé, will do or say. So, I encouraged her. I am so proud of her for believing the angel and trusting God. I’ve seen what it’s like to live as a result of lack of faith in what God can do. Zechariah hasn’t spoken a word since.

            I help Mary during her first trimester. You know all the things that go along with that – morning sickness and fatigue. She may be pregnant with the Messiah, but she’s still human. And she helps me in my last trimester when I can’t see my feet, and I waddle everywhere. Word is slowly getting out, but it won’t be long before John is here, and I’ll have to share my miracle with the world.

            The day comes that Mary has to go home. I will miss her terribly. I’m old enough to be her grandmother, and yet, we have bonded in a way that I will never be able to bond with another woman again.

Zechariah still isn’t speaking. I’ve almost forgotten what his voice sounds like. He stubbed is toe the other day. He opened his mouth, and nothing came out. While it has been funny at times, it does get old.

Oh my! I brace myself. Contractions. Water breaking. Tears. More contractions. John wastes no time getting here. It’s as if he already has an agenda. I know he has a special calling on him. He’s not to drink of wine and to live a life set apart, but I can’t help what else is in his future. I hold my baby swaddled in a soft blanket. I fall in love with the smallest thing in the world. I knew it would feel like this. I look up into Zechariah’s face. He’s overcome with emotions as tears stream down the traces of his wrinkled face. His face that I’ve memorized is an open book. No words are necessary. The sweetest of moments, the softest of times and it has been so worth the wait. It has been so worth every monthly torture and every year of waiting. I am so full. My cup runneth over.

Zechariah opens his mouth, but nothing comes out. When will God release him from this? He should be shouting it in the street like he always said he would. It’s time for John’s circumcision. The leaders start trying to name my son, Zechariah. I inform them the baby’s name is John. But John isn’t a family name, they say. I say again, His name is John. And as if I don’t know what I’m talking about they ask Zechariah the baby’s name. Of course, they are acting all of this out looking like a bunch of monkeys. Zechariah is watching their antics, and I catch a glimpse and start to chuckle. Someone is rocking a pretend baby in their arms and pointing at it, and speaking very loudly and slowly, WHAT’S THE BABY’S NAME? For a minute I think Zechariah was going to mess with them, but instead he writes down our baby’s name, John.

Zechariah started speaking. I heard his voice. I hadn’t forgotten it after all. He stood up. He was full of the Holy Spirit, and he started prophesying. I sat there in awe. I was so proud of my husband, and I was even more ingratiated to Yahweh who chose to bless us so richly, so completely, so lavishly. All those years, feeling like I wasn’t being seen or heard by Yahweh only to realize that God had surprises planned for me all the way. A surprise pregnancy. A surprise name. A surprise affliction for Zechariah. A surprise visit from Mary. A surprise visit by the Holy Spirit. A surprise restoration of Zechariah. God had never forgotten me. I realize that now. He was just working His plan out in His timing.

I could not want more for my son than to hear what the angel told Zechariah. My son will be filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit. He was to be the forerunner of the Messiah. I am blessed beyond measure.


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