Friday, September 19, 2014

Sapphire Skies

{A history of the celebration surrounding September 17}

Eight years ago this September 17, a giant Dell box showed up in my living room. I woke up from a nap on our couch still groggy and not wanting to face reality. I was pretty NOT okay with whatever season I was in and the circumstances making it up. I wanted things to be different and I was doing a really great job complaining about how they weren't.

I couldn't believe it was there. The PINK Dell computer I had been waiting for for MONTHS had finally arrived. Maybe that doesn't seem like a big deal, so let me tell you why it was.

#1 Colored laptops were the "in" thing to have in fall of 2007,  and I was starting I NEEDED this laptop. Ha. Anyways, because everyone wanted them, they were on major backorder. I had ordered mine in June with the expectations of having it by early July. Almost weekly I received a call or an e-mail informing me that the date was pushed further and further back. I became more and more discouraged and disappointed and decided this was just adding to my undesirable circumstances. Couldn't just ONE thing go right!?

#2 I started college without my pink Dell laptop or a laptop of any kind or color for that matter. Daily I would watch people sit and work with their laptops and think how simple it would be to just answer one of those phone calls and let them know I was walking into Best Buy that very night and getting my hands on a laptop, PINK or not. In fact, by early that week I had told my dad to tell them just that the next time they called...

#3 Just as I told my dad that I gave up and didn't care about having my PINK Dell laptop, I clearly understood God saying to me...
"If you won't even wait for a silly pink laptop, how do I know that you will wait for anything good I want to give you..." 
#ouch. Hash tags weren't a thing then...but had they been....that certainly would have been the one I used. This moment is still so vivid in my memory. I can call to mind my exact placement in the parking lot.

#4 I had a little chat with God between that point in the parking lot and our car. I simply replied to Him (maybe not in the best tone of voice...or thought...but I can't exactly remember...)

"Okay. If you will let that laptop show up on September 17, I'll trust you?"

I don't exactly remember what I said and I think at the time I wasn't exactly sure what I was needing God to say or show me...mostly I remember tossing out that date. Asking God to show up...just show me that He was still there. Still working. Still involved.

#5 When we got in the car, I told my dad that the laptop would show up on the 17th. He said he wished that were the case, but they had just told him that afternoon that it would be the 21st at the earliest.

{I decided then and there that September 17th was the day. }

So let's go back to my groggy-eyed, fuzzy-headed moment in my living room. Some other things had not unfolded as I had hoped that day and sadly my expectations were not high for the rest of the evening. I struggled to grasp what was happening. That this giant box was actually sitting in my living room. My dad just laughed quietly and asked me how in the world I knew that it was going to show up that day...

Of course I didn't have an answer. Because I hadn't really known. I had only hoped. Because you see, this was my first time asking God to show up. And well God, he always gets it right the first time. He always shows up when we ask...JUST when we need him to do so.
But I didn't know that yet. I didn't know though, because I had never really asked. 

That afternoon eight years ago something in my heart changed. I knew. I KNEW that waiting on God and trusting HIS process would always be worth it! And that probably the outcome would look nothing at all like I imagined or expected, but always it would be better--the very best. That pink laptop taught me that all I ever needed to do was wait and trust and God would always come through just in time. Just when I was about to lose hope or walk away or take another route. It also showed me that always God would find me and speak to me exactly where I am and in the most creative ways. He would always find a way to get through to me, find a way to get my attention...speak my language! That day I started seeing God in this creative light and knowing Him in a very personal way that I had never experienced before. I realized He did indeed care about my little world and all of the details that made it up and that He was very much involved. Working even when it didn't seem so. That was the day my relationship with Jesus changed. It became more real then it had ever been. It was a unique moment in our history...a turning point for the rest of my life.

September 17, 2007 taught me that I should be expecting things from God. I should be asking Him to speak and show up! That He is everywhere and in everything and it's my job to find Him there...EVERYWHERE that is. Because if I will look, ask, wait, trust, I WILL find him or hear from him and He WILL show up and come through. Every season. Every situation. EVERYWHERE. My job is NOT to have the answers or know the timing or the plan or even the next step. MY job is simply to wait and to trust and to find God everywhere and in everything and to do so with complete confidence that He is working and sure to show up on September 17. My job is to believe that God is bigger than college student demands for colored Dell laptops and that He is able to work around pushed back dates that companies send me in e-mails.

So perhaps now you can see why this is cause for me to celebrate!?

But the question still begs itself...WHY SEPTEMBER 17? Why did I even throw that date out in the first place....
So, let's talk a little bit about why in the world I adore September 17 so much. Of course it carries deep spiritual meaning for me, but also it's what it brings with it every single year. It's very clear why sapphire is the chosen precious stone to represent the month of September. Because the sky in September is this brilliant shade of blue. September skies look as if someone painted them with a thick coat of sparkling sapphires. This vivid, piercing color spread across the endless canvas above, dotted with just the right amount of pearly clouds. And the way the trees pop against this brilliant blue background is unmatched with any other season, or month, or even day. It's one thing to see the crisp greens dancing among the blue sea all summer long and it's a completely different thing to watch the foliage morph and the blue along with it into Autumn shades, warm and inviting. But on September 17, this rare thing happens; you can have it all! That dazzeling backgrop sets the stage for those last lovely green summer leaves and for those already becoming their Autumn selves. You get to say farewell to summer and welcome Fall in the very same glance upward. The sunshine still rests warm upon your skin but Autumn breezes stop it from sinking in too far. Cardigans of the brightest shades make the perfect companions.

And when evening sets on September 17, it's the perfect moment to reintroduce everything pumpkin into your life. Starting with a pumpkin spice latte. But pumpkin of any sort will do. Bread, muffins, pancakes, candles, lip gloss, car fresheners...etc. 

September 17 marks a new season. (Maybe not officially, but in every other sense of the word...) Another new chapter. Another new entry into adventuring the unknown. Even the school calendar follows September's lead. 

I thought about repainting my toenails last night for the occasion. Something a little more autumnal. But then I looked down at them coated in a shade called "breezy blue" and realized they were just right. October is known for all things pumpkin, changing leaves, and trick-or-treating. November claims the warm and inviting scents and family gatherings. But September is all about those sapphire skies.

September is all about anticipation. Oh how I LOVE anticipation. September is a gentle, lovely reminder that all of the things I love most in the year are almost here again. September whispers that if I will only hold on a little longer, wait with joyful expectation and keep my eyes wide open, new beauty will indeed begin to unfold all around me! September teaches us that transition and change can be one of the loveliest parts of life, which is actually rather ironic. This season that so many of us love so much is defined by something we often resist most~ change. And even more than change, it is defined by loss. Loss of chlorophyl, loss of foliage, loss of warmth and light. But year after year we watch all of that change, all of that transition, all of that loss produce so much beauty. 

We have a lot to learn from September. 

I can speak for myself and say that I've only just begun :)

Now get to it! Go celebrate life!