Showing posts from October, 2014

When the Wait is Over: Set up a Memorial

Most waiting places come to an end.  Or they change.  Or something changes, (like you?). It's tempting in the transition to having that prayer answered, getting that job, having that baby, understanding that person, getting your answer, or becoming victorious through a giant obstacle, to not take the time to reflect on what you've just come out of. It's my human nature to take the prize and run!  

But if we agree that there was a purpose in the journey, and a deeper, more far-reaching growth to our waiting, then it serves that journey well to be intentional in remembering it. And if we agree that God has been orchestrating that journey and growth, then it begs a moment to stop and give thanks in memorial to all that He is and all He has done.  

We are given a picture of this in the book of Joshua.  God had just brought the Israelites through their final passage into the promised land.  As God pulled back the waters once more and they passed through the dry ground of the Jord…

When You Need to Stop Waiting

I've had a desire for something in my life that in a little corner of my heart and mind I've been waiting on for years.  And all those years I just thought I had to keep waiting, waiting, waiting before acting on it. And somewhere in those waiting years a little part of my heart died off to the waiting I suppose.  Because I was waiting for that something to kind of be hand-delivered to me on a silver platter.  I thought I needed permission to pursue it. Well, the platter and permission were never given, and so the longing was pushed down.

In the past couple years, however, through different avenues and encouragement, my eyes have been opened to the reality that sometimes you really need to stop waiting. Stop waiting for someone else to offer the opportunity. Stop waiting for a new season of life. Stop waiting to feel inspired. Stop waiting for perfect conditions. Because no one ever told you to wait in the first place. Quite the opposite - perhaps waiting is actually disobedien…

Waiting in Worship

Choosing to worship God in our waiting keeps our eyes up and out.  It's not wrong to be introspective and reflect on the work God is doing in our lives. But there is a position near the edge of this that can leave us a bit too inward bound. I'm prone to that, I'll admit. I like to wonder, think, process, talk about, marvel, and question all that God is doing in my life. But if I stay there, I'm neglecting the very thing my soul was ultimately created to do - worship my creator.  

Jesus said something remarkable regarding His praise in Luke 19.  Here's the context in verses 37-40:

"As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen,saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.…

Waiting for the Blessing: You See it in the Wound

One of the most fascinating stories from the Old Testament to me, is the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel of the Lord.  Jacob had been estranged from his brother Esau and was fearful of their imminent meeting, (rightly so after Jacob cheated him out of his birthright). Jacob intensely pleads to the Lord to protect him from an attack from Esau. The night before they meet, something amazing happens. Here's the account out of Genesis 32:24-30:

"And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day.When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel,for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.…

Waiting in Patience

We can sit in our waiting places with a wide range of perspectives, attitudes, heart postures, and mindsets. Some cause us more grief and heartache. Some teach us more about ourselves.  Many point our hearts to our need for Jesus.  But patience seems to rise to the top as the characteristic that is being honed in greatest intensity. So it's true that waiting produces patience, but when I'm feeling weak and tried in that area, the last thing I feel is that my patience is getting stronger. 

Check out these definitions of patience for a fuller picture on the word:

"thebearingof provocation,annoyance,misfortune,orpain,withoutcomplaint,lossof temper,irritation,orthe like"
"anabilityorwillingnesstosuppressrestlessnessor annoyancewhenconfrontedwith delay"
"quiet,steadyperseverance;even-temperedcare; diligence" *
Well, isn't that a little too convicting?  A more detailed look at the description and I'm at a total loss for claiming this virtue.  I see how…

Waiting to be Affirmed

I have a strong need to be affirmed in what I do and in who I am.  Don't you? I'm sure everyone does to a certain degree - it's got to be a basic human need at some level. But it wasn't until about 5 years ago that I truly nailed down my love language to be Words of Affirmation, (thank you Gary Chapman!) 

As I look back to growing up and college years, I think the need had always been there. When I really started analyzing my disappointment and frustrations in relationships, I began to uncover the implications of this.  I believe God has wired each person in a specific way to perceive and show love.  I believe that my wiring is to be encouraging with words, and likewise I hear love through encouraging and affirming words from others. In my glorified-the-way-God-intended-me-to-be state, this can be a good thing.  

However, I've also uncovered over the years that in my depravity, I crave words of affirmation in a way that my heart was never meant to. 

Two years ago I wa…

Waiting with Open Hands

Yesterday's post regarding joy begs me look into one of the reasons it's so difficult to choose gratitude.  My natural position is to live life with closed hands, holding fast to what I want or what I have. It's scary to think of losing what I have, and I squirm and fight for it in my flesh. But that remains a huge roadblock to experiencing life-giving joy.  Once again, Ann Voskamp has encouraged me as she speaks of this heart transition from her own experience,

"And I humbly open my hand to release my will to receive His, to accept His wind.  I accept the gift of now as it is - accept God - for I can't be receptive to God unless I receive what he gives." - One Thousand Gifts
So I keep having to pry my fingers open to the moment given, and sometimes I fail and remain fixed on fear, want and selfishness.  But I keep coming back to the truth that each moment can be His grace, because He can transform it all.  I may not see it now, or be able to feel the goodness …

Waiting in Thanks: The Path to Joy

There's a joy I've been learning and re-learning over the years. It's a joy I have to choose, even in the waiting. I've touched on this already in different ways here, here and here. It is not a joy that ignores the reality of pain, heartache, difficulty or frustration- that's not a helpful joy. But it is a joy that must transcend my mood, feelings, atmosphere, circumstances, and control. That kind of joy can be really difficult to choose, but it's the kind that is life-giving. 

Ann Voskamp, in her book One Thousand Gifts, helped me to see the connection to joy and how to make the jump from the mess and frustration, to a sincere joy.  Here's what she says, 

"As long as thanks is possible, then joy is possible.  Joy is always possible. Whenever, meaning - now; wherever, meaning - here. The holy grail of joy is not in some exotic location or some emotional mountain peak experience. The joy wonder could be here! Here, in the mess, piercing ache of now, joy …

When Others Wait on You

This post feels a bit out of rhythm with where I've been writing this week, but it dawned on me that this has been a critical step in my journey, and it's one I don't want to skip over.

Humility calls me to recognize that I'm not the only one waiting.  Sometimes I'm being waited on. Maybe I didn't get that paperwork turned in quite on time.  Perhaps I keep forgetting to call that lady back at some office. Or I'm a few minutes late to pick my kids up from school a few too many times. Or my husband has been waiting patiently for more time in the bathroom for the past ten years.
And sometimes it runs deeper. Could it be someone out there is waiting for me to initiate the conversation this time? Or ask questions about their story? Or I'm being waited on to step up and serve in a needed area? Maybe I'm the one someone is praying will have a changed heart. Maybe those questions could all be answered with a yes, I'm not completely sure. But what I do k…

Waiting With Hope

When we think of waiting for or on something, it might bring to mind the feel of a passive position, as if we are laying back until some action takes place. But there's a different kind of waiting asked of us when we are watching God's story, and allowing His love to satisfy us.  When we wait expectantly, we are being filled with hope.  And this hope is not the wishful thinking kind, but the kind centered in the character of who God is, and what He says He will do.

Psalm 130 is a beautiful portrait of waiting expectantly with hope. I encourage you to read the entire psalm, but here I'll highlight verses 5-6:
"I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,  and in His word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord  more than watchmen for the morning,  more than watchmen for the morning."
There are two things that stand out and encourage me here.  First, the psalmist is seeking his hope in the word of God. I've talked about this in previous posts, but it is worth saying again: To have…

Waiting in Love for God

Waiting places have a way of showing me exactly what it is I love.  That's because waiting makes me squirm, become irritable, discontent, and lacking in trust at times.  It also brings to light what I think I will find as satisfying, lovable, comforting and fulfilling. 

In this process the dross of my idol love is forced to the surface when I'm waiting on something I want, no matter how noble it is.  It's a hard truth for me to swallow these days, that even the good things I want for myself or others, are just filthy rags if I'm laying them at the altar of my heart.  And God knows and sees it all.  And He's waiting on far more in me than I think I am on Him.  

So I'm learning to stop in the midst of my squirming, and ask myself, "What am I loving here? Where am I setting my longing? What am I placing my obsessive gaze on?" Just stopping to think about these things brings the light of what I'm treasuring right to the surface.  The Spirit convicts me …

Waiting and Speaking Truth

Speaking what I know to be true is so critical when I'm in a waiting place, especially if I'm not hearing an answer, seeing change, or receiving the fulfillment I desire.  I realize that too often I am a listener...but not in a good way.  Listening to the thoughts and lies that naturally stream into my head and heart is not helpful, because it's a detrimental passive position of my soul. Instead, I need to remember the truth of God's Word and speak it to myself like a shot in the arm.

The following are promises of God found in Scripture for those who trust in Jesus:  
"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you; because he trusts in you."  Isaiah 26:3
"For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness." Psalm 107:9
"Wait on the Lord; be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart: Wait, I say, on the Lord" Psalm 27:14
"The eyes of all wait upon you; and you give them their meat in due se…