Stormy Seas, Jesus, and Me

Have you ever heard the phrase, “don’t pray for patience unless you actually mean it?” And so you intentionally do not pray for patience as a mere attempt to avoid needing a smidge more patience than normal…

But what about those times you get a healthy dose of needing an abundance of patience, yet never asked to grow in that particular area?! This is where I find myself. In a season of life where patience is not exactly my greatest character quality, but it’s the one being most refined.

You see, I work with kids for a living…need I say more about needing patience? 😉 Some days are incredibly easy and everything runs smoother than planned, everyone is smiling and happy, no major toy-stealing-conflicts to resolve, or time to put play doh away tears, in essence, there are no train wrecks and the day just moves by peacefully. But then there are those other days…when it is one train wreck after another, no one is listening and doing what they want, and I wonder if I accidentally prayed for more patience in my sleep.

Life is very similar. Some seasons move along with few or no bumps on the road, little conflict, fun and terrific memories, laughter that makes your stomach hurt, spontaneous outings, and only minor difficulties.

But then the stormy, hurricane, and tornado weather hits and your life boat is flipped upside down, shredded to pieces, and it seems as though everything has fallen apart and you’re drifting away in an abyss of the stormy seas.

The lightening is bright, thunder loud, waves crashing down, winds whirling around and all you wonder is when the storm is going to pass?!

I find myself in the latter of the two life “scenarios.” Personally, I can’t remember asking God to grow my patience, but I do recall asking Him to continue to mold me more into His likeness, to burn away my impurities and refine my heart, creating beauty from my ashes. I would argue until I am blue in the face that the most growth occurs in the strongest storms. We grow the most in Christ when we are stripped of our idols, when we have sin brought into the light, when the seas of our life are raging wild, and we can’t see the shore line, just the next wave crashing upon us.

It wasn’t until recently I made the correlation of trials to the work of patience God is doing in my heart. You see, like most people, I want problems fixed on my watch and command. I want things on my terms or no terms. Under no circumstance do I want to wait to see answered prayers and have life’s hardest moments turn for the good, yet so often Jesus asks me to wait. Not because He is holding out on me or being a jerk…in fact it’s for the complete opposite reason. It’s because He loves me too much to allow me my own way, or to allow me to stay in stagnant waters.

Growing up, my family and I lived in a waterfront house, simply meaning, there was a river at the end of my front yard. In the summer, we loved playing on the rocks, swimming/canoeing upstream, tubing, etc. I feel like we were in the water quite a bit. And so, naturally, a tubing trip with our cousins was in order. It was a super hot summer day and we dropped in the water maybe two miles up the road from the house. We all assumed it would be maybe a two hour tubing adventure and brought no food or water…since you know, it was NOT going to take all day. Low and behold, we hit stagnant water, shallow water, a herd of cows, and about seven hours, yes you read that right, seven hours later, we arrive back home. In the moment of each of these at times peculiar obstacles, not one of us found humor or enjoyment…but looking back, it’s an adventure I am so thankful for.

Life trials are not usually that humorous and no, I do not normally look back fondly on these stormy seas because it was fun or gave me a good chuckle. But I look back and I see growth, I see Jesus molding my heart to wait on Him, I see my heart changing…not necessarily my circumstances. I look back and Jesus standing on the waters with me, helping me fight each wave, I look back and see Jesus as my anchor, the hand guiding me, the Father protecting me, love and grace surrounding my every moment. It’s these times I am also being taught patience and sole surrender to Jesus. He’s not going to let me drown, but the waters may not part the second I command them to. Jesus is not only teaching me patience and waiting on Him, but He’s also showing me how to let Him fight for me…

Psalm 27:14, Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord

Exodus 14:14, The Lord will fight for you. You have only to be silent

I can wait and be patient in Him, knowing I am being molded and refined. So, yeah, life is crazy hard right now. My patience is running thin, I want the seas to be calm and the hardest days to cease, but I wouldn’t trade this season for the world.

In my season of waiting and needing patience, the Lord is teaching me to have faith in Him, not my circumstances. To rely on His promises, not my understanding.

I know God is with me, I know He is faithful, I know He is working in my life. I know I can trust him, and so I keep walking. One step at a time, one wave at a time, hand in hand fighting life’s battles with God going before and behind me.

Have patience in whatever season of life you’re in. God is still working, wait on Him and cherish the moment He has you walking in, no matter how easy or difficult.

Love you friends. Until next time,

Christi

But I Hate to Wait

I feel as though the only appropriate way to start this post is to admit I hate being patient. I hate waiting. I hate not knowing when or how something is going to happen. Patient is not exactly the word I would use to describe myself…nor do I think anyone else would describe me that way. Though, despite my lack of enjoyment in waiting, I find myself in good company as the bible is littered with dozens of people who had to be patient and struggled in the midst of their waiting.

Taking things to a personal level, most times when God asks me to wait, I believe it’s because He just doesn’t care about what I want. Or He’s holding out on me. Or maybe He just didn’t hear me when I prayed asking for *fill in the blank.* And those are exactly the thoughts the devil wants us to believe and begin processing through. As these lies creep in, slowly we begin to drift deeper and deeper into deception and before long, the Voice of Truth is silenced, our sinful heart takes charge, and impatience masks the work Jesus wants to do within our season of waiting.

There is absolutely nothing easy about waiting and being patient, yet all over the bible, I find verse after verse encouraging my heart to continually wait on the Lord…

Psalm 27:14, Wait on the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord

Psalm 37:7, Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…

Psalm 130:5, I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope.

These are the first few verses that jumped out to me for a few reasons…

Waiting is hard. Jesus knows that. In these three verses, there is a common phrase of ‘wait on the Lord.’ Maybe it’s just me, but I believe we all can identify with the struggle of waiting on Him. The closer the situation is to my heart, the harder I find being patient to be…at times I wish getting my prayers answered would operate like amazon prime, two day shipping guaranteed. Though, more times than not, it is in the seasons of patience that I find I grow closest to the Lord. Anyone else agree?

Jesus knows far better than I do what I need and when I need it. Just as I tell the kiddos I nanny to take a deep breath and have patience, so also is God asking me to do the same thing. I love how the bible teaches us to have a child like faith, children ask a million questions but also seem to get the gist of life far better than most adults. Where is your heavenly Father asking you to wait? In the midst of your waiting, be in communion with Him, talk about how hard it is, the places you’re doubting and struggling. He already knows your heart, but longs to hear you express what you’re thinking and feeling.

Do not dread this season of waiting and patience, instead allow God to continuously minister to your heart.Take this time and allow your relationship with Him to grow deeper and sweeter, remembering that His timing is perfect.

Until next time friends,
Christi

 

 

Patience is a Virtue

My 2nd and 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Hope, always said “Patience is a virtue”. Looking back on it now I’m pretty sure it had something to do with not wanting to answer the constant questions of “So, when is lunch?”. However as a 2nd and 3rd grader, I never really knew what that meant. I sort of assumed it just meant we all needed to learn to wait.

Many years later, when hearing the word ‘Patience’ I still think of this phrase. So, being the scholar that I am… I typed it into Google to see what it really means. Which led me to read, “Meaning: To be able to wait for something without becoming frustrated is a valuable character trait”. It’s pretty literal. Patience, waiting for something. Virtue, a valuable character trait. Guess I didn’t really need Google to figure that out, but typing it in was so much faster than taking the time to think about it. Right?

That’s an example of not exhibiting patience. I’m not the most patient person. I like immediacy. If I have a question, I want to immediately Google it and get an answer. Like today, I went to see a movie with some friends. The entire time I wanted to pull out my phone and find out who was voicing each character. It was eating at me the entire movie. I did end up waiting, but this lack of patience is probably what drives my easily distractedness.

I start out doing one thing, and then I remember, “Oh I was going to send that e-mail” Which turns into, “Wait, you mean Old Navy is having an online sale” which goes back to something else. It’s the immediacy of being able to do so many things at once that drives people, especially myself, away from taking time and being patient.

It’s something I struggle with especially when it comes to prayer. If I’m praying for something, for example the sun to shine, I’d be happy if the clouds rolled away, the rain stopped, and I could feel the heat of the sun beating down on my face. Immediate response. The quickness of things like search engines giving us answers right when we want them, makes it hard to be able to wait through those long silent moments to listen for God’s voice speaking to us. As soon as we are in the midst of the silence, our brains wander. Our attention spans are too short, and our patience meters are on empty.

Still God wants to speak to us. He is speaking to us and we just need to be patient, and listen. We need to have faith that even though we may not get our answer right away, we will get our answer. It may not be immediate, it may not be what we want to hear, but we need to stop, and push away all those distractions and really focus on what’s important. God’s plan for us.

Be patient, He’s got you!
Until next time,
Sarah