The perfect job – it exists!

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Perfect job

I don’t know what you fantasize about, but sometimes I imagine the feeling of just having landed THE ultimate job.  In my daydream, I can FEEL the excitement, the open-ended sense of possibility, the overwhelming gratitude and joy of actually being able both to be challenged in a healthy way AND to get to do every day what makes me happiest.  (Speaking French is the number one component)  Included in my daydream is the notion of having been PICKED or selected with all sorts of concomitant and guaranteed learning opportunities and training that will enrich my life.  I’ll be among happy fellow enthusiasts and what we do will make a difference.

Maybe pipe dreams of the ideal job aren’t the ingredients that fuel your fantasy.  Maybe it’s that longing for the ultimate family or skill experience/achievement (winning an Olympic gold in your event) or a different pinnacle of your own choosing.  But for me, it’s always been a longing for THAT job.

And as I approach 60, I’m beginning to realize, not with too many regrets, that there are milestones and goals that I probably won’t realize while I’m alive in this body.

Far be THAT, however, to lead to depression.  For as a Christian, the Bible teaches that the BEST is yet to come!

In fact, if you think about it, since we are immortal and will be given new bodies at Jesus’ 2nd coming, bodies with more and better capacities, the idea of longing for the perfect job while here on earth is both short-sided and bound to disappoint.

But if we view our time on earth as training for the future, (the internship I wrote about earlier – Last week’s blog on a Theology of Work), then we can wait patiently, knowing that God doesn’t waste ANY of our experiences.

So in my imagining the work we will do in Heaven, I bet that:

  • It will be something we each feel perfectly suited for, given our ‘bents’ and our ‘experiences’ here on earth
  • It will be among happy colleagues who lovingly support and encourage one another
  • Our leader, Christ, will be the perfect ‘boss’
  • We will do work that is meaningful and satisfying.

So until then, I pray and trust God for patience and gratitude for both my future destination and the preparation He gives me each day in the meantime.

Colossians 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

PS:  I think the inheritance will be the invitation to come take an active productive role with the Triune God in the Kingdom!

Keep Calm - Job

Whose time is it?


Rushing Clock




Tomorrow is Monday, the start of a new work/school week for young and old. The alarm will buzz, vibrate, rattle or serenade us into the awaiting day where the mantra is RUSH, RUSH, RUSH!  And for many, the Sunday dread of the pending week has already begun to dampen spirits.

Does it have to be this way?  What causes all advance weariness?

For me, the idea of hurling myself into the day with the goal of squeezing out more TIME than numerically possible has gotten old. I’ve been pondering my assumptions and questioning if they are even true.  For starters:

  • is it true that TIME is immutable, that is to say, ‘fixed and unchangeable’?  Do we really have only so many minutes and hours to do ALL that we want to/have to do?
  • is there something called MY TIME.  If this is so, where do we get this TIME? Does it come to us by virtue of being born?
  • is it up to us to decide what we have to do or want to do?
  • and just what exactly IS TIME after all?

Here are some liberating facts to guide and perhaps change our ideas and eventually our Modus Operandi:

God is the source of all that is.  He created TIME out of nothing. But of course He existed BEFORE He made the construct called TIME.  The fact that God formed TIME doesn’t minimize its usefulness for God or for His creation.  But if He created it, He can tweak it, change it, stretch it, and abolish it when His purposes for TIME have been completed.  How do I know this is so?  Consider some of these events:

  • When the disciples were rowing across the Sea of Galilee in a storm, Jesus came walking across the water toward them.  Here are a couple of lines in John’s gospel:  Chapter 6:20-21 But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”  Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.
  • Then there is Joshua in the Old Testament. The successor to Moses, he prayed to God for His supernatural intervention, as recorded in Joshua 10:13  So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.

If God has created everything/all things, then that ‘ALL’ includes both the material and the immaterial.  TIME certainly fits in the category of immaterial.  We can’t see it, but we measure it by material things that God has created, like the sun and the moon and Earth’s relative position to the stars.

I’m beginning to see my presumption and small-mindedness in believing that the God who creates TIME is constrained by how I, a creature, count TIME.

After all, is it too hard for God to manipulate TIME so that it is sufficient for me to accomplish HIS agenda for me this day?  Come on!  We’re talking about the God:

  • Who keeps the Hebrews’ sandals from wearing out during their 40-year journey to Canaan
  • Who multiplies rolls and dried fish to feed a mighty crowd of hungry folks
  • Who springs Peter from jail on one occasion and Paul and Silas on another (employing two different means)
  • Who brings dead people back to life
  • Who provides a coin in the mouth of a fish for the disciples to pay their taxes

If all this is so, maybe you and I can STOP rushing around.  Maybe slowing down to smell the flowers and marvel at God’s creation can become our norm.  Just maybe welcoming ‘interruptions’ as opportunities to demonstrate our trust in God’s sovereign control over TIME can become our new MODUS OPERANDI for 2015.

May God’s truth, as David penned it in Psalm 31: 14-15, have the last word:

But I trust in you, O Lord;
    I say, “You are my God.”
 My times are in your hand;
    rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!

God holding clock




PS:  Who might be our actual ‘enemies and persecutors’?

Who’s in charge?


If I were in charge, I wouldn’t have done it THAT way!

 Have you ever muttered that?  Consider these scenarios

 ·       You’ve been praying for an adult child to come to Christ.  Here he is, approaching 50 and just beginning to show signs of a softened heart.  But you think, “Lord, his life would have been so much better had You done this 20 years ago!”

·         Or it could be your aging mom – defiant until almost to the end.  Suddenly a hearing loss or lessened mobility has gotten her attention and she is asking about God.

·         Or, it’s your husband who has plugged away at his career with such a great attitude, yet no recognition.  “Father,” you plead, “can’t You allow him SOME measure of success!?”

·         You’ve heard of Joni Eareckson Tada – paraplegia PLUS breast cancer?  Not what she would have chosen..yet she claims she wouldn’t change a thing!

·         And finally a Scottish woman whose 2 children died in infancy, her ‘good for nothing’, titled husband was worse than terrible so that all in all she led a bleak life….yet…at age 35 he succumbed to a terminal illness that softened his heart. He actually repented and turned to Christ – literal death-bed conversion whose veracity was attested to by Scottish Presbyterian Pastor Samuel Rutherford.  She later wrote that it was totally worth it, to know that he would share eternal life with her.


For sure, not what these fellow believers would have chosen had their plans been sovereign.

 We should also take heart, for it’s not just recent believers who share our puzzled expectations, but Bible heroes as well. Many men and women in the Old and New Testaments echoed equally poignant laments.  The prophets did not understand God’s use of evil nations against God’s chosen people.  You can hear both Habakkuk’s incredulity and horror in 2:13 when he questions the Almighty’s strategy of bringing the hated Chaldeans AGAINST Judah:

You who are of purer eyes than to see evil
                 and cannot look at wrong,
why do you idly look at traitors
                 and remain silent when the wicked swallows up
                 the man more righteous than he?

 And what about the Hebrews en route to the Promised Land?  I bet they would have been quick to give you their 2 shekels’ worth about the frustrations inherent in a 40-year detour.


So….? How do these anecdotes help you & me?  When life doesn’t go according to our plan, we have to remember that Jesus is the happy controller (1 Tim 6:15) not us.  Therefore, His route and plan WILL be best.

With this fact about God in mind, I want to encourage all my dear friends (AND ME!!), those

 ·        who have miscarried too many babies

·         who are raising children with less than perfect brain chemistry or physical attributes

·         who are waiting for the right Christian man to join them in marriage

·         who are working diligently to build a business, yet have yet to see growth

·         who are praying that their children’s marriages will heal

·         who struggle with finances

·         who cry out to God to grow their church

·         whose bodies are breaking down and wearing out

·         who want nothing else than children and spouses to come to Christ or to grow in Christ

 God DOES know what He is doing and you are neither forgotten nor unloved.  Cling to Him, wait in faith and pray on:

 With Habakkuk, cry out:

Though the fig tree does not bud
            and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.  (3:17-18)    

Holy Work-outs in God’s Gym


Yesterday I found out that I get to practice patience for 2 more weeks.

A month has crept by since I interviewed for a French-teaching job in Asheville.  As the first candidate, I was prepared to wait a few weeks.  But after 30 days, and with the blessing of my husband, I emailed the head of the middle school. Result? She has one more teacher to evaluate and then will make her decision.

Imposed waiting has given me time and motivation to study the biblical context of God’s commands to endure, trust, wait, hope, pray, and expect as well as to inspect the quality of my attitude that surrounds these actions.  Am I obeying God in a peaceful manner or anxiously, with quiet confidence or desperate frenzy?

What I have realized is that this waiting period is God’s gift to me.  It’s a personal, tailor-made course in how to take the long view of God at work. God is actually offering me the opportunity to try Him, to take Him at His word and see if I come up short.  And God is SO confident of His own character, that He is risking nothing.  It’s as though He boasts, “Go ahead, try me, see for yourself if I am sufficient for you this day and each successive day when you DON’T see any way forward, when you DON’T see any results, when there ARE NO OFFERS on your house and NO JOB OFFERS yet or Mike’s FIRST CLIENT has yet to show himself.  And I think He actually trusts ME to accept the challenge to lean on Him and prove to myself and to my watching friends that He is reliable.  As G.K. Chesterton quipped:

      “The problem with Christianity is not that it has been tried & found wanting……… but that it has not been tried!”

When the early church was facing her own trials, James encouraged those young believers to trust his older half-brother Jesus and what He had promised, waiting patiently while relying on God’s characteristics: (James 5: 7-11)

Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. 10 As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

As Mike and I round the corner of our last 6 weeks in Virginia, my take-away TODAY from this experiment with God’s faithfulness is this:

HYPOMONE – the Greek word (Strongs # 5281) for endurance. HYPO means under and MONE means stay.

I am to STAY UNDER God’s provision this day.  He gives both MANNA for the day and MERCIES for the day.  Both fall under His day-tight, measured-out provisions of grace, long ago stockpiled for each of my days.

If I run ahead of Him in my mind to the ‘what-if’ tomorrows, I run out from under and away from His provision.

Isaiah knew whereof he spoke when he counseled in 26:3,

“God will keep you in perfect peace, if you keep your mind fixed on HIM.”(my paraphrase)

It’s a choice – fix my thoughts and mental energy on my worries/circumstances?  Or fix my thoughts & mental energy on God’s character, God’s promises, and God’s past dealings with and provisions to both those in the Bible and me.

So thank you, Father, for this good gift of a trial. You’re training me to be a stronger & more effective spiritual athlete.  I’m a runner in Your race, chasing hard after the prize.  Jesus, my champion and coach, dances enthusiastically at my side, all along encouraging me.  This is the hilly part and I’m running hard.  If I take my eyes off of You, I’ll look at that incline and grow tired.  So help me!  Remind me to thank You for how You’ve already provided.  Remind me to take comfort in Your guarantee that Mark records in 11:24 –

            Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you are receiving it, and it will be yours.


·         My future job

·         The right buyer for our house

·         Those clients for Mike’s business

·         The provision of our future house

·         Our new church family

A door is opening


Thank you for your prayers!

A door is opening.  I have been blessed with an upcoming interview for a French-teaching job in a middle school in Asheville.  Mike and I will drive down on Tuesday, 19 March and I will spend the next day, the 20th, visiting, interviewing and teaching a French lesson.

How am I keeping my stomach from the nervous butterflies?  By focusing my mind on God’s promise in Psalm 84: 11

The Lord is a sun and a shield; He gives grace & glory.  No good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is upright.

  • Sun –He gives me light, energy, direction, growth
  • Shield – Jesus, the anointed one is my shield.  Without His covering, my sin would not let me be in God’s holy presence
  • Grace – I get God’s undeserved favor in unlimited ways
  • Glory – as a new creation ever since I ‘died’ in Feb 1987, was rescued by Jesus and transferred into the Kingdom of Light, I possess an inheritance and am looking forward to reveling in God’s glory as one of Jesus’ sisters.
  • (Skip over ‘good things’ for a moment)
  • Upright – because my trust is in Jesus’ wedding garment, I am free to stand up straight and look into God’s face. Each time I look down at myself or at my circumstances, I lose life-energy-joy. ‘Keeping the faith’ each day is a moment-by-moment re-orientation to what is true and right thinking.  I am only upright (blameless as another translation puts it) since I am unified with Christ.

Back to ‘good things’:   If this teaching job turns out to be a ‘good thing’ for me, according to God, then I will get the job.  He alone knows and sees all events.  If I don’t get this job, then I can know for certain, it was not a ‘good thing’.

What I’m going to say next might surprise you.  I first read Psalm 84:11 in the autobiography of George Müller.  This 19th century English pastor and hero of faith prayed this verse as his first wife lay dying.  And she died.  He took comfort in God’s promise that NO GOOD THING does He withhold from His people.

And George Müller was able to carry on with his children, his ministry and life.  He eventually married a second godly woman and was able to look back and see God’s hand, providentially guiding all circumstances.

Please continue to pray that I may represent myself and my abilities accurately, so that Carolina Day School can make the right decision for them.  I trust ‘my blessed Controller’ to continue His process of guiding me in this adventure.

By the way – We still need a buyer for our house!  But God has that under His happy control, too!    

Stages – or confessions of a ‘has been’


The spotlight has moved on. Mike & I and our two boys used to be at the center of everyone’s attention……especially at Church

We were part of that vital segment of society called young family; we were important.  Only thing is, we didn’t realize it at the time.

I wasn’t aware how much a sense of identity and belonging I enjoyed & derived from that role.

To be honest, do we ever TAKE time to process and evaluate when we’re in the midst of dancing from one school/sport/music/XYZ activity to another?   On the surface, as one mom to another, we might have shared common complaints, but it was from a place of feeling VITAL and NEEDED.

For the most part, Mike and I have adapted well to the “Empty Nest”.  We work our jobs and we look forward to nesting in the evenings, sharing dinner and conversation.  We rejoice when we talk to and visit with our kids and grandkids.  But they live plane-rides away. We find ourselves now at the margins of their lives, when before we shared center-stage with them.  Apparently that is normal, but it does take some mental & emotional adjustment. And a going back to God’s Word to gain our new bearings.

Mike read the other day that parents always love their kids more than their kids love them.   Ouch! Guess I didn’t think how my parents felt when Mike and I struck off on our own.  How did THEY feel when ‘Act II’ opened for them?

I must have missed the Entre’Act – that segué when the stage-hands physically create a new scene.  So last weekend was revelatory to me.  Loud and clear, came the news that cameras were rolling for this next Act in my life.

I participated in the PCC Women’s retreat 9-10 February.  (PCC is the church which houses my school – I’ve enjoyed taking part in about 4 of their retreats in past years.  I know some of the gals and they are a friendly group, willing to take in a non-member).  What struck me this year was how, at age 55 with adult children no longer living in the area and grandkids that we see only occasionally, my roles have changed.

I am now one of those OTHER women!  You know that group; the older gals who are supposed to guide and instruct the younger women?  My job description got updated and I didn’t see it coming!  My gifting, bequeathed to me upon my arrival at the shores of menopause,  is to be interested in/ help out/ listen well to the ‘younger moms’ who are right in the thick of life with little kids and husbands, etc.

I guess I felt envious. (Forgive me, Father!) And I wasn’t anticipating this insight.

The couple of days that followed the retreat were difficult. Tears & emotions that burbled out all over my surprised husband came from not having accurately articulated to myself some newly discovered truths.  (Preach the Gospel to yourself daily!)

But thanks be to God, Gospel truth for this new job description has begun to sink in and guide me as I study how to “Abide in Christ”.  Too slowly obviously, ( but forward, nonetheless!) I am making baby steps and learning the lines for my new role.

Picture a triangle with “Abiding in Christ” safely in the middle.  Security-Identity- Belonging are the 3 corners.  If you are a new creation because you have been divinely and spiritually seeded by the 3rd member of the God-head, then you are safe in the Triune Refuge.  The key is to do life from THAT position..and not to wander outside looking to create one’s OWN identity and purpose.

I’m going to have to get used to my new role. Meanwhile, in the midst of dabbling in self-pity this week, I was reminded of a profound truth, one that CS Lewis has articulated –

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

I take that to mean that if we have a longing that leaves us with an empty ache, then surely satisfaction is coming.  Knowing that, I can wait for that sure, yet future, GLORIOUS fulfillment by God in heaven.  One day, I WILL rest secure at the center of love and belonging-ness with family, but in a way that is tailor-made for me.

So even though, in THIS life under the Sun, Mike and I are on the tailing end, the best, the INFINITE best is yet to come.

As Robert Browning penned in Rabbi Ben Ezra:


Grow old along with me!

The best is yet to be,

The last of life, for which the first was made:

Our times are in His hand

Who saith “A whole I planned,

Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!”


Security Triangle

Reflections on waiting

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This waiting thing – we’re in the thick of it!

  • Waiting for the house to sell
  • Waiting to get a teaching job in NC
  • Waiting for Mike’s first paying client
  • Waiting for Wes to return from Afghanistan

Not that waiting isn’t part of others’ lives, too:

  • Our brother and sister-in-law are waiting for her immigration paperwork to come through.
  • Friends are waiting for babies – to be born and to be adopted
  • Many sisters & brothers in Christ are waiting for loved ones to be brought into God’s forever family
  • Other friends are waiting for healing and pain to subside
  • A friend is waiting for her husband finally to receive the career recognition he deserves and longs for
  • Another friend is waiting for debt to be paid off so she can marry

I realized something last night that shifted my view of how God is working.  I’m a lot more relaxed this time around selling a house.  The first time was when we were 27 years old.  Mike had moved out to Monterey, Graham was a baby and we were desperate to sell a house in Arizona.  DES-PER-ATE.  I bugged the real estate agent every day.  God was gracious and brought a buyer in 3 months, despite my total lack of faith.

The last time we sold a house, I had started growing spiritually through the means of Bible Study Fellowship, but was living functionally still as an atheist.  I was 42 this time around.  As I fretted internally, worrying about 30 times a day, “What if…..!!!!”  (at least I didn’t phone our realtor every day!), God brought welcome relief in the form of a verse.  We had studied Genesis the previous year in BSF and all of a sudden I recalled the promise God made to Abraham when the old man, like me, was fearful, tired & discouraged.

Gen 15:1 Fear not Abram, I am your shield and your very great reward!

All of a sudden, my behavior switched.  I consciously chose to sub in that very promise from God each and every time I caught myself falling into worry and fear.  I would literally shake my head and actually stand up to that worry/fear thought:

NO!  then I would say to the Lord…

God, YOU are my shield and my very great reward, therefore, I will not fear.

Instead of playing the worry movie 20 – 30 times in a day, I affirmed God’s Word over and over again.  A month later, God brought the buyer.

Now I’m 55 and we’re selling our 3rd house.  My goal is to offer my waiting to God as worship.  I want to PLEASE my Father by demonstrating that I trust him.  As Graham reminded me yesterday in a phone call, ‘We have a rich and powerful Father, so we can relax’.

The realization that struck me last night came in reflecting about how we came to find the house that we are going to purchase in North Carolina, God-willing.  From Thanksgiving through mid January, we had been ‘studying’ available houses, making a list of features, comparing them in Excel (a side benefit that comes from being married to an analytical husband!) all in preparation for a house-visiting trip last month.  Our goal was to make an offer on a house over that January weekend since Waynesville is 8 hours away by car from Newport News.

We arrived on Saturday at the real estate agent’s office and in addition to the list of houses we had planned to visit; she added one that had ‘just popped up’,  being listed 2 days earlier on the Thursday.  It wasn’t part of our ‘careful study’.

And as you might guess, that is the house we have chosen.

Do you see what I realized last night?  At just the RIGHT time, God brought ‘our house’ to us, not dependent on our analysis and searching.

If I extrapolate, at just the RIGHT time, God will bring:

The buyer for our current house…….The job offer for me……etc

Yes, our efforts are important – But God doesn’t want frenzied, desperate efforts.  Reasonable next steps/actions that come from a deep, relaxed and confident dependence on God are the kind that honor our Father.

Lord, thank you for Christ:  my Anchor, my Blissful Rock, my Big Brother, my Champion and Author and Finisher of the faith implanted in me.  Give me the humility to keep casting these cares back on You, because I KNOW You love us and have our best interests at heart.

God meets our needs very creatively!

The gift of patience, an acquired skill

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And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what God had promised – Hebrews 6:15

Waiting, patiently or ‘Macrothymeo’ that is ‘longtime – passion’ according to Strongs 3116 – keeping one’s desire in check for a long time.

How do you think God gets us to practice this skill and get better at it?  Right!  He sends us lots of situations perfectly suited to chip away at our defects.  The Bible declares Jesus to be the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). That means that true faith is a gift from Him and that He is also the one charged with perfecting what He implants in us.

Our brother and sister-in-law were married 15 months ago and expected a 6 month wait before Eve would receive the correct immigration status and permission as a Canadian to live in the States with her husband Steve.  They are still waiting.  We have watched their patience with admiration and awe.  Surely God is doing great things in this couple and individually, crafting a stronger reliance on Him.

Some friends of ours waited agonizingly month after month for an adoption to go through.  Their faith grew one week at a time, as they learned, as we all must, that they are not in control.  They were rewarded with both an adoptable newborn AND a pregnancy.  We just learned yesterday that their patience and trust in God has borne yet more fruit as a hoped for Army situation has been granted after a 3rd drawn-out request.

Our dear Anne waits for her husband Wes to return safe and sound from Afghanistan. We pray for endurance and grace for both of them.  Each day is a battle between fear and faith – and not just when our hearts desire big things but in all circumstances.  Waiting is part of the human condition.  Our spiritual ancestors Abraham and Sarah waited on God for His promise to be visible.

And we, too, are waiting for hoped for circumstances to become visible.

Mike and I are waiting/expecting/ hoping/ keeping watch (all the same Hebrew word – qavah 6960) for a house to sell, for a school to hire me and for clients to contract with him.  We are VERY aware that we are not in control.  As God has taught me this year, I make a miserable and short-sighted ‘controller’.  You remember reading  God’s words as He speaks through Timothy,

Jesus is the happy/blessed/ blissful sovereign or controller of all of life, King of Kings, Lord of Lords (1 Tim 6:15)

My husband thinks that I have a strong faith, but I don’t FEEL like I do.  As we have been TRYING to practice obedience by ‘patiently waiting and restfully trusting’ in God’s promises, my mind has from time to time fallen prey to fretful glances at the present suffering of fellow Christians.  I have found myself asking questions like:

  • What makes ME think God will give us what we desire?
  • What if NOT getting what we desire is ‘better’ for us?
  • People I know have lost babies, jobs, health…..why should it be different for us?

The irony of this journey in faith is that we have chosen it.  We COULD have stayed put, in our current jobs and home.

But the lure of adventure, of mountains, of new beginnings beckons.  So we must not murmur against the uncertainty and the wait.

Who knows, maybe that desire for adventure has been planted in us BY God Himself, so that we WOULD seek out the road less travelled?!

What I DO know is that your prayers REALLY help.  I felt an actual shift in my mental state in the dark hours of last Saturday night.  We were in Waynesville, NC (western part of the state) for the weekend.  We had looked at 5 houses that afternoon and picked ‘the one’.  During the night, my mind drifted time and time again to ALL the many contingencies and arrangements that would have to line up for us to ‘get’ that house.  I had felt strong desire rising in me all evening as Mike and I talked about it. I went to bed with one pulsating thought –  “I WANT THAT HOUSE!”

But when I woke up around 3 am to go to the bathroom, I noticed that I was at peace.  I had let go.  My initial thought was, “I will be happy in whichever house God arranges for us.  Therefore, I don’t have to CLING to this particular house.  I can trust Him.  He actually sees the future.  I don’t”

That lessening of my tightly closed toddler fists was the result of your prayers.  I recognized the shift toward peace right away.  Because as soon as those comforting thoughts seeped into my mind, I knew they could ONLY be the result of something spiritual.

So we wait.  And trust Him.  And rely on your prayers for our patience and for the details to work out according to what He has planned.  We will let you know as soon as:

-our current house sells

-the purchase of our NC house goes through (whichever house that ends up being!)

-I am offered a job

-Mike gets his first paying client!

June 1st is when we leave the Shire, headed south and west, God-willing.  And as the weeks fly by, we recall a very great fact about God.  Here is the verse that Mike and I have designated as OUR verse for 2013:

Psalm 126:3 – The Lord has done great things for us: we are glad.

House with M & M in front




The Sacrifice of Waiting

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Melissa is a friend of mine who is now on the other side of a longer-than-expected answer from God.  She and her husband prayerfully navigated the red tape and bureaucratic hoops to qualify to be adoptive parents. Shaped by tender hearts for unwanted children and already blessed with a son of their own, Melissa and Daniel had come to the strategic decision to adopt the rest of their children.  Here was a ‘good’ prayer, not a ‘self-serving’ prayer, a prayer in line with God’s will as James tells us:

James 1:27 NIV

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Once qualified by the adoption agency, Melissa and Daniel projected dates of baby # 2’s arrival. In August of 2010, they told us, “Most likely by Christmas, we’ll have our baby and Lucas will be 2 1/ 4 years old, a good age spread.”

But Christmas came and went. Several sets of their friends got pregnant with ‘Baby # 2’.  Melissa started to blog about the wait.  Said friends delivered ‘babies # 2’.  Other families on the waiting list were selected ahead of Melissa & Dan.  Our church prayed.  Melissa set a good example:  transparently sharing her disappointment but keeping on in the faith.  She set physical goals such as weight loss and running races.  Spiritual goals nurtured her wait; read through the Bible in 3 months – twice!!  “Okay, God, now I see why you have delayed our baby’s arrival, but the calendar is clear, now would be a good time!”

Not only did Melissa and Daniel have to deal with the surprising wait, they suffered disappointments too.  I don’t know how many ‘heads up’ calls or emails they received about different babies whose birth parents were considering them.  The emotional roller-coaster took its toll, almost hardening Melissa to want to not let her hopes be dashed again.

Then God surprised them with 2 sudden and newsworthy events: #1 – a call about a baby who had already been born and was to be assigned to them and  # 2 –  the news that they themselves were going to be birth parents again!  Not a scenario they would EVER have imagined!  But isn’t that just like our God!!

I’m sure Melissa has learned a lot about ‘The God of Continual Surprises’ – would that be ‘Jehovah-Hafta’ah’? (Looking up the Hebrew word I read that one yells out “hafta’ah” at a surprise party) 

What I have come to realize more profoundly praying and waiting with her and her husband is that “Waiting is a form of Worship”.  I first heard this concept at a weekend retreat about 4 years ago.  The speaker was still waiting for a grown daughter to be rescued from the Kingdom of Homosexual Darkness. During her talks she chronicled many of the lessons she had learned so far.

Not all waiting is worship-ful.  Obviously there is the anxious, nail-biting sort that the world has perfected.  This is actually more the norm than we might realize.  ‘First-world’ countries like ours and others in the West have perfected the cult of ‘now-ism’. We expect life (other people, weather and technology) to perform according to our expectations and meet our schedules.

Obviously God knew that anxiety would be a temptation.  Jesus commands us in Matthew 6:25 – “Do not worry…….”  Since this is more than a suggestion from God, we can’t ignore the sinful nature of worry and anxiety, qualities that stain much of our restless waiting.

So what transforms waiting into a worshipful gift to God?  Obviously our attitude makes the difference. I love to dig around language roots.  I’ve found that both the Hebrew and the Spanish translations of the word ‘to wait’ have the built-in meaning ‘to hope’.

As Christians, we know that God’s definition of ‘to hope’ means to know for a fact.  Our faith is not wishful thinking as in, ‘I hope it won’t rain tomorrow for the picnic’.  No, our faith is based on the assurance, the pledge and promise of a sure outcome. Remember then……. ‘Faith is being sure of what we hope for, certain of what we don’t yet see’ (Hebrews 11:1)

We don’t wait in a vacuum, unattached to reality.  We’re pinning all our hopes (NOT on the circumstances working out according to our plan and desires, but) on God’s promises which are based on his character.  God CANNOT lie, or else he wouldn’t be God.  So if He says something, it’s as good as money in the bank.  And when we take him at his word and actually lean into, relax, rest on that promise of future grace, we show not only the world of other believers and non-believers, we are broadcasting to the spirit-world as well.

I have a theory about the frustrating exhortation in Matthew 5 about letting our light shine (vs 16) – “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

Super George the pagan (i.e. non-believer) lives next door to us.  As an excellent neighbor, George is often doing for others.  But no one thinks to glorify and bless God for George’s kindnesses.  We admire George!  So the verse can’t refer to helping others, plenty of non-Christians do those compassionate works.  Here’s what I think:  if we go back to Jesus’ answer to the frustrated Jewish crowd in John – Chapter 6 (‘But what must we DO to be doing the work of the Lord’), Jesus responds by telling the people that the work they are to do is to BELIEVE GOD.  Can’t you just hear them responding incredulously, “That’s it?  There’s got to be more than that!!!”

Sounds so simple, but it’s countercultural. And here is how Melissa and Dan lived out that countercultural message for the past two years.

Melissa’s response to the unreasonable and painful wait for Levi, her now-2-month-old baby boy, was to continue to trust God, even when she did not understand the reason for it.  Her example has demonstrated for us a lovely way we can honor God and create opportunities to tell others about God’s promises.

When we don’t angst, fret, stew, manipulate, throw a tantrum, demand our way, we show the world that whereas we don’t LIKE the circumstances, we are trusting God’s promise to:

-work out all things for our good (Romans 8:28)

-withhold no good thing (Ps 37)

-be our shepherd and provide all we need so we won’t want for anything (Ps 23)

-faithfully tend to us with new mercies and compassions while we wait (Lam 3)

Our calm response in the waiting will definitely glorify our Father in heaven, because we will be demonstrating without language that God IS real, personal and all-satisfying.  And when we calmly wait, faces turned toward God, we reflect His light, like the moon reflecting the sun.  This then is ‘letting your light shine before men’ in a way that points to God.

Finally, how can we pray for each other in future periods of waiting that inevitably will come?  More than just beseeching God to grant the ‘whatever’ to our friends, how about praying Colossians 1:11 – that they be strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that they may have great endurance and patience…. ultimately glorifying God.

The Gift of Waiting

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Ps 40 :1-3  I waited patiently for the Lord.  He turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud & mire. He set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.   He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God


I’ve been waiting a long time for God to act in my husband’s life about a particular need.  He’s always felt frustrated with work. He hasn’t found a place YET where the fit was good, where he could blossom, grow and contribute in a way that brought him joy.  Nonetheless, he has continued to work hard, amply providing for our family.

So I have prayed for years and waited, watching expectantly.  I have learned how to pray, how to nurture that humble attitude that commands us to cast all our cares on the One who loves us.  As I have matured during this wait, I have practiced casting those anxieties back onto God.  My prayers for my husband have grown very specific, that by this provision of an appropriate job, God would open rivers on bare heights, bring dead bones to life, turn his gloom into noonday and exchange mourning for joyful oil.  And I wait, patiently.  Through years of learning to pray, trust and wait for God to reveal His solution, my confidence in Him has grown.  Here is how that has transpired.  And I think this may be one benefit to waiting.

While God tarries in this situation, I am encouraged each time He DOES answer prayers among brothers & sisters in Christ.   I am blessed to be attached to a church family, part of which is Calvary Reformed Presbyterian Church in Hampton, VA and part of which is the wider body, the near and far-flung Christian friends & family.  I hear answers to prayers on a regular basis.  Each time God acts in someone else’s life, my faith in Him grows deeper.  He IS who He says He is.  He DOES act according to His word.  Hallelujah!

Even though our verse of the new song hasn’t been written yet, the larger choral number is nevertheless being assembled as more and more Christian friends are pulled out of their own pits.  And I keep my voice warmed up to sing that hymn of praise about our particular need.

Evidence of empty pits

  • Recently conceived triplets for a couple who has prayed long & hard
  • A teacher to fill a school vacancy.   The 2 ladies who did double duty to ‘cover’ that class have kicked off their shoes to dance the King David Jig
  • A recovered West Point ring for a friend’s son
  • A reconciliation and warming among two elders in another church
  • Business leads and contacts beginning to come in for a young entrepreneur
  • A report of ‘no more cancer’ for a student’s mom
  • A friend’s change in medication that has made a big difference in chronic fatigue
  • A local job and promotion for a student’s dad when he was going to have to move away
  • Deployed friends’ safe returns
  • The miraculous arrival of an unpilfered container to missionaries in Africa

Each time God answers one of these prayers, I rejoice and my resolve to ‘hypomeno’ (persevere, abide, endure with joyful patience, hold on TIGHT) grows.

I know that God has our best interests at heart, even if that means that He doesn’t answer this prayer the way I have asked.  Thus I can rest in the fact that we have the God of Jacob, the Lord of Hosts sovereignly at work in our lives.  Surely the lessons learned in the process are priceless treasures.

And speaking of treasure, in closing I’ll quote a curious verse that is growing dear to me:

Is 33:6 – And He (Yahweh – the Lord) shall be the stability of your times; a wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge.  The fear of the Lord is your treasure.

This fear of the Lord refers to a CORRECT view of God and thus treating Him as He is: sovereign creator and Lord of us all.  When we begin to value and love God for who He is, then we begin to realize the treasure we have.  Who would not want to be in the correct relationship with the Creator/Artist who designed and chose us?  Since we are His creation, He will ensure that we fulfill the purpose for which He designed us.

Be at peace.


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