At one point or another, I think it’s fair to say that we’ve all experienced waiting for an answer to prayer or a dream to be realized. They say there’s no such thing as an “overnight success” and, impatient people that we are (just me?!), these things rarely happen as quickly as we’d like. – Or even how we hoped for that matter! – It’s uncomfortable. Not much tests us like feeling a lack of control over our own hopes and desires. We want what we want and we want it now! Maybe we can blame some of that on our modern society and all its evils, but there sure seems to be a lot of stories in the Bible about people getting into trouble for this same exact reason! So how do we do it differently? Because something tells me this life on earth is going to be full of waiting.
There’s a song by John Waller that’s been stuck in my head lately. It’s chorus repeats over and over “I will worship while I’m waiting. I will serve you while I’m waiting…” Our cause and effect brains say the celebration is for after the waiting! Our human nature says grind and hustle and keep your head down and then once God has answered your prayer (the way you hope He’ll answer) or your goal or dream finally come to fruition, then we’ll worship. Then we’ll really be in the business of serving God. This in between time is just a means to an end. Right?!
What if the season of waiting is actually worth just as much as the season we’re waiting on?
When I first became a stay at home mom, my life felt like it got really quiet really quick. Sometimes I despised that season because, while I’d never loved anything like that little life I was now responsible for, it was hard for me to believe that changing diapers all day was really impacting this world for the kingdom of God. (At least in the big ways I dream up.) I’m an ambitious person, a “#3: Achiever” if you’re into the Enneagram. And while my head might feel confident in the value of my motherhood role, my heart didn’t always feel it at first. If you’ve never been a stay-at-home-mom, or ever experienced becoming a mom in general, it has a way of making your life feel suddenly very small. It turns out though, that quiet was just what I needed to hear what God was whispering to me.
I wonder what conversations I’ve missed because the pace of
my day was drowning Him out.
1 Kings 19 tells a story of Elijah looking for Gods voice in the powerful, loud, and impressive and failing to find Him there. It wasn’t until the noise died down that Gods voice could be heard in the whisper. Wow. I don’t know about you, but “noisy” is a pretty good description of my house most the time (and to be honest, my heart too). What a picture to imagine God just waiting for us, wishing we’d get quiet enough to hear Him. I wonder what conversations I’ve missed because the pace of my day was drowning Him out.
In my new, quiet routine I started to feel like God was telling me that He wanted to use me in “women’s ministry.” It wasn’t the first time I’d heard that from Him in my life and I had no idea what He meant, but this time it seemed like it was time and it also seemed like the WORST timing. I know God’s word says His timing is better than my own, but I’d just quit work to be home and a tiny baby consumed my life! So naturally this enneagram 3 girl immediately started stressing about my inability to take all the “right next steps” and pour all my time and energy into pursuing that calling.
Why would God give me a dream and then just make me wait?
I didn’t get what God was doing with this dream. It made no sense that He’d give me this calling and then just make me wait. Usually, if I had a goal I’d make myself a game plan and get right to work! Our culture says, “If you want something, work hard enough and hustle to have it!” So why now, when my capacity to do that felt so limited?! Maybe to prove to me that when HE has a dream for us, it isn’t about striving in our own strength. Maybe so that when it finally started to unfold, my faith would be strengthened like never before. Maybe so it would be impossible not to give Him the glory when His power was made perfect in my weakness!…
Don’t be fooled though, LOTS of tears were shed in that season! Waiting can feel like being stuck. It can feel aimless and even make you question whether or not your dream is really a calling from God or some idea you came up with yourself that really isn’t any good. I felt them all throughout the year following that whisper from God. It was probably one of the harder years I’ve had so far. It was probably the hardest I had prayed in a while too. And I think that’s just what God was hoping for.
The not knowing is actually what led me to do the very things I now know God was using to work together His plan for good. I listened for Gods voice like never before that year. I looked for Him everywhere; hungry for Him to show me what was next. Somewhere along the way I decided there were two ways I could wait: held back by fear or moving forward in faithfulness. I didn’t really know where “forward” was, but I know that Jesus said “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much” (Luke 16:10) And I wanted to be that one! So I chose to start with the little and start showing up to encourage women how I could in that season.
That’s why this blog came to be! Sharing what God was teaching me here and on my instagram page was a way I could start being faithful with a little. I also started a bible study in my living room that year and that group of women continue to bless me as I see God grow us alongside one another. I’d write during nap time and lead that weekly small group with my very best; trusting God to be in charge of the outcomes and impact and all the rest. I think this season is when God really drove home Proverbs 31:25 for me: “..she laughs without fear of the future.”
God keeps His promises!
A year later I felt God leading me to claim that Proverbs verse and the word “fearless” over the next year to come. It turns out He was preparing me to say “yes” (to even more than I bargained for!) with boldness. What a good author God is! Do you ever just look back and see the way He was weaving your story together and feel blown away by His creativity and faithfulness?!
Just when I had learned I was going to have another sweet little baby come home with me soon, I was invited to lunch out of the blue. It was with our Women’s Ministry pastor and I thought, “this must be the start! This is where I’m going to start seeing God show me what He meant.” Again, the timing felt a little crazy, but “Finally, God’s going to give me the first step towards the ministry He wants to use me for… maybe she wants me to volunteer? help with a women’s event in some capacity?…” We both ended up in tears at that lunch.
She didn’t want to ask me any of those things. She wanted to invite me to join her as she led our church’s ministry with the ultimate goal of training me to take the lead when the time came. God wasn’t giving me a tiny taste of the ministry He might have for me someday – He was confirming that I’d been doing ministry all along and now it was time for Him to show me what He meant when He whispered to me about “women’s ministry” the year before. She had no. clue. We’d never spoken about this. We’d rarely spoken at all! She simply said that she and the team felt like God told them to ask me, and here we were. And the coolest part is, she sighted those very small things I’d been doing as ways God put me on their radar (even this blog!)
You cannot make this stuff up! Here I was thinking of Gods promise in human terms of logical steps and timelines. Thinking this could be a calling I wait for God to unfold for years! (I do still believe that will be true – through my whole life!) But He writes a better story for us than we could even ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20) His timing really is perfect and His ways really are better than ours. (Isaiah 55:8)
Sometimes His timing and thoughts and ways being better than our own put us in positions a little out of our depth. I won’t say that the thought, “ME?! I’m SO under-qualified” didn’t cross my mind. But that’s the thing about being in the place you know God intends for you to be, it’s full of a whole lot of peace that passes understanding. (Philippians 4:7)If He called you, He’ll equip you. (Hebrews 13:21)
That’s the thing about being in the place you know God intends for you to be,
it’s full of a whole lot of peace.
The work of waiting…
Waiting in faith goes against our nature as people. It’s just hard! It’s built into the fabric of who we are and the mystery of a human relationship with Jesus. And we’ll always be waiting while we’re here on earth – Our hearts are longing for heaven! (2 Corinthians 5:2) But there is SO much worth in the work waiting. It’s in that waiting, while we’re forced to trust what we cannot see: that God is working it all out for good, that He’s also working within us. It’s in the waiting that He’s preparing us for the good work He prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10) It’s while we wait that He’s maturing us to steward the dream He whispered to our heart.
Turning your deepest desires over to God is the difference between a deeper relationship with Him or a life of cynicism and wasted time. It reminds me of the story Jesus told in Matthew 25. A successful man entrusted different portions of his money to different men who worked for him. When the time came for him to take back his investment, some men had acted with intention and boldness and seen that money multiply for their master. They were praised and given even more to steward. While another hid the money in fear and had no growth to offer. He missed out on sharing in his masters happiness and the little he had was taken from him because he hadn’t proven himself faithful to take care of it, let alone more. Yikes. I hope to be like the first guys!
So what’s your little?
God’s made Himself pretty clear to me lately: If He has a dream for your life, its realization is not dependent on your own plans or performance. He asks for your obedience. So show up and start small! Let this waiting period lead you to lean in to the presence of Jesus. Steward what you have well in whatever season you’re in. You just never know how God might be using it to prepare you for the work He’s prepared for you!
If your hearts been feeling extra noisy lately or you need some practical tips for getting quiet, give this encouragement a read!
For a really encouraging podcast episode on this topic, click here!
& To my mama friends who might feel like your dreams are on the back burner, check out Brave Gals for sweet encouragement and their shop for CUTEST wearable reminders to keep dreaming God sized dreams (like the one in my photo!!)