I often frequent a Natural Family Planning website and forum at www.livingthesacrament.com and from the women on the forum, I have learned to take an approach to my fertility as Mary did with the Archangel Gabriel. So it came as a pleasant surprise to have Luke's account of the Annunciation. The instructions of the day from "An Ignatian Prayer Adventure" was to "marvel at Mary's freedom to say 'Yes'!"
When I read through the Annunciation today I heard two different things. First I put myself into the story and wondered what it would be like to have an angel tell me that I would be pregnant. I am not saying that I would be given the blessing to carry the Lord but my own child. Gabriel saying "Do not be afraid" I think reaches out to any first time parent's fear of having a child. At the same time I would still be like Mary as I would be concerned with the 'how' it would happen.
Despite Mary's fear she still has the boldness to say yes regardless of all the stigmas of her day. Then I saw the meme to the left and remembered a lot of cultural issues Mary would have faced. She should have been cast out of her family and stoned. From my collegiate studies, Mary was also supposed to be a consecrated virgin. She had reason to be overly scared for herself and her only worry was that she "didn't know man." (v. 34) Gabriel reminds Mary, and myself, that nothing is impossible for God, (v. 37) and that was enough of a reassurance for Mary to give her "yes".
So Jesus had been an unplanned pregnancy and currently, short of divine providence, I am not expecting to become pregnant. My second realization is how a person reacts in faith. I truly do marvel at Mary's yes. Her yes only started with the Annunciation and continued throughout her life. From trying to find the lost child Jesus, to raising Jesus as a single parent, supporting his ministry, and standing by him as he died are only a small list of the yeses Mary gave.
However, I need to be more bold as I step out in faith. I second guess myself, I occasionally doubt my decisions. I look at where God is trying to bring me and stop being a child and digging my feet into the ground trying to stop my moving forward. I need to confidently move forward and not always balance the options.