A while back I was doing a deep dive into the science of human reproduction. It was really interesting. I learned much more than the basics I had learned in college from Biology.
First I re-looked at the basics:
- A woman produces an egg. A male produces a sperm.
- They come together to form a zygote.
- This single cell then divides over and over again. The cells differentiate and are designated an embryo.
While reading more about the finer details of this process, something stood out to me at the very beginning of it. The egg’s whole purpose is to have a sperm join with it. The egg releases molecules to attract and guide the sperm. The egg triggers the sperm to be ready to attach. The egg has molecules on its surface that latch down the sperm so it won’t get away. It does so much to make sure that it gets a sperm. Then, within 1-3 seconds of fertilization, the new organism releases enzymes along its exterior to destroy every possible sperm binding site. It no longer wants sperms to bind. The very first action this new creation takes is the exact opposite of an egg.
I understand the practicality, it doesn’t want two sperms getting in to fertilize one egg (though this does happen very rarely, “semi-identical twins”, look it up). But what stood out to me is that in order for this new life to be formed, the very first thing it does is completely reject everything that it used to be about.
There are lots of Bible stories that fit with this theme, in order for God to start something new, he takes away everything from the past, setting you on a new journey. It’s one thing when you make that choice, when you say “Today I start my new life in Christ and I’m throwing away the old.” Think of the apostles Peter and Andrew when they are first called (Matthew 4:18-22). Jesus says “Come, follow Me,” and the two men IMMEDIATELY left their boat and their father and followed Him. They made that choice and left everything behind.
Other times we don’t get that choice to leave things behind. In those times things are taken away from us, and it forces us on a new path. In both of these situations, great faith is needed. We must trust God that this new path with Him is the best choice. Although it is the right path, it can often be difficult and painful. Sometimes we want to hold on to the things of the past and only half make that commitment. God has given us everything we have and so we must give him everything in return. We can’t half commit to His Way. A beautiful example of this full commitment to a new life with God is Mary in her Fiat at the Annunciation.
“Fiat” means “let it be done” in Latin. When the angel came to her to tell her she would bear a child, her response was, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) She agreed to have the little baby Jesus growing inside of her (going through all of the steps of embryonic growth) even though she knew that her life would never be the same. She said yes.
May is the month of Mary, and as we celebrate this wonderful woman that started Jesus’ life on Earth, I invite you to think of how you can commit yourself to God. How are you being called to something right now? What path does God want you to be on? What things are you holding onto that are stopping you from giving all of yourself? What things feel too painful to get rid of even though you know you should? God is calling you to something great. I invite you to pray about it this week. Let Him show you what He wants from you. I also encourage you to ask Mary to help you have the strength and courage that she did to answer that call. In order for us to start something new, we must get rid of the old, even if it’s difficult.