Wait in Expectation

Wait. There is a reason that is a four letter word! Does anything seem worse than waiting? Test results. Job interviews. The right mate to come along. Not knowing when loved ones will come to know Jesus. I always want to know either way so I can deal with the issue.

There are inevitable parts of life: death, taxes, and waiting. I sometimes feel like I go from one period of waiting to another. Do you feel that way too? Like you finally get an answer and then start anticipating the next one?

I finally had to realize this was God’s way of refining me (lucky me.) I am not necessarily impatient with people, but when it comes to situations that are in limbo, my restless nature kicks in. (Or maybe I am just nosy?) I like to have my ducks lined up and ready, so an open future scares the fool out of me. God is probably constantly wondering when I am going to just learn to trust. When I am going to just let go of my time and my schedule and lean in closer to Him.

Don’t get me wrong, I eventually get there, but it is usually after I just can’t keep wondering anymore. I get to a point where all the what-if’s have occurred to me and are just dangling there above my head. Waiting to crash down around me. The constant thinking and over analyzing leave me exhausted and ready to surrender. The only movement I have left in me is to get out the white flag.

Jesus always comes through. When I am in the middle of the worry, I tend to gloss over that, but it is true. He will never not come through. I have to intentionally take the time think about that and breathe. Everything works out and my faith emerges stronger. Every time.

I love Psalm 5:3. “In the morning, Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” David is not saying he knows what God is going to do. He is stating that he expects God to act. He gives God his problem and trusts God to see it through.

This is my new goal: Once a day when I pray I will lay it all on God and then walk away. It will probably be the same thing every day for weeks or months at a time, but it will be once a day. The rest of the day I will choose to focus on the rest of my life and walk away from the worry and the things I can’t change. I will try not to be consumed by the questions and seemingly impossible situations. Until the next day.

God is there wanting to help us. Let’s wait for Him and expect big things!

Earlier this week, I wrote a guest post on teaching our kids verses. You can find it here.

Linking with Holley Gerth.

Make Satan Take Notice

One of the people in the Bible who fascinates me is Job. Poor guy. Here he was, minding his own business and leading a good life. According to Job 1:1, he was “blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.” I don’t know about you, but I know I want Satan to take notice of me for my way of life. I would like to avoid all of the suffering Job went through, but it may happen. If it does, I hope to cling to God and come through the hard times and tragedies with my faith intact. If Satan says, “Let me take a crack at her,” I want to come through with an even stronger faith.

Satan would love nothing better than to get a hold of us and make us doubt our faith and trust in God. He wants us to live for ourselves and put our own wants ahead of everyone else’s needs. He wants us to smear God’s name and have us show those around us that they don’t matter to us or God. Satan wants us to think that these decisions we make are little and that no one will notice them. He will keep tempting us to go our own way until we show him once and for all that we won’t bend.

We can’t listen to Satan’s lie that people aren’t watching. Many are out there, waiting for Christians to trip up or fall away. He uses all of those times when he succeeds to pull people closer to him and away from God. He makes people think that Christians should never be allowed to be human when that is impossible.

The world is changing these days, and not for the better. More and more people are going to see us if we are living godly lives, as that will start being less common. The world has been declining since the Garden of Eden, but it has never been as pronounced as it is today. Pretty soon there will be no more blending in but a separation. We will be in or out, right or wrong, all or nothing. We should be striving to live lives that are pure and blameless, lives where people can tell we are living for God. This will get more difficult, so we need to stay aware.

My end goal in life is to trust Jesus no matter what Satan throws at me. I want to be able to say as Job did in Job 23:10: “When He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

 

Linking with Holley Gerth

The Bible is for ME

Raise your hand if you have ever had trouble reading the Bible? *hand goes up* Funny how something so important and life-giving isn’t something we make a priority. I have recently started a one year Bible reading plan and this week joined the Bible study Open Your Bible. I feel it is going to be eye opening!

For several years, I was with a group of ladies doing studies every Spring and Fall and loved it. We shared our stories, laughed, and cried, like we ladies do. The past school year I have not been able to be in the group because of my new job, but our church does one big Summer study each year. I decided at the last minute to join and I am so glad I did!

When I first opened the study guide to read the first two pages before we met Wednesday night, I was moved. There is nothing like melting in the first few paragraphs to let you know it is going to be good.

 

It begins with the words, “I just can’t open my Bible.” The storyteller had just buried her stillborn daughter four months before and had not had the strength to pick up the Bible that had gotten her through the uncertainty of her pregnancy. She “felt betrayed, weak, and hopeless.”

None of her friends reacted like she thought they would. Instead, one offered to read the Bible to her. She began to read Psalm 62, and then the rest of the group “spoon fed” her more Scripture while she wept. Now, if that doesn’t move you, nothing will!

We all feel hurt and betrayed by life, but what defines us is our choices in the aftermath. Sometimes it takes us time to recover, and that is OK. There is no timeline on grief, thank God. There are times we take a break and are able to get back into it. Other times, we need our friends to come to our aid.

The group of five ladies that I sat with on Wednesday night laughed a lot. We so enjoyed beginning to get to know each other as we dug into the Word. Stay tuned for more insight from the study, I am sure. As the intro in the book says, “We used to open our Bibles to find ourselves. Now we open our Bibles to find our God.” This is going to be an amazing journey!

 

Linking with Holley Gerth

My First Year as a Lunch Lady

As I sit here thinking about my first year working at a school, I smile. Not because they have pushed me over the edge. Yet. I smile because these kids give me hope.

The school where I serve lunch has seventh through twelfth grades on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and Kindergarten through sixth grades on Tuesday and Thursday. My first impression of the juniors and seniors was that they are adults. Normally I would still think of them as kids since I graduated high school before they were born, but conversations with them are grown up conversations. They ask me how I am and we joke around. All of high school is polite and a joy to be around.

The elementary school is where my heart is at, and these kids have not disappointed me. They melt my heart and make me laugh. They tell me how good the food is and are the sweetest. The things that come out of their mouths….For instance, the day it rained. I asked a few second graders if they had fun at recess even though it was wet. I had one look at me and say, “Miss Sarah, it’s never too wet to have fun!” How can you not laugh at that? There is never a dull moment with them, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Ah middle school. I intentionally left them for last. Where do I start? Seventh and eighth grade is going to have drama no matter what school you go to. Before I started working here, I dreaded middle school for my girls. My oldest is a preteen and I get glimpses from time to time. After this year, I don’t dread it as much. These kids are not perfect, but there are many sweet ones. One time a seventh grader said, in a serious voice, that the Atlanta Falcons are going to win the Super Bowl in his lifetime. Sweet boy actually believes that. (Just kidding!) When I see this group, I see kids who want to grow up. They have new thoughts and feelings and hormones that they haven’t figured out what to do with yet. They make mistakes with words or actions, but they are learning.

The children and near adults I am around every day are so well behaved. They say please and thank you. I hear yes ma’am and even no thank you when I offer them vegetables!

I say all of this to tell other parents not to give up. When you feel like you are the only parent who has strict rules, you are not. When you are told your child is the only one in their fourth grade class who doesn’t have an iPhone 6, don’t cave. When you won’t let them watch a TV show that other parents allow, don’t give in. Remember that we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. There is too much at stake in future generations.

One day, our children will have to navigate this scary world based on what we have taught them. If we instill in them godly values and help them to love others, they will be set. If we help them avoid landmines now, they will be more likely to grow into who God wants them to be. We have to do the hard work now and be their friends later.

Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Stand strong.

 

Linking with Holley Gerth

 

Not Letting Fear Take Over My Life

Last week was rough, y’all. Waiting is not my strongest attribute, and it was my second week of waiting on biopsy results. The time frame they gave me came and went, and I still hadn’t heard anything. Fear and uncertainty built up in me by my day off, Friday.

A few weeks ago, I had a dermatologist appointment. I go once or twice a year and they always seem to find suspicious spots. This time they biopsied 4 moles, the most ever for me. That is pretty routine for me, but waiting over 2 weeks for them to call to tell me the results is not normal. I tend to get stuck inside my head and imagine what could be going on, what could be wrong.

Trying to get my mind off of my growing fear did not work so well as one of the spots was in a bad place and hurt the entire 2 weeks. How do I not think about it then? Last Friday was my day off, and I actually had nothing to do. I could rest! Instead I thought too much. By that night, I just wanted to cry. But then, something amazing happened. I read a blog post by Becky Keife that really helped me. You can find it here.

The verse: “Be still and know that I am God” is one we all know and gloss over. Not this time. I began to breathe more normally and relax some. I pulled out my Psalms coloring book and colored pencils and found that verse to color. My girls joined me and we had a little party.:) I played some worship music as well as introduced them to some old school Amy Grant. We had a fun time!

bestill

Be still and know that I am God has come to me several times over the past week, as well as other similar verses. Psalm 94:18-19 says, “When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ Your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought me joy.” The other day I read Psalm 61:2: “From the ends of the earth I call to You, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Yes, Jesus is my Rock! Having these verses flow through me was just what I needed. And when I started to forget, He would bring me more verses.

A couple of days ago, I finally got the phone call I had been waiting for. All 4 were atypical, not cancerous. I will always have to be careful, but I want to also remember to be still. I can’t let fear run my life. Being still and focusing on God brings me peace like nothing else. I just need to be reminded sometimes.

Linking with Holley Gerth.

Hints of Heaven

You call to me

And show me hints of heaven.

All around me

Are beauty and wonder I can’t deny.

Grass as green and bright

As it gets.

 

Birds that are perfectly made

And yet tiny.

The brilliant blue sky

Shouts Your praise.

The ocean and its depths that only You know

Show me Your glory.

These are hints of what is to come.

All around me

are previews of heaven.

I get a taste and want more.

If here on earth is not perfection,

Show me what is.

For now I will be content

With the sound of rainfall,

The feel of a breeze,

And the smell of apple pie.

I will love my children

And the hugs and smile.

I will adore my husband

And the life You gave me.

You put me here on earth

For a short time.

I miss my true home

And sometimes long for it.

In the meantime

You gave me so much here.

There is so much

I can never appreciate it all.

Help me see it all for what it is.

Gifts from You.

Linking with Holley Gerth

 

 

Rip Off That Band-Aid

So, we are all supposed to tithe 10% to our church, right? Well, I figured I would give you advice if you aren’t doing that. Just start this week. It won’t suddenly get easier in a few months or years. There won’t be some magical day that you think you have all the money you need. Today is the day.

Rip off that Band-Aid.

Calculate what 10% of your income is and write a check for that amount. Don’t second guess or tell yourself you won’t have enough. The tithe is supposed to be the first money, not whatever is left. We are to give our best to God, not the dregs. He will sustain us, but we have to depend on Him and let Him. It will be scary but also freeing. Giving God His due and then letting Him take over is essential to our growth.

Plus it is fun watching God provide in ways we didn’t expect.

In the beginning of our marriage, my husband and I had two low paying jobs. Then the first baby came and there was even less money. We gave some when we had extra, but it was never the full 10%. Then when we took a class through Crown Financial Ministries, we knew we had to pay off debt and start fully tithing. Diving into that was terrifying at first. But guess what? We didn’t lose our house. Our power stayed on. There was food on the table. Little by little, our hearts began to open to what God could really do. We felt the loss of money only slightly. Somehow there was always enough!

Listen, God doesn’t need our money. He could turn a rock into a one hundred dollar bill if He wanted. (I wouldn’t complain if You did that, God.) He could actually make money fall from the sky or grow on trees too. Tithing is for us and our hearts. We have to make God our first priority and hand Him the reins. Once we give God the control, it is on.

A few years after we began fully tithing, a good friend needed to be encouraged to do the same. She told me how she couldn’t put the check in the basket and had her husband do it instead. The process was hard for her at first, but it got easier. She had to see that God was going to take care of her family and she had to let Him. I love that I got to experience this and then help her through it.

If you are reading this and already tithe, great! The same concept applies to giving above and beyond tithing. If you have been wanting to give more but are worried you won’t have enough, just do it. Whether to your church or a charity you feel passionate about, there is no greater feeling than blessing others.

We all know we are here to do good and help those in need, and giving is a tangible way to do that. If you are not there yet on tithing or giving more, pray about it. God will get you there. Let Him give you a hand with that Band-Aid.

Linking with Holley Gerth.