The Annunciation- NOLA or BUST

The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner 1896Sometimes God surprises us.

On the feast day of the Annunciation, I am sure Mary was surprised.

Boom!… An angel appears–That was a big day.

An angel has never appeared to me, nor have I given birth to God. But there are moments that we are all faced with questions. Not just questions about life.   But questions about trust. Will I surrender “my plan” for God’s?”… Will I trust Him?

Some of you may (or may not) have noticed I have fallen off the face of the earth.  No, I have not been kidnapped or run off to another country. Ok, well I kind of ran off to another country.

(Drum Roll)….I moved to New Orleans!

Nola is not just another city, it is like moving to another culture:  Crawfish boils, Marti Gras beads and King Cakes, Voodoo (yikes) French Quarters, festivals and art along side southern (Y’all welcome! )hospitality. The culture is rich and the people are “salt of the earth.”

I transplanted my life in less than two weeks. (yes, TWO WEEKS)  The abrupt move across country was painful, challenging, and nuts.  It all happened when I was introduced to new master program in Theology at the Seminary of Notre Dame. While here I was asked to partner with some local friends at Dumb Ox Ministries. I had been praying for deeper formation and community. This was an answer to both.  Every door opened and God made it clear… so I jumped, but not without resistance.

Really God!…New Orleans?

Have you ever heard that saying: How do you make God Laugh? …

Answer: You tell him Your Plans.

New Orleans was not in my plan book. Not even close. I wanted to live in Denver (clean air, winter slopes, cute Catholic men with scruffy beards and hiking boots. Instead I traded in my coveted hiking shoes for rain boots, and mountain peeks for the below sea level swamp lands of the south.

I grumbled non-stop with God. Convinced that the streets were too dirty and the humidity would ruin my hair. (Come’on ladies frizzies are the worst!) I found every reason to tell God no.

Tug of War with God

There are these moments in our lives where we are in tug of war with God. Pulling back and forth against His will or ours. We see these trial in Scripture.   Jonah ran from God’s call to “Go to the great city of Nineveh.” (Jonah 1:2) The Israelites grumbled not trusting God’s will through the desert. (Ex 17:1-7)  It isn’t until we stop yelling and running that we can face our true fear.

The Real Question… Do we trust?

I sat in office crying my eyes out as the doubt and questions came: What about finances? Is this God’s will?  What if this doesn’t work? What if this is not the right masters program? What if I fail? So many unknowns. Fear flooded over me like an ocean.

As tears streamed down my face, my friend Brian walked into the room. I feel so stupid when I cry in public. But he sat with me in silence. The empty space spoke volumes without our lips moving.

Mary, Is God asking you to come to New Orleans…” He asked

Sniffing and wiping the tears from my face, I stared at the ground pondering his simple question.. Looking up, I replied: “I think so.”

Then Give Him your Fiat.” (Which is Latin word for “Let it be done) He Replied with a big smile.

My Fiat

Sometimes I make the questions of life more complex then they are. It was just so simple. If God asks you, will you just say yes? Will you surrender to his word not your own. Do we trust that He loves us…that his plan is greater than ours?

It is on this feast Day of the Annunciation that we don’t have to be afraid.  We can stand firm next to a young 13 year old girl who gave her yes, who trusted, and brought new life for all of humanity! This was a Phat Fiat of surrender. Our call is to that same “yes” not in just the big decisions, but in the small moments of everyday life.

Mary Said her Fiat … will we?







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