The Waiting

Can I be honest here for a moment and share with you that I am struggling a lot lately in the wait for a godly man to search me out and capture my heart. I think it’s the the fear that by the time he comes into my life I won’t be able to have children or the energy to keep up with them. I know that’s silly in a sense, because women much older than me are having kids all the time. Maybe I’m just trying to be realistic and reasonable. But that’s the thing: God is not realistic or reasonable at times.

What do I mean by that?

He moves in ways that are evident of Him at work in me, doing something incredible and amazing that only He can do so that it would draw my gaze heavenward, so that my heart would be drawn to Him and I would see His goodness, His faithfulness, His kindness towards me. I was created so that He could lavishly pour out His love on me like only a daddy does. I was created by Him to be loved dearly and deeply every day of this life.

So, perhaps His plan for me is to continue in the waiting, living in such a way that I cause others to look His way, being made more like Him so that when the time comes for me to be sought out and my heart captured by that godly man who I hope loves God more than he does me, then I will glorify Him all the more with an incredible and amazing testimony of His faithfulness and love towards me.

I won’t deny this has been a difficult and at times sorrowful place for me, but I refuse to remain in discontent because I know that in His purpose and plan is far greater for me than I would have ever imagined. Amazing, wonderful things have happened in my life because of how He works in me and through me for me. I have longed to be a wife and mother for almost my entire life and have to fight the part of my heart that wants to see this fulfilled. I won’t lose hope in the waiting.

Psalm 27:13-14 (The Amplified Bible)
What, what would have become of me had I not believed that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living! Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect The Lord.

Maybe you are in a season of waiting like me, for provision or healing or reconciliation of some kind. I want to encourage you today that God knows your heart’s desire is to see that come to pass, whatever it is. He is well aware of your circumstances and works quite intentionally on your behalf, for you. Don’t ever lose hope that He is working it out for your good. We may not understand sometimes the why in our waiting, but He does know our need, He knows the desires of our hearts and He is at work to bring it to pass.

Dear Lord, help us to look to You when we are struggling to believe that You have good things planned for our lives. Help us to recognize that You ARE faithful to write an amazing story for each one who reads this. Will you stir out hearts for more of You? Help us to find that place where we can rest in Your presence and let the truth of Your promises sink deep into our hearts. We pray this in faith in the precious name of Jesus, amen.

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A Gift From the King

Tonight I was reading a post on Facebook from someone asking for prayer for a car and I thought it was a good time to blog about how God provided that for me recently. He gave me more than I imagined I even needed and I still marvel at how it happened.

In April I had to take my Ford Escort into the auto shop for yet another repair. It was spring break so it was a good time to get the work done. Over the past three years I have spent at least $5000 to maintain my car, which at first was not a negative thing because for the most part my car had run well and been faithful to keep me on the move. I bought it thirteen years ago with 40,000 miles and only one owner before me. It lasted a long time and I believe that was because of the faithfulness of God to take care of my needs. However by this time the repair costs were beginning to add up.

It wasn’t a big bill, but then it wasn’t running well after I picked it up from the mechanic’s shop and I was growing concerned. I decided to accept the offer of assistance from one of my brothers-in-law to see if I could save some money on repairs, but that’s when it turned south and things began to go from bad to worse. If it wasn’t one thing, it was something else. I was just so frustrated with all the time and money I had spent, yet I felt stuck with the car as if I had no other options.

At this time I was also in the process of reducing my teaching hours for the coming school year because I’d felt led by God to do that. I stepped out in faith trusting that whatever my needs were, they would be taken care of, but now I was starting to wonder if I had done the right thing. But it was all settling into place in a way that confirmed I was following the Lord’s direction.

And I certainly didn’t think that I could afford a car payment, much less even qualify for a car loan. I figured that the only thing to do was to keep taking it to the auto repair shop until it was beyond repair. I knew that God would come through for me when that time came, I just didn’t realize how soon that would be.

The week I returned back to school after spring break my car quit working altogether. It had been running a bit rough, but I was getting around alright. I had gone to workout at the gym. When I went to start her up, it sounded bad. Real bad. And I knew I was stuck. My brother-in-law lived close and came to help me find a tow truck, get it to the shop and then took me home. I was also able to arrange a ride with one of my sisters to and from school for the next day.

It was now time to wait for the diagnosis. And that was hard. I waited two days to learn that it would cost almost $2000.00 to repair. At that point I was done and knew that I needed to move on, but I felt like I didn’t know what to do. What kind of car should I get? What could I afford to buy? My dad said he would help me out if I needed it. I was able to borrow the loaner car from the auto shop for several days so I could take some time to think about what I wanted in the way of another car.

I have always said that my next car had to have four doors, a fob so I didn’t have to walk around the car to open the door for anyone riding with me and a CD player. I also wanted something that was safe and economical. It had to last me a long time. I did consider leasing a car so that I wouldn’t incur a lot of repair bills and still have a nice vehicle to drive. That seemed logical and reasonable to me, but God wanted His dear daughter to have something better.

Someone in my day’s church heard about my need for another car and offered to let me borrow one of hers. She also had a connection at a dealership and felt I could get a great deal there if they had something I was interested in purchasing. She also had a sense that God wanted her to bless me this way. All around I had a great deal of peace and felt that this was the path to take.

A week later she called, excited to tell me that she had seen a 2004 Honda Civic Hybrid on the dealer’s website and said I should check it out. I did and wasn’t excited about the color or the mileage, but I let her make the call to get more information. Well, it had already left the lot by the time we called, but it got me thinking about applying for a car loan. So I went online and asked for $10,000.00 because that seemed manageable for me considering I needed to find something soon.

Well, to my surprise I was approved and for a lot more than I asked for. Amazed at how this story was being written I decided to take a closer look at the cars on this dealer’s website just to see what my options were. I also got in touch with another friend whose husband sold cars for a living and he was also helpful in telling me where to look and who to avoid. I began thinking about purchasing a Huyndai.

One of my best friends had always raved about hers and I knew that her mom had driven a few. I looked on Craigslist to see what they were going for and wouldn’t you know that there weren’t any listed. Not even one! I know when I have looked before just to see what was available it was the same story. So I considered that perhaps this was a good car to check out.

God is so amazing! And the way He works in our lives blows my mind every time. There was a 2012 Huyndai Accent at this dealership where I had an opportunity to get a great deal on the price. Every time I looked at their website it was there. The reviews were great and it was economical by far. It had four doors, low miles, a CD player and the fob! I checked other places, but whenever I came back to their website, the Accent was always there.

The timing of this all seemed terribly wrong. Two months before the end of the school year is always hectic and busy. The reality was I had no time to research what kind of car would work best for me. I didn’t think I could afford it with changes in my job, but time is never an issue for God who proved Himself faithful once again.

He sent someone to lend me their car while I prayed and considered what I should do. That same person had a connection with a dealer which had just taken my new Huyndai Accent in on a trade the day before my Escort broke down (only I didn’t know that until the day I bought it). I had loan approval with an already awesome interest rate, but then qualified for an even lower rate while completing paperwork with the finance guy at the dealership. The car was there for almost three weeks and no one else bought it. It was meant for me and my Father in heaven knew exactly what I needed.

Just before I drove it off the lot, the sales rep connected my phone to the Bluetooth inside the car and I discovered I could listen to music from my iPhone through the stereo system. I was blown away. I didn’t even know to expect that with Bluetooth capability, but here my Father was looking out for me once again, wanting to shower His love on me because He delights in me.

I just came back from taking it on a road trip to visit Bethel Church in Redding, CA. What a nice ride my new car is to drive on road trips! And it was definitely a trip worth taking. God knew that I needed to go. He knew my need. He knew what I wanted and hoped for. He set me up for a step up to receive the wonderful blessings He has for me in this season of my life.

We are so easily discouraged and distracted by the concerns of our lives that we often forget the goodness of our Heavenly Father. But we have to keep our focus on what He’s done and the wonderful promises He offers to us, His beloved children:

Matthew 6:26-27 (NIV)
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

How many times do I forget, become fearful and doubt His goodness towards me when He always remains the same, showering me with loving kindness and mercies that limitless. Too many times I care to admit, but I am grateful for His reminders today that tell me keep praying no matter how dark and difficult my situation becomes, to talk about my blessings rather than my problems, to trust in the One who ransomed me from the curse of death just because He wants to be with me, because He loves me. He cherishes me and calls me His beloved daughter.

Psalm 8:4 (NASB)
What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him?

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Trying to Make Sense of It All

Tonight I learned that a dear friend lost her baby boy. Her water broke this morning, but it was way too early for her to give birth and he went home to be with Jesus. It just breaks my heart.

We were all so happy for her being newlywed and expecting her first child. Just the anticipation of what was coming was excitement in itself. I remember our conversation earlier this week about how she was getting more excited now than when she first discovered she was pregnant. I think about those who were planning and preparing all of the baby showers and celebrations for this little one.

The whole thing leaves me struggling with the goodness of God, something I feel like I have been fighting for quite awhile now. I want to believe that He is good and faithful in the midst of this and other situations I’m walking through in my life. I want to know with confidence that my actions and response won’t change His goodness in my life when I find myself here time and time again. Yet inside there is this battle that I grow weary of and often feel defeated by because of stupid lies like “you don’t have enough faith” or “you’re such a fake for professing the importance of turning to God when it takes you so long yourself to come to Him.”

Sometimes I think “Am I the only one out there who feels like this?”

I know that God is good. The bible gives endless accounts of the faithfulness of God, His promises and truth, His power to change our lives for the better. He cannot be unfaithful to His promises. His love for me does not fail. It goes against His character.

I know that His love goes deep. I know that He accepts me in whatever state I happen to be in, even when I don’t accept myself in my messiness. Nothing separates me Him. Nothing I do would cause Him to stop loving me. EVER! One would think that if I truly believed that as deeply as I say I know it to be true, then I might not wrestle so much with these things.

But I find myself here again, fighting the negative thoughts of doubt and unbelief. And forgetting His kindness and grace that is always extended towards me. I’ve avoided spending time studying and learning about who He is and who He wants to be in my life, to bless me, to help me maneuver through things I face each day because I believed the lies and allowed them to take up space inside my head. That is the battle right there.

I find myself facing defeat again, a weary and worn soldier who just wants to take comfort in something tangible. However, unless it comes from God it won’t tend to the broken places in my heart.

Lord, I cry out and ask for You to bring comfort and hope to those places where my heart is hurting not just for myself, but for the people You have placed in my life as well. I have kept You at a distance and hardened my heart because of the pain, but I know that I can’t stay here. Forgive me. I repent and turn to You again, choosing to believe and trust that You are compassionate and loving, full of mercy and grace, and that You will embrace me forever and call me “dear one, beloved, in whom I take great delight.” Thank You for Your unfailing love and gentleness towards me. Such an incredible display of affection!

Psalm 27:13 (from the Amplified)
[What, what would have become of me] had I not believed that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living!

Psalm 103:1-5 (New American Standard Bible)
Bless the Lord, O my soul,And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul,And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities,Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit,Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things,So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.

Why does God ask such hard questions when He already knows the answer?

That was a poignant question I read today and it made me consider all the times when He asks me to do things that I feel are far beyond my ability and desire. Most of the time I say “I don’t wanna do that Lord” or “How am I supposed to accomplish that? It’s too much for me right now. It’s too hard. It’s too messy.” (I wonder if my response ever makes Him rolls His eyes at me in exasperation.) Of course I’ll pray and ask for Him to change my heart so that I have the want to, but it seems like I’m dragging my heels most of the way until I finally relent and wave the white flag in surrender.

Moses made the excuse that he was not an eloquent speaker when God asked him to go to Pharaoh to ask for the release of his people. God gave him Aaron to speak for him. He didn’t let Moses get away with making the excuse “my heart’s just not into it.” He persisted and pursued and wouldn’t stop showing His faithfulness to walk with Moses through everything He called him to do. God also did some incredible things to persuade Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. He was going to move this mountain to bring His beloved children out of slavery and bondage.

What does that say about God’s character?

It says He wants more for us than we ever can realize is possible. He sees way more potential in us than we see in ourselves. He wants us to not be bound up in our minds and bodies, but free to respond out of our love for Him because He has done more for us than anyone ever could. He redeemed us from eternal damnation and gave us a life free of condemnation and shame.

His heart is revealing just how deeply He loves us this way. He says to take a step towards Him, put our hand in His and join in this dance, trusting that He will lead us in wherever He asks us to move. He will not allow us to fall. Like a faithful lover He will protect and cover.

He knows that I don’t necessarily know the “how” to accomplish what He is asking. He knows that I may not be the most skilled or talented person, but He knows me and wants to work in me and through me to show others that He will do the same for them because He loves us so much.

I think our spirits genuinely want to say “Yes, Lord! I’ll do whatever You ask of me!” As we study His character, think on what the bible says about God, we can become convinced that He is the Everlasting Father, able to do so much more than we can imagine or hope for for us. He can not fail. He won’t abandon us. His love is perfect and merciful. He doesn’t need us, but He wants us, even with all of our faults, imperfections and messiness.

Why would He accept me when I struggle to accept myself?

I’m not sure how to respond to that, but I am thankful for His perfect love that never ends. For His faithful love and mercy that is always available to me, even when I’m in a bad mood and find myself having a temper tantrum. He is my Father who knows best what I need and what I am capable of. So when He asks me to do something that I’m just not comfortable or even happy about doing I know that He must have an amazing plan in mind and when I am ready to put my hand in His so He can lead me, then great things are going to happen. The possibilities are endless.

Oh Daddy, help my heart to trust and believe in Your ways, to stand up and say “Yes” when You call me out to walk upon the waters, to believe that Your plans have meaning and purpose for me and those You have placed in my life. Help me to surrender because You are good and faithful and know what’s best for me. Help me to pursue You steadfastly and pour out my love on You. I want to be a sweet fragrance that will draw others to sit at Your feet in adoration of Your amazing love. Can I do that for You?