Merry CHRISTmas Friends!
Last week, my post was a bit more emotional and opinionated than normal. For that, I do not apologize. My hope in writing these blogs is that you see I am no different than you. God has gifted me with the ability to write, but I have weathered a year of loss and brokenness; I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not.
Honestly, I have days where it’s still hard to get up. Days where the tears can’t be held back anymore. Days where the pain, betrayal and rejection is raw and exposed. Especially at the holidays, I feel his absence – the absence of his family. Unpacking his stocking and wondering what happened. Knowing he is in the same town, desperate for any kind of answers. I still feel and am not some superhuman dealing with grief. I am like you. I don’t wish to wear a mask – I hope you saw that last week!
My newest lesson has been about waiting. Your favorite thing too, right?! I have been waiting on God to come through with answers, with healing, with direction, with motivation… the list could continue. While God has been ever-present in my challenges this year, I still find myself waiting for so much.
Isaiah 40:31 declares, “Those who wait on the Lord will rise up with new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They run and don’t grow weary. They walk and won’t faint.” If waiting is supposed to foster strength, why do I feel so exhausted? Has waiting ever worn you out? Then my friend, we aren’t doing it right.
I was finishing my Christmas shopping in a very girly boutique. The storeowners brilliantly placed a bench near the door. Two older gentlemen patiently sat at their respective ends of the bench. Their arms were crossed and both had an almost glazed look on their faces. I smiled to myself thinking of the women they must be waiting on.
Then the Spirit spoke to my heart: “That’s what it looks like to wait, Heather.” Excuse me, Lord? I fumbled through racks of clothes and stacks of jewelry and tangled scarves keeping an eye on the two gentlemen.
The men were still. They were silent. Waiting patiently, knowing that nothing they could do would speed up the process of their woman’s shopping. Then the Lord gave me a vision of what I look like when I am waiting… It was ugly, but hoping that at least one of you can relate, I will share it with you.
Claiming that I am waiting on God, I tend to run around the “store” like a bat out of a cave. Yelling, carelessly running into things, causing a scene… imagine an out-of-control five year old. A child causing a raucous in a store would most likely receive discipline. But, that’s what I look like when it comes to waiting. Which also explains why I am so exhausted.
It is an embarrassing thing, but I confess it to you. The gentlemen sitting on the bench were resting. They were not expending any energy, nor were they asking questions or pestering. Against their own desires I’m sure, they found themselves in a boutique decked with pink walls and leopard print carpet… they were far from their man cave, yet sat. Their patience and cooperation allowed their ladies to finish their shopping quicker. Imagine them pestering, following them around the store pulling on their dress, telling them to hurry, asking a thousand questions. Would the experience have taken much longer? Probably.
I don’t care for the “store” I currently find myself in. I claim to be trusting and waiting on God, but my actions reflect that of a badly behaving child.
As the day went on, I learned there are many different kinds of waiting: A child waiting to go to Disney World; a boy waiting to go to the doctor; a man waiting to marry the love of his life; a woman ravaged with cancer waiting to fall into the arms of Jesus. Yet in all phases of waiting, as children of the Most High God, we are expected to be at peace. To sit on the bench and smile, trusting His timing - letting Him do His thing.
Our faith lives are much like climbing a mountain. I know you have heard the analogy before, but hear me out. If we saw just how high and how treacherous the mountain was that Jesus wants us to climb, many of us would never even take the first step.
Yet, God in his grace often sends a cloud to hide the top of the mountain. We are only able to see the next ten feet. And slowly but surely, we climb; one step at a time. Sometimes we are the ones who prolong the waiting though…
On a mountain ridge, you are desperate to make it to the plateau. It is just within your sight. God told you how to get there – but you want to be levitated over the babbling stream to the dry ground rather than wade through it. To me, God has said “Forgive.” I can stand on the edge of that stream for years… I was told exactly what to do, but my refusal to do it will inhibit me from reaching the other side.
What has God told you to do? Serve, minister, apologize, pray, confess, reconcile? Our refusal to take the next step up the mountain leaves many Christians stranded on the side. Their pride keeps them there. They stop moving forward and pitch their tent. At that point, you may not be waiting on God to come through; so much as He is waiting on you to be obedient.
I don’t want to settle for this place on the mountain. I want to keep going – surely something amazing lies at the top! If you are waiting on God, what better time to simply chill out and take a seat on the bench. Then you will begin to experience that renewal of strength…
If God is waiting on you; if you have been told the next step but refuse to take it, no one can help you but yourself. I highly doubt you will be able to argue with God enough to convince Him to change his marching orders. Good luck if you want to keep trying that. Surrender in obedience and lay down your pride. Allow him to help you wade through that stream. (I'm wading with you!) Rewards, peace and blessings lie on the other side.
Look up verses about waiting… many of them are positive and speak of renewal, of hope; not agony, exhaustion and tears! We have been doing it wrong, friend. Take a seat with me, God will be done “shopping” much faster if you and I cooperate.
Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. Psalm 27:14
I have many friends reading this who don’t have Facebook: I am going to ask a favor of you! Normally, I would not do this, but it is near and dear to my heart.
The ministry I work for, Pure Freedom, has partnered with the Brooklyn Tabernacle in inner city New York. As part of a pilot program, this January school nurses will be handing out the morning-after pill to teens as young as 14 without asking a question and without parental consent. Pure Freedom is sending hope and purity to teen girls in NYC. Please consider and end-of-year donation to these girls. Watch the video below for more information and lick here to donate. (If you don’t want one, you can request that both go to girls in NYC.)
Thank you all for your support, love and prayers!