Monday, April 1, 2013

Day 28 {31 Days of Grace}:Did I dig deep enough?

What seems like forever ago, I promised you 31 posts as part of this series, 31 Days of Grace.

I've done a lot of bouncing around during this time {52 days so far to complete 28 posts} and it's not lost on me that this process fell mostly during the 40 Days of Lent.

Lent isn't something I've ever celebrated or commemorated (I'm not sure which is appropriate here); it wasn't even something we spoke of in the Baptist churches where I grew up.
To be honest, I didn't really get it...

I had the chance to talk to a Catholic friend recently, who just in the past year or so has prayed to receive Jesus and given her life to Christ. 

Here's what I told her:
"I don't get Lent...if there is something that keeps you from being close to God, why would you only give it up for 40 Days? Why not give it up forever? And why is it necessary to publicize to everyone else what you are giving up? I mean if everyone is bragging about what they gave up for Lent, isn't it more for personal glory than the Glory of God?"

{I know that's a lot...I know some will read that and think I sound extremely self-righteous.  I don't mean to...I am nowhere near perfect in my relationship with God.  I don't sacrifice nearly enough and I have certainly done my share of bragging or at least doing things for my own glory rather than His. I'm just sharing my thoughts here exactly as I shared them with her.}

And I guess she was able to explain it better than I ever heard it explained before.  In addition, she said "some don't just give up something for Lent, they add something" like an extra 15 minutes spent reading the Bible each day.

And while I didn't make a proclamation about Lent this year, I will definitely do so next year.  I will say, this 31 Days of Grace series has brought me closer to God and helped me think through a lot of things I might not have otherwise thought through. Sometimes just getting the words out helps me process them more easily.

When I started this series, I was taking my cue from a friend who had written her own 31 Days of Grace series.
I sort of assumed because she had told her "life story" starting in high school, that I would do the same.  I also didn't know how else or where else to begin.

The more I write though, the more I wonder if this series was really about grace for me.
It helped me... look back at some of my past; to come to terms with some of my mistakes and to see the lesson from this vantage point when I certainly couldn't see it at the time.
But I'm not sure I've learned grace, given myself grace, or really recognized moments of grace in my own life.
I know they are there I just need to dig a little deeper.

Since there are only a few days left, I want to continue my story with my husband.
We'll see what special series I can do next; I really think there's more for me to uncover in some of the stories and situations I've already shared as well as everyday life.
So I'm thinking on it...

Several posts ago,  I got to the point where E had proposed and I'd said yes.
I mentioned some complications...

The first one was WHEN we would get married.
Since we got engaged in June, I was looking at dates the following June to get married.  The problem was, all the venues in my home town were already booked for the following June.  This meant having to wait longer than a year to get married, or having to plan a wedding in under a year.

The second complication was our friends who were also engaged and already had a date set for May 2000. Remember Mr. Crush? He and his fiancee were the ones getting married in May and E was already committed to being in the wedding (I would end up in the wedding too).  

The third complication was telling our parents.
Mine were expecting it because as I mentioned earlier, my Mom had taken E to lunch months earlier to find out his intentions.
E told his parents over the phone the very day we got engaged.  I didn't hear their end of the conversation, but I knew they were shocked.

Shortly after this, we went home to see them and the situation got more complicated.  His Dad basically said he didn't think we were ready to get married and he'd like to see us wait a while.  For each of us to get on our feet financially and pay back school loans, etc.
I found it very hurtful, because like most things, I took it personally.  In fact, during this conversation, I had to get up and leave.  I was just so upset and I didn't want to sit and cry in front of his parents, so I went outside.

The dust finally settled and we decided to get married in late April of 2000; 3 weeks before our friends planned to get married.
And we weren't trying to "beat them to the alter," we just didn't want to wait forever to get married.

As much as I hate to skim over the planning process of my wedding, let's put it like this:
my parents didn't want me to marry E and did everything in their power to at least get me to postpone it.  
His parents did a complete 180° when they realized we both had good paying jobs and were well on our way to developing responsible financial habits.
My Dad told me before he walked me down the aisle that it was never too late to call it off - I know! Can you believe that?!
BUT, in front of about 100 friends and family, on April 29, 2000 we got married.

And though I do have great memories attached to that day, if I could go back and do it over, I probably would do it differently.
I don't even watch my wedding video because every time the camera pans my Mom's face, I see all over it that she doesn't want me to marry him.

And with that, I'll end for the day.
Some fun stuff happened after the wedding, so check back for the conclusions to my 31 Days of Grace series!

One of our gifts...personalized with our names and wedding date.

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