Waiting, Trusting, Hoping

The only way to learn how to be patient is to wait. I don’t remember who said that to me but it continues to run through my mind. I did pray specifically for patience last year and here I am, still waiting.

My last post was three months ago and to be perfectly honest, I thought I would’ve had an answer by now but there isn’t still. I’ve had multiple thoughts running through my head; the what-if’s and possibilities that lie ahead of me. But the Lord has taught me so, so much during this season and continues to draw me closer to Himself. I’ll try to be as coherent as possible but there is no guarantee.

Lesson 1: Waiting is not the worst. I’ve had a few people say that waiting is the worst (if you’ve said it before, this isn’t personal) and I think it’s largely to do with the culture we live in that demands instant gratification. We can’t even wait 5 minutes. We get restless and start complaining when the person in front of us in a line at Starbucks can’t decide what he wants and we secretly wish they would make up their minds. We’re always going places be it physically or in our minds. We’re constantly rushing ahead of ourselves.

And we’ve brought this into our relationships, even with God. We want things to happen right when we ask for them. But that’s not how it works.

God really does work in His own time and way and it’s not up to us. To believe that His ways and thoughts are higher is to allow Him to just be God. He knows, we don’t. And that’s perfectly okay.

Lesson 2: Waiting is an opportunity to grow and trust. It’s about perspective. No season is without purpose and sometimes the seasons in which we despise and wouldn’t wish for are the very ones that God uses to grow us in our knowledge of His character: His love, goodness and faithfulness. It’s where what we believe about who God is is tested. I thought this season would last for three months but it’s been almost 4. I know God is sovereign. I know He is in control. And as much as I want answers, I rest.

Isaiah 30:15, 18 – For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning [to Me] and resting [in Me] you shall be saved; in quietness and in [trusting] confidence shall be your strength. But you would not. And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship!]

The verses above are packed with truth! It’s something the Lord has used to encourage me in this season. This is where I’m supposed to be. The Lord waits to be gracious to us, to show loving-kindness to us. Just think about it!

It’s not just waiting, it’s a waiting with expectation. A waiting that causes us to fix our eyes not on the outcome/what’s going to happen but on God Himself. And maybe, just maybe the answer will come. And when it does, you might just find that it wasn’t really what you were looking for after all.

Lesson 3: ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ It’s a conversation I have within my soul; reminding myself to be still: God is God. And I can’t describe the peace it brings.

Wait, just wait.

This is a poem that speaks on waiting and speaks to what I’ve been experiencing. God bless!

Wait
by Russell Kelfer

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate . . .
And the Master so gently said, “Wait.”

“Wait? you say wait?” my indignant reply.
“Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I’m claiming your Word.

“My future and all to which I relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to wait?
I’m needing a ‘yes’, a go-ahead sign,
Or even a ‘no’ to which I can resign.

“You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord I’ve been asking, and this is my cry:
I’m weary of asking! I need a reply.”

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate,
As my Master replied again, “Wait.”
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, “So, I’m waiting for what?”

He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine . . .
and He tenderly said, “I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.

“I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You’d have what you want, but you wouldn’t know Me.
You’d not know the depth of my love for each saint.
You’d not know the power that I give to the faint.

“You’d not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You’d not learn to trust just by knowing I’m there.
You’d not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence are all you can see.

“You’d never experience the fullness of love
When the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you’d not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

“The glow of my comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that’s beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

“You’d never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But, oh, the loss, if you missed what I’m doing in you.

“So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still . . . Wait.”

 

Gracious Uncertainty

If you think of about it, most of our worries are related to the future. We get anxious about what’s going to happen or if something we hope for will or will not happen. Even our thoughts and worries about what people think of us or how something is going to play out is related to uncertainty – we just don’t know.

We worry so much that we’ve made it okay to do so, it’s almost as if worry is and should be part of life because, who doesn’t worry?

But worry really reflects a larger issue and I love how Francis Chan defines it in Crazy Love:

WORRY implies that we don’t quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what’s happening in our lives.
STRESS says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace towards others, or our tight grip of control.

Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it’s okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional.

If worry stems from a lack of trust, then trusting God would be the way to live worry-free. I can think of many instances where I start to worry and get worked up but almost immediately the Lord gently asks me “Do you trust Me?” I wish my answer was always yes but it hasn’t always been.

I’m in an interesting season of life right now where I honestly don’t know what my future holds. I’m in a season of waiting for God to reveal His specific will and purposes for me as I continue to pursue what He’s already given me and I love it. I’ve heard this so much especially since senior year in college, “what are you going to do after graduation?”. There are days I wish He would show me what lies ahead. There are moments I cry out to Him for an answer to pressing questions. But what I hear is, “Trust Me, my daughter, trust Me.” And I’ve learnt to appreciate it. If we knew exactly how things were going to unfold, if we knew exactly what the future holds, where we’ll be, what we’ll be doing, who we’ll be with, life wouldn’t be as exciting. No, seriously, think about it. What will be the point if everything came true exactly how we wanted it to be? It’s like knowing everything about a movie before watching it. We hate spoilers but apply it to real life and we are dying to know.

But I’ve been in this season before and I look back and see how it all turned out. Me being in Boston is a result of waiting, seeking, trusting and taking God at His word. I had my worries but He took care of them. I had my questions but He answered them. I had my needs and He met them. I have not gone to a place where He has not met me and He is here with me, still. He continues to teach me that, just as Corrie Ten Boom says, “I don’t need to know the way, I just need to trust my Guide.”

Now I am hidden
In the safety of your love
I trust your heart and your intentions
Trust you completely
I’m listening intently
You’ll guide me through these many shadows (Hidden by United Pursuit)

Know His heart for you. And as you do, you will find that your worries will disappear. That as you bring your concerns to Him, He will be faithful to take it upon Himself, His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Would you join me of appreciating the gracious uncertainty but one thing is certain: He is good and will never fail. May that be enough, always!

 

Good Good Father

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!  –1 John 3:1

Maybe the title reminds you of a song, maybe it doesn’t. I stumbled upon this song by Housefires 2 years ago on YouTube. It stuck with me, especially the chorus. Two weeks or so later I heard it being sung in a church I was visiting and since then, it’s been one of those songs that Lord continues to bring to my mind and it’s a truth I continue to declare over and over again.

You’re a good good Father, It’s who You are, It’s who You are, It’s who You are

And I’m loved by You, It’s who I am, It’s who I am, It’s who I am

As repetitive as it sounds, there’s something powerful about repetition.

I don’t know about you but my journey of understanding the Father’s heart for me hasn’t always been easy. What does it even mean that God is my Father? Why does that even matter? It matters because knowing and fully embracing our identity as His child changes everything. Adoption is truly the highest privilege. He could’ve stopped at saving us from the death we deserved to die, but He didn’t. Instead, He adopted us into His family.

One of the most powerful experiences related to this was back in freshman year of college where I listened to Lee Grady who has become a friend and one of my favorite speakers! He is an author and runs the Mordecai Project which you should totally check out. Anyway, he was speaking of father wounds and how the deficiencies of our earthly fathers can often affect the way we look at God as a Father. I love my father and am so blessed to have a godly man as a father. I will not be who I am today without him. Needless to say, I realized that my view of God as a Father was one who was reserved in His love and affection for me. I still struggled with the need to constantly try to please God and His approval of me was based on what I did for Him. And that if I screwed up, He would be disappointed and every time I fell short, I felt guilty and would constantly apologize to Him in order to be in His ‘good books’ again.

As I was prayed for that night, I wept. I wept because I was overwhelmed with the Father’s love for me. A love that remains, a love that never changes even if I misunderstood it, misunderstood Him. His love for me is based on who He is and not what I do. The pressure was off. I found a new sense of freedom that night and since then, He’s been building on that revelation of Him as my Father. A Father who is so ready to pour out His affection on me, who loved me enough to send His Son to die for me. And I am totally okay with that. Now I walk in freedom to serve not out of fear of punishment but out of a knowledge of His love for me. Even if I fall, He will catch me. I am not afraid to mess up anymore, there is so much grace. This grace compels me to stay close to my Father and I never want to leave.

But if I’m really honest, as much as I know that I’m His child, I don’t always live like I truly believe it. And it’s in those moments, the song gets even louder because I need to believe it. And I’m guessing you’re the same too. And so my prayer is that as you journey on with the Lord, you will continue to discover His heart for you. He is your good Father. If you do not know Him at all, then you should. He loved you so much to include you in His family, but only if you receive it.

Romans 8:15-16 – For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

The Epiphany

If I were to think about all the epiphanies I’ve had in my life, I could probably write a book. An epiphany, to me, is a revelation, an insight; an unveiling of the truth that you were once blind to. It doesn’t stop there but it changes you, even in the smallest ways. Your life is never the same again once you receive that wonderful moment we call an epiphany. Some epiphanies have been very significant, some not so much but still it all contributes to the person I am today. The epiphany I am going to write about however is perhaps, the most significant one that affects me to this very day.

Growing up in a Christian household, I had never really doubted my faith. I was told as a kid that Jesus loves me and died on the cross for me. To me, that was a breath of fresh air. I gave my life to the Lord at age 6 or 7. That moment is still etched very deeply in my memory; I prayed the sinner’s prayer in church and tears rolled down my cheeks and for the first time, I felt God. The song ‘Change My Heart o God’ was being sung and sometimes I think about that moment.

My faith grew over the years as I began to see how my faith was defining me as a person. I would go to Christian camps every year and I loved it. I would get passionate about God during the camp and it will last for a while but then I would go back to the old. I thought I was fine, I was a ‘good’ Christian for the most part. I prayed, read the Bible when I could and tried not to do anything bad. My 16th year took a turn and the emotional baggage and hurt began to pile up. Through my pain and sorrow, He was close, proving Himself faithful.

But to be perfectly honest, even though I was experiencing a closeness with God that was new and somewhat relieving, I still didn’t really understand His heart for me and what this whole thing was about. The next year, in May of 2008, I attended a camp that changed my life. The speaker and his team were so on fire for God and I had never seen any ministry quite like theirs. Their passion and conviction was clear and it really made an impact. Every session was Spirit filled and people were experiencing God like never before. I received healing for my broken heart during one of the sessions but it was only the beginning. The camp lasted for 4 days and on the last session on the last day, the speaker drew a line across the hall. He called it the ‘Line of No Return’. He asked us to prayerfully consider crossing the line. He said that once we cross the line, there is no turning back; crossing the line was a sign of total surrender to God and His will for our lives. Even if it hurts, no matter what the cost, it was a decision to follow God wholeheartedly. As I knelt and prayed with the rest on the other side, I was weeping. I was convicted to cross the line but I wasn’t sure if I could do it. Sure enough, I took a step of faith and crossed the line. The moment I got over to the other side, I fell to my knees and my heart was literally lifted. I felt joy and peace. I knew I had made the right decision. This was my destiny, this was my call: to follow Jesus and live a life of absolute surrender.

I was holding on so tightly to my dreams but I let it go. I realized there and then that joy comes when we are surrendered to the Lord. Why did I not know it before? I could’ve saved time from struggling with Him. God loves me and His call for me to surrender is not so I will suffer but I will have life. Because He created me and therefore knows best for me and because of His great love, I can trust Him. That was the greatest epiphany. Of a loving God who compels me to follow Him and surrender every single day. By crossing the line, I moved past religion into a relationship with the Lover of all. I had found peace and it came by raising the white flag. I can’t go back, I’m keeping it raised.

p.s: I actually do have a dream of writing a book. In His time.