In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly.
This past week was my niece's 5th birthday and she got an American Girl Doll. I was so excited to see her doll and it brought back a flood of memories of getting my own, as I'm sure many of you can relate. What I never fully realized, however, was the lesson I learned at such a young age thanks to that doll.
When I was in first grade, I saw an American Girl Doll for the first time. I immediately became enamored with Felicity, the Colonial Girl. I loved her red hair and green eyes and I wanted her. With all of my heart, I wanted that doll. I sat down that Christmas season, wrote Santa my letter and she was at the top of the list.
On Christmas morning, I just KNEW I would be opening her. I had been so good. I had done everything I was supposed to do to the best of my little 7-year-old capabilities. I opened up a stack of books all about her! “YES!”, I thought. Santa surely wouldn’t send me the full series of books about Felicity without actually sending Felicity, right?!
WRONG. He did. He flippin’ sent me a bunch of books all about Felicity, but NOT HER! “What did I do wrong?” I remember thinking. I couldn’t really fully comprehend how I could have done all things RIGHT, but still not gotten what I asked for. In retrospect, this was definitely my earliest lesson in true patience, perseverance, and the skill of continuing on, despite not being given what I wanted when I wanted it.
But, to rub salt right into the wound, my best friend got the doll she asked for. OH, the HORROR of going back to school and seeing her American Girl Doll that she got when she asked for it the FIRST TIME. She was my best friend, though, so she let me play with her doll at school and on the weekends and she’d always remind me to ask for Felicity again next year.
You think I’m going to tell you that I got her the next year, right? There is no way in heck “Santa” would have NOT wrapped Felicity up under the tree the next year knowing how badly I wanted her the year prior.
WRONG. I still didn’t get her. I’m actually laughing as I type this story now (maybe because I know so much more about Santa now than I did back then). I distinctly remember how CRUSHED I was. This was my first lesson in defeat to the ultimate degree. You really don’t always get what you ask for. Not the first time and in this case and so many other cases in my life, not the second. But, in that year’s time, I had made a choice. I had read all of her books. I was constantly flipping through the magazines and I was going to keep asking for her because I loved everything she stood for. She was free spirited. She loved riding horses, which was crazy for girls to want to do back then because they weren’t even allowed to wear pants! She didn’t let people tell her she couldn’t do something. She stood up for the mistreatment of others and she did what she felt in her heart. She was MY American Girl, whether I had her as a doll to play with or not, I was resonating with her. I remember biting the inside of my cheeks so hard that Christmas morning. “Don’t be upset” I kept telling myself over and over. “He will know I’m upset and then I’ll never get her” was how I got through that ROUGH year as an 8-year-old.
This story DOES have a happy ending, I will say. Santa did pull through after teaching me a thing or two about LIFE. The Christmas of third grade, I finally opened up that pink box. There she was. Her red hair, green eyes, Colonial Girl attire. As I continued opening my gifts that morning, I realized, not only did I get Felicity, but I got EVERYTHING she had that pertained to her. All of her outfits. All of her accessories. The extra book set. Brushes and curlers. A powder to keep her skin clean. I got the mother load of American Girl Doll swag. Today, Felicity is still in my possession and she's in perfect condition. I'm not sure that I would have cared for as well as I did if I had gotten her the first time I asked. That's what is so interesting about the "waiting game". it forces you to realize what is actually important to you and WHY.
So, now that you’ve read this, you might be thinking how this could possibly relate to Every Sweat Matters or the Bible Verse at the top of this page. But, here is why this lesson and my love for Felicity and patience and perseverance in getting her has shaped me as a woman today:
1. Well, patience. It is a virtue, like they say. It will get you farther than impatience. And graceful patience, not going about your life kicking and screaming until you get what you want will actually reap twice the rewards.
2. Just because a prayer isn’t answered the first or even the second time doesn’t mean it won’t ever be answered. Find the joy and the lessons in whatever stage of patience you’re in right now. Continue to ask for answers with a grateful heart and always live with the expectation that something simply incredible is about to happen.
3. In any and every situation, if you look to your right or left you will see someone with the exact thing that your heart longs for. You want to know the WORST and BEST place to have to be when you’re dealing with infant loss? Church. There are babies everywhere. But, there are also people everywhere who believe in the same Heaven as you and will be there to hold you up when you can no longer stand. Just like my childhood best friend reminding me to be patient and keep asking Santa for my doll, my friends in faith have reminded me of my strength, who I am, and to be graceful in patience.
I know from the depths of my being that one day, I will be writing an email to all of you telling you about the gifts that were reaped throughout this season of patience and continuous prayer.
All my joy,
Your action steps for the week:
1. Take that bible verse you see listed at the top of this email and write it on a blank page in your journal. Write it pretty, scribble it, draw pretty designs around it, whatever you want and whatever your style. Take 5 minutes of your morning and write that bible verse and meditate about what it is saying TO YOU and FOR YOU.
2. Flip the page of your journal and write down three areas of your life that you are being impatient. With your kids? Are you asking for peace somewhere in your family and it's not happening? Work life? Where do you need to find grace in a season of patience.
3. Sweat. With your areas of impatience on your heart, sweat. Ask God to grant you the grace you need to keep asking and keep persevering on His time. Put your prayers into action. Every. Sweat. Matters.