Waiting, searching, anticipating....

God is doing something. God is up to something. We have done what we must, and we will work tirelessly doing what we must in our time on this earth, but at times….it is so stinkin’ hard to wait! Beyond our time here in Indiana, Ryan and I have both wondered what it is God intends for us to do, what He has called us to. We have embraced ministry work both in volunteering and in church staff positions, but we long for something so much more than this. There is something more for us, we know that now more than any other time in our lives. Ryan and I have been on a road together, but in other ways we are on different roads. I believe God is doing a work in each one of us, shaping us, molding us, tweaking us here and there and quite frankly—at times it is painful! It is easy in the darkest hour, in the most difficult times of our lives to hold on to what we can grasp with our hands a little more tightly, to question God when we don’t see tangible evidence of some sort of progress, to wonder when is it going to get better. Yes, this is our nature, but at some point we let go and ask the Holy Spirit to take over. We have to choose to trust God wholeheartedly with what we don’t know, and rely on Him to take care of us with what He does know. The unknown is scary for us, but nothing is unknown to God. Trust, for anyone, even someone who has had the “perfect” life, is difficult. Deep down we just want to know it is going to be okay, that we can walk through life with confidence knowing nothing will harm us. Well, the reality is none of us has a perfect life. When the abundant years come, we know like Joseph warned Pharaoh, that we had better be wise, be prepared with the abundance so that when we arrive in the years of famine we are prepared, we are able to stay centered on God’s purpose for us. If we are communing with God daily, spending time with Him, deeply rooted in our relationship with him come what may then we can ride through even the most difficult times in life with confidence. I have found in recent years, there are many of us struggling to find just what it is God has for us to do next. We wait, we pray, we hope for what we want most but as I am reminded daily by a quote on my bathroom mirror… ”Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. Faith is the belief that God will do what is right.” Romans 8:28 has been resonating in my heart and mind for the last couple of months, God keeps giving it to me in my devotional time, in my prayer time, in my moments of sheer joy and sheer despair, it keeps coming back to me! He works it all, ALL, for our good! Nothing is wasted, we cannot go through a day in this life with an ounce of bitterness or regret, or we will find ourselves shriveled up, miserable and looking back at our lives with such a deep sense of sadness. Sadness over what we lost, worrying, wasting away, wondering when God was going to move us, drop what we had hoped and dreamed for in our laps without an ounce of effort on our parts. We cannot expect God to wave a magic wand and suddenly change our situation for us. We must do the work, we must make the effort with what we are given right now, today, what we know we are capable of doing until the timing is right and God sees we are truly ready for what He has for us to do. There is no magic formula; you can’t pick and choose verses and portions of your favorite books from your favorite authors or experts to make your problems vanish right away. The truth is, most of us will have to work very, very hard in this life to get where we really want to be, and ultimately where God intends for us to be. The peace and certainty I have found the last two months is in knowing I must stop fretting over what I cannot control, and I must be content in knowing God has everything in His control! I don’t like it, I’ll be honest. I am a fixer, I am a pleaser and I like to be in control and know what is happening well ahead of time. So, this is a constant battle for me, a work in progress you can say. But, as I find that peace, it becomes a bit easier day by day to let go and let God. Let Him just be who He is. Let Him do what He does best. Work in me, Lord. I am Yours. I cannot do this on my own. It is such a relief to know that I don’t have to do this on my own. 1 Peter 5:6 So be content with who you are, and don't put on airs. God's strong hand is on you; he'll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you. (The Message)

What's next?

I don't know anyone who enjoys waiting, it is not fun for me at all. I have had people tell me I have a very patient nature, I don't anger easily and it amuses me when I hear that because I know it isn't me, it is God's strength in me to be that way. I can get upset, angry just like any other person, but I diffuse it in a number of ways so as not to explode on anyone who may come across my path at just the right moment. Believe me, I have had my moments of complete panic, emotional meltdown. Ryan could tell you first hand, he has witnessed my worst moments and unfortunately he has had to absorb the shock of it too many times. Thankfully he loves me anyway, in spite of my moments of weakness. Thankfully, I can come back to him and say, "I'm sorry, I was weak and hurting, and you didn't deserve that. Please forgive me!" You know, God is the same way. He knows our weakness, and He wants to hear what we are experiencing; our joys, our sorrows, our frustrations, our anger, our heartache, our accomplishments. He wants to hear it all, and He wants to carry us through the worst of times when we don't think we can take another step. I have had some moments like that this week. Just sheer panic, not doubting really but wondering, "Okay, Lord, what is next? How are you going to move us?" We are taking some early steps now toward a move. We are in the process of securing jobs, we are getting ready to do a big yard sale, we are doing all we can with what we have to trust God with all of the details. We have a renewed sense of hope and determination, and we are ready for a fresh start, a new beginning. There is more to the waiting than just waiting. God has called us to be active in our faith walk, and that means making every effort to explore any open door he places in our pathway. We have been doing that for just over a month now, and we are seeing some doors open. We hope you will join us in the next two weeks in praying that God provides confirmation of jobs for both of us, that God will miraculously provide for us financially specifically for the cost of a moving truck and security deposit on a home, and that we continue to be faithful and trust Him with all that we have. We have seen and known His amazing provision before and we know He will do it again. We ask that you also pray for us to continue to be steady and consistent in our time with God. Ryan and I have both had some amazing time in solitude and meditation with God, worship at home as a family, time that we would not have had before. We are so thankful for this precious time and we know it is necessary for strengthening our relationship with God. We can't tell you, our precious friends and family, how much your prayers, encouragement, loving support have made a difference in our walk this past year or so. Words just don't adequately convey our deep thanks and love for each of you. There are moments, especially in the darkest times, when we are hanging on by our fingertips that the peace that only God can give suddenly comes in and we know...someone has been praying and God is so good! Thank you for standing beside us, walking with us through these days. Amazing scripture for me today that I just have to share in closing: Romans 15:5-6 ".....God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever he will do next." (The Message)

What's next? God knows.

“Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.” 1 Thess. 5:16-18 MSG This past weekend was so good. I had the opportunity to interview for an amazing job, one that could very well launch me into a career field that I believe I have been destined for all my life. God has opened a door, and I am so excited to see what happens next! Ryan had a great opportunity as well, some really good job prospects for him to consider. Coming home was hard for him, more than for me. I went into the weekend with no real expectations, and I deliberately chose to have the mindset that God has provided this interview, and I am so thankful for it. What happens beyond that is not a concern. On the drive home, I listened to my husband share his concerns, and I could sense he was disappointed. How many of us can relate? You are in a job you do not like, you go away for a weekend that is a great start to some new possibilities, and then you are headed back home to that job. Disappointment is a good word for it and I knew he was hurting. As much as we hate to admit it, we wish God would move faster don’t we? We wish He could just snap and it would be so much quicker in terms of how things happen in life. We don’t realize how useful the waiting is. We don’t realize that the waiting, the time in between is when He is requiring us to be teachable, to be flexible, to be moldable. He has His reasons, and they are far above what we can comprehend in the moment. We cannot see further than what He has allowed us to see in this moment, and that should be enough. That should be enough, because we need to trust Him. Trust is hard when we are ready now, when we are not happy, when we are ready for the change because we feel like we have been waiting for so long. I found myself in a different state than Ryan, but I believe there’s a reason God allows for that. When one of us is weak, the other is strong. It is a beautifully balanced system God has given us in our marriage, and I am so thankful for it. At the time it may not make sense, but after, when the dust settles and we know a little bit more, we receive confirmation, then it makes more sense. I am certain God has a plan, and I have a peace that this opportunity is not ending here. I am excited to see what God will do in the weeks ahead. I know He will provide precisely what we need precisely when we need it. His timing is perfect! In these days, I will choose to lean farther into Him than ever before, thanking Him, praising Him, daily, without ceasing, because I know He is working on my behalf. Please keep us in your prayers as we consider what lay ahead, specifically our financial needs. Our budget is already tight, and now we are seeing how we must tighten it a bit more to consider what we may need to relocate in the way of a moving truck, security deposit for housing, etc. We know God is bigger than what we may see as a challenge, and that He will provide for exactly what He intends to take place in the days ahead. We remain incredibly humbled and grateful to you, our sweet circle of friends and family, standing beside us through these days and lifting us to the Father. Your prayers have been felt and make such a difference, far more than you can know. No matter what happens, we will live each day thankful. We can’t wait to tell you what God is doing in the days ahead.

Prayerful, Hopeful, Thankful

I was reminded in my study time last night of giving thought to how I pray. So many times, we pray answers rather than requests. We've all done it. We pray for someone to be healed, to receive something very specific and then we are disappointed when we don't see it happen. So, have you considered how you are praying? I did this great study on prayer years ago in a women's Bible study group and I pulled it back out a few days ago. It is full of such good stuff on prayer! Last night I read the portion that specifically talks about how we pray. It caused me to stop myself in the middle of my prayer time this morning and I realized...I don't like this, I am not used to this! What was it I didn't like? You know it is coming.....surrender. When we pray for a need, a dream, a situation that we've been made aware of for someone we love dearly, are we truly giving it all to God and trusting Him to handle it? I believe wholeheartedly that God wants us to be specific in our prayer time, so please don't misunderstand what I mean. In every sense of the word, we must surrender every care, every need, every want in our lives to His care. When we detail in our prayers what we hope for, what we think is best, or will make the situation better, are we truly trusting God to do His will? Or, are we asking Him to do what we want or what we think is best? This process for me is already changing the way I pray. I am immediately aware of my intent in what I ask of God. So we have to consider very carefully, are we trying to interpret what God's will is for a situation in our method of prayer? I wonder. I will not change my prayer methods in one sense, that I know God wants to hear my hurts, my joys, my dreams, my needs, but along with that I will release it all by recognizing above it all He is the author and perfector of my faith, He knows what my life will be from start to finish, and I cannot attempt to fully understand Him nor can I match His wisdom. When we choose to surrender our all, and trust Him with every fiber of our being, we learn to be content as He intends. If you are as unsettled as I am, then you are probably in the majority because most of us have to admit it is so easy to get comfortable with what we think is certain in the tangible sense. I know it sounds strange, but I think that is when we are right where God wants us to be. Content in Him, content to trust He is in control, but discontented with this world and all that is in it. That's the moment we are ready to embrace our God fully, that is the moment when we are absolutely helpless, recognize our own vulnerability and find confidence in Christ alone. When we find it, then we can find true confidence in ourselves. As we approach this weekend and what it may or may not hold for us, I hope you will join me in praying God's will. Pray for safe travel for our family, pray for favor for Ryan and I in the opportunities that are before us, and pray that we remain humbled and grateful for what God has given us. We want to embrace each day with a thankful heart simply for its own, and not look too far ahead. Romans 12:12 (The Message) “Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder."

my Ebenezer...

“…Thus far the Lord has helped us.”-1 Samuel 7:12 There are moments in my life when I look back and can see how God in His perfect yet my...