Tuesday, May 10, 2016

In the Meantime...

“Waiting”… Have you ever met someone who loved the whole idea of waiting? 
Sometimes I’m okay with it and other times I want to scratch my eyes out because I can’t take things dragging on so long.  Have you ever been there friend… tired of the monotony of the “wait”? 

Whether we like it or not, we will all have to face “waiting” at some point in our lives.  It’s inevitable.  Its HOW we wait that makes all of the difference!

When it comes to waiting… I think the most challenging waiting room I have ever sat in would have to be… God’s "Waiting Room”.   

Did you know that God has a “Waiting Room”?   Well, He does! 

Waiting on God is a little different than waiting in a line at the grocery store.  His “waiting” has a more significant purpose.  Many times His waiting is a part of a process.  It’s a process that helps us grow stronger in our decision making and deeper in our faith.

Did you know that God wants to help us make decisions?  The day we committed our life to Him should have been the day we began making our decisions a little differently…. with God in mind.

Isaiah 28:16 says... "Whoever believes will not act hastily." (NKJV)

As Christians when we involve God in our decision making process sometimes He will say YES, sometimes He will say NO, and sometimes He will say WAIT.

God wants to help us make right decisions...  But, why is it so often that we fail to ask Him how He feels about… our relationships, our financial investments, where we spend our time, and the major choices we make in our lives.

The decisions we make today affect our future tomorrow!

I know some of you now are probably thinking… “I need to consult God on EVERY decision that I make… really?” “How can I really know what HE wants me to do if He doesn’t talk to me?”

As we draw closer to God and our relationship with Him grows stronger… we will begin see His direction for our lives more clearly.  We will be able to recognize His voice, sense Holy Spirit promptings to do or NOT do things, and we will become confident in the YES, NO, and more patient in the WAIT.

When it comes to the WAIT... delay doesn't necessarily mean God is disappointed with us.  God's "Waiting Room" isn't a place of punishment.  It’s a place of spiritual growth and direction.  

There are many good reasons WHY God might ask us to wait.  You can check out what some of those might be in a previous blog post I made called God's "Waiting Room".

I have spent A LOT of time in God’s “Waiting Room” on many occasions…

I have waited on direction for my future, a husband, a job, a child, financial provision, a house… when our rental sold (THREE different houses, three different times.  I’m not kidding!), and the list goes on…

Most recently I have prayed for healing for an autoimmune disease I have suffered with for the past ten years.  It is a disease that weakens my muscles. 

At its worst… I was bedridden for up to a year struggling to talk, eat, walk, and care for myself.  I lost 75 pounds in 6 months and dropped under 100 pounds to just skin and bones. 

At its best…(in a sense of remission) I was able to walk the mini marathon 5K in downtown Indianapolis and complete it.  That is a huge deal for someone who struggles with weak muscles!

I have faced many ups and downs with my health over the years.  Needless to say it has been very challenging for me and my family.

"When you are stuck in a bed with no HOPE of leaving your room or even your 
house any time soon, you can begin to feel that your time is WASTED."

I mean who has a couple months or even a year to throw away.  I didn’t think I did!

In each of those faith-growing moments I made a choice to run straight to God. Trust was built in me and my family as He prepared us for the next chapter ahead.

Not to say that it was ever easy by any means.  But with God’s help, we pushed through!

There are many things we can do while we wait on God.  You can check out WHAT some of those things might be in a previous blog post I made called God's "Waiting Room" (Part Two)

Let me give you some ideas of what I did in my long seemingly endless WAIT…

1.  I ran TO God

I prayed MORE.  I read my Bible MORE.  I went to church MORE... as I was able.  I spent MORE time in worship.  I learned to hear and recognize God’s voice and discern the Holy Spirit’s promptings.  I grew closer to God during this season.  And you know what?  …when the time was right for the Green GO light with God, I was close enough to Him to hear the whisper of the next steps He had ahead for me.

All of this didn’t come natural for me.  I had to get some “fight” in me
to push hard for MORE of God.

When we struggle, our natural inclination is to run AWAY or hide.   It takes a huge EFFORT to run TOWARD God when everything in you wants to run the other direction.  Whether you feel it or not, I promise you this is the best place to be in the midst of your “wait”.

What did I do while waiting on God?

2.  I let God LOVE through ME

Don’t allow the length of the “WAIT” or the circumstances surrounding it to cause you to become bitter.  In the midst of your “waiting” time… keep loving people.  Don’t let the stupidity of others scar you and shape who you become.  People can be hurtful and hateful at times… (Believe me I know this first hand) choose to forgive anyway.  Un-forgiveness only hurts YOU.  Choose to let God love through you.

What did I do while waiting on God?

3.  I stayed CONNECTED and busy

It’s a natural tendency for us to want to HIDE or isolate ourselves from the world when we are hurting.    But this doesn’t bring healing to our hearts, it only postpones it.  Depression and hopelessness can grow when we bury ourselves away.  Instead choose to stay involved.  Stay involved in your family, your church, in your favorite hobbies or areas of interest, and living.   

I realized in the midst of my long seasons of being sick that my kids needed me.  They needed to “see” me (sick or well), “hear” my encouragement, and “feel” my loving touch.  I mattered to them.  Whether they realize it or not, their special visits to my sick bed brought “life” to my room and maybe even a glimmer or two of HOPE.  They gave me a reason to keep fighting in the midst of my health struggle.  They made life worth living.

My husband has been a continual support to me as well.  One significant thing he did in the midst of my sickness that sticks out to me was keep me busy. 

During my sick seasons he has always found something for me to do to keep busy and distracted from my sickness.  His best investment in distracting me was giving me a laptop and telling me to start writing.  I began journaling at first.  This eventually grew to a devotional style of writing where I shared my life experiences and struggles in hopes of encouraging others.  Later, my husband was so impressed that he challenged me to start a blog so others could read my musings.  In 2010, I joined the blogging world and the rest is history. 

We were never meant to do life alone friends!  Find people to share your life with and invite them to journey with you.  We need each other. 

What did I do while waiting on God?

 4.  I kept moving FORWARD

No matter how many set backs you have… Keep moving forward! 

Forward progress is my word for the year.  Even if it feels like I am taking one step forward and two steps back health-wise, I have determined that I will keep moving FORWARD.

Something that has really helped me keep this “Forward Progress” mind set has been to focus MORE on others than myself. 

Over the years (in my many seasons of waiting) God has developed within me the ability to encourage others through writing.

I noticed that something crazy happened as I shared my raw and real struggles with others on my blog.  They identified with me and felt encouraged!

When I think about all of the days, months, and years that have felt WASTED by being sick with this dreaded disease it puts knots in my stomach.

BUT… when I think about HOW God has continued to REDEEM those seemingly wasted times each time I share my story and someone is filled with hope, I am overwhelmed with awe!

My ultimate God-dream is to write a book sharing my story with others so nothing will ever be wasted and God will REDEEM it all for good!

I am currently finishing up the last chapter of that book called Surviving Life’s Mud Puddles and then it will be ready for publication… God willing! 

God sees you friend.  You are not forgotten.  He knows right where you are and He wants to walk THROUGH this journey with you.  He has amazing plans ahead for you. 

Will you TRUST Him with the details of your life? 

Whenever I struggle to trust Him, this verse always comes to mind for me...

Proverbs 3:5-6 
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.”  (NLT)

He is trustworthy!  He hasn’t disappointed me yet.  I’m looking forward to hearing all of the testimonies of HOW God has redeemed YOUR “wait” for good.  He is good like that!  Hang in there friend!  God has something amazing in store for you and it is SO worth the wait!

Living to leave a legacy,