Sunday, April 27, 2014

Forty More Days of Jesus (Day 7)

Day 7 – April 27, 2014
This morning, I woke early. However, I had the hardest time rising from my bed. I went back to sleep, only to have it be restless and unsettling. I really wish I had got out of bed when I eyelids popped open 30 minutes before my alarm. I have a feeling my morning would have been far more productive.

Thankfully, there is always next time and next time I will do my best for it to happen. 

Church was awesome this morning. Worship was powerful. Communion was reverential and the sermon was exactly what I needed. 

Pastor Jordan talked about the Peace of God, the Access of God and the Hope of God. The statement he made that stuck with me was in regards to the Access of God. He used the analogy that because of the access we have to information by way of our phones, tablets and laptops; sometimes we forget to appreciate what is right in front of us. We are so focused on taking a picture of our experience, we don't even experience it in the full capacity we were intended to experience it.

The same goes for the Holy Spirit. We have direct access to HIM. All the time. For anything and everything. 

Sometimes, I forget to appreciate HIM because HE is so accessible. 

Today I charged my phone in the morning. Now, it is almost 8pm and I still have almost half my battery. Usually I have to recharge my phone 4-5 times during the weekday... 

I am too attached to my phone in the sense of it being a distraction. I would like to focus more on what is going on around me, and less on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. Those things aren’t bad. I just spend a little too much concentrated time on them. They are tools I use, but not tools that should control me. 

I wonder if people would have come out in hoards to hear Jesus if FB and Twitter had been in reach during his lifespan on earth. What would the hashtags have been? Would the five loaves and two fishes even happened, or would they have ordered a pizza? 

Am I too wrapped up in my social media that I don’t notice when Jesus is right in front of me? Sometimes I probably am.

I don't want Jesus to be my hashtag, I want Him to be my life.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Forty More Days of Jesus (2014)

Day 1 – April 21, 2014

Last year I embarked on a project. 

One of my pastors made a comment regarding Easter. He said, “Guys, Easter doesn’t end with today! Jesus walked the earth for 40 more days before He ascended into Heaven! How awesome is that?”

In that moment I was completely inspired. The knowledge Christ walked the earth for another month and ten days had never been lost on me. But it had never stuck with me in such a powerful way either.

I committed that evening I would make a point to look for Jesus every day, for the next forty days. I would ask Him to reveal Himself to me and show Himself in ways not typical or normal. And He did. And it was amazing.

During the forty days that followed, I documented each fantastic and powerful moment on Instagram. It gave me a solid sense of purpose and held me accountable to my newly set goal.

As Easter approached this this year, I wondered if I would document in the same way. The truth is, I might; but then again, I might not. I am definitely sensing a different pattern for this year’s forty-day journey. This year…. I kind of want to have my journey alone. And at the same time, I still want that accountability and platform to share the marvels God has in store.

The one commitment I am willing to make, is that regardless of how I share, or with whom, I commit to writing about my journey every single day. For forty days.

And who knows, maybe I will post it on the blog. Maybe I won’t. Maybe this year isn’t about out of the ordinary things happening and needing to share through photos and hashtags. Maybe it is about being present and in the moment, seeing the normal for the amazing that it is. Being so captivated my your Savior that all else pales in comparison, including Candy Crush and Twitter.

This year, I want it to be about being present. Because when it comes down to it, my favorite place to be with Jesus is present. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Five More Minutes

When I first learned how to read, I hated it. I can’t remember why I hated it, but I did. Until one Christmas, I fell madly, completely, totally in love with books. The set I received Christmas morning was a collection of Disney tales bound with the well-known golden edge.

Those books changed my world. From that day forward, I was never without a book in my hands. I wanted to read everywhere, and all the time. If I was outside I wanted a book. If I was in the car, I wanted a book. If I was going to bed, I most likely had a book tucked beneath the covers. Because I knew, there was always a possibility my mom would only give me a few minutes to read. And it never failed, my time would be up just as I was getting to the good part. Or the end of a chapter would almost be upon me, and my time would be up. So I would ask, “Please just five more minutes?”

Five more minutes. Five more minutes to find out if the bad guy lost. Five more minutes to find out if the wild west was won. Five more minutes to feel the satisfying closure of knowing what happens next.

So I start thinking about all the times I wish I had five more minutes.

I wish I had five more minutes to sleep. (hit snooze button)
I wish I had five more minutes to curl my hair. (why did I hit that snooze button)
I wish I had five more minutes before I have to catch the bus. (why do we even have a snooze button)

Most of the time, I just wish I had five more minutes with my dad… At least, sometimes I do.

Really and truly? I wish I had a lot more than five minutes. Because I don’t think I would be able to even form words in five minutes if he were standing right in front of me. I would just bawl for those five minutes.

I had a dream once, about six months after he died. I was standing in the parking lot at church, when all of a sudden he started walking up the driveway. In my dream I knew he had passed away, so the sight of him sent me into shrieks, and I started running towards him. I threw myself into his arms and started saying over and over, “You’re back! You’re back! I can’t believe you’re back!”

My joy was short lived when he whispered in my ear, “I only came back so that I could say goodbye.” As my tears flowed I asked, “Why? Why do you have to leave again?”

The dream ended with me gripping my dad’s neck tightly, sobbing uncontrollable, only to have him have to leave me. I woke up bawling, and feeling alone. (sometimes my dreams have nothing to do with superheroes and saving the world. sometimes they just hurt)

In that moment, I would have given almost anything to have those five minutes with my dad. I didn’t get to say goodbye. That 14 year old version of myself didn’t get to say "I love you", or "please don't leave me." I just stood in a hospital room, holding my dad’s ice-cold fingers, whispering in his ear that I loved him. Except he couldn’t respond. And even though they say hearing is the last thing to go, I still don’t know if he heard me. 

I know it sounds like I have a lot of regrets, but honestly, I don't. The time I had with my dad was fantastic. He was my best friend. He was my hero. He was my inspiration. And he was my biggest fan. I miss him, and I miss him everyday. 

The only regret I really have is I didn’t get to say goodbye. Not in the traditional sense anyway. So when I longingly hope and wish for five more minutes, it is mostly for closure. Because in being honest with myself, I selfishly want him for more than five minutes. I want him forever, but that cannot be. However, I can reminisce for five minutes. I can rejoice in knowing he is with Jesus. I can fondly and with much mirth and laughter relive the memories we made.

And I can fully live with and appreciate those whom I am around everyday. Which is what he would have wanted me to do.

I can spend five more minutes with someone today.
I can take five more minutes and write someone a note. Make a phone call. Send a text.
I can spend five more minutes living life to the fullest so there are no regrets.

The greatest gift my dad gave me was teaching me to live in the moment. To embrace those around you. To laugh freely and with abandon. To take the most random moment to tell someone how you feel about them. He taught me to live.

So my desire for those five more minutes is purely selfish. I really just want to hug my dad. I want to hold his hand. Hear his laugh.

Those things cannot be, but the things that can, I will embrace. 

We all should. Regardless of time constraints or schedules. Take the time. Be present. Be alive. Be here.

Because you might not have five more minutes… so use the ones you have.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Wonder Woman Rents a U-Haul

Saturday mornings are made for laziness. They are made for sleeping in and having copious amounts of coffee being poured into my body.

On rare occasions, I plan things for my Saturdays. I plan adventures and outings and fun. Yesterday was one of those days. Two of my dear friends were getting engaged, and a surprise party was going to ensue. So I prepared. I planned. I covered my bases.

I woke up at 11. (Still get to be lazy when your party is at 2pm)
I made coffee and took a shower. (Coffee always comes first)
I applied my eyeliner, and curled my hair. (Necessities my friends, necessities)

So far things were looking good.

This would probably be a good time to mention that I currently do not own a car.
Lucy left this world for the next back in December. And because of my lack of wheels, I have learned to take public transit. And I have learned to take it well.

99% of the time I have no trouble. Buses show up on time. I make my connections. I am on time.

That  1%  though, it really likes to try my patience.

I plan my trips down to the minute detail. I arrive at the bus stop on time. I know my connecting bus.

However, bus drivers do not always share my pension for promptness. Today was one of those days.

When he finally did decide to show up, he did so ten minutes later than schedule. Looking like Ernest Hemingway in need of a haircut.

By this time, my curled hair was frizzing and puffing all over the place. Because…. I was out in the wind and rain for the ten minutes my driver was taking his sweet time getting there. Thanks Ernest.

Under normal circumstances, I would have been grateful for Ernest and his lead foot. Except that his lead foot was on the brake, and not the gas. I now need to go to the chiropractor.

More often than not, I am calm. I am put together, and I am a problem solver. But, when I arrived at the transit center, and I realized I had missed by connecting bus by 4 minutes, my flare for the dramatic arose with a vengeance.

So I sat down on a bench and cried. For two minutes. I fussed and fumed. I had tried! I had planned! And it didn’t work!

A cab would take too long to get there. So I’d miss the party.
The next bus was an hour away. So I’d miss the party.
I could try walking. But again, I’d miss the party.

In a moment of weakness, I was about to give up and go home. When, I remembered that I am a powerful resourceful woman with an iron will.

There is always a way, and I would find it.

Eureka! My light bulb went on, and I knew what to do!

My dear friends, I live right beside a U-haul rental facility. I can drive a pick up truck. A cargo van and a box truck.  No set of wheels are too much for this girl.

This is happening. I am making it to that party.

Twenty minutes later I was on my way to that party. I made it on time.The bride to be was perfectly surprised. The atmosphere was enchanting, and happiness flowed from every person in attendance.

You see, memories are important. Memories cannot be retrieved once the opportunity has past. It’s now or never. And, when you want something bad enough, you get it. No matter what it takes. How long it takes. Or how outside of the box it is.

You do it. You follow through. You make it happen.

And it's always worth it. Always.

it was probably cheaper than a taxi anyway....