February 21, 2007

Lent 2007

In honor of Mardis Gras last night, my wife and I split a couple of pączkis. One must always have at least one pączki on Fat Tuesday. We've made it a tradition the last few years.

I have also begun the habit of practicing Lent. Its something I became familiar with at Emmanuel. While I almost never am disciplined enough to fully do what I say I do, I at least start out strong and plan to make some sacrifices. Last year was better than most years. Without looking back at my blog or my journal, I think I had planned to take shorter showers and not buy anything I didn't fully need.

This year, I am going to do those two again. I am also adding another. I am going to do everything I can to only eat a meal times. While at work, this is not really a challenge, especially since the snack machine was taken out of the church. The big challenge is going to be in the evenings. Hannah almost always has a snack before bedtime. Momma and poppa have made this their habit, too. Sometimes it gets out of hand. Sometimes we are somewhat controlled. Nonetheless, it is something that I don't need--nor does my waist. So, I'm going to be fighting that with everything I have in me.

Please pray for me as I fast, repent, and make preparations to celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord, and I will pray for you, also.

February 16, 2007

Too Much To Take In

It has been exactly a month since my last post. . . or at least that is what the date on this one reads. It's a couple days later now. That's the story with life right now. Always behind. I always have good intentions, but never really get to realize them because of being overloaded. And when I do get the chance to slow down and take a breath, there are other things to do. Its like trying to carry on 6 or 7 conversations at one time. Each one is important as the other, but because they are all going on at once, there is no chance to really focus on one and finish it.

At the same time, there are magnanimous moments of beauty and awe. Times like the Chris Tomlin concert last week. During the concert, Louie Gigglio spoke about the hugeness of the universe and all of the wonder that God put into it. From there, he talked about the idea that God is still mindful of man--that, even in all that bigness, he is more focused on man, his ultimate in the creation that is made in his image. Right after his talk, Tomlin sang Everlasting God. I had been working on learning it the week before the concert. It is a very simple song with much weight and hope, especially in the line, "Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord", which is repeated over and over in the song. That line is completely where I am at. it shakes me to the core and makes me able to take on the next day, even though the mountain of it is beyond intimidating.

There are also times of shear awe when I am with my family, playing on the floor with Hannah or hanging out with my wife after Hannah goes to bed. There is a joy and a peace that is there. It really is my refuge, like I believe it should be. Like I want it to be. Like I need it to be, especially right now where everything else is in turmoil and overloaded.

Its interesting to me that even in all the busyness, I am still able to catch the moments. I would assume that God is helping me to keep heart and motivation by giving me some peace throughout this phase of life/ministry I am in. I think part of it might be that I've learned to look for them and take notice of them. Not that I catch all of them. I'm sure I miss more than I notice.

I wish others would take notice of the moments that God is putting before them. As I sang and cried through Everlasting God at the concert, lost in big-ness of God who is concerned and caring for me, the people in front of me were focused on getting a good digital picture of Tomlin as he led us. I think they took 3 or 4 shots before they were satisfied. I guess the bright side of things was that they actually followed the "no flash photography" rule that others at that point were not. I wanted to scream at them and say, "how could you be so focused on a stupid picture of someone who is no more important or glamorous than you or me, no more significant in the scheme of things bigger than man in this moment of awe?" Even now as I write, I'm truly befuddled at how idiotic we can be--how blind we can be.

Why is God so mindful of us? Why, after all this time and all this failure is he still chasing after us, still caring for us, still loving us and giving us grace? Why does he continually allow us to trample on the good as we fumble around in the darkness? Why is he still giving us moments?

In my relationships, as I try to live and love in ways God loves me, I am beginning to get insight into the why. I certainly don't understand all of it. Not by a long shot. When things go right, I love more. When things go wrong, I love more. When things go way wrong, I love more. Sometimes its hard. More often than not, when things go way wrong, loving more is surprisingly easy--easier than it is to love when things go right. I know, that sounds totally messed up. But, that is the way I am experiencing it in my life. Maybe that is the point.