Ash Wednesday? Already?!

So, Lent is here.  Yeah, I knew that was going to happen.  On Monday, I told myself, “Hey, tomorrow is Fat Tuesday!  It’s Lent time!”
Imagine my surprise when Tuesday arrives, and it actually clicks in my brain.
Tomorrow is Lent?!  Aw man!  Just hook up the intravenous Mountain Dew drip now, because someone forgot to do her indulging until Tuesday afternoon…
In all seriousness, though, Lent is such a beautiful time of year.  In the 40 days leading up to Easter, it’s a designated time within which to join fellow Christians in doing a bit of self-reflection and sacrifice.  It’s an opportunity to consider Christ’s life, His sacrifice and devotion to us, and how He did the unfathomable.
All.  For.  Us.
My initial plan was to give up pop (that’s soda, to you West Coasters) for Lent.  Then I changed my mind.  While I still plan on reducing my penchant for the carbonated, it seems too superficial and unimportant to me to give up during this particular season.
In its place will be the deliberate ignoring of the hit counter on this blog.
Sure, I write because I love to write.  I’d even go so far as to say that I need to write.  But I also have the insatiable need to know if anyone actually reads any of it, which is not what this should be about.
Galations 5:25-26  Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.  Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another. 
I don’t want to get caught up in anything other than writing what God puts on my heart.  So for Lent, there will be no looking at the traffic stats at Room for Patience.  There will be no obsessive comparing of my somewhat sloppy layout to those refined and established layouts of veteran bloggers.
Just internet fellowship, and the postings of my theological and intellectual curiosities pertaining to the Faith.

You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling

Recently, I’ve got that not-so-lovin’ feeling.  That feeling of simply going through the motions, and I sometimes ask myself, “Just what is it that you’re doing?
My faith is the biggest part of my life, and has been for a long time.  It’s not about wavering dedication or devotion toward God.  No, my commitment is fully intact.
It has more to do with not knowing exactly where I am supposed to be, or what I’m meant to be doing.  Certainly, I have my own notions of what I’d like to do.  At some point, I usually end up telling myself that it just won’t work.
Basically, I’ve been waiting for that lightning strike of an epiphany to tell me what I’m supposed to do with my life.  To be quite honest, I’m not sure that that storm is coming.
And you know, perhaps waiting on it would be an insult to God, anyways.  He didn’t give me talents, ideas and notions just to sit around and wonder what to do with them.  Oftentimes I’ll be thinking about how cool it would be to write books about Christianity.  Or to be a youth minister.
Alas.  If I delve too deep into those notions of a religious education and career, I start asking myself the same old questions.
You want to write a book about Christianity?  Who are you to do such a thing?
Making money off of God?  How could you?!
It’s thoughts like these that point me to the most harrowing thought of all.
I do not feel consumed by Him as much as I think I should be.
That is to say…  All. The. Time.
Granted, I realize that not every single moment can be one of intense religious fervor.  Somewhere along the line I got it stuck in my head that by not having an around-the-clock spiritual tingling, that I’m not meant to serve in certain capacities.
Perhaps it’s time to acknowledge reason.  No, I’m not going to feel emotionally raptured every second of every day.  If it were that easy, we would all be Christians.  Instead, we rely on our Faith in Christ to get us through the day-to-day.  Adhering to the Bible helps us find the discipline we need to keep our lives focused on God and His will.  Keeping an open dialogue with God–praying and listening for His response is what will lead us in the right direction.
It might not be the makings of 24/7 excitement, but it is the foundation for a lifetime relationship with our Creator.  I think, for me, that is comfort enough to simply get up and Go.

It’s been a while

My internet dormancy might make it seem as if I’ve gone away, but the actuality is that this couldn’t be further from the truth.

No, I haven’t abandoned yet another blogging endeavor, but have instead been using my time away to get all introspective on my intentions, and where I’m at in life.  I’ve also been fruitlessly trying to keep a diaper on my two year old, but this is neither here nor there…

We’ve been in and out of church for most of January, which seems to be the one month of the year where all of us get slammed with some rendition of the flu.

Somewhere in the midst of  dirty tissue, vomit buckets and Lysol, I decided to try my hand at working with teens at our church.  The more I delve back into church life, I’m better able to recall the zeal and enjoyment I find in enveloping myself in that world.

There was a time years ago when I toyed with the idea of making a career out of working as a youth minister, or something along those lines, though for several reasons I dismissed it.  Still, I’ve never ceased to feel gratitude toward my youth minister, and the young college women who volunteered to make our Wednesday nights worth remembering.

Ours is a society that tends to discount teenagers.  Existing in the limbo between childhood and adulthood, no one seems to know what to do with them.  Alas, if only we would stop and remember how impressionable and thoughtful teenagers are.

I’m praying that these feelings and notions root themselves further within me, in hopes that my own kids’ teen years might be more bearable for them.  I’d much rather them realize that their mother is not their misunderstanding parent, but rather as their biggest advocate in life.

Everyone deserves to be viewed in such a way.  Considering my children have quite a way to go, I think I’ll just relish each of their life stages, and see about being there for others, along the way.

What does that even mean?

Living intentionally.  Being purposeful.
These are some of the phrases I kept running into when I first began perusing Christian blogs.  Interesting reading, sure, but phrases like these usually caused me to dismiss the author’s credibility for speaking Christiansese.
Snotty of me?  Yeah.  Probably.
I wasn’t on the search for religious fads and phases.  I wanted to read from someone with authentic faith and words.
And then it happened.  I began to hear those faddish and cliche words.
In my head!
See, the reason I had been making the rounds on Christian blogs in the first place, was in part a revival of my need and desire for God in my life.  Wanting to go further with Him.  To keep Him there with me all the time, and do what He would want me to do.
I started going back to church.  Night time found me cracking open my Bible, and before I knew it, I was reaching for certain verses throughout my day.
Before long I was looking for the areas of my life where I could work on being more intentional in my devotion to family and God.  Searching for the subtle, unhealthy habits and behaviors that were keeping me from being the kind of Christian I wanted to be.  Making sure each deliberate action had a purpose.
My days of judging the use of Christianese are over.  As it turns out, using it is one of the few accidental things there are about pursuing God.  Perhaps it’s only a matter of time before speaking such phrases becomes intentional.

Well.  Christmas has passed, the tree is down, and the snow never really came.  It’s safe to assume that I’ve been frequenting my phone’s Christmas countdown app more than usual.
Five days into this new year, and I find myself feeling less fickle in my interests, more confident in my priorities, and moving in directions I once believed to be dormant in my mind.  Not wanting to over-credit the turning of a new year, I have to admit that these things have been solidifying in me for the past year or so.  Perhaps longer…
Dare I suggest, that while this site is still in its infancy, that Room for Patience may no longer be a military blog.  To be clear, I love writing, and I love this military life we lead.  Unfortunately, instead of posting anything of real merit, I find myself over-thinking possible content, only to be left uninterested and without a timely post.
Days move quicker, and weeks segue into months even faster.  Time is not something I’ll allow to be monopolized by things that mean little or nothing to me.  While embracing our Air Force life and volunteering within it remain important to me, writing a military blog is proving both boring and inconvenient.
Considering, however, that writing is simply innate with me to the point that I need to do it, I’ll be continuing forward with this blog.  From this point on, Room for Patience (that name, I think I’ll keep…) will be geared toward my faith life.
Since making the decision to be baptized when I was 16, much of my time has been spent thinking of and pursuing God.  Not always evident through my actions, my voracious interest in literary things religious has never waned.  Having spent years looking for where God wanted me to be, I spent more time inside books and outside of church, trying to go it alone.
Lately I’ve grown tired of keeping areas of my life separate.  In seeking God both on an academic and personal, relationship-based level, life has somehow become sweeter than ever.  The times I run to prayer find me a better mother to my kids, more astute to any sort of work in front of me, and more perseverant toward the busy and somewhat daunting future in front of me.
I’m doubtful that this blog will ever turn into some sort of online ministry, but should more or less chronicle any medium that finds me exercising my faith.  For once, I’ll be looking at blogging not as a means to any sort of end, but as a project.  Working out my faith in public, per se.
Anyways, ending on that note…  I was randomly flipping through an old Bible the other day, and found this:

2 Samuel 14:14.
All of us must die eventually.  Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be fathered up again.  That is why God tries to bring us back when we have been separated from Him.  He does not sweep away those He cares about–and neither should you!

Good luck exploring the infinite abyss!

Growing up, I was always told to relish wherever I was in life, since my impending adulthood would inevitably fly by.  Though I never exactly dismissed the thought, it wasn’t until recently that I began to understand its truth, either.

So here we are.  Five years into the the military, with at least five more lying ahead.  Beyond that is anybody’s guess.

With reading other milspouse blogs comes the realization that some of these couples are destined to be military lifers.  At this point, anyway, they seem to have it all figured out.  Unafraid of the uprooting whimsy that is military life, they look at their future and accept its contractual, yet indefinite terms together.

The more I think about it, I envy them.

While it’s possible that our affair with the Air Force could last just as long, it remains uncertain.  We look ahead one contract at a time, not knowing what comes next.  It’s only after life quickly sweeps more time under the rug that we realize it’s time to make that decision about reenlistment at least one more time.

Perhaps all I need is a perspective adjustment, but some days this leaves me unable to look past the years of my husband’s current contract.  We’re living life to its fullest and preparing for the future, but after a certain point I find myself staring into the infinite abyss.

Ah, but isn’t that the truth for us all?  Sure, it looks different to everyone, but no one is exempt from questioning what will become of them in the future.

It seems that the best I can do is make my plans, see them through, and accept that this is simply the structure and foundation needed for life to create something bigger than me.

Challenge accepted.