Category Archives: waiting

jigsaw puzzles

jigsaw_puzzle

When puzzle pieces go missing. I want to understand. I want to see how all these pieces can be put back together.

But the real wisdom is not the ability to find how all the puzzle gets back together.  Real wisdom is trusting God, even when life doesn’t make sense.~Joni Earekson Tada

One of my favorite things growing up was working jigsaw puzzles.  The more pieces, the better.   I remember taking my saved up allowance money, going to one of the neighborhood stores that sold toys, and buying the puzzle box filled with hundreds, yes even a thousand pieces.   Oh, I could hardly wait to get home so we could open up the box and dump out all the pieces.  When it was puzzle time, Mom would set up a card table in the corner of the den, so Dad and I could spend hours at a time, working the puzzle.

At first, I would want to just start trying pieces to see if they would match.  But Dad would take his time, carefully examining the pieces for each of the matches.   Sometimes the process was slow and tedious and then other times, the pace would change and the pieces would fall into place.  In learning how to work these puzzles, I relied so many times on my dad’s wisdom to guide me through the process of putting the pieces back together.

He would often say, Our lives are often times like this jigsaw puzzle.  We have circumstances and situations that break us apart.  And we have to trust God to help us put the pieces back together.  We can’t do it on our own.” 

When I ran across the words of Joni Earekson Tada, my mind went back to the special times spent working on those jigsaw puzzles and the spiritual life lessons I took away from the hundreds, or thousands pieces jigsaw puzzles.  And then it went to the times my life has seemed like a jigsaw puzzle.

Many times have I cried out, “I just want all the pieces to go back together. I just want to put it all back together.”  

The problem was one little, tiny word . .  . I” . . . ” I want . . .” 

My life is like those jigsaw puzzles, I have to let go of all the loose puzzle pieces.

Just like as a young girl when I looked to my earthly dad to guide me, to share his wisdom, I have to turn to my Abba Father, my Creator, for His wisdom to help me put the pieces back together.

 In His way, in His time.  It’s not up to me to sort through all the broken apart pieces and tediously put pieces back together.  I can not do it on my own.

I must trust in His Wisdom.  He puts back the pieces – in ways, I couldn’t even see! 

Trusting Him, even when life doesn’t make sense.


meet me in the timelessness

BJG_0259

 Life has different stages of waiting.

There is that gnawing demand on the mind as we wait.

It seems like so much of time we are sitting in a waiting room – that place where I tend to become frustrated with inefficiency and inaction.  With myself, with others.  And yes, at times . . .  even God.

Some of the times of waiting are in anticipation of something good happening – the birth of a new little baby.  The excitement of looking towards starting a new chapter in life.

Some times it is that vast area of waiting for God’s timing in a specific situation or circumstance in my life, the lives of my family, of my friends.

Then there is the  waiting room where I kneel praying for the Prodigal.  It’s often a very lonely place where well-meaning people seem to slip in and out of as time wears on.  It is a seemingly ending vastness of time ticking away – time slipping away.

And yet another sweet reminder comes that God meets me in the timelessness . . . 

and in that time of waiting, He continues to bless me with strength, and joy, and power.

But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.
—Micah 7:7

 

Wait patiently with Me while I bless you. Don’t rush into My Presence with time-consciousness gnawing at your mind. I dwell in timelessness: I am, I was, I will always be. For you, time is a protection; you’re a frail creature who can handle only twenty-four-hour segments of life. Time can also be a tyrant, ticking away relentlessly in your mind. Learn to master time, or it will be your master.

Though you are a time-bound creature, seek to meet Me in timelessness. As you focus on My Presence, the demands of time and tasks will diminish. I will bless you and keep you, making My Face shine upon you graciously, giving you Peace.
(from Jesus Calling)

 


those times in between

Waiting.  Watching and waiting. It’s that time of the year around here again.  Our bluebird houses were completely cleaned out in the early days of spring.  But with the unusual weather we’ve had, it seems that our waiting time for the houses to be filled with nests and eggs has been even longer than usual.  Walking the fence line last weekend to check on the progress, I thought about this season of waiting.

1st bluebirds 2014

1st bluebirds 2014

It seems in a number of areas of my life, that’s exactly where I am –

waiting . . .  watching . . .  waiting

Those times of waiting often seem to be the most difficult.  It’s that time that is either “going to make me or break me.” It’s those times when things aren’t clear, it’s like waking up to some of the foggy mornings we’ve had lately.

Confusion sets in.
Hopelessness sets in.
Doubt sets in.
A lack of understanding sets in.
Coping sets in.
Disillusionment sets in.
Cynicism sets in.
Unbelief sets in.

The time of waiting often seems to be unrelenting.  Those times in between are often difficult, when I begin to doubt. The days turn into weeks.  The weeks turn into months.  And the months even turn into years. Those times of waiting are the times in between . . . the times in between of being on the mountain tops.  While I love those times on the mountaintops, I have learned that it’s the times in between the mountain tops where I experience His greatest Joys.  

And so with the discovery of several nests with those beautiful blue eggs waiting to hatch, I ,too, am reminded that those times in between – in waiting and watching – there is Hope.

It might be waiting for the birth of our newest granddaughter, the return of a colleague to work, for a new home, for reconciliation in a relationship, the return of a prodigal, the end of a career and the beginning of a new season in life. Whatever the wait . . . I hold onto His Promise 

I know that You can do anything
and no plan of Yours can be thwarted.
Job 42:2

Because He is I AM.

He sees me in my waiting.  He shows me His faithfulness in looking back over all the many seasons of waiting in my life.  And although there are times of confusion, of not understanding the why, times of doubt and cynicism, of mistrust in the fog, I am confident that He is my Hope in the times in between.

So I continue to wait, to watch for His Hand in those times in between. 


You promised!

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First the clouds started rolling in from the west . . . then the winds picked up . . . followed by the spring rains.

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and then the sky poured out a double rainbow . . .

Our reminder of His Promise . . .

 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between Me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all future generations: I have placed My bow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.
Genesis 9:12-13

and a reminder to pray His promises. . .

Your promises build my faith and give me hope.
They help me remember your kindness and give me strength to go on.
Your Word makes it clear that Your promises can be trusted:
“God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man that He should change
 his mind.  Does He speak and then not act.  Does He promise and not fulfill?”
You keep your promises!
Because You are absolutely perfect, it is impossible for You to lie.
Your Word is filled with promises, I want to pray again and again . . .
You tell me to have faith when I pray . . . 

And the rain fell to the earth that spring day last weekend.   And just as the cleansing rains fell to saturate the ground, to nurture the earth – making it bud and bloom before cycling back to the heavens again . . .

I can rely on your Word because you are reliable.
You said about your Word,
‘It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I
desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it’ Isaiah 55:11

Thank You that I can rely on your Word because You are reliable.


never alone

Wide as the Sky.001

A few nights ago my sweet man was working on some video stuff and downloading music.  When I heard this new song, Wide as the Sky, by Matt Redman, my memory took me back a number of years ago . . . to a time that I had buried deep in my heart.  

. . . There was something holding me back from opening up myself to worship . . .  I mean . . .  Real Worship.

I’ve always loved singing [in and out of church], but I would watch vicariously as others would open themselves up to unashamed real worship.  And then one day, it happened.  It was a rare occurrence, the three of us – my middle son, my daughter and me – sitting all together at the late worship service.  Admittedly, I was in the throes of walking through a dark season in my life.

Life was falling apart.

As the 11:11 worship band was playing [sadly I can’t remember what the song was], my eyes were fixed straight ahead.  But to each side of me, I saw the hands of a son and daughter raising up. It was in that moment, I no longer felt the constraints holding me back.

Life was falling apart.  And my hands were reaching up, so my heart could begin to open up.

I did not know where this battle in the dark season would take me.  As alone as I may have felt, I knew I was not walking it alone.

Looking back over the last 10 plus years since that day, I know . .  . Never once did I walk alone.

CLICK TO LISTEN:  NEVER ONCE by Matt Redman


even in the dark

 

john 1_5.001

It never ceases to amaze me . . . when I’m on the hunt for something to share with someone . . . The Word speaks to me.  Sometimes it’s a tug on my heart.  Or maybe a tap on my shoulder or a pull on my arm.  And then there are the times when it hits me smack in the head.  That’s exactly what happened the other day when I read Ann Voskamp’s post, How to Get Through the Dark Places.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that can defeat me. I can say, “I get it.” N.O.T.H.I.N.G.
And there is no place His light won’t go to find you, to save you, to hold you.

The darkness doesn’t understand the light, doesn’t comprehend the light, doesn’t get the light, doesn’t overcome the light, doesn’t master the light.

Darkness doesn’t have anything on light, on hope, on faith.

The darkness that sucks at the prodigal kid doesn’t have anything on the light of his mother’s prayers.

The black of pornography that threatens at the edges doesn’t master the blazing light of Jesus at the center.

The pit of depression that plunges deep doesn’t go deeper than the love of your Jesus and there is no place His light won’t go to find you, to save you, to hold you.

That low-lying storm cloud that hangs over you can’t master the light of Christ that raises you.

Darkness can’t drive out darkness. Only light can do that.

Only words of Light can drive out worlds of dark.
Only deeds of Light can drive out depths of dark.
Only lives of Light can drive out lies of dark.

Darkness can never travel as fast as Light. No matter how bad things get, no matter how black the dark seeps in, no matter the depths of the night — the dark can never travel as fast as Light. The Light is always there first, waiting to shatter the dark.

You can always hold His Word like a ball of light right there your hand, right up there next to your warming heart.

You can always count on it: Jesus is bendable Light, warmth around every unexpected corner.

So press on.  Keep running the race – even in the dark.


on wings like eagles

20090817185723010_Eagle Alaska

but those who wait upon the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint 
Isaiah 40:31

Funny thing . . . this verse has come across my path several times over the last few days . . .

Every time I read this verse, I’m reminded of the solitary eagle.  I can envision how he can soar to the great heights and depths, maneuvering through mountains, skimming over tops of forests and the water – all of his senses alive, on high alert. Waiting.

He can be very quiet . . . with an absolute resolute stillness.  There doesn’t seems to be a sense of restlessness or hurriedness to him.  Waiting.

Waiting expectantly to stretch his majestic, powerful wings.  Waiting to soar higher and higher, catching the upper air currents.  Soaring up high above the storms of life.

Unlike the eagle . . .

I run . . . I grow weary.

I walk . . . I grow faint.

I need to be like the eagle.  I need to learn to wait . . . wait like the solitary eagle.  I need to be silent like the eagle.  To wait on God – to be silent so He can speak.  To be expectant, with all my spiritual senses on high alert.  Not expectant of the world, not expectant of others around me, not even of myself.  My expectation must be from Him.

Then, and only then, will my strength be renewed.


waiting . . . hope


advent candles

Through all the Advents of our life, we shall wait and look forward with longing for that day of the Lord, when God says, ‘I’m making all things new.’  ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Today is the first of December . . . the time of waiting for Christmas begins.

Advent. Waiting . . . and looking forward.

The lighting of the advent candles and reading the Word was a much-anticipated event I shared with my children as they were growing up. A special memory is the home-made dough wreath the boys made and decorated for us to use during the Christmas season.  It became one of those cherished items, lovingly brought out year after year.  So on this first Sunday of December, I was reminded of this very special time shared with my three smiling faces as they would take turns reading and lighting the candles through the years.  I am especially reminded of how we focused not on the ritual, but on the relationship with the One we celebrate.

As I read Bonhoeffer’s quote in a devotion today, I was struck with the thought that I should always be in state of Advent, waiting and looking forward to the coming of the Day of the Lord.

The first candle is lit today . . .  the candle representing Hope.

Hope through all the Advents of our life.  Hope in the fact that He is making all things new.  Hope in the waiting.

How to Have the Best Christmas: The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp


not a random thing

Glassing for elk

Remember . . . he was Mine before he was yours, and I love him more than you do.

Those were the words whispered to me in the dark, early morning hour.  Something woke me up and looking at the clock on our iPad the background picture was that of our prodigal.  What has become my habit through the years, whenever the face or name of those dear to me seem to come randomly,  I lift them to our Father because I know He knows them and He is the only who can bring peace.

I know the One I have believed in and am persuaded that He is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day.
2 Timothy 1: 12

When God calls you to pray for someone . . . be it one of your own, or someone else . . . it is not a random thing.  It is not something to be put on the “to-do list later”.  It might be that very hour, that very moment, in which that one is struggling or dealing with an all-important issue or maybe it’s in that very moment they are staggering under the load of choices they’ve made.  And standing in the gap at that moment may be God’s special provision and help to lead them to the road of deliverance . . . in that very moment.

Then later this morning while taking my mom and dad into town to do a few errands, we stopped in at their local favorite donut shop to have some coffee and a muffin.  While enjoying their Saturday morning ritual, I noticed I had gotten a text from my sweet man who’s deep in the mountains, several states away.  Cell service is pretty erratic, but he always sends a little something “sweet,” and always encouraging before he heads out.  His text read …”Growing Young” by Rich Mullins . . . listen to and pray . . . ” God had put our prodigal on my husband’s heart too.

Again . . . when God calls you to pray for someone – it is not a random thing.

So . . . we are obedient  . . . we pray . . . we relinquish into His hands . . .

The Lord will perfect that which concerns me
Psalm 138:3

“Growing Young” – Rich Mullins

I’ve gone so far from my home
I’ve seen the world and I have known
So many secrets
I wish now I did not know
‘Cause they have crept into my heart
They have left it cold and dark
And bleeding,
Bleeding and falling apart

And everybody used to tell me big boys don’t cry
Well I’ve been around enough to know that that was the lie
That held back the tears in the eyes of a thousand prodigal sons
Well we are children no more, we have sinned and grown old
And our Father still waits and He watches down the road
To see the crying boys come running back to His arms
And be growing young
Growing young

I’ve seen silver turn to dross
Seen the very best there ever was
And I’ll tell you, it ain’t worth what it costs
And I remember my father’s house
What I wouldn’t give right now
Just to see him and hear him tell me that he loves me so much

And everybody used to tell me big boys don’t cry
Well I’ve been around enough to know that that was the lie
That held back the tears in the eyes of a thousand prodigal sons
Well we are children no more, we have sinned and grown old
And our Father still waits and He watches down the road
To see the crying boys come running back to His arms

And when I thought that I was all alone
It was your voice I heard calling me back home
And I wonder now Lord
What it was that made me wait so long
And what kept You waiting for me all that time
Was Your love stronger than my foolish pride
Will You take me back now, take me back and let me be Your child

‘Cause I’ve been broken now, I’ve been saved 
I’ve learned to cry, and I’ve learned how to pray 
And I’m learning, I’m learning even I can be changed

And everybody used to tell me big boys don’t cry
Well I’ve been around enough to know that that was the lie
That held back the tears in the eyes of a thousand prodigal sons

Well we are children no more, we have sinned and grown old 
And our Father still waits and He watches down the road 
To see the crying boys come running back to His arms 
And be growing young
Growing young
Growing young


hope isn’t lost

88e1e05f162fc4daac3e69180c4765be  from Pinterest

Sometimes God doesn’t give us what we’re asking for so that He can give us what we really want. The problem is, we often don’t know what we really want.  We pray with tunnel vision.

What about when the very thing you’ve been praying for not to happen, happens?  When that comes about, it’s so very easy to lose hope, to become daunted.

Praying in such difficult times can stretch your faith.  Things seem to go from bad to worse.  But it’s in these very times we need to lean in to our Abba Father and remember that God’s timing is rarely ours.  It’s time to remember He has complete authority over the situation.

When it seems like all is lost, when you seem to lost the last shred of hope, it only means God is not finished yet.  

Doubt creeps in like a lion.  The voice of Doubt makes you question.  Why do you keep praying?  Why do you even bother?  Why do you continue when your words seem to fall on deaf ears?  Why?  Why bother?

Because the last word does not belong to Doubt.  The last word belongs to God.  God is faithful, and He will answer our prayers in His timing and His wisdom.  Both are Perfect.

We may not see Him coming, but we continue to pray.  My arms may not be able to reach out those close to my heart, but my prayers surround them with hugs . . .hugs . . . His outstretched arms reaching out to them offering the Grace He intended all along.  

Hope isn’t lost.  It’s only taking another way.

When I am dealing with an all-powerful, all-knowing God, I, as a mere mortal, must offer my petitions not only with persistence but also with patience.  Someday I’ll know why.
Ruth Bell Graham

from Prayers for Prodigals


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