Patience in the waiting: Week 3---Help me, Lord!

Why is it so hard to wait when in the end, when the time is right, we see from the other side it truly makes sense? Stupid human nature! Oy. I find as I get older, I have less and less patience with the things of this world, the reality we live in. There are moments I can see listed in my mind, experiences I have endured that I still don't fully understand God's purpose and I have every intention of asking Him when I am there one day, "Why?" The funny thing is, I will probably not even get the words out of my mouth because when I stand before Him, when I am no longer bound by this wretched body, feeble human mind, and burdened by the weight this world has placed upon me--it will be clear and I will be at peace. Anyone else longing for that day? Yes! It can't come soon enough. Thankfully God does not think like we do. Thankfully He is more patient, more loving, more gracious than we can possibly comprehend and is willing to wait even for just one more person to come into relationship with Him. Mind-blowing! I read a familiar passage this morning and just struck by how the events played out and God's hand truly orchestrated it for Jacob's good.

Genesis 29:20-28(NIV) So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her. Then Jacob said to Laban, "Give me my wife. My time is completed, and I want to lie with her." So Laban brought together all the people of the place and gave a feast. But when evening came, he took his daughter Leah and gave her to Jacob, and Jacob lay with her. And Laban gave his servant girl Zilpah to his daughter as her maidservant. When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, "What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn't I? Why have you deceived me?" Laban replied, "It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one. Finish this daughter's bridal week; then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work." And Jacob did so. He finished the week with Leah, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife.

Can you imagine how he must have felt? Here's something that crossed my mind as I read over this passage several times, letting it sink in. How many of us have asked God that question Jacob posed to Laban, "What is this you have done to me?" How many of us have found ourselves in a life experience so hard, so difficult, so painful, that it left us in a crumpled heap on the floor, crying out to God? Can you relate? Feeling battered, beaten up by life, and wondering if just one more thing happens then you're forever doomed and there is no hope? What is it that makes the difference, what can lift us out of this state, give us the supernatural ability to stand up and then put one foot in front of the other? Jesus, and His deep, unending, unconditional, abiding love for us! Do you know why we find ourselves going through what seems to be a cycle motion? This life is a journey, not an easy one at any given time, but because we are human, and because life is unpredictable it is all the more comforting and amazing to consider God is constant, He never changes, He is always near to the brokenhearted, the worn down, the mistreated and forgotten. He will never fail us, and He is always near to us! All we have to do, when we find ourselves at the very rock bottom of our situation, thinking there is no way up and out--we can reach up and find His arms open wide to help us.

Life is going to hand us a multitude of choices, good and bad, so what we do with what we've been given does not have to be simply up to us alone. When we choose to lay our lives before our God, consider how deeply He loves us, present our needs and our dreams to Him, and trust Him to provide according to His good and perfect will for us--we can somehow rest in a patient state because of His peace within us. I am so thankful for that. This truly is a lifelong lesson for me, and I am certain for many of you.

Whatever you are facing today, whether you are riding high in an amazing and fruitful time in your life, or maybe you are in a desert right now and in need of nourishment--God will certainly supply all that you need! Call on Him, and He will comfort, heal and restore you. I am prayng for you today and I am thankful we are on this journey together!

Patience in the Waiting, Week #2

Week 2 on my journey, starting off with a limp. Illness struck several members of my family over the weekend and as they are still recovering into this week, I am battling what most Mom's do--exhaustion on both a physical and emotional level. When someone gets sick, I step up the pace and clean like crazy, pull out my home remedies, make sure everyone is taken care of, and when I feel that somehow my world is at peace--then, I sit down and try to find some rest time for myself. That ended up equating to a 45 minute nap before I jumped back up and was at my nonstop Mom pace once again. My fb post on Monday summed it up well-felt like Monday slapped me in the face. Oy. So here we go with week #2 for Patience in the Waiting.

Psalm 40:1 (NLT) I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
and He turned to me and He heard my cry.

Read that a few times, speak it out loud, sing it out, and see if it really sinks in to you heart. I must admit I found it hard to sink in. Why? Well, honestly...I may appear to be patient but deep down my humanity and my fiercely organized/OCD nature screams, "Lord, I have some great ideas, and a really good plan here, so could you pick up the pace?! I am ready to move on this sooner rather than later!" For those of you who have known me the majority of my life, you know that I am a generally patient person and manage stress well but truth is....it can only be attributed to the good Lord above and the strength He provides and peace that passes all human understanding! If I relied soully on my human ability, well, we can all imagine how my life would have likely ended up. God is good, and prayer is powerful, and I am so thankful for so many family and friends who stood beside me, encouraged and mentored me all these years and still do, because I could have truly screwed up my life if I hadn't given over to God and said, "I'm Yours! I cannot do this on my own!"

By now, you all know our story. Ryan has fought a battle with unemployment and underemployment for nearly two years, and by the grace of God and a lot of tears, prayers and God's good provision we were given a new and fresh start in August 2012. We can read online, in print, and watch the media's reports of so many lives turned upside down because of the hand they've been dealt by life. Just when you think life is good, things are progressing as you'd hoped, God has placed you somewhere that is ideal. We had this vision of finally settling down for a good long time, our kids growing up in one place, finding and maintaining lifelong friendships, and finding a home to live in and grow old together. We found out we were pregnant with Chloe, started looking for a home to purchase and felt the timing was finally right...and then it all began to change in the blink of an eye. Here we are, Chloe is 2 now and it is hard to believe we are essentially starting over. For whatever reason, God chose to allow us to endure that difficult season in Indiana, and He is still teaching us today. There was a time in my life when I thought what most people thought. Life would be ideal, perfect and as I had dreamed it would be when Ryan was finally in the perfect job, I was home enjoying being a wife and mother, and we would be enjoying amazing ministry and fellowship with our church family. Since our fresh start in August 2012, our arrival in Missouri has been nothing short of hitting the ground running. We are thankful for the jobs God has so graciously provided, and to see our hard work paying off. As God has opened the doors and the details have fallen right into place, we see our efforts coupled with His divine purpose for our lives has become a reality. We have a lot of hard work yet ahead of us in every area of our lives-financially, emotionally, spiritually. Recovery is not easy and is often painful, but it is necessary.

For those of you struggling even today, let me be among the first to tell you not to give up on your dreams! It may not have gone the way you'd expected it to, but your dreams are still within reach and God is not finished with you yet! There is hope and peace in the Father, who will certainly guide you with the decisions you have to make today, for you, for your family, for what lies ahead. Something I have told Ryan over and over in this whole process, which he is probably so tired of hearing by now....

Leave no stone unturned!

God has given you abilities, gifts, skills that can and will be put to use but you have to choose to explore every open door before you. God is not going to control you like some puppet on a stage! You have the free will, the ability to go, seek, explore! We are finding out very quickly that sometimes that means you take a job, start a career that provides the income and benefits you need for life but doesn't necessarily fit with what you'd dreamed of doing with what you are gifted for, passionate about. Sometimes, God gives us a career opportunity which enables us to provide for our needs, and still be able to enjoy what we are passionate about. A great example of this, my brother Mike. He has been a great teacher to me, interesting perspective and wisdom from my little brother! He has been with a company for many years, doing an amazing job and so blessed because of it. If you ask him, "Is this your dream job?" He'll probably say no, he'd rather be on the baseball field in a sports related profession. Either that, or in my opinion following in my Dad's footsteps and going into full time ministry. I appreciated his insight when we had this very conversation not long ago, because it is so true. He can do both. He can have this great professional career and also enjoy doing what he's passionate about. Would he prefer it to be different? Sure! How many of us would much rather get a paycheck doing what we are most passionate about? Yep! Me too! Sometimes, God's plan for our lives, to take care of what He has given us-our families-is to take on something that isn't necessarily what we had in mind. I am proud of my brother for what he has accomplished and finding that balance, making the choices he has professionally which enabled him to provide for his family, have more freedom to enjoy what he is passionate about and also serve in numerous capacities in ministry and missions through his church. The most beautiful part is to hear him say they are truly blessed and it is all thanks to God! So, check your focus, ask God to provide what you are dreaming of but recognize He may throw you a curve ball. What will you choose to do when that curve ball comes at you?

We all have so many choices before us every single day. I am praying for you to consider them all carefully. God has a plan for you, I have no doubt! I am eager to hear your story! I hope you are inspired and encouraged today!

Patience in the waiting

I am sure I've blogged on the subject of patience before, so this can perhaps go down as yet another entry. We enter into a season of life that seems to be going well, good things happening, and patience is farthest from our minds and not really an issue. Wham! Bam! Something of a challenge slaps us in the face, life hits us hard with a difficult season and we find ourselves faced with the necessity to be patient. Patience in the waiting, this "in-between-time", is not an easy thing for any one of us. We have a lot of questions for God, and it is inevitably out of a heart that is deeply wounded, perhaps betrayed, bitterly disappointed by what life has handed us thanks to man mishandling our circumstances. Now that is not to say everyone is to blame but me for what happened and for the result of how things went down. There is a part we all play in our present circumstances. Whatever occurred in the past, it is done, can't be changed or rewritten, and we must move forward. What is taking place in my present circumstances, well-that is something I have to coordinate rather delicately and weigh very carefully with respect for the ultimate plan of events orchestrated by a great and powerful God.

This past month I have been working at a faster pace in trying to square away our standing with finding a home. Whether we rent or purchase, that is the question but ultimately it matters most what God has purposed for us in terms of our physical dwelling space. It has been extremely exciting and stressful all at once--and this past week it all came to a spike especially on an emotional level. It didn't help that I was so intent on ensuring my first born had the most amazing, memorable and blessed 16th birthday celebration! I put a whole lot upon myself and now my body, my senses are in overload as a result!

The past 48 hours I believe the seams on my psyche have been splitting open a bit, some of my emotional overload and overkill has spilt over. I found myself searching the scripture, soaking up His Word, and digging into very informative articles on the subject of "patience in the waiting". I have been praying unceasingly, "God, You are God, You alone can handle it all, and I know You have my best in mind! I know I must let it go, and let You do a work in me!" I found comfort and necessary accountability in the words of family and friends, and last night came home with physical, visual reminders in my hands to display to set myself on course over the next two months for a lesson in patience. I plan to save this lesson to utilize every time I find myself in a season such as this.

Week 1: Wait, Trust and Pray!
Psalm 27:14
New Living Translation (NLT)

Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

Count Your Blessings! See what God has done!

I have this posted, bright and colorful on my closet door to view before I go to bed and when I rise in the morning. I read two articles this morning, excellent sources on the subject of "patience in the waiting".

An excerpt from the first article, "Continue in Patience" by Dieter F. Uchtdorf, April 2010 (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/04/continue-in-patience?lang=eng)
'... patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!

...eventually I learned that God’s promises are not always fulfilled as quickly as or in the way we might hope; they come according to His timing and in His ways. Years later I could see clear evidence of the temporal blessings that come to those who obey the Word of Wisdom—in addition to the spiritual blessings that come immediately from obedience to any of God’s laws. Looking back, I know for sure that the promises of the Lord, if perhaps not always swift, are always certain.'

Interesting to consider most of us picture ourselves, in our moments that necessitate patience as sitting on our butts, looking up at God and going, "Okay, waiting on You, Lord." In fact, we are to be active in that state of patience, not idle, not unmoving. Even in our state of patience, we must continue to be active in our hope, our seeking out the desires of our hearts, a form of spiritual exercise! Bottom line, our efforts are not loss if in fact we are patiently enduring and our focus is intensely on Christ--His will be done. It may not come in our idea of the end result, but we can be certain it will come in God's time and as He intends for the end result to be.

An excerpt from the second article, "Practicing Patience When God Has You Waiting", by Barbara Erochina, (http://powertochange.com/experience/spiritual-growth/practicingpatience/)
'...Patience as listed in Galatians 5 is often called longsuffering. The original Greek word is makrothumio, meaning “long temper”. We are to keep a long and slow temper towards God, others and ourselves. This spiritual posture calls for grace. It is grace that compels us to trust God, grace that we can extend to others when they hurt us and grace to forgive ourselves when we stumble and fall.

...Standing patiently when we wait on the Lord does not mean being stuck at a standstill. Consider Ephesians 6 which instructs us to “put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then.” To hold ground by remaining obedient to the Lord while waiting is not passive. Note that the word stand is repeated three times. Patience is an act of the will to claim ground for the Kingdom of God, and is rewarded richly by Him. Revelations 3:10-11 tells us of God’s care for those who persevere through the battle.
Whether we feel we lack patience to wait on God, or to continue to love those that may be hard to love, we do in actuality have access to all the patience we need. We can trust God to give us the strength to bear our circumstances and instead use the time of waiting to grow in intimacy with the Lord.'

Imagine how patient God has been with us, with His people from the beginning of time! How can we not give Him the same respect in terms of patience? This is nearly mind blowing for me to consider when I look at my ability or inability to be patient. Thank goodness, as stubborn, selfish and utterly idiotic we can be that God has not chosen to wipe us off the face of the earth in the blink of an eye! We are so fortunate, so unworthy of the grace He has extended to us. We must humbly embrace this gift God has given us, and ask Him to strip away all pride so that we can truly be filled with the knowledge and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, and then when that peace and rest fills our hearts and souls--extend that to others. When we choose to embrace the power of the Holy Spirit in us, we can truly say there is joy in the midst of this "in-between time". I can't imagine and don't fully get the concept of enjoying patience but I am on a mission to do just that. Join me in this lesson. I will be blogging about it weekly as I go through this season.

Have a blessed day! Let me know your thoughts and experiences.



my Ebenezer...

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