Christian Life · trials · waiting

Dealing With the Dark, Void Situations

Sunset 2a

I love the sunshine so much that the minute I wake up in the morning, the curtains in my bedroom get thrown wide open!  I want the those sunbeams to stream in! Even on a cloudy day, just the light from the outside is a welcomed change from the darkness within my room.

But what do we do when there’s darkness in our hearts, via a relationship or a circumstance that we cannot change?  It could be as trivial as frustrations, like when I was attempting to write this post and spent a good deal of time editing and rewriting. It was scheduled and ready for posting, but when I went to preview my writing, it was GONE!  What?  After a good couple of hours, it’s nowhere to be found?

I could not change this.  So after stopping and giving this darkness (trouble) this to the Lord, I realized that there must be a reason for this “mistake.”  Maybe it was just that I take time again to call on His Name. Doing so brought light (truth) to my heart – it was, indeed, like throwing open my bedroom curtains.

A lost blog post is trivial, but what about darkness and emptiness in a relationship? There’s a void and distance there that you would love to fill, but you cannot change the other person’s heart.

What about the grief felt when dealing with the consequences of sin – yours or someone whose life touches yours?

Or the sorrow of death or sickness?

We have to go back to the beginning –

Gen 1:2, 3  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

When there was NOTHING but emptiness and darkness, with only a word, God changed it all into beauty and fullness.

Light, sun, moon, trees, flowers, sky, birds, fish, animals and man and woman were added to the emptiness and it was no longer void – it was FULL.

Who but God could do that?!

No one.

He longs to do the same with our dark and empty circumstances! It all starts when we know that we need His Son as our Savior.  He brings light from the darkness of sin and gives forgiveness and His presence for eternity.

His presence starts the moment we trust Him!  Now all those “dark” situations turn to me towards my God who longs to bring light and life to all these matters!  How?

  • Making me realize Who He is
    • Creator
    • Gracious
    • Kind
    • Loving
    • Able…
  • Making me fall on my knees before Him to ask that He will change this darkness and emptiness for His glory.
  • Making this dependence on Him a daily habit that transforms me into His likeness.

Yes, even losing a post on a blog post can be used to transform me into His image.  As I learn to call, to wait, to trust, to know He is sovereign, I can be more like Christ, if I allow Him to calm my troubled heart and look for Him to make beauty from my darkness.

What dark situation sleeps under your pillow and awakens you with a start?  What “empty” circumstance is causing you to need His light and abundance?  Thank God for that situation today, then call out to Him and wait for Him to transform it…and you!

Denise Signature 150 px

God's character · Uncategorized · waiting

Lessons On Waiting

rolling-pin

I’ll never forget standing at my kitchen island with my grown, married daughter.  Her first Thanksgiving with her in-laws was coming up and she wanted to make a good impression with the pie she was contributing to the autumn feast.  She was sure about what the filling would be and how delicious it would turn out, but the crust?  That had her panicking, so she had come to my house to get some help.

Now, here we were, standing side by side at the counter.  We each had a bowl of flour, a due amount of Crisco and ice water to mix in, and a rolling pin beside, waiting for its time of duty.

Mom, why don’t you just make crust for me?  It will turn out so much better!

No, I’m sure you can do this.  Just watch while I do each step, then you do it.

Each step brought her closer to the desired result, and then after a little time, the crust had been rolled, picked up and placed into the pie pan.  With another bit of effort, the side crust was duly pinched and crimped, resulting in a crust that looked worthy of a state fair competition!  She was so proud.  It was completed because she was willing to wait.

As I was cleaning up the cloud of flour left on counter and floor, my daughter began talking to me about the desire of her heart, and the difficulty of waiting.  The wait was making her wonder if God was withholding from her because she had done something in the past, and this was her necessary punishment.

Have you ever wondered that?  Has the question of God’s seeming delay to answer made you wonder if He was perhaps angry with you?  We know He could do it, but when He doesn’t, wrong thoughts begin to creep in.

Pointing to the flour-covered rolling  pin we had just used, I said,

You came over here because you wanted the finished product of a pie crust, and you came to me to make it for you. Instead, I had you come near and learn from me.  After time, the result was your beautiful pie crust.

God is doing the same thing in your life, on a much higher plane.  Instead of just handing over to you what you’re asking Him for, He’s pulling you near Himself so that you can learn from Him what you would never learn otherwise.  In the right time, God will answer and provide, and you will be so thankful for the lessons you learned while you waited.

Friend, what are you waiting for today?  Whether it’s huge or small, remind yourself of Truth.  Just because it’s not happening right now, doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love you!  He cannot act outside of His character, and He loves you as much as His own Son!  There are lessons in waiting that will never be learned if God answered your request immediately.  He is a good Father, and He is pulling you close to Himself to teach you and instruct you, to comfort and to prepare you for when the time is just right and He will answer.

The joy on my daughter’s face when she saw her finished pie crust is nothing compared to what I’m seeing God do in her life right now!  I’m pretty sure if you asked her, she would tell you it was well worth the wait.

Maybe we should bronze that rolling pin.  It taught a tremendous lesson to my over-anxious heart.

Keep trusting.  Keep waiting.

 

Denise Signature 150 px

Christian Life · waiting

Progress

Look friends!  Look what is happening in the hole in my backyard!!!  It might not look a whole lot different than when I posted about it here, but the point is that progress is being made!!  I can see it!  I can even hear it as the compressor goes over the sand and gravel.  Oh, what a wonderful sight to my waiting eyes!

This project has taken far longer than I’d anticipated.  It’s caused disappointment, frustration and even despair! At times I even believed it was impossible. I have gazed out my window so often and pictured what that finished patio was going to look like.  I could see people sitting around the fire pit, laughing, talking  enjoying the warmth of the fire while piling toasted marshmallows onto golden  crackers.  I could imagine it – but I couldn’t really see it, because it wasn’t a reality.

But now I see progress!  Something is moving out there!  There is tangible evidence that change is being made, and I can’t contain my excitement!

Can we make the connection with the trial that you’re facing right now or with the prayer request that seems impossible?  Or the person that shows no interest whatsoever in coming to faith in Christ?  At times all you see is an “ugly hole in your backyard!”  Nothing is happening or changing!  Let me encourage you to keep peering out the window with eyes of faith!  There will be a Day when you will say, “But Now I see progress…”

Faith can wait.  

Therefore I will look unto the Lord;

I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.  Micah 7:7

Keep waiting!

Christian Life · Prayer · Uncategorized · waiting

Awkward Waiting

Yesterday I found myself waiting once again for a situation for which I have prayed much.  I sighed.  I cried.  Then I ran…to the Lord.  I poured out my heart to Him, and it felt good to give it all back to Him.  I reminded myself to give thanks for this waiting.  I remembered, too, that Isaiah 40:31 says that if we wait on the Lord we will have renewed strength.  Praise the Lord.  The last thing I did was go to my blog for other posts I’ve written and remember what the Lord has  taught me while I  waited on Him in the past.  The following is an old post that was a good reminder for me.  Let me share it…

I will never forget the anxious moments of waiting. I was a soon-to-be post college student seeking God’s will for my future. My name had been given to a pastor (Pastor Cunningham) who was looking for a secretary for the Christian school at his church, and I was waiting for my appointment with him where I would be interviewed for the position.

I arrived promptly at our set time, climbed the stairs to the Student center, and peeked into doorway of the interview office (from a distance). I saw a man talking with a student. Immediately, I assumed that he was the man I was waiting for. I seated myself on a sofa outside the office, in a place where I would be easily seen when he exited the interview office. Then I waited…and waited.

At another place across from where I sat, a man was seated. It appeared that, he too, was waiting for someone. We both waited. I was thinking about the exam that I was going to be taking in the next class period and wishing I could be studying instead of just sitting. The waiting grew wearisome. The interview inside the office continued, and I grew more and more impatient and frustrated. I kept looking at my watch wondering how long I would have to wait, and wondering if I would miss my appointment because he’d gone too long with this other person. Finally after 15-20 minutes, the gentleman that was seated nearby got up and approached me, and suddenly I had a funny feeling the my waiting had been in vain.

“Are you waiting to be interviewed by him?” the man asked, nodding toward the interview office.
“Yes I am” I replied.
“What is his name?” he asked.
“Mr. Cunningham” was my answer. The man smiled and then said laughing, “Iam Mr. Cunningham! I assumed you were waiting for him since you kept looking toward that office!”
I introduced myself and then our interview got underway. Of course, you must realize that I got the job, and I also got his son for a husband a few years later – now that’s some deal! =)
As I’ve looked back over that interview all those years ago, I remember how awkward I felt waiting. After waiting for a long time a person begins to realize that something isn’t right. Perhaps someone waits for a friend at a restaurant and they never show, then they look at their calendar on their phone and realize their lunch date was for the next day. Sometimes waiting without response can have a tragic end because the person who was supposed to show up was in an accident or got sick. Waiting for people can have awkward moments.
Waiting on the Lord is altogether different, however.
Lamentations 3:25 says,
The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.
Even when we wait for a very long time for the Lord to answer our cries, we don’t have to wonder if He’s misunderstood. We don’t have to question if He’s really going to show up. There’s no need to doubt about Him keeping the appointment! He will always hear, He will “show up” at just the right time, and He will keep His appointment with us and our situation!
As you wait on God, don’t get up and leave. Don’t start doubting. Don’t start sighing in desperation. Your waiting will not be in vain. You can trust in Him because He is good and will do good in your life!

Did anyone else need the reminder of the blessing of waiting?
With love,
waiting

A Peek Inside the Parsonage – What To Do While Waiting

Yesterday I shared about my “Holding Pattern.” If you’ve felt the circular swing in your own life, I wonder what you do during those times? Frankly, I’ve had a hard time staying motivated to do the necessary things – like dust and vacuum! Oh, I’ve done it, but I’ve had to pick myself up by the seat of my own britches and do it out of sheer discipline, rather than the usual desire.

It’s easy to get a cynical or non-care kind of attitude when we feel like things are spinning, but the fact of the matter is, this day has significance. I can still impact the life of another person (starting with my husband and those that would enter my doors). There are things I can do that will have an impact for eternity. There are little things that must be done just for life to keep moving forward (clean underwear is always a good thing!). It’s the little stuff that needs our daily attention and must be cared for – even when we’re “bummed” or disappointed, or still waiting for things to work out that even helps the time to pass in a profitable way.

The advice that I have been giving ladies in recent months is what I’ve had to do myself –

Sounds very simplistic, but it helps the frantic wringing of the hands and the pacing. Stop and ask: What is the next right thing I could do right now? Pray and ask the Lord. Wait. Then do it. It might be a phone call you need to make to inquire about this situation you’re waiting on. It might be you just need to get in the kitchen and prepare supper or just go change the baby’s diaper! The blessing is that when you keep making the “next right choice,” soon you’ll find yourself staring into the face of the answer of the thing to which you’ve been waiting!

So, excuse me, but I’m off to do make the NEXT RIGHT CHOICE…that would be the laundry.

What next right choice do you need to make? 

With love from the parsonage laundry room windows,

waiting

A Holding Pattern

I’ll never forget my first plane ride. I was 15, traveling by myself to visit my aunt and uncle in Michigan. I was a bit apprehensive, but the businessman seated beside me kept me informed of all that was going on around me, to help alleviate my fears. When we could see that we were close to the Detroit airport, we realized that we were circling in the air, rather than landing. We were in a “holding pattern” I was told. The pilot came over the speaker to tell us that the landing equipment would not drop down, and we would have to circle until it was safe for us to land. I was informed by the man beside me that we could possibly have to slide down an evacuation chute! This was not exactly the way I wanted my first trip in the air to turn out! However, the pilot soon told us that it was only the light in the control panel that wasn’t working! The equipment was down and ready for our safe landing. I’m not sure if someone on the ground or the air traffic control could see the landing gear in place and radioed the pilots, or it they simply replaced the bulb on the panel, but no matter, there would be no more circling uselessly in the air. Whew. We were all relieved!

For what seems to be a very long time now, I’ve been in another kind of “holding pattern.” It’s the kind where the Lord is saying, “Wait. Wait.” We can’t see why. It doesn’t always make sense, but we know that far better than the air traffic control, God sees the whole picture – the present and the future. He wants to lift us above ourselves and see everything in light of His plans. The Psalmist said, “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me” (Psalm 138:8). I’m so thankful I can rest in Him while we circle one more time!

What is bogging you down today? Trust the Lord to pilot you. He knows what is best and you can trust Him! He loves you and He will bring you safely to the landing strip.

With love,

waiting

In Time to Come

In this “instant world” we live in waiting can be difficult to handle.  We tap our foot in the “fast food” line if we’ve waited over a few minutes.  We wait for the repairman that was supposed to have shown up hours ago.  We crane our necks to see the traffic problem ahead of us if all we see are brake lights, indicating a halt in our mobile progress.  Even though we don’t like these kind of waiting times,we know they’ll come and we adjust.

I don’t know about you, but waiting for things in my spiritual life seems much harder.  I mean, this is a good thing I’m asking for or anticipating.  Why would God wait to allow it to come to pass?  Isn’t His promise to us that we’re to call and He will answer? We’re to sow seed and He will bring the reaping, right?  Here’s what God told me in response to that question.

Recently I was waiting for God to deliver on one of His promises to me as a woman.  I foolishly and selfishly had the mentality, “I’ve done my part. I’ve obeyed.  I’ve applied Scripture. Shouldn’t I see the fruit from this now?”  One morning in my waiting, I read Proverbs 31 – a chapter I have read many times.  As I read, I saw a verse in a completely new light.  It was almost as thought I had never read it before.  Verse 25 says, Strength and honour are her clothing (the virtuous woman’s); and she shall rejoice

in   time   to   come.

This is said of the virtuous woman!  She’s the example of doing it all, and doing it well, and having a right heart in the midst of her activities!  If our doing well would assure us of getting what we’re asking for now, surely this lady would be at the front of the line.  However, she is now my reminder that it doesn’t depend on me, but on my God.   I can trust Him when He says, “Wait.”

When will the rejoicing come?  Not now.  Not when I think I’m ready for the fruit.  Not when I think it’s best, but in time to come.

I can’t tell you the joy that flooded my heart as I read that.  The Lord so sweetly spoke to my “tapping foot”.  “It will come…but not now.  I will bring rejoicing to you, but you need to be a woman of strength.  Don’t be weak and question Me.  Be a woman of honor and don’t quit while you’re waiting.  I hear you.  I will answer you.  Wait.”

If you’re waiting for a need to be met, a mate to be brought into your life, a child to return to the Lord, a husband to be saved,or some other answer to a specific prayer, let me encourage you to be a woman of godly strength and honor and keep that smile in your spirit.  One day you’ll be able to burst out in joyous laughter and rejoicing.  When?  In time to come.

Under His wings,