Working in the Waiting

What’s your waiting?

What has God asked you to wait in?

What is it the one thing that your heart is longing after, desiring, and wanting, but God has said not yet. God has said wait.

Do you trust God? Do you trust that God is at work?

When all is quiet and when God seems quiet, do you know that God is working? God is doing things for you that you can’t see. God is orchestrating certain events and circumstances in your life that will bring His good purposes about for you.

God has a plan for you, and his plans for you are good. Every season, every hardship you walk through, has a reason in God’s ultimate plan.

So will trust Him?

Will you trust that in your waiting, God is working? While you endure seasons of uncertainty and seasons where God seems silent, God is not abandoning you. He is working so that your life will bring Him glory. He is working so that you can experience His good plans for you in His perfect timing.

Take heart, because God is working, in your waiting.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” Jeremiah 29:11

(Some reflective thoughts from my life these past few weeks, hoping this encourages you in whatever God has asked you to wait in.)

A God Who Restores

What in your life have you been asking God to restore?

We all have things we wish we could change. Choices we’ve made, mistakes, missed opportunities. Maybe for some time, your prayer has been like mine. A prayer of asking God to restore something that was lost. A prayer and plea for God to give you a second chance.

This week in my Bible Study we have been reading through some of the minor prophets. A theme has been popping out to me about God through this study. This is the truth that God restores. God is a God who restores. He longs to restore and redeem his people and is always lovingly reaching out to those who are His.

But along with this truth that God restores, comes the realization that God’s way of restoring us may not take place in the way we think or want it to happen.

God’s ways often include pain and hardships. Why is this God’s way? God uses the pain and hurt to bring our hearts closer to Him. Sometimes we need to be awakened to sins in our life and the hard things are a form of fatherly discipline. And sometimes God doesn’t give us an answer for why we must walk through certain things other than the fact that He wants us to grow in trusting Him.

If God is a God who restores, this is a hope we can hold onto. Whatever it is we have lost, we can find comfort in knowing that God knows about it. God knows about your deepest hurts and hardest days. In His perfect way and perfect timing He will restore His children and bring them back to His joy.

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit” Psalm 52:12

I have to share a little something with you all about my life recently that God has been showing me. For so long I feel like my prayer has been a plea for God to restore things. I was so stuck on the relationship I lost two years ago. As I continually surrendered it to God, I held onto this idea that God would restore it. But now I can see how my plans were not God’s plans. My mind was set on the things I wanted and I couldn’t see past them. When God began doing something new in my life, suddenly I began to see that God’s plans for restoring were going to look different than I imagined. He brought me into a new relationship and each day of this new season I have been watching God restore joy and love back into my life. As I write this now, I can say with my whole heart, I am so grateful that God’s plans were different.

So now, dear reader, as I end this little post, if your prayer has been for God to restore something in your life, I want to leave you with this truth; when God restores, He will do so in His way and in His time. We must remember that God knows us better than we know ourselves. God truly knows what’s best for us, better then we even know. If God has you in a season of waiting, there is a reason. If God has you in a season of hurting and pain, there is a reason. God is a God who restores. He will restore you and bring you closer to Himself through whatever you are walking through.

But here’s my little tip for you; save yourself some heartache by realizing that God’s plans for restoring probably will not look like your plans. What God plans to do for you will not only be better for you but it will bring also him more glory. God may use pain and hardships to grow you and prepare you before He brings you into a new season. But you can always trust in Him because he is a God who restores.

New

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Isaiah 43:19 

A new year is here and with it, I am finding myself in a new season. A season that I can’t believe is for me.

I feel like I blinked and 2022 was gone, and now 2023 is here. The last three months of 2022 blur into one beautiful, sweet, and perfect memory in my mind. My life has been a dream these past few months and I’ve been too busy enjoying this new season to sit down and write. But here I am, finally finding the time to write again and this time, I have so much joy and good things to write about!

On October 8th of 2022 God brought a special someone into my life. What felt like a chance meeting at the thrift store (of all places), was the start of God doing a miracle on my heart and the spark of something new. On New Year’s Eve this special someone officially asked me to go into the New Year together and take the step in continuing to deepen our relationship in a Godly way.

As I sit here, thinking about my life, and my year, all I can say is; I’m grateful. Grateful for this new season and this new relationship. Grateful as I realize that I’m at a place in my life I never thought I’d be at. I’m scared that if pinch myself I’ll wake up and find out it’s not real, because, what God has been doing for me, is just that; Too good to be true!

Now, I’m not the one to make new years resolutions. I gave up on them years ago… I can remember a few years where I picked a word for the year, but this year, 2023, I wasn’t planning on doing anything. I guess, God had other plans. Over these last few days, there is a word that God has been putting on my heart. I feel strongly now that I am to make this word my word for 2023.

The word is NEW

My 2022 ended with the start of a new season. The last three months of the year God started something new in my life. It’s been exciting, challenging, amazing, and so good! But change, even good change, can be hard sometimes, and I’ve been learning each day how to go into this new season with a grateful heart.

But as I go into this new year and new season, I don’t want to forget the place I was at not too long ago. I’ve waited so long for God to answer my prayers. I’ve cried many nights because of my hurting heart. My dreams and desires seemed to go unnoticed by God for so long. I found a note in my journal from only two years ago, telling God that I thought He forgot about me. That He somehow forgot to write me the story my heart longed for so much. For most of 2022 I was that girl who was always waiting on God. I felt like God didn’t hear me because he didn’t answer me. I thought I’d be in a season of waiting forever, and it was hard. But here’s what I see now; God had plans for me I couldn’t see yet. If you told me then where I’d be at the end of 2022 I wouldn’t believe you. It blows me away to see how I now stand here, going into a new year, embarking on a new season.

This is why new is my word for this year. 2023 is going to be a year full of lots of new and exciting things and I want to be thankful to God for each of them. I want to learn to cherish this new season and all the things that come with it. And I don’t want to forget where I was, less then a year ago, thinking I’d never be out of a waiting season. God was with me then, and is with me now, in this new year.

Here’s something I’ve been realizing and thanking God for when it comes to waiting. Because of the long waiting and because of all the hurt and pain I had to walk through, this new season is so much sweeter. Not only do I look back and see how close I became to God during the hard days and nights, but I see now how God was working out His plan for me in ways I couldn’t have even imagined. God never forgot about me, instead he was crafting a beautiful story for me to happen in His perfect timing. God wanted me to grow closer to him before this new season. And this new season has made all of the pain, heartache, and waiting worth it!

My waiting friend, maybe you need to hear this reminder. Maybe you are in the midst of waiting and don’t feel God anymore. Maybe you feel like you just can’t go another day without an answer. I want you to know that you’re not alone, I’ve been there, so many times. God is right there with you and has good plans for you. It may seem like He is silent, but God is working, Yes, my friend, In your waiting, He’s working. You can trust Him. In His perfect time and way he’ll bring you into something new.

When God Works…

Hi all, I’m just jumping on here today because I gotta say something.

I know it’s been awhile since I posted anything on here, but a lot has been happening in my life and I have been busy, in a good way. I haven’t had the time to sit down and write on here much, but I want to get on today to write a little bit about what’s God’s been doing in my life so I will have this to look back on someday.

I’m not ready to fully share all that’s been happening in my life. The timing is just not right yet. But this is what I want to say to you all; When God works, He works! And He always goes above and beyond anything we could ask or hope for.

I have been slowly watching God do a miracle in my heart. And I am not exaggerating when I say miracle. Even in the small and mundane things that God does for us, we get to witness miracles. Within a day God healed hurts in my heart that I thought would never go away. I experienced feelings and joy that I thought I’d never be able to feel again. One day I was struggling with my past and the next day God began leading me into something new and all I can think about is that it happened so fast and sudden.

Our God is amazing when He works in our life!

I feel like I’m in the middle of something new and good that God is doing in my life. And here’s the thing; I wasn’t looking for it or asking for it, it just happened. And now I am filled with joy and excitement as I get to watch and see what God will continue to do and how this new thing is going to play out in my life.

This is my miracle; God is restoring my hurt and my heart in a way I never thought he could. I can’t wait to share more with you all, but for now, that’s all can say. As I’m still watching and waiting and this thing He’s doing is still very sudden and new, I’m not ready to provide any details yet.

But as I close, I hope and pray that you have also gotten the chance to witness little miracles in your life and to see that when God works, He Works! He always goes above and beyond our imaginations. If you’re still waiting and discouraged, keep waiting and keep trusting God.

When God works He works! And like I’m learning, it can happen so suddenly! We have an amazing God who is doing little miracles in our life every day! Let’s keep on trusting Him and giving Him praise for all the ways we see him work in our lives!

Remembering

Remember when…

Remember when you were hurting so much you would fall asleep reciting scripture just to keep your mind at peace.

Remember when it wasn’t hard to go to God because you daily needed comfort from Him.

Remember when He felt so near because of how much you hurt and needed His comfort.

Remember how easy it was to be near to God in those times because of how deep and raw your hurt was.

And now it is harder.

Why is it suddenly a fight to make all those things happen that used to be a necessity? What changed, what is different? Why does getting better and healing, mean that sometimes you don’t feel as close to God as you used to be?

Why does it suddenly feel like right now, I’m far from God. I’m not content and I’m not able to make myself practice the disciplines I know I need. Why does it seem that my soul is in constant turmoil, always searching for ways to numb and ignore the issue? There’s a weight pushing down on my mind, day and night. I just want peace, but I can’t, however hard I try let go of my feelings. I want to be free but I don’t. I just want to stay here and wait, because my poor heart refuses to love another.

I cried last night. Cried because I was so confused. Cried because I missed him so much still. I cried because I think last night I saw a glimpse of God’s heart. To love someone still so deeply, even after they have hurt you. Isn’t this a picture of God’s love for us? We sin and run from God. We do things that hurt God, but God still loves us.

I think of all the times the Israelites, Gods chosen people, turned from God and all ways they must have grieved God. I think I know a little more now how God must have felt, loving a people that constantly rejected him. It’s a love that I can’t explain, loving someone even after you’ve walked away from each other. It runs deep and it is hard to let go of, this kind of love. And I know that I will keep holding onto this love until God makes it clear that I need to let go of it.

So you can see, the kind of constant battle I’m in inside my mind. Which is why somedays I just want to go back, back to those days that I remember.

Less is More…

Lord Jesus, I pray,

I love you, I need you. So often I find myself getting so caught up in myself. I need to be reminded to look to you more. I need to let myself decrease so that you can increase in my life. Lord, remind me each day, that as I live my life, to you less is more. I take my pride and I lay it down at your feet. And I ask you Lord to help me be humble. To the best of my ability Lord, may I practice humility in all I do. Lord, take my heart and purify it with your blood. Drench me Lord, with your mercy. For all my days, Lord, I want to seek you.

~Amen

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”

John 3:30

The prayer above is based off of one of the most meaningful songs that I’ve probably ever heard in my life. It’s a song I constantly find myself going back to and singing. It’s a song that always brings my heart back to a right place before God. It’s also a song from one of my favorite bands of all time; “Less is More” by Relient K

It’s been a long while since I last listened to this song. But this week it came back to my mind and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. I’m copying the lyrics below because this song has become my prayer and a sweet reminder to lay my pride on the floor and seek the lowest place. I want to share it because I think it is so beautiful and I hope it will encourage your heart as well.

Jesus, I pray
Take all my mistakes
Throw them away
Destroy them for my sake

Jesus, I call out ’cause I’m sorry
Because I fall so short of your glory
To the best of my ability
I’m practicing humility
And I lay myself before
‘Cause less is more

All that I have
I lay before
With my pride on the floor
‘Cause to you less is more

All that I have
I lay before
With my pride on the floor
‘Cause to you less is more

A part of myself
All that I am
You love me so much
That you fill me again
And may these words on my heart, on my lips
Somehow mean so much more than this

Jesus, I pray
Know what I’m trying to say

All that I have
I lay before
With my pride on the floor
‘Cause to you less is more

All that I have
I lay before
With my pride on the floor
‘Cause to you less is more

A part of myself, before you were Lord
I hold nothing back, ’cause to you less is more
And may these words on my heart on my lips,
Somehow mean so much more than this

Jesus, I pray
Just know what I’m tryin’ to say

Jesus, I plead
Please purify me
Make my heart clean
Drench me with your mercy

Jesus, I pray
I love you, I need you
For the rest of my days
I swear I will seek you

To the best of my ability
I’m practicing humility
And I lay myself before
‘Cause less is more.

Less is More by Relient K

Less is More by Relient K (link to youtube video)

A God Who Sees

El-Roi; the God who sees. Something I’ve been learning about God this Summer.

When we feel invisible and it seems that all of our efforts to serve and please God go unnoticed by those we want to be seen by, there is one who sees. God sees. No matter how invisible we might feel, we are never invisible to God. El Roi, means the God who see’s and this is a reminder I really have been needing this summer.

All my life I’ve felt like I have just been invisible to certain people. No matter where I go or what crowd I’m with, I am never the one in the center of the picture, I’m just there, in the background. And each year of my life I’ve had to really fight and wrestle with this strong desire and longing I have had to be that one who is in the center. To be the one everyone wants to hang with. To be noticed and appreciated instead always being invisible.

Without even knowing it, I have been putting so much worth into certain roles people can have in life. Instead of seeing all the roles we have as fitting together and working together for God’s purpose in the body of Christ, I have been looking at all the ways I am not like others and feeling like I will never measure up. But this summer, God has slowly, and few many mistakes, been getting through to me and doing some hard work on my heart.

I spent this entire summer working alongside other Christians but when I look back I realize that I was unable to fully enjoy the fellowship of working with them because in my heart, and in my pride, I was telling myself that their roles was more valuable than mine. I found myself constantly striving and basing my happiness in serving on reaching certain goals instead of being fully focused on serving God in the way He has specifically called me.

Well, long story short, it took an unplanned injury and many days of “forced” rest to awaken me to a new view. Suddenly my life was slowed down by a very bad sprained ankle (which I just found out this week is also a small fracture). I no longer felt like I had constrol in my life and I was unable to strive for the things I thought were so important. I had to choose to rest and take on roles that I deemed as less important simply because it was all I could do. The last few weeks of my summer were filled with days of “forced” rest and I found myself getting back into long mornings in God’s word each day and looking to Him more for help.

And as hard as it was, somehow in the midst of this change, I began to see something. I realized that when I stopped striving I began to understand that each role is important and needed. Just because one role requires more skill and responsibility it doesn’t mean it is more important to the function of the body of Christ. God made each of us to have separate roles and callings and to simply serve Him in the whatever area He’s called us to.

But this is probably the biggest realization I made this Summer – People don’t love me less because I don’t have the skills for these roles nor do the roles that are more in the background have less importance when it comes to serving God.

I was reading a verse in Hebrews today a verse that really cemented in my mind this concept that God has been teaching me;

“For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end,” Hebrews 6:10-11

In this passage, I saw that God doesn’t overlook any acts of service to Him. God see’s all we do, even when we do things that are more in the background. God is the God who sees! One of my favorite things I find myself constantly saying to myself is that God knows my heart and all the desires of my heart, so I can trust him. This means that, because God is the God who see’s and knows my heart, I can rest in Him and find fulfilment in whatever role He calls me to. If others don’t see or give me the appreciation my heart longs for, God sees and nothing will go overlooked by Him.

He is the God who sees! God sees me and He see’s you!

Maybe this post is mostly me babbling on about my experience in something I’m learning. But I want end it by saying that there is also so much that you can take comfort in when you know that God is a God who sees. Whatever your struggle is, whenever you have days where you just feel invisible and unnoticed. God always sees you and your heart. God loves a heart that serves Him for the pure joy of serving Him and not in serving with hopes of being noticed. It took a hard trial and setback in my summer to get this truth into head. So my urge and prayer is that you won’t have to learn this lesson that hard way like I did.

Resting in the God who sees shouldn’t just encourage and comfort us, it should also spur us on to serve Him well in every role we have and stay faithful to the call He has on our life.

Choosing God

What do you do when your heart wants one thing, but you know deep down that it is probably not the best thing for you.

Or maybe something has happened that you’ve been waiting for and it’s not a bad thing that happened but the timing is just not right. This is kinda what happened to me just the other day.

There is a line from a song that comes to mind from a song I used to sing; “Sometimes my brain says no but my heart says yes.” And I just have to say that this saying rings so true at times. Sometimes our hearts can be so set on something, so ready for something we want, that we say yes without thinking. But then our minds hold up a red flag to us and say wait.

I won’t go into detail, but I made a decision today, a decision to put something I know my heart wants on hold because my brain has told me to wait. It’s not that what I want is bad, but that the timing is just not right. I had to choose to either say yes to what my heart wanted and allow something into my life that would be a distraction or to say no so that I can choose to keep my focus on God for this season in my life. You probably know what choice I made.

After some prayer and seeking some counsel, I felt like I could see things a lot more clearly. God made it so clear to me that I needed to choose the things He wants for me and not the things that I want. God has me in a season right now where I need to keep my focus on Him because I’m working at a camp in ministry this summer. And this week I have found myself, well, a bit lost. A bit overwhelmed and stressed about things that were happening.

But I made the decision to say no to chasing after what I wanted so that I could give God and this camp my whole focus. This decision has been a wake-up call to me. It’s caused me to realize that when you are at a crossroads, you can say no to your heart, and you must choose the path that is going to bring God the most glory and honor.

So wherever you find yourself, struggling with decisions and not knowing what to do. I just want to challenge you to take some time to really think about the options that lay ahead of you. Think about all the things that you want, and then about where God might be leading you. And choose the way that is going to keep you closer to God, even if it means saying no to the things you want.

And my friend, realize that saying no to what your heart wants can also simply be because the time is not right, not a it’s never going to happen or it’s such a bad idea.

I have learned today that choosing to put God first over what I want is the most freeing decision and that it leads to a peace that is so refreshing. You will never be disappointed when you make a decision to put God first above whatever it is your heart wants.

A Lesson from Jonah…

Do you know about Jonah in the bible…

A couple of months ago my church preached a sermon on Jonah. It’s been a while since that sermon, but I still have the story ringing through my head. And, like it or not, I have been seeing myself in parts of the story of Jonah. Mainly in Jonah’s stubbornness and unwillingness to rejoice in God’s goodness. I know, a great character to relate too…

After trying to run from God, being thrown into the sea, swallowed up by a fish, and then given a second chance by God, Jonah finally makes his way to Ninevah. He delivers a short and to-the-point sermon to the Ninevites and then he smugly makes his way to an outlook to watch the city receive God’s judgment. We look at this story and we shake our heads at Jonah. Johah just didn’t get it, we say. He didn’t understand God’s character and grace. But in reality, when you read chapter 4 of Jonah you will see that Jonah did have a right understanding of God;

“But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry.  He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity”

Jonah 4:1-2

Jonah was upset and admitted that the whole reason he didn’t want to go to Ninevah in the first place was because he knew God’s character and He knew God would show them compassion. This really paints a whole different picture of Jonah’s heart as he ran away. And as much as I try to hide it, I can see parts of my heart reflected in this.

How often have I been too scared to pray a certain prayer, take a chance with a certain person, or say yes to opening a new door because I know deep in my heart what God’s character is and what God is going to ask me to do. I know that what God wants for me is going to be differant then what I want and I just don’t want to go there.

When following after God means showing grace and love to those we don’t like, going outside of our comfort zones to reach the lost, and forsaking our flesh and choosing the path marked with pain instead of pleasure, wouldn’t it just be easier to stay where we are. Or to run away in the opposite direction.

But as we see with the story of Jonah, running from God doesn’t help us. In fact, it’s impossible because God is everywhere and he is sovereign over everything. And when Jonah finally obeyed and went through with it all, He still did not have his heart in the right place and he wasn’t able to share in the joy of seeing God show compassion to sinners. The compassion and grace God gave to the wicked people in Ninevah is a beautiful thing, but Jonah was blinded to it by his pride and discontentment.

When we are so focused on our pride and our life not being where we want it, we miss out on the good things God has for us now. Just like Jonah, we sit under our own tree, angrily waiting for the thing we think we deserve, when in reality, God has already given us more than we could ever need and His plan for us is to stay in this season a little longer.

When we are discontent, we will complain and grumble to God about all the things we don’t like and we miss out on seeing all the good things he has given us. But on the flip side, if we are content where God has us, we can rejoice in all God has done for us and all the grace he has shown us.

I don’t know about you all, but this story of Jonah has been hitting home for me a lot. I keep saying to myself, “Wow, I am a lot like Jonah as he sat on that hillside waiting for God to give him what he wanted.” I can so easily fall into the habit of complaining about my life more than praising God for it. But when I remind myself of God’s character and how God is sovereign, I begin to see things better. I see that this life, is not about me and making the things I want to happen, but about God and letting God do his will in my life.

So as I end this post, if you ever find yourself like Jonah, you’re not alone. We all find ourselves on the hillside wanting our own way over God’s way. But this is the challenge; Instead of sitting on the hillside waiting for God to work, we ought to be jumping up and down for joy praising God because he is always at work and he has already done the greatest work! Sending his Son to die for us so that we might be free! That is the greatest act of compassion and mercy in all of history, and if we have our hearts in the wrong place, we just might miss out on this great joy.

Rejoicing Always

“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.”

Philippians 4:4

Have you ever thought about this verse and how it doesn’t just say rejoice in the Lord? It says to rejoice in the Lord always.

The other night, I was in my room again and I was feeling sad. It was Easter and it was another Easter I had to celebrate alone, without him. I saw post after post of all those I know sharing about this being their first Easter together as a couple. It wasn’t long before I found myself thinking about him and crying out to God to comfort me. So I did that Bible thing where you pray for God to bring you the right passage in the Bible and then randomly open up the Bible.

I opened up to a random chapter in Ezekial. I was very skeptical but still decided to give it a read. And nope, it wasn’t very helpful. I tried again and opened up to Psalm 116. This Psalm was actually very encouraging and relatable so spend some time reading it and meditating on it a bit. But what I really needed came after I finished reading in my Bible. I picked up a small book I have full of prayers. My hope is to read one of the prayers in the book each night before going to bed. Well, the prayer that I read was the “Ode to Joy” poem which was made into a familiar hymn. What’s funny is that I instantly felt the urge to not read this prayer. A call to be joyful was the last thing I wanted to read about and I felt the tension in my spirit. But as I read it the conviction began to set in. This prayer was just the reminder I needed that there is always so much I can be joyful in. I want to bed with a prayer to be more joyful in the Lord.

And if that wasn’t enough of a reminder to me, the next morning I read Philippians 4 where Paul tells us to rejoice always. I just have to say here, as I know I’ve said many times before, God is just so good to me in all the ways He reminds me of His goodness.

Here is the truth that I realized; we can rejoice in the Lord always because our God is faithful to us and He is unchanging in all that He does. Our circumstances change, but God never does. If our rejoicing is based on our circumstances it’s impossible for us to always find joy and keep that joy, because our life is always changing. But when our rejoicing is in the Lord, we always have reason to be joyful. We can be joyful because of all that God has done for us and all that God has promised us in His Word.

So today, I’m choosing to be joyful. I’m choosing to rejoice despite my circumstances and this season that seems to have no end. I will rejoice always in my God and I will rejoice in all that God has done for me. I will rejoice in the fact that God has always been with me, is still with me, and has a good plan for all of this in my life.