Intermission

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” Isaiah 30:18

Tick… tock… tick… tock… Waiting, waiting, waiting. Funny how you think that you wait well, until you have to. Then, I feel like we all turn into children, watching the clock, waiting for Christmas morning. Where our nerves are so on edge, and the minutes seem to take hours, and it seems like the waiting will never end. I’m going through a short season of waiting right now, as I’m sure I stated last week, and I decided this week, I was going to get a little help and perspective from some of my other bloggers out there. Ones who have waited. Sometimes for years, some for months, and some might be still waiting. It always helps to know you are not alone. That we all take turns waiting for something. So, this week, I’m shining the spotlight on some of the other people out there who have shared their stories of waiting. And I hope they encourage you, that it’s not over, it’s not the end, that His word never returns void, that He always fulfills His promises, and that we can wait, and hopefully continue to learn to wait well.

“Is this what life is like when God is quiet? Grey, foggy, silence . . .

I have several friends waiting on God right now. These friends are waiting on a forever home, a spouse, a baby, a prodigal child to return to God and to hear about a job. Their humanness wants the silence to end right now, showing them their happy ending in this season. Their desire for holiness tells them He is who He says He is as they ask for more patience.

It’s so hard to be in the waiting room as you long to hear from God. The feeling of frustration, anxiety and even fear can be overwhelming. Any answer is better than waiting.

I learned the difficulties of this season when my younger son, Wesley, was about ten weeks old. A group of us had gone to an Amy Grant concert so my sister graciously agreed to come over and watch the boys. There was a whole debacle with lost keys so we were rather late getting home. When I entered the house, Beth rushed over to tell me that Wes’s lips had turned blue when he was sleeping. She woke him up and he seemed fine but she thought I should know.

Silence in the waiting room, Nita Wilkinson, Read the rest of the story here: https://www.inthewhisper.org/post/silence-in-the-waiting-room?fbclid=IwAR3_gV1LxIlrh4n_IyOK7exmbojz8AAQhgbc3gO23DTQnmnR346XEERQUXI

Seasons of waiting are hard. About 10 years ago, we were selling our house to move about an hour away to the bigger city where my husband’s office was. I was also pregnant with our first baby, so we had a bit of a deadline.

First we had our house for sale by owner and sold it. Then the buyer backed out. We decided to list with a realtor. We told the house again. And again the buyer backed out.

We were beyond discouraged. I especially struggled with it because I have anxiety issues and the added pregnancy hormones didn’t help. We even ended up in small claims court a few months later with one of the buyers over earnest money. It was ridiculous.

Surviving a season of waiting, Stacy Shannon, Read the rest of the story here: http://familieswithgrace.com/2018/11/07/surviving-a-season-of-waiting-what-i-learned-in-the-nine-years-it-took-to-sell-my-house/?fbclid=IwAR3_gV1LxIlrh4n_IyOK7exmbojz8AAQhgbc3gO23DTQnmnR346XEERQUXI

Knowing there was something to be learned even in our struggles, we looked for God’s message. And we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

It’s nearly fall 2018, and in many ways, we are still waiting for God’s direction. While we’ve moved to a new season of ministry, there is still the element of waiting lingering and no clear direction on what we are waiting for.

Anticipating God’s Best While You Wait, Robin Alter Gray, Read the rest of the story here: https://inthegrayarea.com/anticipating-gods-best-while-you-wait/?fbclid=IwAR0IQ1vvuss1t4BGoxFK3wb_q2lyHzY9etqSjgt8EmK91O2vvCLOI_pxNzk

Are you waiting for a miracle and growing weary in the meantime? Have you given up hope that God even hears your prayers or cares to answer them? Let’s face it, waiting for a miracle is hard work.

As a child and then an adult, I desperately shouted out to God to heal my step-father. Here was a man who had it all, a lucrative profession, a family who loved him, and status in the community. He was fun, loving, treated me like his own, had a heart of gold, and was full of life before his addictions took over.

When You Are Tired of Waiting for a Miracle, Maree Dee, Read the rest of the story here: https://www.embracingtheunexpected.com/tired-waiting-for-a-miracle/?fbclid=IwAR0PEwIzO3qSewG5EHcyWeJ0KAZLY8OkScM5Alt0ByqaEtiwfL6cyl-b6AA
Featured

To be continued…

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! – Psalm 27:14

Busy, busy, busy. As I’ve stated previously, we were house-hunting for our new place to live. Well, now we’re in the home-stretch. We start moving next weekend, and we have to be out of here by the 1st of July. We hope that we’ve planned it so that this move will be considerably less stressful. A good chunk of our house is packed, but still lots of packing to go. We’re hiring movers this time to get all the big stuff and save our backs from days of recovery. And, it’s really starting to feel like, it’s just going to be smoother this time. Which is a far cry from last time, where we literally had to move twice in less than 30 days. Both times were over a weekend, an entire house. Just pure chaos. And, expensive!! We didn’t hire any movers those times. And, oh did I mention, we have an 1800’s stand-up piano? Lots of people volunteer to help you move such things…. 😉 I’m really hopeful that this move is pretty seamless.

We’ve been discussing waiting in our Bible Study, as I have mentioned previously. And as we were discussing 2 weeks ago, someone said this, “Suspense feeds hope.” And that really struck a chord with me. Suspense does feed hope. As you are waiting, and suspense is building, you do start becoming more hopeful about the situation when God is in your life. When you know the Father is on your side. That intense sensation feeds your hope. As you get closer to what you’re waiting for, you become more and more hopeful. I like to think that sometimes God makes us wait so that when we do get what we’re asking for, we’re more appreciative of what we receive. If we always got what we wanted, when we wanted it, we wouldn’t be nearly as grateful. Waiting is a part of life. It’s a cycle that we all have to go through. And, it always says a lot about us, in what we’re doing while we’re waiting.

I feel like my vast experience of waitings has enabled me to grow stronger in my faith with the Lord. He has showed up on several occasions and even when He doesn’t show up how I want Him to, I still understand and appreciate His answers. Because I know that He is the good, good Father, who shows up, who has all the right answers, and that He can see the big picture, and He wants what’s best for me. That I always have to believe in His timing, and His answers. That I have to trust Him. Like, trust-fall, trust Him, every time. I have this Father who wants to step in, and watch over me, and move in my life, and in order to see the wonders and works of His ways, I have to trust Him with every situation. And, He does not disappoint. God is on my side. And on your side.

Do you trust Him that much? To just let go, and let God? I challenge you to really ask yourself that in the coming weeks. When you don’t know what to do next, pray about it, and let the Spirit guide you. And if you don’t feel like you’re being guided: wait, and keep praying until you do.

Reminder

Remember His covenant forever,
The word which He commanded to a thousand generations, – 1 Chronicles 16:15

It felt like a good time to revisit this post. It was laying upon my heart last night as I fell asleep. This was originally posted as “Not about us” on September 20th of last year.

So, one of the other things that was really driven home last week, as I was listening to our guest speaker, Bill Vanderbush, was, this guy gets it. He understands one of the biggest things that has changed my Faith. The way I talk the talk, and walk the walk. He gets one of the biggest things our world today is trying to smother. What the world today cannot afford to let people know.

What if, we loved others-the way God loves us?

This is so incredibly important, let me repeat myself, What if, we loved others-the way God loves us?

Now, in order for us to get this from our heads to our hearts, we have to understand how God loves us. So, let’s take a moment to think about how God loves us. He loves us: when we don’t pray, when we don’t worship him every day with all our hearts, when we don’t say thank you for all the amazing things he does for us -every day, he loves us…. Even we don’t know that he’s there (before we become believers or understand the concept of God.) He loves us, even though we still sin. He loves us when we hurt those around us, intentionally or not. He loves us. He loves us, like you love your child. That swelling deep inside your bones, love.

Now, imagine-loving others that way…. Ok, I love my kid when he’s ungrateful and defiant. I love my spouse, even when they lie, whether it’s a little, white lie or something a little more serious. But, what about someone who’s done me wrong? Ok, I forgive that co-worker who stole my project idea… I forgive that jerk who ran into my car because they were careless and texting and driving…

But what about…. Someone who doesn’t believe the same things I do? What about someone who’s a different social/economic class than I am? What about a criminal? What about an addict? What about a murderer?

What about these people? Are we practicing God’s love here? Have we really reached down to understand the depth of God’s love in these situations? It’s all fine and good, when it’s suits us. But what about when it doesn’t? What about when we’ve been hanging on to our hate and prejudices for so long, we don’t know how to let go? To forgive. To love. Those who have wronged us, wronged those we love? What then?

We have to get to the end of Us.

It’s not about us.

You have to get over yourself. It’s not about you. It’s about God. And God loves ALL OF US. ALL OF US.

You have to remember, sin is sin, no matter how big or small. Lie is the same as murder, it’s all sin in God’s eyes. You are no better or worse than anyone else. We all put our pants on the same way, and we all go in about the same size hole at the end of this life. Holding onto that hate and hurt is just closing a door that doesn’t allow God’s love in. And, let’s all just take a moment to act like life’s too short for all that hate. Well, because it is.

In order to understand and exercise God’s love, we need to tap into his grace and mercy. And to understand his grace and mercy, let us remember that he tells us to forgive our brother seven times, and seven times seven, and seven times that. Why? Because if we forgive that much, we’ll lose count. That’s the whole point. God does that for us. How can we expect that God will extend that grace to us, but not to Joe-schmoe over there. Nope, he’s just too bad. Not worth saving… Saying it out loud hurts, but it’s true. That’s what you’re doing. You are saying that, that person is not worth saving. And you need to admit that, to yourself and to God, and ask that he forgive you and let you see that person the way he does. Because you can’t experience everything that God has to offer, until you get past the fact that this is not about you.

Followed by an excerpt from Mercy & Grace:

Because in order for God to show us grace, he must first show us mercy. He must first, not give us what we do deserve. If God didn’t first have mercy, He would be so busy punishing us, He wouldn’t have time to show us grace. And, in our ever present struggle to grow in our faith, and become more like Jesus, we have to take hold of this. We have to understand that to move into the realm of over-abundant, unrivaled grace, we first have to understand that we have to understand this mercy. We have to understand this relentless, abundant mercy of not giving people what they do deserve. If we’re so focused on trying to make sure that people know how wrong or bad they are, how are we supposed to extend grace?

God’s mercy is that if we commit sin, and ask for forgiveness, it is forgiven. Not, He’ll think about it, not He has to go deliberate, decide if you’re sin wasn’t too bad, not have you done enough after asking for forgiveness to determine that you receive forgiveness…. It’s just, you are forgiven. Simple. You are forgiven. You just have to ask for it.

But, let’s also look, at the fact that we had fallen away from God. We had broken our covenant in the garden, and were doomed to wander the Earth apart from God. God was separated. We were sinful things, who couldn’t follow 1 rule. #youhadonejob 😉 But, even after we had fallen, and were cast out of the garden. Did God give up? Well, obviously not. He started a series of complicated events to get us to where we needed to be again – back with Him. He began working everything together for His good, to get His son here, to get us back into His proverbial garden, by sending His son. Why? Because He has mercy. Because He created a God-shaped hole in our hearts, and He knew that we will do ANYTHING to fill it, but He knows that He’s the only thing that can fill it. So, in His Mercy, He sent us the answer to the question all of creation was begging for – where is our creator? What is our purpose? And, that answer, came in the form of Jesus Christ. But, think about that mercy, we didn’t even know how to ask for it, and He knew what we needed, and how to get us there. Also, the mercy involved, in not forsaking us and leaving us to perpetually wander without Him. This mercy, that we take for granted today. Because we do not know what’s it’s like not to have this option available to us. David did. David understood how hard it was to get back to the Father. Jesus Christ hadn’t come yet, so he was perpetually battling to get back from his fall. We simply need to ask.

But, yet, as we continue to grow deeper in our Faith, we also need to understand that some people are never going to ask, or maybe they don’t even know how. So, we need to dig deep, and tap into the Father’s mercy to extend that to them, without their asking as well. We need to understand, that we can’t grow deeper in grace, until we stop focusing on how much punishment everyone needs and how they need to get what they do deserve, because they don’t. And, that punishment, is not ours to give anyway. May He without sin, cast the first stone. For we are all sinners, and have fallen short of the glory of God. And, if we want to understand Him better, and grow deeper in our relationship with Him, and shine His light for others. First we need to start trying to tap into His form of mercy, so that we can extend grace.

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Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You. Thank You that you save us from us. That you have made each and every one of us with a God shaped hole in our hearts that we want to fill with you. That you love each and everyone of us beyond comprehension. That you forgive us seven times seven times seven. That you have an abundance of Grace and understanding that we can tap into to move past ourselves. That you can give us that grace that surpasses all understanding, so we can give it to others. I pray today Father that you overwhelm us with that grace, that we may truly understand how much you love us, so we can love others the way you do. So, we can move past ourselves and be more like you. So, we can shine Your Light into the world that others may want to come to You and know You by Your love, shone in our lives. I pray that we all become shining examples of Your love and understanding and tolerance and grace. I pray that we all become more like you, each and every day. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

Mission’s Circle

Can’t stress this enough! You ARE A MISSIONARY!!

Focus on the positive. If you are already doing something, then bless you! Keep on, keeping on!

Ways to reach out, where you’re at:

Make a video of something fun and interesting for those in isolation

Facetime people you know who are in isolation

Are there elderly/older people around you? Save them a trip to the store (next time you go), by picking up their stuff too and delivering it to them

Make masks and donate to local clinics, nursing homes, older people you know (many states have a specific #millionmaskmayday page to find local places that need masks if you’re local clinic isn’t accepting them.)

Participate in #worldofhearts or #we’reallinthistogether by decorating your windows with hearts

Think of something on your own. What can you do to help? Everyone can be a missionary, where they’re at.