Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Little Ditty about crazy Maria

So…I use that word a lot to begin things….maybe I should stray away from it, but I feel like it is so me.

Alright, so I’m heading to the ATL, the 30092 zip code, the 770 area code and I am so excited I can hardly stand it. Now for those of you who know me, (and I hope all of you feel as though you slightly know me through this blog) you know that there is a story behind this excitement. If you know me, you know that I like things to go my way, and remaining in the great USA was nowhere in my plans. I can picture you thinking, “this is not a natural Maria reaction” and you are correct, it is not. It is supernatural, I have received, let me rephrase, been FLOODED with graces from the love of my life, Jesus.

Here’s the deal—we had a silent retreat, a Tridium (I am completely perplexed as to how to spell it…I’m sure I’ll learn before this year is over) but anyway, I was able to have 72 hours of silence to spend time with Jesus. It was great—I needed it. Granted, I had a hard time staying awake during all the talks even though they were fabulous, I just can’t focus. The most fabulously funny old Mexican priest, Fr. Lorenzo Gomez and my favorite things he said were a.) (in regards to a children) I told her just to grab her monkeys and go home. b.) just pick up your cross and shut up and c.) if God really wanted, he could have a raccoon do it (in regards to spreading the Kingdom). Hilarious.

Jesus had an agenda for me….you know how I feel about agendas—I am slowly learning to appreciate them. I had my first general confession—for those of you who don’t know what that is, it is confessing all you sins of your entire life. Basically, I had a panic attack in the chapel when Christ asked me to do this—I love confession. Hahaha. But in all seriousness, this was the BEST experience of me life. After I went, I was completely transparent and all smiles. My spiritual director stopped me, smiled and said, “you just had your first general confession, huh?” Shocked, by her inclination, I asked, “how the heck did you know?” giggling she replied, “I could see your smile a mile away. And there is only one reason for that-extreme grace.” Jesus, you are beautiful. He kinda was like “hey re, you trust me yet? I always know what is best for you” little did I know those graces would come so in handy.

The next little surprise was a beautiful image me shedding a layer of myself at the foot of the cross. I’ve been struggling a lot with become dependent and obeying the schedule and rules…surprised? Didn’t think so. I have this incredibly hilarious way of thinking that all rules and boundaries exclude me. But I have really been trying hard, and the fact that I desire to surrender that pride makes Jesus smile. When my first layer shed off, He smiled at me and said, “thank you for surrendering your first layer. Now things are going to change.”

I really really love Him and His gentle tenderness.

Another grace—I was just rackin’ up the graces. I was totally loving it—like yea Maria! You are so gonna rock out Jesus when you go out of the country. Ha!

So the big moment came at the conclusion of our retreat—revealing of the destinations! As the suspense grew, we grabbed hands and the room looked like the Miss America Pageant—we’re all awaiting the judges final results, squeezing hands, tears in eyes, breathing quickening….it was disgustingly hysterical.

First announced, international. Mexico, not me. Phillippeans, not me. Ireland, not me. Even Canada, not me. Jesus….are you thinking?

Now we’re in the states….ok, well I better be going to California. That’s the only cool place. Chicago, whew! Not me. Louisiana, thank God not me. St. Louis, whew. Not me. Naples, FLA., not me….little bummer. Atlanta, GA—dundundun! Maria Lees! You’re joking—it’s not possible—I plastered a REALLY fake smile across my face. We go to the chapel before we call our new directors and parents. I kneel in my usual place and the screaming begins. I think I should take this moment to express a slight disclaimer. I need a man who treats me like Jesus treats my mildly (ok, lets be honest, flaming) hot side. I go nuts. JESUS! What are you thinking? You are crazy mad up there in high heaven! You better come down here right now and inspire in my directors that there was some kind of mistake and I am hightailing my way outta this country! You are nuts! You, you, you, I am soooo mad at you! What are you thinking?

His comeback—are you finished?


I’m sorry you’re upset. But I know what is best for you, where you are most needed, where you will most grow. You have to trust me and be at peace.

And just like that, that comforting pep talk washed peace over me. From that moment, I was excited. And let’s be serious—I will be in the American hub of the movement, I am going to learn so much, it’s not even funny! I’ll be working with the Young Women section, which is high schoolers, so that is a total blessing and my team gets the best of both worlds, an apartment 2 minutes from the consecrates—our own space, but all the graces of living with the consecrates. Jesus does spoil me. J

And so my adventure is about to begin—in less than 48 hours actually. I’m afraid my suitcases are going to be over weight, and that my carry on is actually too big for a carry on. God will take care of it though, He always does.

I am also very excited because I will probably be able to come home for my birthday, which would be so exciting—I always forget how much I love my family, which is my church, which is the ultimate human reality of Christ for me, until I am away from them and can’t call when I want to hear all their sweet voices and entertaining news—there is ALWAYS something new going on.

I am sorry I haven’t been able to update as much as I would like too, or as much as you would like me too….i’m going to try and be better, but I only have email time once a week and it takes quite a chunk of time to relay to you all the exciting things that are going on!

Which reminds me—please keep me posted on you and what is going on with you and your family—I love hearing stories and keepin’ one foot in the “loop” if you will.

I have another song for you to ponder—Jesus love me to sing to Him, and He has a funny way of giving me the songs to sing. This is the most recent—I hope you enjoy, and if any of you have it, can I please borrow it when I come home for Christmas?

Your Love is Extravagant

Casting Crowns

Your Love

Is extravagant

Your friendship


I feel like I am movin’

To the rhythm of your grace

Your fragrance intoxicating

in our secret place

Your Love

Is extravagant

Spread wide

In the arms of Christ

Is the love that covers sin

No greater love

Have I ever know

You consider me a Friend—

So capture my heart again.

Allow Jesus to capture and completely love your heart—and love Him completely back!

Count on my prayers!

My new address is directly below this post—I will state once again love letters, care packages, are always accepted and appreciated!

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