Lent: Another Update

Lent is almost over and it's been a great season for me. In my last update I talked about how I had definitely failed in my no-yelling fast but God was still with me and I was feeling His grace in my life. Today I want to talk about some of the unexpected benefits that have come from my lenten fast.

The root of my yelling problem wasn't just yelling, it goes deeper than that. I know that lately I had been feeling stressed and unappreciated. We love our new home but living on our own now brings many new expenses. As a one income family it's difficult to stay afloat. We're living pay check to pay check and that's stressful. I sometimes allow the stress to consume me instead of trusting that God will take care of our needs (as He always has). I also felt unappreciated in my role as a stay-at-home mom. Isabel can't speak yet and only demands things. She's a typical baby. Liam is old enough to say thank you, but also throws tantrums when he doesn't get his way and doesn't realize all I do for him. He's a typical toddler. Alex tries to show his appreciation but he's also a busy man and in the chaos doesn't always thank me that way I think I deserve to be thanked (you know, lobster dinners and shopping sprees). So I'll have my own "mommy tantrum" and gripe about how no one appreciates me around here, and rather loudly too. Going through this no-yelling fast has allowed me to see my own sin and how I need to get over it. I really feel better about everything and have a new perspective on life. This time is fleeting, I better enjoy it while I still can, and even on the days when my family may not give me the recognition I want, I have a God that is always cheering me on. 

I also acknowledged during this fast that I was holding on to some past hurts and bitterness. There was one person in particular that I had not forgiven yet, and I needed to. I also had some apologizing to do myself, so I put aside my pride and extended an olive branch. It wasn't easy. I held out for a few days, but once I finally reached out I felt like a weight was lifted. God has really melted the hatred I had in my heart and I feel nothing but love for this person. I'm glad to say that my apology was well-received and we have reconciled. It is such a joy to choose reconciliation over bitterness and disconnect. We all have so much more to our story than what is on the surface and we need to remember that when dealing with others. Maybe that woman that scowled at you in the grocery store just received news that she has cancer. Maybe the man who cut you off in traffic is rushing to the hospital. Maybe your friend that stopped talking to you is depressed and doesn't know how to ask for help. Reach out and be compassionate.

So that's basically all I've been learning during this lenten season. I set out with a goal to stop yelling, but in the process I learned so much more. I'm learning to trust God and be solely satisfied in Him. I'm learning to love others and see them as God sees them. This is a lifelong journey with many ups and downs, but at least I'm on my way. 

the nice thing about a big church

I'm an introvert. I get fairly nervous in large groups and sometimes a little socially awkward around people I don't know. It's for this reason that I've always said that I prefer small churches. It's the reason I was excited to be a part of a church plant in Denver. A small intimate church setting seemed to be right up my alley. And it was definitely nice and comfortable. I enjoyed it. 

When we moved to Miami we decided to join Christ Fellowship, which is quite a large church. I felt a little apprehensive about joining such a big congregation, but I knew God was calling us here. At first we went to the Coral Gables campus which is a little smaller and more intimate than the main campus in Palmetto Bay. I think it was a great way of easing into a new church and I still miss that campus. They're doing awesome things over there in Coral Gables. However, we have since moved to the Palmetto Bay area...just one block away from the church! With small children and hectic schedules it makes sense for us to attend that campus. I'm not gonna lie, I was not excited about it at first! Just thinking about the crowds of people that are always present on Sunday mornings at PB was making me anxious. Honestly, most of the time I keep my head down and weave through the crowds without stopping to talk to anyone. Last Sunday, however, as we were sitting in the service I started looking around at everyone and felt differently. Our campus is so diverse and beautiful. I saw old people and young people. I saw people from all different races and ethnicities. I saw people dressed to the nines and people dressed in jeans and old t-shirts. I saw people in wheel chairs, deaf people, tall people, and short people. I saw people dressed conservatively, people dressed in culturally traditional clothing, people with tattoos. I mean, I think you get it, all kinds of people. And we were all gathered together, united by Christ. 

This. This is what I love about Miami. This is what I love about my church. I love that our church has become a place where so many people feel welcomed and loved. And, let's be real, you don't often see such diversity in a small church, you just don't. So that's the nice thing about a big church...seeing a picture of what heaven will look like, with people from every nation and tribe worshiping God

So maybe my introverted self doesn't always feel comfortable with the crowds of people, but I thank God for them. I thank God for my big church. 

Follow CF on twitter at @cfmiami. 

Follow CF on twitter at @cfmiami. 

By the way, if you live in Miami and are looking for a church please visit mine! There are many campuses and service times to choose from. In fact, I think Easter would be the perfect time to visit. It's coming up soon and we have 42 services to choose from featuring live music, preaching, egg hunts, and more. I'm excited for Easter at CF. Hope to see you there.