Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Speaking of Texas... {Lent Day #30}

Yesterday, in my list of other, seemingly more trustworthy gods, I listed Texas for its lower cost of living.  I could have both a bigger house and a bigger savings account if I lived there after all! {Everything's BIGGER in Texas, right?} But that amenity is actually pretty far down my list of reasons to love and long for Texas.  I had no idea you could be so attached to and so nostalgic about a place, about a silly old state with no trees and no mountains, and hardly a beach, but indeed you can. It's the people, the Mexican food, the music, and the lakes and rivers that provide some competition, I suppose.  Well, those things and the fact that it just feels like home.  As soon as I step off the plane, I feel like I can relax, let my hair down, breathe easy, take off my armor.  And THEN... if my dad, in his khakis, dress boots, and Resistol, takes me to the Grist Mill for dinner in the warm evening air, with its white twinkle lights lining the courtyard, and the country music playing next door at the famous dance hall...well THEN...I'm just totally swept away to a happy, home-y feeling.
Two years in a row for my birthday!

And I think it's okay to enjoy those special moments ~ a gift from the Lord even, but I also think He's asking me to surrender to the place He's called me to live now.

Want to hear about how funny and gentle the Lord is in teaching me things like this?  Maybe you won't believe that He works though small insignificant happenings like this, but I have no doubt that He used The Case of the Ever-Disappearing Starbucks Gift Card to teach me a lesson about surrender.

In August, Robert and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary.  My youngest sister, Melinda, sent us a Texas Starbucks gift card with $20 loaded on it. {That's it in the above photo!} I could not get over how cute the gift card was with its Texas icons and vowed to keep it as my all-time Starbucks card.  How funny and novel it would be to use it in my downtown Amherst, Massachusetts Starbucks!  So, I took the kids there one day and did just that.  We spent about $15 of the $20 on the card.

A few days later, I went to look for the card and couldn't find it.  I searched my purse.  I searched our mini-van.  Coat pockets. Kids' coat pockets. Kitchen drawers and stacks of papers.  It was nowhere to be found.  I even went back to Starbucks, certain I had left it there accidentally.  Nope.  They would definitely remember THAT, they said.

I had a sneaking suspicion that God did not want me to be so attached to the silly thing or to the place it represented to me.  But then again, I always over-analyze everything, too. I lose other things, and this is just one of those things.

I never told Melinda that I lost her card.

 Three months later, I made a trip to Texas to be with my dad in the hospital for his knee-replacement surgery.  He picked me up at the airport on a sunny afternoon.  Our first stop was a Mexican food restaurant.  Stop number two was Barton Creek Mall. And stop number three on the way to his house was Starbucks.  I noticed more of the "Texas" gift cards there, and I decided to tell him the story about the one I lost.  He finished our order while I waited and as we walked out with our drinks, he handed me another "Texas" gift card upon which he had loaded another $20.  Perfect!  I'll never have to confess to Melinda that I lost her gift, I thought.  I laughed, thanked him, and put the card in my pocket as we approached his Suburban in the parking lot. Silly me for thinking the Lord did not want me to have one!

The next day was surgery day.  We got up at about 3am in order to be at the hospital at 5am.  I packed all of my belongings, since I would be staying with my grandmother nearby.  I knew from previous surgeries that there's a Starbucks around the corner from the hospital, so I went to make sure it was still snug in my pants' pocket, and move it to my wallet.  It was not there.  Oh, well.  I must have dropped it in the Suburban, I thought.

The surgery went perfectly, and when he was all settled into his room, I decided to go grab some ice coffee at Starbucks.  I'll just find the gift card in the Suburban, and use that.  There was no other place it could possibly have been.  I had already checked pockets, purse, suitcase, etc.

It wasn't there.  I searched between the seats, under the seats, in the glove compartment, drink holders, leather pockets....everywhere!  It had been less than 24 hours since I got the thing!  I honestly think the Lord somehow took it out of my pocket about one second after I put it in.

I did not tell my earthly dad I had lost his generous replacement gift card, but I did tell my heavenly father that I was sorry for not being completely surrendered to the place He wants my heart to be right now.  I was and am fairly certain that's what He desired in The Case of the Ever-Disappearing Starbucks Gift Card.

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.  Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37: 3-4
Just had to throw this one in for fun...☺

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