Painted by Liz Lemon Swindle
Oh, how I breathed a sigh of relief.
It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy serving in women’s ministry; I was just really tired.
I needed rest. In a big way.
And so I stepped down and suddenly, my only obligations were to my precious family and this here little blog.
It was great until about a month ago when I began to feel a bit restless—like I should be doing something “more”.
Of course, I realize this is not true. I have three children ages four through seven, two of which are boys spaced 15 months apart. Enough said.
But I began to feel like I was in a quandary, not really knowing what was coming next and not really all-good with this lack of knowledge. I began to ponder thoughts like “Do my written words really matter?” and “Perhaps it’s time to end this season of writing/blogging and go back to school.”
I was floundering. I was unsure. I was just blah.
Each year when the world focuses on Luke 2, I’m continually in awe of Mary’s innocent acceptance of an idea presented by an angel that, to modern ears, sounds absurd. Perhaps it sounded absurd to her as well.
At the age of 14, she, a virgin, was going to bear the Christ child.
Her response, of course, is the epitome of trust— “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”
She asked a mere one question and then took it at face-value.
Would I be so trusting as to accept this idea almost immediately?
I would certainly have more than one question. I would certainly think that I was hallucinating. I would certainly be scared out of my wits that Joseph was going to stone me to death.
I’d like to say it wouldn’t, but I’m quite certain that fear would have the upper hand.
Earlier this week, I received some news that will open more doors in my written ministry. I am not able to share it quite yet but it’s good.
I took my oldest to school and on the way home, alone in my car and listening to Aaron Shust, I humbly sought the throne and sought forgiveness for ever once doubting.
I so foolishly often look to the next “thing” without sitting in the wait, without enjoying the rest that He knew I needed.
Once again, I thought my timing was better than His.
I thought I should just jump from one ministry to another with no time in between.
I thought He just didn’t have plans for me to attain my heart’s desire despite the fact that scripture tells us otherwise.
And so this forced me to look the scriptures in the eye—the scriptures I call “truth” and often use to encourage others not to be worried or afraid because you know, it’s His word and His word is unfailing and always rings true.
Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you. – Hebrews 13:5
He is a God who sees. Each one of us. He’s not going anywhere.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6
There’s so much I don’t understand yet if I accept, like Mary accepted, my path will be straight. Not without hills, but because we will be rooted in Him, we follow a straight path right to His throne.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. – Isaiah 55:8
I may not always “get” what He’s doing but He doesn’t roll the way we do. He sees the bigger picture while I see the small speck.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declared the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whohave been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28
He has a plan for each of us. And it’s good.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17
When the good comes, recognize that it’s from Him.
In her book 1,000 Gifts, Ann Voskamp says “Gratitude builds trust in God and trust leads to complete joy in Him.”(Paraphrased)
It was during that drive home when I remembered her wisdom and began to count the gifts.
There were more than I even realized.
If only I had just done this sooner.
When we look at the gifts, we begin to trust that He is working FOR us and not against us. That what He has for us is good. That He loves us and wants the best for us.
That willfully submitting to His good and perfect will might be what He speaks of when He asks us to give Him our yoke in Matthew 11:28-30.
That perhaps we make it more difficult on ourselves when we try to do it all and forget He has a say.
So we leap and trust that He’s there to catch and enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way because the power is in the knowing He is good.
And He is.
Wow…exactly what I have been going through myself, and you write about it! THANK YOU LORD!
and I needed those perfect words in scripture to start off my day…
Now go and rest, be still, it’s perfectly ok to do that…according to me and so many others you so heart touch, you are doing such amazing God work…I thank you!
Bless you my friend
Thank you, Stacy. I appreciate your words and your support so much! I think we probably all need to be reminded of this, don’t you? No matter how strong our faith, I’m thinking we could use the reminder to just trust Him. He’s got it.
Thanks again, sister!
Thank you for your wonderful words this morning. I have been feeling a little over-extended lately and scaling back on a few of my commitments. I am trying to place the important things at the forefront of my life and sometimes that means a few things must go.
Before I release a commitment I have been praying for God’s guidance and whether or not this was something He wanted me to do and in doing so, I have felt very at peace with my decisions.
I am following the path that He has put before me with faith that He will lead me where He wants me. In doing so I have been shown WONDERFUL opportunities that I can’t wait to pursue.
YAY, Bethany! Isn’t it amazing what He has for us when we just be still and listen???? I’m so excited for you!!!
Can’t wait to hear about those opportunities, girl.
Thank you for sharing – rejoicing with you!
What a good word to remember and ponder. I found myself needing to go before the Father and ask Him what the next step is instead of telling Him my plans. At this time in my life it has been a long time in between activities. I tend to be seen as a loner. I am comfortable being independent but I think sometimes I either give the impression that that means I like to be alone or that I fool myself into isolating. I have had both happen a lot lately. I hear of friends out together and me not included, or wondering what the plans are that the Lord has for me in this aloneness. I keep asking the Lord what is the purpose of this period of time where I am mother to my mother and to my children and yet, very alone at the same time. Counting gifts has been transformational for me and I think it is time I get back to it again and in this alone time seek Him instead of what my mind could conjure up to keep me busy.
Jenny, I’m sorry to hear of the pain you are experiencing. I have been right there, girl.
During that time, for me, it was about Him wanting me to seek Him and ONLY Him. He had to strip away several relationships that were not healthy to begin with (He was also protecting me) so I would utterly and completely rely only on Him.
I know it’s difficult when you feel left-out but I absolutely believe you are on the right track by counting your blessings. What also worked for me was to praise Him when I began to feel sad or lonely because it was through those “yuck” emotions that I pressed further into the cross.
Thank you for your authenticity and vulnerability here, Jenny. I love “real” and you just showed it. Thank you.
Thanks for this post. I am glad you are resting in the wait. I think that there is so much purpose in the “in-between” time. I know it tethers me to Him when I don’t know the next step. He had me in a season of rest from formal ministry for 5 years. Then the “next step” took another year to unfold and it was a restless year full of paradox, uncertainty and steps of faith before confirmation followed. Now that He has brought more answers, there are always new questions! So, I’m learning that what he is calling me to is to learn to relax into the uncertainty. That is a tall order, but it’s getting easier with practice.
I do know that your ministry to your family and to your readers is a very beautiful call. Also, the invitation is always there to slow down and “be.” His Presence is that precious pearl!
May you continue to lean into the questions and find yourself delighted in by you Father!