Waiting with Expectant Hope

Recently, my mom took several flights traveling throughout the south-east and mid-western United States. There were many delays due to weather, airport shutdowns, and various other factors. Needless to say, she experienced plenty of waiting and ample displays of humanity in distress. Waiting well is hard. Stress and fear have a way of crashing over us in the blink of an eye, especially if we aren’t paying attention and mindful. We lose our marbles! Guilty!

Waiting is part of life. I don’t know a single person who isn’t waiting for something. We’re waiting for our flight to take off, waiting for a phone call, healing, to finish school, retirement, or the next step – Whatever that looks like. Maybe we’re just waiting for lunch time! It can be tempting to look at waiting as a waste of time. Waiting can present time for anger and fear to grow in our minds, occasionally spilling out and on to others.

If waiting were viewed through the lens of God’s providence, our waiting goes much deeper. What if the practice of waiting became an opportunity for us to trust God more and grow in relationship with Him? Rather than grow impatience, we grew expectancy and trust?

Waiting well. Tony Evans talks a bit about waiting well in his book, Detours. (It’s an encouraging, easy read. And personally, very timely.) Take a look at his list on waiting well, and being patient with detours.

“With anticipation.

With hope.

With longing.

With expectation.

With desire.

With faith and obedience.

These things, and more, dissipate doubt. It dissolves despair.”[i]

I appreciate how Dr. Evans presents us with the fact that waiting well dissipates doubt and dissolves fear. Waiting with faith puts our focus on to eternal things, rather than the earthly and temporal things. That being said, our waiting is almost always with the earthly and the unknown. Though mysterious, God’s character is known and revealed through His Word – His goodness surpasses all. That is what we can put our hope, longing, desire, and expectations in.

“I wait for the LORD; I wait and put my hope in his word.

I wait for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning –

more than watchmen for the morning.

Israel, put your hope in the LORD.

For there is faithful love with the LORD,

and with him is redemption in abundance.”

Psalm 130:5-7 (CSB)

As watchmen on the wall of a city, I can imagine that it would be easy to let our imagination run rampant during the wait for dawn. Those wee hours before daylight, darkness doesn’t seem to have an end. It’s always coldest just before dawn. We grow desperate for light. If you’ve ever waited in the wee hours of the morning after a long night with a sick child, you know the feeling. Desperation and exhaustion.

Will today be the day for __________ ?

Let’s be expectant for God to show up in the unexpected, and in unexpected ways.

What are you waiting for, with God? What promise are you faithfully standing on? Would you join me with hope and expectancy, trusting in His providence and sovereignty as we wait?

He is our God of faithful love, and with Him is redemption in abundance!

Love you so much, siblings in Christ.

With Gratitude,

Amy

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[i] Evans, Tony. (2017) Detours, The Unpredictable Path to Your Destiny (pg. 169). Nashville, TN, B&H Publishing.

Led Into the Wilderness

When we hear the word wilderness, I’m guessing that we are transported to one of two places. We go to a remote area and experience the beauty and majesty of creation with awed expressions, or we shrivel with thirst and loneliness in parched and deserted places.

Wilderness. Where do you go when you hear that word?

I’ve been in Exodus for my personal quiet time lately, so I’ve been seeing the second of our two options. The reality is that at some point in our life we will find ourselves in a wilderness-season of life where we feel lost and parched, perhaps even wrestling with the enemy, ourselves, or God. In the wilderness, we’re more vulnerable to attacks and the worry for lack of provision is always at hand.

As the Israelites were being led by God in the exodus from their slavery in Egypt, they were not taken by way of the road nearby, rather they were led into the wilderness. He led them around, taking the road pocked with detours. God knew the hearts of his people, how they would react and what they needed. The road nearby would have led the Israelites straight to the Philistines, and he knew the Israelites would have changed their minds and chosen to go back to bondage if faced with war. They weren’t ready.

What seems to be the right, easy, and more direct route is not always the best.

Rather, God led his people into the wilderness where they would learn to trust him for provisions and guidance. They would learn to be His people, and that He would never leave or forsake them. And in all of this, God would be glorified.

God is all about his glory and not in a selfish and narcissistic manor. It’s God’s glory being revealed in such a way that brings us, and others, into closer relationship with Him. It’s about giving God credit for who he is and what he is doing. When God leads us by way of the wilderness, it’s an opportunity for an upgrade into a deeper relationship with Him. Through this, we come into contact with His glory and reflect it back to Him.

I spent a few brief and glorious days in Chinle, AZ this fall. The landscape is one of wilderness, far removed and not on the main road. You have to be on-purpose in your travels. But in that dry and desolate, starving for Light, corner of our beautiful land – I see an opportunity for the glory of God to burn so brightly that it would be undeniably His. I am expectant!

No doubt we will have trials and tribulations in our life, we are guaranteed it. What if we came to a place on our quest with the Lord where we could rejoice when our travels take a jolting detour into the wilderness? Where we are expectant for God to show up in wondrous ways and give Him the glory. What if we came to a place of spiritual maturity that in our ‘wilderness’ season, we choose to experience the unique beauty and majesty with awed expressions?

Two questions for you : Would you be willing to join me in prayer for the Native American men and women of our nation? Pray for their salvation, restoration, healing, and wholeness.

Whether you are walking the wilderness road right now or not, where are you seeing the glory of God shine? How might you reflect that back so others can see His light?

I’m seeing Him shine through in glimpses of answered prayers, small bread crumbs on the trail. Therefore, I will stay the course; little by little as he is lighting the path. Praise Him!

I encourage you to read Exodus 13:17-14:4 sometimes this week as you give Him glory.

With gratitude,

Amy

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Photo by Katie Moum on Unsplash

 

Constant Companion

Do you ever feel completely alone and lost? Whether physically or mentally, feelings of being alone or away from God’s presence can be incredibly overwhelming. It’s easy to get stuck in that rut of thinking when our earthly plans, or even plans that we believe with 100% certainty that God is ordaining, go totally awry with a dramatic life detour.

Don’t you just love when God begins to speak something over you in not one but two places. Presently, I’ve been reading Genesis in during my quiet time, and for fun it’s been Tony Evan’s book, Detours. (It’s an easy and relevant read. Go for it.) The story of Joseph came up simultaneously over the past week, in both locations.

While in Genesis 39 the phrase, “The LORD was with Joseph” stuck out to me like a bruised thumb. In fact, it’s used three times in that particular chapter. This covenant making, covenant keeping LORD proclaims through scripture that he was continually with Joseph in times where most would feel lost and alone.

As Joseph was being sold as a slave to Potiphar, an officer to Pharaoh in Egypt, “The LORD was with Joseph”. (Genesis 39:2)

As Joseph was being accused, stripped of his responsibilities in Pharaoh’s house, and thrown into prison, “The LORD was with Joseph”. (Genesis 39:21)

As he served in prison, “The LORD was with Joseph”. (Genesis 39:23)

Throughout these detours into slavery and prison, Joseph’s respect and desire to serve God is revealed. Out of his fortitude and desire to not sin against God, Joseph stands for what he believes to be true – no matter the cost. I believe we see a maturity taking place as God provides opportunities for growth in his faith and character.

Joseph’s big mouth and haughty attitude got him into trouble in the first place (Gen. 37), but God never left his side. We are all a work in progress, and we serve a God of completion – even if it takes some drastic detours to get our attention. I have more questions than answers through these chapters in Genesis, but one thing is for sure. God does not leave His children.

Generations of our spiritual brothers and sisters are told countless times by the LORD that he would never leave them or forsake them, promise. I believe that promise is carried on to us too. Jesus tells the disciples in Matthew 28:20, “I am with you always,” I believe that’s a promise we too can hold on to.

No matter where you find yourself in this present moment, God is with you. I believe that with every fiber of my being. Our Great I AM is always with us, and will never leave or forsake us.

Put your name in the space provided, it’s taken from Genesis 39:21.

But the LORD was with ___________ and extended kindness to him/her.

How might you be able to open your heart and mind to knowing you are not alone, but securely in the LORD’s presence? Could you be willing to patiently extend your hand with me in receiving His kindness today?

Comment below if you’d like, and I’ll be joining you in prayer over these things.

With Gratitude,

Amy

but the lord was with joseph and extended kindness to him.
Photo by Suhyeon Choi on Unsplash

Trusting Promises

Living as if God’s promises are true, that takes some faith. It’s hard in a world full of promises that aren’t taken seriously or broken, and easy to become cynical. God’s Word is full of promises, some are specific to individuals while others are for a family line, there are even promises made to all of humanity for those who would call upon God’s name and believe.

When was the last time you took God at His word? Trusting what He says to be true, and acted on it?

Since starting our berry farm, we have experienced one summer of record drought and one with record heat and accompanying drought. Several times during those two summers, excitement filled my heart when we saw rain clouds. But nothing. After weeks, a hopeful heart turned to one of doubt. I knew it would rain at some point, I just didn’t believe it to be any time soon.

1 Kings 18 opens with the land of Samaria experiencing a deep drought and the prophet Elijah receiving a promise from God that there would be rain. A lot happens in the in forty-four verses of 1 Kings 18 between when God promises Elisha rain and a small cloud brings rain to parched land. Elisha trusted God and acted on his faith, knowing that God’s promise would come to fruition.

Abram lived a lifetime, some of which was in the same land God promised him. He lived as if God’s promise to him were just that, a promise.

Joshua was promised success and prosperity upon staying on track with God’s law and ways. And lived like it.

None of these men were without mistake in their trusting God and living according to those promises, they were in every way human. But they trusted and followed the one who made those promises.

We are called to faith, which requires trust; trusting when God says go, and when he says no. That trusting kind of faith requires action even if that action is seen or felt in no other place than our heart or mind.

We are promised His Holy Spirit. (John 14:15-17) Am I activating a relationship with His Holy Spirit and trusting that I have that connection?

We are promised wisdom, if asked in faith and without doubting. (James 1:5-6) Am I asking for wisdom and believing with open hands and without doubt, that I will receive it?

We are promised peace in response to seeking the Lord through prayer and petition with thanksgiving in our hearts. That peace is one which surpasses our understanding. (Philippians 4:6-7) When my heart is troubled and peace is nowhere to be found, am I seeking Yahweh-shalom, the Peace Giver?

God is a trust-worthy Father. We have a choice each and every day to choose to trust Him or not. Will today be in our strength, or according to His? With Elisha, a lot took place between the promise and the reality of that promise. Faith and trust go hand-in-hand, it takes faith to keep choosing to believe.

We have so many promises in scripture, but let us be sure to take them in context. As we faithfully trust Him, what promise can you choose to live by today?

With gratitude,

Amy

“Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness.” 2 Corinthians 3:12 (CSB)

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Photo by Skye Studios on Unsplash

Growth and Vulnerability

January and winter, I think it could be a gardener’s favorite and least favorite time of the year. The seed catalogs are eagerly awaited surprises in the mailbox, then drooled over with pen in hand as we dream of the coming season. Then, a longing for dirt under our finger nails grows to near desperate levels as we countdown the days and watch temperatures like a hawk. Spring seems to be so close, yet so far away as a longing for fresh growth increases.

My word for this year (2019) seems to be ‘growing’ – it’s fitting, given I was a plant science major in college. But this year it’s more than just growing plants, it’s growing a trusting faith and vulnerably surrendering to a process that I can’t always see. Growing children who are happy and maturing, growing a farm that started from a dream, growing relationships that are more valuable than gold. Growing a deep relationship with my Creator, rooted in love and trust. It’s embracing growth that happens little by little, in places often unseen.

As plants grow they are vulnerable to the elements, easily broken or bruised, and tender. I wonder how this might be reflective of our growth? Newness is always exciting, but it’s just that – new and tender. If a seedling is separated from its soil and transplanted into a larger container too soon, it becomes a set back. More fertilizer causes cells to grow too fast, resulting in weak branches. Too much water, and roots suffocate. Too much sunlight can burn tender leaves.

Good, quality growth takes time, patience, attention, and hopeful trust. The investment can be risky. What if I plant a seed or nurture a dream, and it fails to grow? What if I step way out of my comfort zone only to be met with nothing in return? Is growth worth being vulnerable? I believe it is. Without that risk, life is boring and flat – stagnant. When I think about growth, its full of life, wonder, and mystery.

God is a gardener. Within the first two chapters of God’s Word we’re told, “The LORD God planted a garden in Eden…” (Genesis 2:8) In John 15:1 Jesus tells us, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” In that same chapter of John 15, Jesus goes on to tell us that we are to bear fruit. We are called to growth and cultivation. We are called to love one another; that sounds pretty vulnerable to me. Yet in that space of tender growth, we are called to a place where we can trust the Gardener. Entrusting ourselves into His capable hands and process.

Last week on the blog it was all about growing in 2019, and asked the question about where God might be growing you this year. Today – What does being vulnerable to growth look like for you right now? What step can you take? It doesn’t have to be this huge life changing decision, just a small step. Marathons are completed one step (or stride) at a time.

This list of scriptures on growth from Propel Women may inspire you in this season.

With Gratitude,

Amy

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“So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, being rooted and built up in him and established in faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude.” Colossians 2:6-7 (CSB)  {Photo Credit}