Good morning, Girls!!!
At least it is morning right now as I sit here typing away at the kitchen bar. I can be patient today...it is perfect...perfect temperature, perfectly quiet except for the songs of birds in my backyard, perfect stillness and a beautiful sky over it all! It's easy to be patient right now.
Twenty-six years ago it wasn't so easy. I had four children. That alone will test your patience. My oldest son, Peter, was attending the Desert Vineyard School and was loving every minute of it. One day, we had a field trip to a children's museum in LA. I don't remember the museum at all, but I will never forget the conversation I had that day with Nancy Robinson, one of our pastor's wives. It changed everything and has influenced me for over a quarter of a century!
Since I was the "new girl" on the "block," I think Nancy decided to befriend me that day. We were all carpooling down to LA and in those days, my car was not road worthy outside of a 10 mile radius:). So Nancy asked if I would like to ride with her. Little did I know that this car ride would radically change my way of thinking and would echo in my mind and heart for decades. As soon as we pulled out of the driveway, Nancy said, "On the way down, I will tell you about me and then on the way back, you can tell me about you." And that is just what happened. I heard Nancy's amazing testimony on the way down to the museum, and as we left the parking lot of the museum, Nancy turned to me and said, "Now its your turn."
Nancy listened as I told her "my story," which was not nearly as wonderful as hers because I did not have a husband who was a Vineyard pastor. In fact, at that time, I was pretty much disappointed in Peter because he was not leading the family the way "he should." ("He should" in "Cherri world" at that time meant the way I wanted him to) So as I talked (complained), I was sure I was conjuring all kinds of sympathy and compassion from Nancy. As I ended my sad saga, Nancy was quiet for a moment and then she said, "Cherri, you don't wait on the Lord. He is trying to birth something in Peter, but you keep forcing an early birth and causing miscarriages. You are trying to be the Holy Spirit in Peter's life, and you make a pretty crummy one." I was stunned. Nancy went on to instruct me in how to wait patiently and what to do in the meantime. I went home that day changed, and although I was not perfect at all in waiting patiently on the Lord to work in Peter's life or my children's, I have to wonder sometimes what it would have looked like if I hadn't had this profound lesson to look back on from time to time.
Like most moms, I am a fixer. If something is wrong in my kids or my husband, I will be more than happy to fix it and fix it NOW. This is my default setting. Reading Sara's story this week reminded me of how much alike women...especially wives and mothers...still are even after thousands of years. We will make something happen...even if it is not so good.
I have had some "not so good" things happen trying to "help" and have come to realize that waiting patiently for the Lord to work in family member's lives is something only the Holy Spirit can do in me. Consequently, as the desire to "help God " comes along, I will go through my Bible and look up all the verses on "waiting," since waiting patiently does not come naturally to me at all. Most of them are underlined and boxed a few times so that I can see them at a glance. One thing I have learned over the years, through meditating on these verses, the support of some true friends who speak truth to me, and remembering the good counsel of my friend Nancy, is that waiting does not mean sitting around doing nothing and fretting as you wait. There are things to do. In Psalm 37 I underlined what I could be doing while waiting patiently. Here's the list I got: 1. Do not fret 2. Do not be envious 3. Trust God 4. Do good 5. Delight yourself in the Lord 6. Commit your ways to the Lord 7. Trust Him 8. Be still before the Lord 9. Do not fret 10. Refrain from anger 11. Turn from wrath 12. Do not fret 13. Hope in the Lord. By the way, the emphasis on "do not fret" is His, not mine.
As I studied through the lesson on patience this week, I couldn't help but notice that there is a theme that runs through all of these chapters: Focus first on God, then on others and, for cryin' out loud, get your focus off yourself! Twenty-six years ago and still today, when my focus turns inward, I say and do nutty things. Whether it is out of pride, insecurity, fear, a lack of self-control or impatience, the root of it all is me. It comes down to one phrase that a friend and I have learned to use during "wilderness" or trying times: "Wait and while you wait, do good."
I had to smile today as I read the prayer Katie prays at the end of Day 4. Throughout this study I keep hearing two words "grow up." Have you ever thought, "Hmmmmm, I wonder if that is from the Lord or is it just my own thoughts..."? That is exactly what I have been thinking lately...until today. In her prayer Katie writes: "Help me to grow up, Lord, in this area of waiting patiently." So there is my answer...it is time for this girl to grow up.
So honored and glad to be growing along side of you...