Advent: Do You Think You Might Be Pregnant?

December 2nd, 2016

“Do you think you might be pregnant?” I ask the man sitting in front of me.

“Umm,” he looks at me inquisitively.

“It sounds like there is some kind of life within you ready to be birthed,” I suggest.

This interaction has happened more than once while I sit with another in the sacred conversation of spiritual direction. And more often than not, it’s been with a man. But why should we be surprised if God decides to impregnate us? Aren’t we all the bride of Christ, called to be a receptive partner in the dance with our Divine Maker?

So, do you think you might be pregnant?

Perhaps it’s a vision of ministry you are drawn to pay attention to, an invitation to something new that you just can’t shake, a hope that you feel about a person or situation that does not seem rational, or a thought or feeling that does not seem to be coming from you. Often all we know is that something is happening in us in the dark, something that seems to smell of God, something that we must pay attention to.

Advent is the time to pay attention. It is the time when the church stops and waits with Mary for the Christ child to be birthed into our dark world. It is the time to awaken to the reality that the Holy God of the Universe comes to us in dirt and straw and through the most ordinary channel of human flesh. It is a time to reflect, cease striving and be still, to ask:

“What is Christ desiring to birth through me into my family, my ministry, my community, my world?”

Perhaps Christ is wanting to be birthed into my own cynical ways of thinking, into my fears, into my addictions or places of hopelessness inside.

As people in ministry, we carry the weight of expectations to always know the way ahead. I encourage you this Advent season to put the agendas aside and see what life the Lord has for you. To wait with Mary, to trust in and respond to the Lord’s movement within, even as it is forming in the dark. I encourage you to love the lifeform inside of you, to feel the joy as it kicks and stretches you in ways you thought impossible. And may we all learn to respond: “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” (NRSV)

BETH SLEVCOVE has served as a spiritual director for the past 16 years, primarily working with people in ministry. She served as the director of spiritual formation for Youth Specialties and holds advanced degrees in theology and education. She is an oblate at a Benedictine monastery and runs a surf company based on saving the endangered Tijuana Surf Monkey. Beth can often be found in the ocean, making tent forts with her little ones, or at a local coffee house where she is writing a book on grief for IVP. You can contact her directly via email at bethslevsd@gmail.com.


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