Why Waiting Doesn’t Have to Hurt.

 

I didn’t know how much my heart felt like it was waiting until the tears threatened to blind me on Sunday.

My husband sent me out alone (splendid!) for hours of writing and prep at a nearby restaurant. As I was walking out the door for my solo afternoon, I grabbed my copy of Emily Freeman’s A Million Little Ways. I ate my lunch in my spacious booth and turned to the pages I’d dog-eared in January. I’m not sure what I was looking for, but I found it on the first page of chapter 9.

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The chapter title stood out from the page: WAIT.

“It is not important who does the planting or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.” 1 Corinthians 3:7

“Much good happens in the space where nothing is happening.” – Christa Wells

That’s all I read, the quotes before the chapter, and already my eyes welled up with tears. I didn’t even realize I was waiting. I glanced at the opposite page, the last paragraph of chapter 8 and read what I had underlined and starred earlier in the year.

“It is possible for us to uncover the art we were born to make and show up to release it into the world only to be met with silence, inability to make progress, and a seemingly impossible artless road ahead. The lack of movement isn’t because of fear or sin or lack of belief. Sometimes it’s simply God asking us to wait. – Emily P. Freeman

I shut my eyes and whispered a short prayer, “Why is it so hard to wait? Why does waiting hurt? Why can’t I trust you to make the seed grow?”

Six months ago I released my art into the world in the form of a book. I didn’t grow up dreaming of writing. I was much more interested in performing on stage. But the more time I spent speaking, the more the words filled my journals and soon my computer pages. The words came and so I wrote them out over three long years. . . loving and hating the process. . . wanting the wait to be over so people would stop asking how it was coming. I wanted the wait to be over because I didn’t know how to answer, I didn’t want to talk about it.

The professional talker didn’t want to talk about the art.

I was passionate about the topic, sure of the message, and yet, so ridiculously terrified to write and then release it to the world.

As the final steps of the publishing process came together, I was in the final months of my first pregnancy. The due date came and went and soon the waiting became frustrating.

NOPE. STILL NO BABY.

NOPE. STILL NO BOOK.

And then, within a period of six weeks – I could hold them both. Everything changed. And nothing changed.

While my roles and resume took a new direction, the person inside of me stayed pretty much me. Life was more full and complicated, but I still felt like  the twenty year-old version of me, so what am I DOING WITH A BABY?

I still wake up every morning and eat breakfast – granted it’s not always when I want to.

I still attempt to keep the house clean and organized. I meal plan, e-mail, shop, check the mail, and occasionally write. I also change diapers, wash tons of laundry, and try to keep up with the demands of an 8 month-old.

But writing a book has brought little to no visible change in my every-day existence. I’ll be honest: sometimes it’s really discouraging. I don’t think I was hoping for fame or notoriety. I didn’t need a post to go viral – but I still have that very human desire to know the art I’m making matters. What should surface as hope tends to overwhelm with fear. The fear pushes me to compare my book and platform with others. The fear demands I measure success in numbers and failure by a lack of response from every avenue I thought was a sure-fire win.

In those moments where I get caught in a whirlwind void of hope, when my waiting is full of fear, I throw my hands up and shout through tears, “It’s YOUR BOOK Lord. I trust You. . . but why in the world aren’t you doing what I think you should?”

“Fear says I’m going the wrong way. Doubt says I won’t find it at all. But hope? Hope says, Wait. It’s just a little farther. You are not alone and this is not just your idea.

My goal is a finished book – I call that my art. Yet there is a deeper work happening. I chase what I think is the art, but really that’s just the evidence. . . The real art is the invisible work happening in the depths of my soul as I uncover, sink, see, listen and wait.

The book is just the souvenir.” – Emily P. Freeman, A Million Little Ways

When I’m halfway through my third cup of coffee on my solo Sunday date, I slowly begin to look for the invisible work happening in the depths and the truth coming from those who love me in my worst moments.

David plays the purpose on repeat: If only ONE who needs these words reads them, it will have been worth it.
Carey writes to remind me that Jesus left the 99 for the 1.
My small group calls me to chase the Gospel rather than the idol.
My family members have all become book dealers. Who knew so many seniors in a retirement home would need a copy? Pretty sure my sister has copies in her trunk if you need one.
Friends who have bought, shared and encouraged.
And my Savior, who says the hope, the prize, is Him.

“As you stare at the stone of the hoped-for souvenir, remember the deeper work happening within you, where your life is hidden with Christ in God.” – Emily P. Freeman

Waiting doesn’t have to hurt, because waiting is part of the prize. In the waiting I’m given a window into my heart and all that still needs redemption. Jesus reminds us in Luke 7 that “…he who has been forgiven little loves little.” I know God is using this season to show me the depth of my sin and the abundance of His love through the cross.

The feelings of disappointment are real and powerful, but, as Carey tells me, in the disappointment I am reminded of my appointment. My purpose to share Christ is unchanging. I must remind myself that in the small God sees BIG. The point isn’t for me to see results, it’s to offer my art, my life, and my waiting to Him and trust that He will change me in the process.

We WAIT in HOPE for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. Psalm 33:20

Following and learning,
Ginger

Dear Ginger: Seeking and Waiting

dear ginger

Dear Ginger,

I’m trying to wait but how do I know what God wants me to do?  I feel like I can’t tell the difference between His voice and my voice… and I want to.

-B.

Dear B,

Thanks so much for writing!

First, I want you to know that God speaks to all of us differently and calls us in different ways! Check it out: Moses experienced the radiance of God, Paul got a light, Isaiah had to run naked for 3 years, Ezekiel watched dry bones, Elijah saw the fire, felt the quake, and then found God in the whisper, Gideon was visited by an angel, and still others were met by talking donkeys and storms that held them at bay.

The important point in your question is that you are aware and you are seeking. When you desire to be in God’s will, He HONORS that.

That being said, have you ever heard of the game Sardines? I used to play it all the time as a kid. It’s almost a reverse of traditional “Hide and Seek.” In Sardines the “it” person goes to hide and everyone else counts. Then everyone heads out looking for the person – we’ll call them “the sardine” for ease. If I find the sardine, I have to try to hide WITH that person in their hiding place. This continues until there is only one man left standing. The last person to find the crew will be “it” in the next round.

And? I’m sure you’re wondering what this has to do with anything.

The truth is that for a long time I thought of my relationship with God as if it was a game of Sardines … especially in high school and college. I wanted to know God’s will for my life so desperately. I felt that no matter how hard I asked or looked I just couldn’t determine what God wanted for me. I looked at all of my friends, confidently making decisions, and couldn’t help but think that they had all found the answer.  That was it.  The entire world was hiding with God in a huge game of Sardines and I was the last one still looking for answers.

Everyone else can find you, why can’t I?” I would lose heart and I resign myself to being last.

Confession: I feel like that, every once in a while, even to this day. I’ve read and memorized Jeremiah 29:13 until it’s practically a daily saying: You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Mark Batterson writes, “God wants you to get where God wants you to go more than you want to get where God wants you to go.”

I don’t know about you, but that truth about God let’s me take a deep and contented sigh. Even in the midst of confusing times, waiting periods, or even silence – I can find joy and peace from knowing God isn’t hiding – He is simply teaching me to seek after Him. Don’t give up! Continue to pray, to ask, and to follow.

“Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” 1 Chronicles 16:11 (ESV)

Praying for your time of waiting!

Following,
Ginger

Seasons of Waiting

One of my favorite lovelies, Megan, got married this weekend. Woohoo! I was so sad to miss the wedding in Louisiana. Boo. I know it was gorgeous and I’m sure plenty of tears were shed. She has an incredible love story set to the tune of “waiting on the Lord” in the key of patience and trust. I missed her wedding because I am 9 months prego and my due date was actually Saturday. I’m learning my own lessons in waiting.

I want what I want when I want it. I am an American consumer used to getting her way. I’m thankful that things don’t run on my timeline. Perspective has shown me that God’s ways and timing, although sometimes frustrating in the moment, are always for the best. This week I’m taking the time to give thanks for His timing.

passion

More to come… unless Baby Girl shows up and surprises me.

Following and waiting,

Ginger

Friday Finds: On Waiting

Friday

It’s been one of those weeks where everything is happening last-minute. I feel like I can’t stay on top of my own schedule. I have been furiously working through my manuscript and part of the process has been fleshing out my Bibliography and notes section. FAVORITE part of any project. (Not even.) Who knew I was actually going to need a page number for all of the quotes I utilized? Luckily for me this has meant a pleasant stroll down memory lane as I pull out the books that have influenced so much of my life. As I paged through Passion And Purity by Elisabeth Elliot, I was struck by a few passages that I wanted to share this morning.

Steadfastness, that is holding on;
patience, that is holding back;
expectancy, that is holding the face up;
obedience, that is holding one’s self in readiness to go or do;
listening, that is holding quiet and still so as to hear.
(S. D. Gordon, Quiet Talks on Prayer)

Be still and know that He is God. When you are lonely, too much stillness is exactly the thing that seems to be laying wasted to your soul. Use that stillness to quiet your heart before God. Get to know Him. If He is God, He is still in charge. Remember that you are not alone. “The Lord, He it is that doth go with thee. He will not fail thee neither forsake thee. Be strong and of good courage.” (Deut. 31:8) Jesus promised His disciples, “Lo, I am with you always.” (Matt. 28:20) Never mind if you cannot feel His presence. He is there, never for one moment forgetting you.

Whether you are waiting, lonely, or at rest, I pray God’s presence would be real in your life this weekend.

Blessings!
Ginger

Ready

“God called unto him… And he said, Here am I.”  Exodus 3:4

“Readiness for God means that we are ready to do the tiniest little thing or the great big thing, it makes no difference.  We have no choice in what we want to do, whatever God’s program may be we are there, ready.

Be ready for the sudden surprise visits of God.  A ready person never needs to get ready.  Think of the time we waste trying to get ready when God has called!  The burning bush is a symbol of everything that surrounds the ready soul, it is ablaze with the presence of God.”  (Oswald Chambers)

Getting ready for summer… getting ready for what the next months hold.

Following,
Ginger

Perfect Timing

Ever been in a similar situation?

  • I fell for the guy, couldn’t believe God’s timing and provision… only to have the guy break up with me one week later.
  • I committed to move to Africa.  I packed my stuff into storage, paid for shots, and set my mind and heart where I felt God was calling me… only to have my application turned down.
  • I took on the new, exciting, and scary position… only to have my boss resign the day I started.
  • I turned down a job back home… only to find myself desperately wanting the chance to change my answer one month later.

I have wanted to follow God with all my heart, mind and strength for as long as I can remember.  I offered up my career, my idea of home and family and told Him that if He led, I would follow.  I don’t know that I ever bargained on following Him when I didn’t have reassurance about what was coming next.  I don’t know if Abraham did either…

After all this, God tested Abraham. God said, “Abraham!”
“Yes?” answered Abraham. “I’m listening.”

 2 He said, “Take your dear son Isaac whom you love and go to the land of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I’ll point out to you.” 3-5 Abraham got up early in the morning and saddled his donkey. He took two of his young servants and his son Isaac. He had split wood for the burnt offering. He set out for the place God had directed him. On the third day he looked up and saw the place in the distance. Abraham told his two young servants, “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I are going over there to worship; then we’ll come back to you.”

 6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and gave it to Isaac his son to carry. He carried the flint and the knife. The two of them went off together.

 7 Isaac said to Abraham his father, “Father?”

   ”Yes, my son.”

   ”We have flint and wood, but where’s the sheep for the burnt offering?”

 8 Abraham said, “Son, God will see to it that there’s a sheep for the burnt offering.” And they kept on walking together.

 9-10 They arrived at the place to which God had directed him. Abraham built an altar. He laid out the wood. Then he tied up Isaac and laid him on the wood. Abraham reached out and took the knife to kill his son.

 11 Just then an angel of God called to him out of Heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

   ”Yes, I’m listening.”

 12 ”Don’t lay a hand on that boy! Don’t touch him! Now I know how fearlessly you fear God; you didn’t hesitate to place your son, your dear son, on the altar for me.”

 13 Abraham looked up. He saw a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. Abraham took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. [Genesis 22:1-13, The Message]

As Abraham took Isaac up Mt. Moriah to sacrifice him to the Lord, he did not know when the lamb would show up. Abraham simply trusted that the Lord would provide– and He did.  Our provider, Jehova Jairo, sees exactly what we need and when we need it.  As Abraham and Isaac made their way, God knew when to start the ram up the other side so that it would be in just the right place at just the right time.

How often do I find myself frustrated at the events in my life, not realizing that the ram is just over the hill? 

 14 Abraham named that place God-Yireh (God-Sees-to-It). That’s where we get the saying, “On the mountain of God, he sees to it.” [Genesis 22:14, The Message]

  • Six years ago I had a break-up that ended up giving me the courage to move to Arizona and into a job that refined my skills and honed my passions.
  • Five years ago this September I was planning to move to Uganda.  I stepped out of the boat believing.  I got out of the car.  I put my belongings in storage and expectantly faced the month of July.
  • Four years ago I began taking active steps towards teaching and speaking to young women, when I watched my boss of two days step out to do something similar.
  • Four years ago I turned down a job opportunity that would have taken me from Arizona.  I remained in the desert obediently, all the while watching everything I thought I had stayed for change around me.  Two months later I went on a blind date and met the man who would become my husband.

Are you waiting for an answer today?

ram

The ram is just around the corner. He provides.  Exactly what we need.  Exactly when we need it. It may not always be what you expect, but it will always be His best.  Trust that when He calls us to sacrifice the result of both ends and means is a deeper intimacy with Him –the Author and Perfecter.

Following,
Ginger

*previously posted in August of 2011.

The Shelf of Possibility

shelf

Journal Entry

September 7, 2006

What if I just quit? Not anything in particular. I’m not saying my job or my family… or anything drastic like that, I just want to get away.  I’m sure I am just tired and wanting a break – so it’s a good thing I’m taking off on Friday to take a trip home. But I’m tired of not hearing a direction.  I’m tired of the guesswork in life.  It would be SO MUCH easier if I could get a map.

I was talking to someone yesterday about how I feel like I’m on the edge of a giant transition. I just don’t know exactly when it starts and when it will settle. I told her that I just wanted the answer now.  She told me about her own transition year and she is convinced that if she had seen the end before the beginning she would have said “NO WAY.” And maybe that’s the case with me. Never-the-less, the pressure is building. I feel like I am a bottle of Sprite and someone has been shaking me up for the past year and now I am about to spray out everywhere. It’s exhausting holding myself in and together.

The ridiculous thing is that my life is pretty genteel and simple for all of these dramatics. I went to a game night last night and I’m going home to see my family and have brunch with my grandparents.  Yes, we are “doing brunch” on Sunday.

But in the midst of all this normalcy I’m trying to figure out what the I’m doing and this song is really getting old. YES. Just pick something and go for it.  BUT I CAN’T.  I’M STUCK on this shelf of possibility and leaving terrifies me. I’m beginning to think that I can talk myself out of anything. Why can’t I be decisive?  Why can’t I be thrilled for all the joyful people around me? 

Every once in a while I need a good word explosion. Today just happens to be the day. I laughed for 3 hours last night and now I could just about throw something.

“Many are the plans of a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”  Proverbs 19:21

________

Can anyone else identify? My guess: yes. More to come…

Following,
Ginger

Wait

 

Ten years ago I enrolled in one of my favorite college courses. Not only was the professor a personal hero and mentor, but the class itself was engaging, inspiring, and challenging. I was organizing my desk last month when I came across journal entries required as part of my grade for “Developing Faith in Children.”

It’s been so interesting to read back through the entries written by my 21 year-old self in the spring of 2003. Each entry in the book covered an assigned topic and the one I’m going to share stands out today more than the others- and not just for some poor grammar choices. It’s a letter I wrote to my child. I don’t have much to mention about it, I think the lesson I was learning in my own life is fairly apparent through these words.

To my child,

I am writing you a letter you might not expect to receive. If you are anything like I was around your age, you are starting to see a very interesting occurence. Maybe you saw it in the 5th grade, or maybe you will finish high school before you notice… but I doubt that. What I want you to remember over the years to come as everyone else seems to be “pairing up” is that relationships are meant to be cherished… BUT having a boyfriend or girlfriend cannot make you “complete”!

No other person can ever make you whole. I say this today, and I will say it over and over for the rest of your life.

Your fulfillment can only be found in a solid, intimate, growing relationship with _______. Care to guess? With your Creator! Another person can enhance your fulfillment, but they cannot be your fulfillment. I had to learn this lesson the hard way. It took me years before I realized that when my security, self-image, and wholeness were based truly on God, it didn’t matter who was or wasn’t in my life.

It’s the only way to go! Your purpose and self-esteem won’t fluctuate because they’ll be grounded in God. It’s an amazing thing. Will you trust Him to bring the right relationships into your life at just the right time? I hope and pray daily that you will.

Dear one, God wants your fulfillment even more than you do. His timing is perfect. Trust Him. Romans 8:28-29 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his son.” So often we make this verse seem like a Christmas list – everything will be GOOD. But the promise is that this “good” is our conformity into the likeness of Christ – an event BETTER good! I love the way that Beth Moore puts it when she says that “God is faithfully putting a puzzle together in each life so that the final picture will resemble Christ.”

Again, I know this is not the “letter” you expected – but it was on my heart to tell you. I love you so very much… but He loves you even more!

“But these things I plan won’t happen right away… slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!” Habakkuk 2:3 (The Message)

He’s never early! He’s never late!

Lifting you up,
Mom

Reblogged from Beauty4Ashes

Reblogged from Beauty4Ashes

 

I’m not sure what you are waiting for today, but my hope is that Habakkuk 2:3 encourages you in your own journey. I likely wouldn’t have chosen my own story from the front end of things, but I am so thankful for the One who is never early and never late. His timing is perfect and thankfully, He does strengthen us as we wait.

Following,
Ginger

Learning to Wait

 strong

 

Journal Entry – April 2, 2008

Waiting is the worst.

The first day of school, Christmas Eve, movie theater slides, long lights with censors that don’t pick up your car so you back up and pull forward repeatedly in hopes that you will trip the sensor. I’m sure there are many other things that come to mind. I know much of it has to do with our culture. I need my microwave lunch faster and I find myself frustrated when the internet takes too long to load. Sometimes I scream loudly on my insides about having to wait, and often times in my car, I scream on the outside.

I think I’ve been doing some screaming lately. I’m generally quite content and have been for a good period of time. I’ve tried to tell myself that wishing time away will result in a life not fully lived, and who wants that? I’m in a little bit of a holding pattern for the minute. I’m hoping that I’m not missing out on anything, but I really feel as if I have been holding my breath for too long and fear that I may just faint before I’m giving the ok to come up for some water. Breathe.

Can you identify?

Although I definitely don’t feel like I’m holding my breath anymore, I do know how tempting it can be to want to fast-forward through any waiting period. This is a lesson I want to learn and live.

“I realized that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able to honestly to pray what He taught His disciples to pray: Thy will be done.” -Elisabeth Elliot

Following,
Ginger

Patiently

I learned about the Fruit of the Spirit when I was just a kid going to Sunday school.  I’m not sure I understood what they were, but I absolutely had them memorized thanks to a catchy tune.  Here’s the verse that addresses the fruit:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23, NIV

Background info: Galatians is a letter written by Paul to a church in Galatia. In the paragraphs of chapter five, Paul is talking about having freedom through Jesus from sin and death and also how to live by the Spirit, rather than by the flesh… meaning my own selfish desires. He lists all sorts of behavior associated with living by the flesh, and it’s not a pretty picture: hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions… the list goes on and on and doesn’t get any better.

But… (there’s a but) Paul then says that the fruit that comes from the Spirit are these 9 great characteristics.  These are the FRUIT of the Spirit.  So how does one grow a specific trait… say patience?

 basil

Patience is one of nine traits listed in the Fruit of the Spirit. Plant yourself, connect yourself, abide with Jesus and the Bible says that the fruit produced will be these nine eye-catching things. (Don’t you notice when someone oozes kindness or patience?)

But what happens if you feel like one or some of these fruits aren’t defining character traits for you? Is this yet another time to throw up your hands and shift the blame elsewhere?

I don’t think so.

We were born with personality traits  I’m fairly outgoing but my husband tends to be more of an introvert. He can speak to a whole room of people if needed, but he won’t enjoy it as much as I will. The Fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22-23 aren’t personality traits. They are different aspects of godly character– and character is something that can be developed and grown. I don’t get to blame impatience on my personality, even though I certainly might like to!

You see, usually impatience comes because I have unmet expectations. (We’ve talked about these before!)  We had a plan for the day and it didn’t involve the printer jamming, our friend making us late, or the driver in front of us going 15 under the speed limit. It’s all about control and it is all about ME. Notice that none of the Fruit of the Spirit have to do with self-promotion. That’s just it… it’s not about ME.

Step #1 to cultivating fruit: Recognize that it’s not about me because it’s all about Him.

Check out 2nd Corinthians 5:17: “If anyone belongs to Christ, there is a new creation. The old things have gone; everything is made new!”

This passage talks about a definite change in our lives. When we recognize that we can’t hold it together, that we’ve made mistakes (yes, sinned), and that we need a rescuer… that’s when Jesus steps in to make us new. Notice it doesn’t say that we receive perfection in that moment. You and I are a work in progress for our entire lives.  Remember that God is FOR us. He’s not waiting for us to mess up, He is coming along-side us right where we are!

I recognize that sometimes impatience isn’t associated with irritability. Sometimes our impatience looks more like anxiety and worry. That’s still a problem because it’s basically saying that we distrust God and what He has for us.  God is head over heels crazy about us and (thankfully) He is in control. His timing is for His people.

Step #2 to cultivating fruit: Strengthen your muscles.

While there is no growth or change happening without the Lord, gaining strength in this area requires exercise.  I take the time to strengthen my arms with weights, and my spiritual life isn’t any different. I have to daily notate where I am living selfishly and not producing good fruit. Thankfully God seems to be totally aware of my blind spots and seems more than happy to keep giving me situations in which to recognize the lacking fruit. “I have the slow cashier again?!” Maybe that’s an opportunity to meet the cashier and show kindness… and in doing so you utilize vast amounts of patient strength you didn’t know you had! Growth is going to take some strength training, so don’t get frustrated if you feel like a lightweight when it comes to patience. The time devoted will pay off.

Cultivating good fruit in our lives is a process that will take a lifetime.  I will not arrive at a point where I am never impatient, but perhaps one day I will be thought of as a patient woman.

Oh would that day come sooner! ;)

Following,
Ginger