So much of life is waiting. . .

As a Christian, I am waiting for a lot--for God to do His refining work in me, for Jesus to return, for me to GET how much God loves me and for me to see what He is doing . . .

What to do in the meantime? I have learned much about what the Lord is trying to teach me, tell me and show me through the discipline of daily time spent reading the Bible. So often we make this time harder than it has to be.

This blog was born out of wanting to share what God is showing me and wanting to be an example that daily time with God is not a deep or mysterious thing (well, every once in a while it can be), but simply a time to read scripture and note what jumps out at you that day. We don't have to be scholars or super-holy or ministry leaders to do this. Some days I hit the jackpot and others I come up empty--but only by persevering do I give God the space in which to speak and myself the stillness in which to hear and obey.

As of June of 2017, I've now decided to include parts of our adoption journey, which is, so far, yet another chapter of waiting.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Baggage and Blessing

Wrestling over whether to even post this, because it's not EXACTLY from something I learned in my quiet time, but it was something I was thinking about while I was praying, so I guess it counts. .. Our current circumstances tend to color how we see the world.  One of the big circumstances in my life right now involves negotiating the tricky world of online dating. I have definitely learned quite a bit on this adventure!

I'm not twenty (in case you were wondering). My matches aren't twenty. Most of the profiles that I look at are of men who have been divorced and have children. One pitfall of this consumer-based approach to dating is that one can start to judge based on bald facts alone, with no knowledge of the nuances and specifics of that person's unique situation. I have been reminded over and over again by the Lord to reserve any judgement until I have met a person, and He has also gently taught me that all of us, every single one, have baggage. It just looks different. But, even that is not my main point.

As I was thinking about my particular baggage, I at first was focusing on all the bad stuff that I have carried with me in  my large suitcase with the tag that says "Forty(ish) and never married". Some of the contents: Insecurity, worry, fear, frustration, impatience, and loneliness. As a Christian, the Lord wants me to lose that suitcase, and sometimes I do. However, even if (when) I am able to get rid of it forever, I will still remember what those things feel like, and I think that is a good thing.

In my musings yesterday, though, I felt like God was urging me to remember that, along with the baggage, come blessings. My relationship with the Lord would not be what it is without the frustrations of singleness driving me to Him. My increased awareness of the people who are on the fringe of the church is due to being in one of those (often) forgotten groups. My confidence in God's provision of my relational needs comes from seeing Him meet those needs over and over without using a husband to do it. More practically, my freedom to travel (which I love) hinges in large part in being single, and me being the only one relying on my income allows me to give to causes close to my heart. I have discovered that I can deal with mechanics and banks and loan officers and taxes. I can be happy in this single state that He has me in right now.

Though I sometimes hate the struggle of leaving behind the bad baggage, I am comforted to realize that, without the baggage, I would not experience the many blessings that come from "Forty and never married."  Romans 8:28 promises that:
  . . .for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
For me, for you, for all of us whom God has called to fulfill His purpose, He can and is and will redeem our baggage and transform it into blessing.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Control Freak Confessions. . .

I'm alive. Still here. Continuing to read my Bible and pray and seek God. I'm also a control freak. Continuing to try to manipulate God (in the nicest way) to give me what I want. It isn't working very well. Do you ever feel like you learn the same lessons over and over and over? A friend of mine refers to it as "coming around the mountain" again and again.

The longer I follow Jesus, the more I think there really isn't that much new to learn, just re-visiting bedrock truths until I finally rest in them.

I recently experienced a disappointment. Most of you can probably guess in what arena.  Apparently finding a husband requires dating, and dating requires risking, and risking often results in hurt. Intellectually, I understand this equation, and I understand that part of the dating process is figuring out whether to continue in said relationship, and that sometimes we all change our minds.

The tricky part, which I didn't realize until the last week or so, is not so much dealing with the other halves of the dating equation, but with the Lord. All through this process I have been trying to pray diligently.  Really godly, good prayers like "Lead and guide me.  Lead and guide him. I just want to glorify you. Do what is best." Don't those SOUND godly and humble? And they can be, depending on the heart from which they come.

Cynic that I am sometimes tempted to be, I know that my heart will never be completely pure until I die and am with Jesus. However, I tend to forget how selfish and manipulative my motives can be underneath the submitted-sounding words. I mean those words--I DO want the Lord to lead me, and I want Him to be glorified and I want Him to do what He wants with my life. But I also want Him to hear me and reward me for saying the right words and even trying to believe that I mean them 100%.

However, the proof comes when God answers my prayers in a way that I don't like. "No, not this time" is an answer. It is proof that the He is leading and guiding me; it's just that He's not leading me in the direction or guiding me into the relationship that I wanted. He's doing what's best for me because the Bibles tells me so (Romans 12:2 one example of reminding me that God's will is good, acceptable, and perfect), but it's not what I think is best. When I think this way, I end up angry at God. Mad that He's not giving me the goody when I tried to be the good girl.

After walking around in a funk for a week or two, I finally just sat down and really told the Lord exactly how I was feeling.  Somehow I never go straight to Him, but have to be miserable for a while first. Over and over I find that when I finally do get honest with God, I am able to see myself clearly, and the games that I play, and the reason I need Jesus in the first place. I am also finally able to breathe, to relax and to quit trying to make things happen.

Guess what? I can't control if I ever find a husband (well, at least if I ever find a good, godly one). When I try to control it, I end up stressed out and anxious, and with the danger of enshrining dating, a relationship, or marriage as an idol. In the preschool Sunday school class that I co-teach, we have been trying to explain to children how the Israelites built a golden calf to worship.  We made "jewelry" out of  Play-doh, smashed it up and then make a calf (well, kind of). It seemed utterly idiotic for the Jews to melt down their own earrings and then worship them. And yet, I am again reminded that I am not so different.

A touchstone verse for me the past year has been Psalm 138:8 (NAS):
The Lord will accomplish what concerns me;
Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.
 I need to stop saying it and start believing it!