I’ve not written many personal blog posts recently. It’s not because I haven’t had the time or wanted to write. Honestly, I just haven’t known how to put my thoughts into words or turn my words into sentences for everyone to read. Since moving to CO, I feel I’ve been processing so many emotions, thoughts, feelings, and circumstances of my last eight years. Now that I am away from the place that held so much brokenness (SC) for me, I have fresh eyes and an open heart to release, receive and rest. It’s been a hard few months. It’s also been a good few months.
Now that we are somewhat settled from the transition to CO, God has purposefully given me a new season of slow . . . of calm . . . of waiting. Until Jason and I go through church planter assessment in March 2019, we have been graciously given a season of recover, rest and renewal. The present ministry expectations are few, undemanding and refreshing. Our eight years in SC were without a doubt the most challenging years for our personal lives, marriage and ministry. So what a blessing this season has been as we gear up for a very demanding season of church planting in the months and years ahead!
However, I’m in this strange and weird season of expectantly waiting for what’s next. I’m living in the “in-between, but not yet” season of church planting. Jason and I know we were led to CO to partner with Storyline Fellowship. We know God has called us to ministry. We know God has clearly given us a burden and desire to church plant. But so much of our future is still unclear.
“Where will we plant? Will we rent or buy a house? Where will our kids go to school? How will God provide financially? Who will God lead to partner with us? What is the timeline for our church plant? Will people even come to our church? Can we do this?”
So many questions exist in the wait. So many doubts creep in during the wait. So many emotions overwhelm in the wait. So many feelings constantly change in the wait. So many frustrations are exposed in the wait. So many buried hurts and longings are revealed in the wait. So many deep heart issues are coming to light in the wait.
Honestly, I’m not good at waiting. Not very good at all! I don’t like to wait. I don’t like to not clearly see what is ahead in my future. I want answers now. I want to be instantly gratified!
Yet, all throughout Scripture, we see that God’s people spent years waiting for God to work, to provide, to deliver, to fulfill His promises. I’ve recently been studying the book of Exodus. It’s clear from the beginning of Moses’ life that God is completely in control and has plans to use Moses in a great way for His glory. God has plans to deliver His people from Egyptian bondage. God plans to lead His people into the land of promise and freedom with Moses leading the charge. But Moses and the Israelites must WAIT on God to deliver in His timing and way! Often, we must go through the process of waiting to receive the promise of waiting.
God’s people waited expectantly for years and years for the Messiah to come to earth the first time! God’s people are once again waiting for Jesus Christ to return to this Earth and forever destroy the brokenness and sin that we presently live in.
With the season of Advent upon us, I’ve thought so much about waiting. I struggle to wait well. I long to wait with joy and expectancy. I desire to glory in the wait without constantly pushing into the next thing. I want to surrender fully to Christ in the wait . . . not taking control and trying to make things happen. I just don’t always know how to best wait.
At church this week, we were singing “Good, Good Father” when these lyrics jumped off the screen and deep inside my heart–
Oh, I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think you’re like,
But I’ve heard the tender whispers of love in the dead of night.
And You tell me that You’re pleased
And that I’m never alone.
Tender WHISPERS of love . . . WHISPERS of grace.
I felt God speak to my heart and say, “Sarah, it’s these tender whispers of my love that help you wait. It’s these daily whispers of my grace that enable you to press into the wait. You will hear stories from others of what I’m like, but you have personally experienced My whispers of grace and love that are transforming your life. Remind yourself often of My whispers of grace and love and know that you are deeply loved and never alone. I am with you. Trust me in the wait.”
So many times in these past few years, I have grown tired of waiting on the Lord. I’ve wanted to give up on Him. I’ve wanted to abandon the calling to ministry. I’ve been frustrated with life circumstances and questioned God’s love for me. I’ve doubted that He is in the wait . . . working for my good and His glory.
But then I remember His whispers of love . . . His whispers of grace. The needed phone call from a friend. The gorgeous rainbow after the storm. The love note from my husband. The energy to survive a rough day. The abundant release of healing tears. The Scripture verse of hope. The beautiful flowers. The sweet forgiveness from my child. The song of truth. The encouraging text. The answered prayer. The courage to share hope with a stranger. The healed heart of my beloved. The provision of a home. The promise that God is “with us.” Our Emmanuel.
And the waiting becomes easier. The wait seems doable. I’m able to wait on the Lord and His fulfillment of promises because of what God has done before and what He is presently doing in my life. His whispers of love and grace remind me that He is ever present with me. No day of my life goes unnoticed by Him. He has chosen to dwell with you and me in this “in-between, not yet” messy world that awaits His future coming. He is my Emmanuel. My ever present King who daily whispers grace to me in the messy wait. He is your Emmanuel.
I’m so thankful that Jesus chose to come to this earth as a baby. To enter into humanity. To bring hope to a dark and broken world. To give us the promises of eternal life and a future restoration of all that’s broken and in need of redemption.
This season of Advent is about waiting. We long for the coming of Christ. We long to be delivered from brokenness, pain, and heartbreak. The waiting can be so uncomfortable. The waiting can often feel hopeless and helpless. The waiting seems endless.
But Galatians 4:4 says, “When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son.” Jesus came to us at just the right time! God’s timing is always just right. His timing is perfect. We can trust Him in our waiting. We can even worship Him in the wait.
I have the hunch that we all are waiting for God in some area of our lives. We all desperately need a Savior. We all long to know God is with us. May I encourage you to think on the “whispers of His love and grace” to you. Those whispers that only you have personally experienced with Him. Write them down. Share these whispers with another person. Thank God for His constant nearness. Make time this Advent season to reflect on those whispers that God has spoken directly to you.
In this Advent season may we keep expectantly waiting and listening for His whispers. He kindly whispers love and grace to each of us. He knows we grow weary in our brokenness and need reminders of His presence. It’s these continual whispers of His love and grace that will propel us to worship in the wait. To worship Emmanuel. God with us.
I waited patiently for the LORD, and He turned to me and heard my cry for help. He brought me up from a desolate pit, out of the muddy clay, and set my feet on a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD. Psalm 40:1-3