Sunday, December 02, 2012


But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. -Romans 8:25

I do not do well with waiting.  Throughout my life, I've been the girl who gets it - or at least thinks she gets it - way before everyone else, and then I'm ready to move forward, like, right now, please.  C'mon, let's get this show on the road!  What are we waiting for?

I was raised in the United Methodist Church from the time I was a tiny, pre-redheaded group of cells in my mother's belly.  At the ripe old age of seven, after listening to our pastor talk about the saving love of Jesus Christ every Sunday, I asked Jesus into my heart as the Lord of my life.  I remember that Sunday, that I just got it, and that was it.  Holy Spirit, come on down!  I was His, He was mine, let's do this thing.  I've been serving the Lord ever since.

The next step, as far as I could see, was taking communion.  Now, the way my mother was raised, children don't usually take communion until they've been through Confirmation class around age 12.  Most parents aren't as strict with adhering to that rule anymore, but wouldn't you know it, my parents were.  The first Sunday of every month, I watched kids younger than I was, or kids that I knew hadn't asked Jesus into their hearts, go up and take communion with their parents.  It was totally not fair and I wanted to do it, too!  

My parents were unmoved.

In my own characteristically dramatic fashion, I pathetically begged them every month to let me take communion with them.  It went something like this:

Me: But Moooom!  Daaaad!  I asked Jesus in my heart!  I get it!  His body, His blood, I understand!  Why can't I take communion with you?
Mom & Dad:  You can take it after you've been through Confirmation class.
Me:  But that's SO LONG FROM NOW!
Mom & Dad:  You'll survive.
Me:  But all those other kids are allowed to take it!
Mom & Dad:  We can't control what their parents let them do, but you're not taking it until after Confirmation.
Me:  But that's FIVE YEARS AWAY!  
Mom & Dad:  We said no!  You might as well stop asking.

Every month, I swear, it was the same thing.  There may also have been some flinging of myself on the floor, weeping, wailing, whining, and pounding my fists on the ground.  But still, every month when everyone else went up to the altar and took communion, my parents got up and left me in the pew by myself with my arms crossed, glaring at the backs of the heads of my classmates who got to be up there when I didn't.

And then, one Sunday, it happened.

I was nine years old by this time, and had been throwing my Communion Plea Extravaganza for well nigh on two years.  My sister was a toddler.  I found myself alone in the pew one Sunday morning, the first Sunday of the month - communion Sunday.  My father was either serving as an usher or watching my sister, and my mother was in the choir loft.  

Up to this point, I had almost resigned myself to waiting until Confirmation, but I was not okay with it.  Three years might as well have been a lifetime.  I felt like it was never going to happen, and I had been a Real Christian for two whole years now, people.

It took me a few minutes to realize it, but suddenly it dawned on me:  I was alone.  I could go up for communion - there was no one to stop me!  What was my mother going to do, barrel down out of the choir loft and yank me away from the altar?  She'd never do that in the middle of the service.

My excitement grew as the service went on.  I was going to do it!  I was going to take communion!  I listened as the pastor explained the meaning of communion, the bread and the cup, the body and the blood and the sacrifice, and I nodded along emphatically.  I totally understood.  We went through the responsive readings and the hymns.  And then, when everyone else stood up and began to file up to the altar to kneel and take the sacrament, I did, too.

As I knelt down on the velvet pillow in front of the altar and bowed my head, I could feel my mother's saucer-like eyes burning into me.  My hair probably got redder from the effect.  Just like I knew she would, though, she stayed in the choir loft.

I prayed.  I ate.  I drank.  I took communion   Honestly, I'm pretty sure I asked God for forgiveness for disobeying my parents in taking it...that day, and every day thereafter for quite some time.  I don't remember if I was punished (who punishes their kid for wanting to get closer to the Lord?), but I didn't really need to be.  I had already experienced conviction from God Himself.  Little did I know, that was just the beginning.

My first communion is a funny story I tell now, and my friends think it's hilarious because they know how I am.  The way I tell it, I've had people crying with laughter a few times, which makes me pretty happy. In the last little while, though, I started thinking about it again...and I wonder what would've happened if I'd waited for Confirmation like my parents had wanted me to?  Would I have been even better prepared?  Would I have understood more?  Would it have been more meaningful?  God certainly used it to bring me closer to Himself, but I would've escaped quite a bit of conviction if I'd done it differently.

There's a boy in my Sunday School and Awana classes now that reminds me so much of myself at his age.  (That's right, parents, rebellious communion hooligans like me grow up to be Sunday School teachers to your impressionable children.  Don't say I didn't warn you!)  His older sister just got baptised by immersion in our Baptist church at age 12 last week.  He's nine, and he's been ready for several years to be baptised himself.  Part of me is so proud of him and wants to see him baptised really soon, but part of me remembers this story and thinks that maybe he'll be even more ready in a couple years' time.

Faith is such a personal journey, and all throughout my life I've felt more than ready for the big steps well before God called me to take them - pretty much every single one, in fact.  But then, there have been many times when I've looked back and thanked God for making me wait, because it made me so much more prepared, appreciative, and ready to use the blessings He gives me to glorify Him than I would've been if He'd given them to me right when I wanted them.

"Just trust Me," He whispers to me daily.  "Soon.  I promise."