RECAP // Becoming Mary // Part 1
In part one, the passionate love Mary had for Jesus was revealed to me while sitting outside of the garden tomb. I heard the simple phrase, “Shabba, I was mistaken for the gardener” and it completely spun my world upside down and allowed me to understand what chasing after Jesus with authenticity and a pure heart really looks like.

This post is called “Becoming Mary” for many reasons, but namely because I didn’t think “The Best Day EVER!” was that clever of a title. (Maybe “Becoming Mary” isn’t that clever either, but who cares, whatever, it’s what I named it). This day really was the best day EVER! I cannot think of a better day in the history of my 26 years of life that trumps this day. At the tomb I heard the voice of God, and had some powerful visions that made me have a little tear-fest… okay a big tear-fest.  What happened next completely wrecked me for months afterward (literally).

The Garden of Gethsemane

I really cannot decide which Bible story steals my heart as being my #1; The events that took place at the Garden of Gethsemane or the story of Abraham. Although I have to admit, visiting the garden was definitely my top priority while adventuring through the Holy Land.  The garden holds a special place in my heart because it is at the scene where I can most resonate with Jesus. The garden to me, represents a Jesus I can touch, a Jesus who understands my pain, and a Jesus who continuously shows mercy.  I will never comprehend the pain of rejection Jesus must have felt while being betrayed in the garden, but I’ve definitely experienced my (un)fair share.

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My hope and prayer was the go and sit amongst the trees for a day to pray, read,  and just enjoy the presence of God. I wanted to find the tree where Jesus prayed and sweat blood the night of His betrayal, and I was confident in my heart that God was going to reveal it to me.  I knew without ever visiting that this tree/place was going to be anointed with the presence of God and I just wanted to touch it.

Walking from the Garden Tomb I arrived at the Garden of Gethsemane only to find that all of the trees were gated off and no one could touch them or even get close to them.  Disappointed, I walked along the gated path staring at the place I’ve longed to visit. Next thing I knew, a Gardener came out from behind tree where he was sitting and said to me “Hello girl…. From where do you come from, and what are you seeking here today?”
I was SHOCKED because again, I was reminded of the verse the Lord brought to mind just before at the Garden Tomb.

Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” John 20:15

 

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At first I was trying to distinguish if this gardener was actually Jesus, but alas, he was not. An angel? Highly probable.  Trembling, I explained that the primary thing I wanted to do in Israel was sit amongst these trees and pray.  He looked at me and said “you want to touch them?” “Yes” I said a with hopeful smile. Immediately he walked away through the trees to a dilapidated looking tree and pulled a small piece of bark off. Returning he handed it to me and said “here, this you can touch”. He continued, “My father tended these gardens for 42 years, and I have been looking after them for 19….  You see that tree over there (the one he pulled the bark from)? Sometimes in the morning while it’s still dark, maybe 4 or 5 o’clock, I have come here and would see this white glow hovering around this tree.  By the time I walk down to investigate it would be gone.” Mesmerized by his story I began to half ask the question “Do you think that’s…” I stopped asking when I saw a smile pop on his face, and in that moment I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was holding bark from Jesus’ weeping tree.

The gardener continued to explain that once a year he prunes the trees, takes the bark and boils it into tea. With joy he went on to say that sick people have been miraculously healed from drinking it!  C’mon Jesus!

In Hebrew, Gethsemane means “oil press”, and I think we can all agree that Jesus was certainly “pressed into oil” the night he was betrayed.  However, His pressing was for our healing, freedom and restoration!

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Olive branch – Jerusalem 2016

So why did Jesus choose to reveal His heart to me through a gardener, and why did Jesus give me what I most desired while in Israel? Am I somebody special?…  I guess you’re expecting me to say no, but I’m not going to. I’m absolutely special.  I’m His favorite kid on the whole planet, and I totally own it, wear it like a crown, and prance around like a princess because of it.  He made me perfectly, just as He has made you perfectly; we are no different, and we are all His favorite. Cliche but so true.

The (not so secretive) secret here is intimacy.

(The other secret is getting up early to seek Him, but I’ll tackle that topic another day.)

Intimacy with the Saviour of the universe. Yes, this is a real thing, and it’s possible for you and I.  Jesus longs to be with us and values every moment we spend with Him whether it be through worship, prayer, or soaking away in His presence;  Jesus’ heart is for us to draw near to Him in the secret place and in the silence of our hearts. Through being alone with Him and surrendering all that we are and all that we desire, we will soon learn that His desires will become our desire.

Psalm 37:4 is one of my favorites because it is such a powerful truth and promise for all of us;

“Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

What if we came to a place where we stopped seeking Jesus to get our desires met, and sought Him because the sole desire of our heart was to desire His heart? Our self centered motives would certainly dissolve, and guess what? Jesus is NICE! So nice and so kind and so loving that He will more than likely give you all of the desires of your heart (and then some) because He loves you THAT MUCHIt’s all about intimacy.

In part one we saw how Mary Magdalene sought after Jesus (HARD). Her utmost desire was to see Him, and as a result Jesus revealed Himself to her before anyone else.  No, I didn’t get to see Jesus face to face like Mary did, however I got to experience Him.  My desire was for HIM, to be with Him, and to be captivated by His love in the land of Israel. My eyes were set on Him, and because he loves me, he gave me the desires of my heart.