Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

What is Blessing?

Hi Friends,

This work I'm working on a new introduction for the Guideposts direct mail edition of Wrestling with Wonder. I'm so glad to be able to offer this book to Guideposts subscribers, but I need to think of a new way to introduce the concepts of this book that's so close to my heart.

Here's a bit from the current introduction (below). I wonder if I should keep this part ...


I am like another woman who knelt in the darkness, waiting to be cleansed. A woman who wept and did not understand. A woman whom God called “highly favored” and yet who found herself at a cross, with all her dreams crushed, all her beliefs challenged.
            Did she kneel and weep and wrestle as I do?  Did she pound her fists as the sky turned black as pitch? Did she ask my questions as all hope died? Who is this God of promise and pain, who speaks of greatness then comes as a babe in a feeding trough? Who is he whose declaration of favor leads to the foot of a cross? Who is he when life goes awry and nothing goes as planned? Why is he not who I expected him to be?
            And that’s when I see it. I am Mary. The favored one. Not the cute little figurine in my Precious Moments nativity set. Not the peaceful-looking statue holding the form of a baby in my childhood church. But the woman for whom God’s favor looked like a stable, like rejection, like kneeling at the foot of that bloodstained cross.
            This is a love I hadn’t thought to look for. A love that defies my expectations that God’s favor should mean success, comfort, and prayer answered according to my wants. It should mean that life will go well and smoothly. But then, I will never become who he meant me to be.          
           After all, everyone wants to be highly favored by God. And yet everyone faces hardships, life’s unexpected twists and turns, and times when God seems absent. What do we do with this apparent discrepancy? Doesn’t God’s favor mean that he’ll do what we ask, grant us success, and make our way through life smooth and full of joy? Not for Mary. Not for me. Not for any of us.
            So, the questions change from the slithering hiss of “What if he doesn’t love me?” to an awed whisper ... “What if?”
            What if God’s blessings don’t look like good health, secure finances, and fulfilling relationships? What if his favor includes pain, poverty, sorrow, and even death? What if it’s about a hundred little things that seem to go wrong? What if favor is found through shattered dreams and on cold tile floors? That was Mary’s life. And it is mine.
            What if ...
            I am Mary.
           And God is more passionate, more wild, and more wondrous than I ever believed him to be. What if he is calling me, and you, deeper than our own dreams? What if he’s calling us to the foot of the cross?