Waiting Well

How did I miss 2 months? I've thought about blogging a few different times over the past several weeks, but never really had much to say that I thought was blog-worthy (for the 3 of you that read this). I've had friends describe me as the type that doesn't really like to waste words, so I guess this proves their point (point Shauna Maness).


So what will I write about after a month of waiting and wondering what to write about? Well, how about a blog on waiting? Waiting is all around us. My friend, Aubrey and I were talking about waiting several weeks ago. We both have things we are looking forward to- she and her husband are going to be moving this summer and she is really looking forward to being a mom one day (and she's going to be an excellent one!). I am looking forward to being a wife one day and also looking forward to recording an EP this summer (that's another blog post). As we continued talking about these hopes of ours, we realized that everyone is always in some sort of waiting.

Being in college ministry, (almost a year of a full-time job under my belt- what in the world?!) I am constantly around students who are waiting on something, someone, security in who they are in Jesus, the walk across the stage, direction on what in the world to do after graduation, etc... I'm around (and am one!) single college grads waiting on jobs, ministry opportunities, feelings of purpose, godly husbands (extremely good looking ones of course :) ), etc. I'm around young moms- they're waiting for baby #_ to come, for their child's first steps/words, waiting on their children to wake up from naps to run errands, opportunities to serve and minister, for date night with their man, time to rest, etc. I'm around older moms- waiting on retirement, waiting on their children to grow up but not too fast, waiting on a son or daughter-in-law so that they won't have to wait as long for grand-babies (shout out to my mom...one day, mom, one day), etc...

You get the point?

Waiting.

It. never. ends.

While this may seem a little bit of a downer, there is joy and hope in waiting. If we're always going to be waiting on something, it seems like a great idea to learn how to wait well. But why wait well? In hopes that those periods of what seem like endless wait may be unimaginably more life-giving than what we're even waiting on.  I have experienced this over and over throughout different seasons of waiting and asking the Lord for the next season over the years I have known and walked with Him.

A few things that have helped me wait well (or been absent in my waiting, resulting in some rough days):

Knowing and believing He is a good Dad and always does what is best for His kingdom.

He never grows tired or weary and that Spirit is alive in us who know Him as Lord. Isaiah 40:30&31

His power is made perfect in our weakness- 2 Cor. 12:9

Wisdom and understanding come from the mouth of the Lord and He gives without finding fault. Proverbs 2:6 and James 1:5

I have been so encouraged through the life of King David. He is someone that knew how to wait well. He was anointed at a very young age to be king, but would not fill that role for several years to follow. He had to trust the calling that God placed on his life and trust His timing in it. During his waiting, God prepared his heart into one that would give him the name "the man after God's own heart." During these years of wait, God was readying and ministering to David so he would be ready to lead his kingdom well. I long to be like David in times of waiting, but often find myself more of an Abraham- wanting to take things into my owns hands, resulting in an Ishmael. Thankfully, our God is a gracious one. Our mess ups can be taken to Him, with a dose of humility, and He will carry it.

As I have thought more about waiting, I began thinking of people I know (through their readings or people I know personally) that have waited well. With each one of them, trust, prayer, community, and serving and learning in whatever ways they can in the present are all woven in their everyday lives. They trust God to be the Good Shepherd that He is. They trust that He is always working out everything for the good of those who love Him. They are honest when it hurts, they're sad, and when they are tired of waiting. They don't ignore their hopes and desires...they take them to Jesus but serve Him where they're at in the moment. They know how to rest and dwell with Jesus. They love the Scriptures and live them out to the fullest.

I am really thankful for the different times of waiting I've gone through and the one I'm currently in. Throughout all of them, there were times when it was so hard to wait and not constantly think about the next thing (i.e...sitting through accounting and finance when I knew I wouldn't be using it...ever). But there were also, and I'm currently in a very sweet time of waiting. There are hard days, but ultimately I love where I am and what I'm getting to do right now. He's made it very easy to wait. I absolutely love what my days are full of right now. Days full of sweet college girls that are really wanting to know Jesus, getting to learn from the wives and moms around me, playing with their kids, learning how to cook healthier (a constant state of learning for me), and playing/writing music. What a fun season God has me in! I'm trying to soak it up, knowing my life will be different in a few years...there will never be another day like this one. Every day is different and the same goes for seasons and years.

So, if you're waiting on direction about what to do when you graduate, waiting for a ring to show up on your left hand, waiting for peace in your family, or anything else: rest. Rest in the Truth of the Gospel and the Father that holds you. Look for areas you can be growing and learning in right now that may not be available when you reach the next season. There is a reason you are in this time of your life- there is purpose in every season we go through. 

Pursue Jesus

"I don't want to pursue anything but Jesus, not even ministry."

This is something that is consistently on my heart as I go throughout my days. I think a lot about "ministry"- ministry meaning living out the gospel and the Scriptures day in and day out. I also mean specific things/organizations I'm a part of from my job at Central, running Intimacy, being a part of Masterpiece Conference and writing songs/leading worship. I think about ministry in these contexts often- how can I be doing it better? How do I really practically live out the Scriptures I'm reading and how do I encourage other girls I meet with to live it out in the stage of life they're in? I can easily get caught up in "steps" or "processes" of how to do something the "right way" (or at least as I picture it). "I want to steward what I'm given well" is a phrase I'm often talking with others about or asking the Lord how to do in my prayer times. I really do want to do the best I can with what I've been given- I think this is a really great desire, but often I let this desire be what my heart is pursuing and Jesus is left to the side. When in reality, all I need to be doing is thinking on and pursuing the Lord.

All other things will follow.

God honors those who pursue Him with a pure heart.

Scripture says that we are to set our minds on the Spirit, which is life and peace(Romans 8). I can easily see the opposite of life and peace all around me when my mind is set on other things. Even though thinking about how I can be doing things better can be really good and lead to knowing Jesus more, I know myself and I am really prone to being more concerned with doing things right than with just following Jesus. I have to remind myself so much when I'm thinking on ministry (in relation to my job and the other things I'm involved in) that if I'm not thinking on Jesus more than what I can do better, it is all in vain. It's really hard for me to let that go and trust Jesus with the outcome. I want to work hard and see the outcome I expect, not simply obey what the Father is telling me to do and trust Him with the results. Lord, help me let this go.

I've been to a few different conferences specifically geared towards people in worship or ministry leadership. I've been really encouraged in some of them and, unfortunately, really discouraged in some as well. Usually the discouragement kicks in when half way through a talk when I realize that Jesus hasn't been the focus of the teachings/ breakouts, but rather how to do _____ well. Of course, the foundation is all in pursuit of making Jesus known and bringing His kingdom on earth- I'm all for that- but I just think that a lot of our time we spend talking about steps to grow our ministry, we should just start with talking about Jesus; pursuing Him and prayer. It's out of all of this that ministry thrives and feeds off of.

There are so many women I've read about, from Amy Carmichael, Emma Booth Tucker and Corrie Ten Boom, who have had such massive influence on generations of women that have lived this out so well. There writings consistently point to dwelling and thinking upon Jesus. As they did this, they got to be a part of what God was doing around the world and in their homes. As these women pursued Jesus, obeyed and trusted God with the results of what He put their hands to they saw Him do things through them they never thought imaginable. Oh, Jesus, let it be in my life! At the end of my life, like Samuel the prophet, I want to be able to stand up before all the people I've had the honor of leading in small or big ways in confidence that I've done and led them the way the Father would want me to. I think this only can come in pursuing Jesus first...and by "I think" I mean I know and have seen it in the Scriptures and in the lives lived before me.

Lord, help my life be about pursuing you and nothing else. I trust that all you want for me will follow. Help redirect my eyes, heart and mind when it's dwelling on anything else but you.