I love coffee.
Seriously. My kitchen is full of coffee-themed decor, I have coffee tee-shirts, and I drink coffee every single day.
Thankfully my husband shares my coffee adoration and together we've had all sorts of coffee experiences in our 15-plus years of marriage. We've sipped espresso on the Seine, enjoyed cafe mochas overlooking Big Ben, indulged in cappuccino on the Grand Canal in Venice, and soaked in the ambiance of a Viennese cafe imbibing some of the best java we've ever known.
We have also rushed into the Chevron station and poured a steaming, burnt, cup of coffee-flavored-water to keep us running on while on the road, choked down stale coffee in a paper cup on a red-eye flight to who-knows-where, and slurped up many a well-intentioned cup-o-Joe prepared by loving hands that turned out more like little cups-o-sadness.
While we don't consider ourselves gourmet baristas, coffee certainly has become part of life that we love to experience and share together in all the different places we go.
So, when my husband recently promised to take our girls on their first ever coffee-date with Daddy, my heart knew this was truly a special moment. What, until now, was a tradition and enjoyment shared only between my husband and I was opening up to become a family tradition. As trite and silly as it may seem, to be able to crack open the door of something that brings me and my man so much pleasure and bring our children in on the grand secret is a rite of passage he and I have both long and eagerly anticipated.
I watched as my little girls' eyes danced at the thought of it: a date with Daddy...for coffee!
Not long after the proclamation, came the turmoil and upheaval of our unexpected, extremely fast, transatlantic move. Thoughts of quiet conversation over steaming cups abruptly turned to moving companies, packing, securing housing and transportation on this side of the ocean, and more.
"We will still have our date, girls," Daddy promised, "we're just going to have to wait a little longer than we wanted to."
At first, the girls were patient and understanding, but as one day turned into a week turned into two weeks, their patience began to wane. And then the scheming began.
Oooh, mommy, since we're at this truck stop and you and Daddy are getting coffee, can we just get our coffee here, too? It smells soooo good!
Mommy, the flight attendant served coffee to that guy, can I just have my coffee now?
We tried to explain that for their first coffee experience they really didn't want to settle for gas station coffee, but our logic fell on deaf ears.
It smelled so good. All the grown ups in sight were getting it, and holding it close like a newborn babe. I can't blame them for wanting to join the fun.
A full month went by before Daddy was able to take them on their special date, but when he did, he held nothing back. Rather than just a plain cup of coffee, he treated them to a mocha with chocolate and whipped cream and syrup on top.
When they got home their eyes danced as they recounted their time, and how very delicious it was. A few days later I was sipping another gas station special when they asked if they could have a sip. I indulged them and watched as they slurped with great anticipation, grimaced and declared it "disgusting!" and "nasty!"
Mom, I'm sooooo glad I waited and had my first coffee in a real coffee house! It was so much better!
And I couldn't help but think:
How many times am I tempted to settle for a cheap imitation of God's best for me?
I see what everyone else has, and the aroma is sweet, and I don't want to wait for what God has told me to do, or see. I want to just get what comes easily - it seems the same.
Yet when I do wait and allow God to bring His special callings to fruition in His timing, I always relish and delight in the proverbial whipped cream and chocolate syrup and sweet goodness that accompanies the relationship when I wait.
Waiting is never, ever wasted time. As we wait for God's promises, we can either use that time to get to know Him more, seek His face, and listen for His heart...or we can rush ahead, force our circumstances and settle for a mediocre cup of gas station coffee.
What are you waiting for right now, sister? What are you tempted to settle for rather than trust His timing for your best?