Wednesday, February 27, 2013

It's Okay to Wait

Years ago, my dad had to work on Easter Sunday.  He was a manager at a Randalls grocery store in Katy, about an hour away from our house in Spring, Texas.

This was not an uncommon occurrence. My mom was pretty used to it.  She was even prepared for it.

We had recently moved into what has since been described as "the house on Encreek" which was a two-story house on about an acre of land in a neighborhood known as Bammel Forest.  Which is just what it sounds like.  A forest.

Lots of trees.  Lots of those trees were pine trees.  And our house was big, but it wasn't an acre... so there was a lot of empty space.  And since there were so many trees on our lot, there wasn't a whole lot of grass that was growing.

My mom woke up to a thunderstorm on this particular Easter Sunday.  She woke up my brother and I (both under the age of 5), got us dressed in our Easter finest- probably lots of white and pastels, and took us out to the car.

Did I mention that we didn't have a driveway?  Or a garage?

The little blue sedan was parked in the middle of our lot, on a hill of dirt, which was currently turning to sludge because of all the rain that was pouring down in tears of joy of the resurrection of Jesus.

The story goes, that my mom dragged two wet, muddy, sniffling children into church on Easter Sunday with her own heels caked in mud.  By herself. 

She was crying, we were crying, and we were late.  Everyone around us was (I'm sure) dressed to the nines and on time because THEY had garages and driveways and husbands who didn't have to work on Easter Sunday.

She sat down next to my sweet Nana (pronounced nAH-nAH), my great great (great?) aunt who asked her what was wrong. 

My mom told her about the morning, and the mud, and the mess.  And Nana's response was this:

"You have had a rough morning.  There is no mistaking that.  But you will appreciate that driveway and garage when you get it more than anyone who didn't have to WAIT for one."

A few months later, my parents put in a driveway and there was great rejoicing in the "house on Encreek." And my mom never forgot the wisdom of Nana.

Why are we all opposed to waiting?

I was at the gym yesterday and killing myself on the treadmill.  I was looking around me and thinking to myself how unfair it was that I was on this stupid thing (I get a little ornery when doing any kind of cardio) and that the girl in front of me was running uphill at 20 mph.

Well she didn't get there overnight, I can near guarantee you.  She had to wait.  She had to work while she waited.

I thought of my friend Crysty, who can basically bench press her husband.  She didn't do that in one day, she worked and worked and WORKED for months, three days every week and waited patiently for results.

I waited for years for the Mr.  And I am SO glad that I waited.  Not because of a self-righteous, look-at-me-I-have-a-better-husband-because-I-waited-for-him kind of way, but because I'm so glad it was HIM.

We live in a world where we rarely have to wait.  Information is at our fingertips.  Literally.  The teens I work with don't really understand the idea of having to wait for information.  It's a click away on their ipads, ipods, iphones, and computers.  And not that that is wrong either. 

But I think we have lost the spiritual discipline of waiting.  God does not work in the instantaneous always.  More often than not, He asks us to be still.  Usually, I ignore that and take matters into my own hands.  Yeah, ask me how that goes... I'll give you three guesses and the first three don't count.

Where in our life do we need to be still and wait?  I can name a dozen things in my own life right off the top of my head.

It's OKAY TO WAIT.  It's okay to wait in line at the grocery store, to wait on a reply to a text, for a date, for a call-back, a rejection.  It's okay to wait for a ring, or a confirmation, a grade on a paper or quiz, a response, an okay from a significant other.  It is okay to wait for results, for a cup of coffee, in traffic.

What is God saying to you while you wait? What wisdom are you gaining from the waiting?  How can you SERVE while you wait?

This is just for me as much as it is for you.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Thoughts on Lent, Fat Tuesday, and Death Losing it's Sting

My mom and stepdad both grew up Catholic.

I have a slew of aunts, uncles and family members who are practicing/non practicing Catholics.  Which made for some pretty awkward family prayers when we would go over to my nana's house.  Imagine my brother, sister, and myself having NO idea how to cross ourselves or able to recite the meal prayers...

With that being said, I've always had exposure to the Catholic traditions.  It's been a way of life for a good portion of my family and in particular, my favorite cousins lives.  I've been to mass with family members off and on, I've experienced the practice of Lent, and observed all of the ancient practices and beautiful rituals that they participate in.

Over Christmas, I was absolutely enchanted by Advent and the Mr. and I decided we were going to participate in the lighting of the Advent candles as well as the readings from the Book of Common Prayer.  I can't tell you what a blessing it was.  The only way I can describe it is a refreshing delight.  It was like finding a long lost book in your home.  One that you'd read before and desperately wanted to read again, but couldn't find.  And you finally find it and as you open the pages... refreshing delight.

I have no idea if that made sense to anyone but me.

So yesterday was Fat Tuesday and today is the beginning of Lent.  Now, let me tell you, the only reason I knew ANY of this is because of Facebook.  And because at Kroger, in the middle of all the Valentine balloons and cupcakes, there was a slew of King Cakes and mardi-gras stuff.

I've practiced Lent once in college (to my memory).  The BFF and I gave up Dr. Pepper (back when I was a Dr. Pepper drinker).  It was kind of hard, but very do-able.

Like my delight with Advent, I am finding myself curious of Lent.  I'm not necessarily planning a fast (though I am giving up white breads and highly processed grains, that's not for the Lord, but for my temple), but I do want to plan a focus for the weeks leading up to Easter.

Right now, my rudimentary plan is to spend all of my personal time in the word studying the Gospels.  Studying Jesus like I've never studied Him before.  Working hard to focus my lens of reading scripture through His eyes.  As well as studying how Lent came to be.

Just as Advent was a refocus on Christ and His birth and what that meant for the entire human race, I hope these next 6 weeks will help me to refocus on the severity of our sin, and the absolute redemption we have because of the death.  Because of Him, Death has lost it's sting.  There is more joy in my heart than I can possibly imagine through that statement.  Ya'll, DEATH HAS LOST IT'S STING!!!

Because of Him, we will be with our Creator in Heaven.

And because of Him, I rejoice.

If you're interested in joining me on this journey, please comment below!

It's because of Him we will truly live!