Friday, December 13, 2013

Don't miss the wonderful waiting days

Photo Credit:  Cindee Snider Re
I wrote a post about this...not many of you read it.  I know you are very busy right now.

That's okay, because I still needed to write it.  But if you have a moment, before you read this one, take a look at this one too.  Because this one is kind of a long read...

This devotional series isn't what I had planned for today but rarely does my writing go along with my plans.  For something that is Spirit led, guess what?  It doesn't drop from the magical word bank on the Internet.  It festers and grows and works in my life first before I can put it into words.

In other words God makes it real to me, then I am compelled to share it with you.  And for many things in life, tangible and not, I am waiting on God to make words absolutely brilliant in my life.  Perhaps He is waiting on me to not miss the lessons in waiting.

First of all, I think I have determined that I am a little ADD.  This is a self-diagnosis for sure, but sometimes I wonder about myself.  And I know that by making this admission to you, you will be begin to wonder about me too.  I can literally have 10 conversations at once.  

And....I can keep track of them all.

I'm finally not embarrassed to share that.  I don't know why I would be ashamed, except to say that I might seem a little crazy to you.  Seriously.

To be honest with you, there are days when it feels a little like I am losing my mind.  If you believe that I am crazy then, welcome to my club.  I live in crazy town most days.  (Random musing)

So what does this have to do with writing Advent devotionals?  Well, here's a message that God has been perfecting in me for years.

And He took me to a place of waiting that I didn't want to go.  

God, I want your truth in this and may I have it right now please?  ROFL (Google this to explain the text-speak, that's for you non-texters out there).

Plain and simple, these Advent days are a gift.  A gift of anticipation for what the Gift is.

What... you say?  A gift?  How can waiting be a gift?  NIARROTFL (Now, I am really rolling on the floor laughing)  See how ADD I can get while just writing a imagined text speak phrase here?

Yes, Advent, a time of preparing can be a gift.

Let's unwrap this....(wink)!  As a mom I have birthed two live babies.  And each time of waiting for the appropriate delivery day, I've prepared.  It's in the nurturing part of my character, I want to make our home as perfectly new as I can, just like the new life that I welcome in.

We all know that a baby changes everything....  Or you should.  And if you don't know that yet, strap in.  A baby can upset and change your life more than you can imagine.  It changes... your home...and...

your spaces
your schedule, days and nights
your sleep patterns
the calendar you like to keep tidy
the appointments you keep promising
your swallowing your man-pride of the idea mini-van
your insurance, life, car, and otherwise
your will for when you die, think about it!
your heritage, your entire family tree
your dreams for him or her, or them to be legendary
your entire life is uprooted and changed
your entire perspective about life is redesigned

There are a lot of things to plan for when welcoming a baby, if it's for first time or not.  Even baby number 20 takes some rearranging of the home.  Although the Duggar's have mastered this feat.  (Another random musing)

Preparations must be made to receive a new living breathing person.  With my daughter right now, she is expecting baby number two, a girl.  Now...pause...I am SUPER excited about this news.  Not just that it's a nice, new addition to our family, but because of the baby's gender, it will be a planned opportunity to unleash the inner diva in both of us, (giggles....every mom is connecting right now).  That inner beauty of a dreamy baby with pinky-ribboned and curled long thick locks of hair bouncing in the summer's sun, dressed in unfurled lace and glamour.  A time to rock our baby girls skills, and with an "out-of-this-world-girl-style".  (Yes, I am posting this term on Wikipedia as we speak).  

We are both finding great excitement in these plans, in the days of waiting until she arrives.  All this baby talk brings much excitement, anticipation, and expectations.  So many opportunities to learn and grow again.  As she prepares the nursery for round two, the closet spaces, the expected living quarters, the traveling supplies needless to say there are a few things we have learned in the days of waiting and some things we have forgotten.  

As we plan, we are using our first child's birth experience to compare and gain wisdom.  She is trying some new things, and building on the wisdom gained from Avery, her first child.  Pause....I secretly laugh because all mothers know there are no two babies alike.  How many times have you screamed in your heart "I wish I knew what I was doing?"  or "God, make me a better parent!"  

When I speak of growing, I'm not just talking about the mid-sections that expand as the days go by, but our spirits.  We have more days to wonder about the new life coming to take up residence in our cluttered corners.  We dream about what she is going to become....hopefully a mother herself and I secretly pray I'm alive to witness that.  We pray that she is healthy and full of energy.  We ask God, no implore, that's she perfect in every baby way.  

That's what all parents want for their children.  A perfect life.  A pain free life.  A better life than we know it right now.  And in the days of waiting, we hope, we pray, we learn, we prepare for what we assume "perfect" to arrive on it's appointed day.

So as we reflect on the birth of Perfect, we long for a heavenly breathe to fill our lives.  We long for a glimpse of Heaven to come to us.

As a mom, you plan the waiting days but from my experience they go by really fast.  Yes, it's easy to see that now.  When you are talking about waiting for nine months, and some of you have been waiting years ( I know this too) to say "We're having a baby!".  

The waiting days can be a bit excruciating.  But let's not miss the lessons of these Advent days.

I know of a couple who tried to conceive for years.  Then God led them to adopt internationally.  They went through the long process of waiting for all of the rigorous paperwork, visits, etc.  (And I don't even know half of their story of waiting) but God finally delivered two Ethiopian children to their home.  They prepared for two new children to their home.  As a cherry on top in their days of waiting, they also found out recently, that now they themselves have conceived and God is blessing them with a child of their own next Spring.  What a miracle after all those years of waiting!

Now if you were to ask them, or anyone else that has waited or is still waiting for a child, the days of waiting are long and tedious.  For others, like me, looking on the outside into their circumstances, I would tell you that it went by really fast.  In either case, it's hard to wait for something you want so badly, but it's also necessary to wait.  

In the waiting God prepares us to be good parents.  In our waiting, God is preparing us.  (Honestly I could go on and on about this analogy).

As we turn our hearts to the manger, we wait.  We wade through all the clutter of Christmas, for that magical moment to experience the simple Christ child story.  And we wander through all of the parties, the decorations, the lighted displays, the gift buying, the long lines at the merchandise counters, the weeks of the expected package delivery, the bargain-hunting adventures to find the best gift at the right price.  

And we miss the lessons in the moments of waiting.

We work in the many hours of music and programs with children and choir rehearsals.  (with those now, we really need more time don't we?)

In the days of waiting, we forget that God is preparing us for our Home, that...being Heaven.  God promised a Savior, and by receiving the Gift, we are promised Eternal rest.  In the waiting days of Advent, He reminds us that the Gift is worth the wait.  

The Gift of a Savior is worth the wait when we turn our hearts toward Heaven.  

How many times have we waited for something and then found that when we actually achieved or received it, we weren't really ready for it?    How many days in the wait, after getting a gift, we had more appreciation than we could ever imagine?  

So let's think about how our long awaited days will intensify the enjoyment of Heaven, the long anticipated days of waiting as a parent, makes arrivals so much more joyous.

When we see the baby's face, all the pain and heartache of waiting and delivery is erased.  We literally gaze at the face of a miracle.  When we see the Face of Eternity, we are face to face with the miracle of Christmas, of Heaven. 

The days of waiting soon disappear when we are looking full on to His Holiness.  I'm not sure that I'm ready for that....are you? (Is anyone teary at this moment, to only imagine what Heaven will be like right now?)

God prepares us for our Ultimate Gift, which is Jesus.  And the worship of the Christ child gives us a glimpse of Heaven.  And when God comes near to us, we see the Promise, the Gift.  And it's worth waiting for.  The Ultimate Gift is Jesus.  Our ultimate Giver is God.  Our Eternal home is Heaven.

In the days of advent, God breathes new life into our stagnant corners, hearts, souls to receive the breathe of Heaven.  The breathe of the Holy.  Who of you, with all of the plans of Christmas right now could use a breathe of fresh air?  Of rest?  Of a deep sigh, to be all by yourself with eyes locked on Holiness?  (I see you wildy waving your hands!)

So now, let's slow our pace a  bit so that we can really enjoy the time we spend at the manager.  So that we can see the gift in the waiting, in the preparing.  To soak up the sounds, the smells, the music of Heaven coming near and God dwelling among us.  Let us turn our hearts to the Holy, so we don't miss the preparation for the Promise.  So we don't miss a moment of holiness.

God is preparing us for our Home. The real meaning of these advent days of Christmas prepares and shows us the Christ child, the King and Savior of the world.  What child is this... really?  

May our posture before Christ be one of worship, of the One who "bleeds through, distinctly clear, deeply, intimately, profoundly, drawing our hearts toward home." ~ Cindee Snider Re.

May the light of the Christ child, His simple, pure, holy, meek and unassuming Presence prepare us for our Heavenly home.  

Oh may I linger and stagger in these waiting days. ~ my heart.

Dear God, prepare us in these busy days.  May we not go through the motions of Christmas so that we miss you in the waiting days.  Prepare our hearts to see you in our preparations.  Give us patience, endurance to wait in faith for our promised Home.  May we adore you at the manger to turn our hearts towards your Son Jesus who was and is and will be our Ultimate Gift to enjoy one day.  May we be silent in these nights of worship and let the stillness of your Spirit calm ours to truly see you as Emmanuel.  Our help, our Comfort, our Promise, our Gift in the waiting.  May we be mindful of the moments we too often miss. The moments when heaven pierces earth and we catch a glimpse of Your holiness, the aroma of eternity, the sound of Your still, small Voice, gently, tenderly leading us home. Amen and amen.

Oh come let us adore Him...

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