The most insanely ironic thing happened a short while ago, and I think I’m finally ready to tell you (now that the stomping, wild hand gesturing and whining to the husband are through.)
After returning home from a long afternoon in a doctor’s office where I had waited three months to even get an appointment, and having taken multiple wrong turns trying to get out of work traffic and away from the 52 traffic lights that seemed to all be red, to find my way to what I thought was the right freeway home (it’s no secret I’m directionally challenged), I was inspired to write about……waiting. And having patience while we…..wait. And write I did…..a full 735 words in fact – and even hours earlier than my typical just-before-midnight-so-I-can-say-I-wrote-it-on-the-right-day posting. And then…..then…..mid-wrap-up sentence, my computer froze, and all my pleading with it to unfreeze gently so my post would return in tact fell on deaf circuits, and my carefully crafted thoughts on waiting….and having patience while waiting….vanished into cyberspace (along with my patience!)
It’s just so like God to jar me from what I think He is telling me to what He actually IS trying to tell me, as I typically need a little help in the translation. “But what about all the time I spent writing the first one?” I ask. “What about it?” answers God. “I’ll never be able to remember what I wrote – and I really liked it!” I whine. “Why does that upset you so much?” asks God. “Because….because….” I get kind of stumped here. “Because I was trying to write what I thought you wanted me to say.” “And so you did.” smiles God. “But who was it for then?” “Guess.” “Me?” “Yes. That one was just for you.” (Swoon)
How does God do that? Less than an hour ago I was desperately researching how to retrieve lost blogs, following links as though my very life depended on it. I was frustrated with myself (and my trusty Dell Studio laptop) and mostly feeling anything BUT patient at the prospect of a wordy do-over. And then…..as the fighting ceased and I sat still for a bit, not trying to make a new plan….but just sat with God, in walks my husband (who by now had ascertained it was once again safe to enter the writing room) and suggested that I go to an entirely different place, not as in pick up my purse and make a get-away (not that I wouldn’t have been tempted!) but to go to a place in my head that brought me happiness and peace. To stay there for a few minutes, then see what comes.
And so I did. I went to my favorite beach at Lake Tahoe where the water is clear, the sun is warm, the view is breathtaking and I always feel so near to God. I went to the ocean where I felt the wind on my face, smelled the salt air and heard the crashing waves in the distance. I went to the births of each of our children where I fell head-over-heels in love both times. I went to each of the churches we have been so blessed to serve and saw the beautiful faces that have poured so much into our lives. And I returned home, looked at all that God has blessed me with, and just like that………gratitude. Love. Mercy. Hope. And also repentance for my self-centered attitude that nearly robbed me of this little mini-vacation of memories tonight.
We may not always have control over our surroundings (like all those red lights) or our circumstances (like a computer that stops computing), but it’s good to remember those things don’t make us who we are. They affect us from the outside, but God seeks to grow us on the inside. All we have to do is be willing to think about His goodness, even when things aren’t going right….especially when things aren’t going right! It’s crazy how our attitude – how we perceive any given event or situation – can either quickly become one of discouragement or one of gratitude. We have more power over our thoughts than we allow! So, for the remainder of these Lenten reflections, before I type a single word I am going to read the following passage found in Philippians 4:8 and run my thoughts through the filter contained in the following words:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
It may have taken more time to write tonight than usual, but the peace I feel at this moment is worth a thousand free evenings and warm dinners. God loved me enough to let me struggle through a temporary inconvenience, knowing it would bring me to thankfulness (which, let’s face it….is just much easier to be around!) That’s how big God is, friends. And that’s how much He cares!