Sunday, March 5, 2017

I heard about praise

A couple of things that just popped into my head..... don't even ask why...

First, that if I accidentally hit the camera button on this laptop as I sit here and type in my bed on this sleepy Saturday night, the sight of me could scare the pants off even the bravest of someones.  Sad but true.  I think my presentation hit rock bottom right after my shower, which was right after my second trip to the grocery store and the cooking of two frozen pizzas. 

And second, as I laid here reading a book, and wondered what words I might have to share, I remembered a particular drive home from college.  Or from somewhere else when I was in college.  Y'all, it was college.... I could've been anywhere. 

I was either in my first ever car - looked just like this one - but then I wrecked it - again, .... college.

Or maybe it was the classy white Thunderbird whose window broke in the up position so I had to open the door to do anything - like to pick up drive through food, parking garage dealings and the like.  Our family always had used cars, but only used cars that broke down in the most inconvenient of places.  I think I already told y'all about the night the timing belt went out on my little black car on the way to the bank with the earnings from the gym, me in my leotard and suntan tights, broken down in front of a K Mart in the dark of night- .... good times.  And there was that time in southish Dallas where the car left me stranded between a gas station and a pay by the hour motel.  There was also that engine overheating incident on a busy freeway where I had to exit where no lady should have to exit alone.

But on one particular trip home from wherever, I think College Station - um, did I ever  mention I'm an Aggie?  It was the middle of the night.  And for the entire trip I was accompanied by the same 18 wheel truck.  Where I went, he went.  Same speed, side by side in our car and truck best friend lanes.  Until I got close to home where the truck and I parted ways for the first time in hours.

And the funny thing was that I never even had to stop to go to the bathroom - not even once.  Which is totally weird and out of the ordinary and something cosmic had to have been happening at that time.  The truck stayed with me until my exit off the freeway and I drove the rest of the way home alone.  And when I parked the car, it never started again.  The mechanic said there was no way that car should've made the trip that it just did.  And had I stopped at all, it would've left me stranded out on the freeway - back in the day of no cell phones.

And I've always thought that particular instance gave me a story worth telling time and again.  I like to think I had a guardian with me that night.  Because I also like to think it was an angel and not a crazy truck driving stalker following a young lady down the freeway in the dead of night.  I also like to think I had a companion, a guide, if you will, out there in the dark where I would've been terrified all alone.  And right now I think I just had a sad flashback of why I was out there in the first place - but that's an entirely different story,....

I like to think that things could've been different, in so many different combinations of possibilities.  But that the right one is the one that happened.  And that was just that I made it home safely.  I think this particular story comes to mind to me right now as I feel like I'm a little bit lost and alone on the road of parenthood.  And I feel like I need to just keep going, but part of me is just so ready to stop.  Maybe even for a bathroom break and a diet coke like I used to make at the one clean McDonald's between Dallas and College Station.

Or maybe I like this story because I feel like right now I need a guide.  Maybe I just need to be as trusting and brave as I was that night.  Or was I just young and ignorant?  All of the above, maybe.

But I learned after the fact that there were just parts to the story that I couldn't possibly know yet.  And that I didn't need to.  And that something made me keep going. And if nothing else, I know I need to find a little bit of that same mix of trust and ignorance blind faith that made the best parts of me back then.

Y'all, I don't know about you, but sometimes I just need to stop.  I need to stop working so hard and trying so hard, and stop worrying so much about how my house looks and how I look, and if my kids are going to turn out to be alright. 

Cut to Sunday afternoon, once again sitting in my bed typing.... nap time just minutes away.  Because even the Lord rested on Sundays, and I think he had a good idea.  When I wrote all that other stuff last night  I had no idea where it was going or how to end it.  I was just talking to myself.  But then I heard something twice this morning and I know it was meant for me  - both on the way to church and during church.  I heard about praise.  No, I was reminded about praise.  I was reminded of the importance and the power of praise, in every situation - despite the situation, in spite of circumstance, and especially in the face of doubt and fear.  

Y'all, true story.... one day I was walking through the ladies locker room at work, and happened to pass by a lady saying these exact words..... God inhabits the praises of his people.  And OH MY GOSH, that message was meant for me at that exact time.  Another chance reminder when I needed it most.  Because that day I was kind of in a similar spot of ...... being stuck. 

I don't know about you, but we Baptists have a lot to learn about the season of Lent.  I always thought Easter just showed up on a Sunday along with a ham and a variety of desserts.  But it turns out that we are to walk the journey with Jesus to the cross in the season of Lent, leading us first to Good Friday and then, thank the good lord - Easter.  And for those of us not completely understanding what or who or why.... here's the short version:  Basically we're the lost ones just keeping Jesus company as events are about to unfold.  Because we got all sorts of happy and confident with the birth of the baby Jesus at Christmas and thought all the world's problems were just gonna stop and roll in sugar for us.  But no.  The world is still lost and we are here wandering around in it trying to find a way to stay the light in a world full or darkness.  

So for Lent - and this is all I know about it  ..... we either give up something to make us better understand the suffering of Jesus' journey, or we take on something to lighten or brighten the load of someone else.  I'm actually not a big observer of Lent.  Just put me in a Born and Raised Baptist t-shirt , but I think it a dandy idea to take on something this year, though I could indeed do with a little carb-fasting that's for sure. 

I'm choosing to take on an attitude of praise even in my most confused of states.  For me, right now, that would be the United States of Motherhood.  So today, I am praising God for his mighty hand that has power to do and say and move all the things that I can't.  And to provide mystery trucks to drive beside me in the dark of night.  And I'm praising him for his surprises that have carried me this far.  

post script - speaking of Baptist churches... Here's a fun little story of how I got that first little black car of mine, written for the church blog last week.  

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