Waiting: What Do I Focus On?

Waiting.  Nobody really likes to wait. It’s hard to wait for the really exciting things that are going to happen in life. But waiting can be even harder when it is for something that could be bad – waiting for the inevitable.

When I am waiting for something it’s an ever present thought that I just can’t shake. I can be seemingly fully present in what I’m doing, but that thought of what is to come is right there in the back of my mind. Over the past few weeks there were test results that I was waiting for. They were looming reminders that life might change for the worse. I could engage with people, put a smile on my face, but as soon as my mind wasn’t focused on something else it would snap back to the reality that was unknown and hanging over my head.

The truth is, I couldn’t change what the results would be by thinking them over. They became a source of anxiety and sometimes fear. One day while I was getting ready for bed, Andrew asked me, “What is God teaching you at this point in the process?” That was the moment when the Lord met my heart in a deep and profound way.

The way that the reality of bad news kept coming to mind like a continual reminder on my cell phone, was the way that Jesus wanted my heart focused on something different. The way my mind so effortlessly focused on what was to come in this life is what Jesus wants me to focus on in the next. He longs for my heart to be stayed on the Truth that He loves me. He is planning eternity with me. God will eternally dwell with His people and this life will be but a wisp of air.

I was gifted the opportunity to not think of the awful things that could be on the other side of that phone call, but instead think of the glories that are on the other side of eternity. What a treasure that is. I have a pretty great imagination, but I think even that will pale in comparison to what is to come.

I can go through anything in this life. It’s momentary. It’s hard, but it’s only for a little while. What is to come will make anything here seem so much less. In those moments when my heart begins to dwell on fear, stew in the pity of life, or just get discouraged; Jesus is reminding me that I have a greater hope. I am not defined or limited by this life. I was made for something far greater.

“He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.”

-Revelation 21:6

I have no need to fear or focus my mind of the things that I can’t control in my life. I can give them over to Jesus and set my mind of the things that I can’t control, but are certain. Life is uncertain, but I do know that Jesus is who He says He is.

No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.  They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.  There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.”
-Revelation 22:1-5

 

 

Home

August 13.  A pretty momentous date in my mind. It marks one year since I moved in my little house in the woods. It may seem insignificant to have lived somewhere for only a year. Since moving to Alaska in 2012 I have moved 10 times and never spent more than 8 months in any dwelling. It’s hard to make roots, settle in, and make a place my own when I know I’ll be packing up again shortly.

Rewind to 2012. I had packed up all my belongings, gotten rid of anything that couldn’t fit into an 18-gallon tote, sold my car, said goodbye, and purchased a one-way ticket. It was an adventure, but I didn’t feel like I was going somewhere I might spend the rest of my life. One year full of tears, laughter, friendship, growth, and challenges…. I felt like I had a place here. But at the end of each season I would pack up, move out and put things in storage. Then I would move in with someone new at the beginning of each new season. There were always unknowns. Where will I go? Who will I live with? What will the dynamics be? Will this feel like home? Can I make it more inviting and comfortable than the year before? In so many wonderful ways I loved the unknowns. I could walk hand-in-hand with the Lord into those situations. I had to relentlessly trust that He would navigate through all the questions I had, excited to lead me since He already knew.

Then 2015 came along. Andrew proposed. Many more unknowns rose to the surface. Now where would we live? What would it be like to be married? How do you navigate differences when it’s a lifelong relationship? What will my role be? Will I be a good wife? Will he think I’m a good wife?  And the list could go on.

There weren’t any houses available in our town. None. Housing shortages are not something that I was accustomed to. I was trying to prepare my heart for living in a house where I would haul water, that wouldn’t be big enough to have guests, that would be sub-par in my mind, but adequate for living. But Andrew kept reminding me that God wasn’t stumped by our need. He owns it all and He knows are needs.  So regularly I would lay my need back in God’s hands and choose not to worry or fret, or even try to fix my need.

A few weeks later, I found myself walking through a house with Andrew. It was not just a house, but it was better than I could have imagined. It has two bathrooms,  guest room, storage, running water, and lots of character. It wasn’t so much the house that I loved the idea of, no, it was the idea of the things we could do with the house.

The Lord has allowed me to see dreams fulfilled in our home. We’ve been able to host guests, people in need, and small groups. We’ve had people sit on our couch and weep. We’ve laughed with people over meals, hosted game nights, and just had people here to rest.

I’ve had the honor and privilege to make our home a place of refuge. It’s a safe place for people to be real, to rest and be refreshed, a place to seek prayer and counsel, a place for quiet, or a place to come and rid yourself of loneliness. It’s a place where my husband can rest or get work done. I always dreamed of having my own home, but more than that my heart ached to mirror my Creator in being one who shapes the atmosphere of a place. I didn’t even know my heart longed for this role until I had it. It’s been one of the most fulfilling years of my life because I am doing something that I believe God instilled in my heart.

I have gotten to decorate, serve, love, give, host, cook, clean, organize, arrange, and all of it has been worship. I simply get to walk in the things that God has for me and I love it. Whether I am sweeping floor, doing laundry, getting the guest room ready, or feeding my chickens – I am the steward of this domain. My home is not my pride and joy, but it is my responsibility. I get to set the tone and I think that’s delightful.

I know that this will not be my forever home, but I do know that I will cherish the things that God taught me while living here. I will remember fondly the memories made and the opportunities it presented. I remember learning that I am a grower of things. It brings me great pleasure to grow flowers, vegetables, and my little flock of chickens.  But I also love to grow relationships and be used of God to help people grow. I believe the theme of this year has been of finding roots and of growing. I find it so beautiful how those things go together. The Lord gives good things and He takes great joy in watching us steward those things to His glory.

Learning Contentment

Eagerness to be elsewhere is gripping my heart and my mind.  Lately it seems at though my focus has been on going and the getting to Alaska.  I was reading a book on short-term missions last night and I was struck by the fact that I need to putting more value on the preparation time than I have been.

God wants to do so much through us but if we’re constantly focused on what’s next and what we’ll be doing some other time, or some of other place, we miss out on something pretty spectacular.  I am missing out on God’s presence and work in my life now.  I am so caught up in future ministry that I am missing my ministry role here.

I desire to want to be here. now. used by God. where I am. not constantly looking ahead. but seeing with God’s eyes. the opportunities I have now. that I will never have again.