The book pens a journey with Mary, the mother of Jesus, as a framework for pondering life lessons, or songs, of grace-filled "yes" to God.

This blog continues to explore the implications of these songs in daily life. Here you will find ten additional reflections on each of Mary's "songs." May they continue to encourage your heart. ~Carla

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Christ as A Shield

Yesterday noon found me sitting in a local diner with one of my "girls." (My girls" are women who were students of mine at Wheaton somewhere in the 90's.)  She is not, of course, a girl anymore, but a lovely young woman in her 30's with a passion for the Lord and compassion for the world.  Her passion/compassion has taken her on a fascinating pilgrimage over the last decade.

So over our salads we spoke about "Confidence," and how it was that Mary had needed to walk the road from her utterly simple "Let it be to me according to your word," to the much more complicated awareness of "a sword shall pierce your soul," that I believe greatly strengthened Mary's confidence in God.  My friend asked me, "Carla, why does it have to be like this?"

My response? To live in a receptive place before God means that sooner or later we have to discover the Lord as our shield. He will protect and heal our hearts, even if he permits them to be wounded.  Jesus did not spare Mary.  He doesn't tend to spare us, either.  Since we cannot simultaneously be self-protective and find our confidence in God, we are, at times, led into places where we have to choose to walk with steady step behind the broad shield of Christ when our natural instincts would be to fight or run.

Today I am still thinking about this conversation as a Canticle of St. Patrick's runs steadily through my heart; I pray this prayer every morning these days, and find comfort in accompanying my prayer with simple hand motions that help my body as well as my soul remember that Christ's protection is all-encompassing:

Christ, as a light
illumine and guide me.
Christ as a shield
overshadow me;
Christ under me;
Christ over me;
Christ beside me
on my left and my right.
This day be within and without me,
lowly and me, yet all-powerful.
Be in the heart of each to whom I speak;
in the mouth of each who speaks unto me.

There are seasons where "yes" to God is the most delightfully simple space in the world. And there are seasons where another "yes" to the same God requires hands to unclench and hearts to stay steady under intense pressure.  In these moments we need to know ourselves flanked and infused with the presence of Christ, our lowly, yet all-powerful protector.


  1. "Christ as a Shield." When I see the same theme in more than one place, I know God is speaking to me (repetition for emphasis).

    I gave a talk, "Poetry 101: From A Christian Perspective" Tuesday, October 13, and one of my examples of a metaphor was: "The Lord is a sun and shield" (Psalm 84:11).

    Many thanks, Carla, for your additional insights on "Christ as a Shield." Good writing! Good ministry!

  2. Carla,
    Wish I was close enough to go to the diner as one of "your girls". It was '97-'98 for me. I've been waiting for a decade now for this book- can't wait to get it and read it! and... SHARE IT!!! So pleased to know it's available- and praying the Lord repays you for the impact you had in my life- setting me free from the quest to be something I wasn't created to be- and embracing that which I WAS created to be- and for introducing me to listening prayer which has continued to change my life. I am still using the SAME prayer journal- buying my pretty paper with frequency as it runs out.

    God bless you richly,
    Katherine Clark MA Ed Min '98

  3. Katherine,

    What a delight to hear from you--and So encouraging to hear how seeds planted in a receptive time have taken root. Yes, the book is available--certainly recognizable to those of you who helped me find the questions a decade ago--with the fruit of the 10 years in between. But there are fewer greater joys than hearing from you! So, blessings--wherever the Lord haas you in this present season. ~Carla