Clay and I took a prayer retreat in mid-January, and God was gracious to give me some insight into why he’s leading me through seasons of waiting, and what he intends to accomplish in my life through these in-between moments. I hope that some of these thoughts will resonate with you, whatever season of life you find yourself in.
I believe that sometimes the Holy Spirit speaks encouragement to us for the very purpose of sharing it with another. May the blessing and truth I received during our day of prayer be a blessing and comfort to you.
Waiting serves a purpose
Are you waiting for something? A new job, a spouse, an answer to health issues, an end to relational struggles? I’m currently in a season of waiting. God has made it clear that He wants our family to serve Him and love people in El Salvador, but that has not been a quick thing. We started on this journey in February 2021.
We’re coming up on 2 years of knowing this massive life change is in the works, but so many things have needed to fall into place first. While we can see the light at the end of the tunnel as we pray to be fully funded by May and move to El Salvador in August, there have been moments where the waiting has felt overwhelming.
But in a beautiful way on this day of prayer and rest, God showed me that there is a transformation that takes place in the waiting – a soul transformation, if we let it – that allows us to become who we need to be when we cross over the threshold of the change we are awaiting.
Let me explain. I am not yet who I need to be when we begin our ministry in El Salvador. God has ordained a specific period of time – a waiting period between now and then – that He intends to use to mold and shape me into the person He wants me to be. Here are a few of the things God has been working in my heart in this waiting season.
Stepping outside of the comfortable
He has been stretching me far outside my comfort zone and teaching me to depend more fully on Him. We are traveling a lot more than we used to, and with 3 little boys, it is taxing and tiring. But as we visit new churches and stay with different people, I am convinced of His provision and welcome.
Our God rejoices in hospitality and His name is glorified when His children share their homes with others. My family gets to be the recipient of lavish hospitality and generosity that mirrors our Savior’s engulfing welcome into His eternal family. While it may not be the same comfort and familiarity of home, I am learning that God is faithful to meet our needs and He never leaves us alone.
We see his faithfulness especially in the moments where we have stepped outside of that which is comfortable.
Trusting the One in control of it all
He has been using this journey of raising support to increase my faith in Him and to convince me that He is truly the only one in control. It’s easy to think that people join our support team and choose to invest in this ministry because of something we said or did. But I’m seeing more and more that God is the one who prepares hearts to hear, stirs in spirits to join, gives a vision of what He desires to do in El Salvador – and all we have to do is open our mouths and share about the great hope and adventure He has called us to. (Do you see the similarities between this and the call to evangelism?)
Loosening my grip on my plan
He has been loosening my grip on my need for a plan and for things to go just-so. He has been working in my Spirit a flexibility and a boldness that didn’t previously exist. Maybe you can relate to this – I love a good plan, and it brings me a lot of satisfaction when things go according to that plan. I like to know what will happen, when it will happen, and how. But if you’ve lived for a while, you know that it’s pretty rare for even a day to go perfectly according to plan.
What matters is how we react when plans change.
I used to feel copious amounts of stress and frustration when I didn’t feel in control, but the Spirit is teaching me to learn to be open-handed with my plans. As believers we know that God literally has a good purpose in every detail, so how can we doubt that His hand isn’t in it when things go haywire?
I’m not yet who I need to be
I’ve realized that God wants me to become more like this person who is flexible, bold, Spirit-dependent, faith-filled before we get to El Salvador. He knows that things will only get harder there, and He is preparing me well with every passing month. If we had literally gone straight from “feel-called” to “hello El Salvador” either we or the country would high-tail it full speed to the nearest exit. And even after we arrive, He will continue to mold and shape me. I know His work in me isn’t complete until I stand before His throne.
This season of waiting, as difficult as it is to be stuck in-between, is serving a purpose. My gracious Heavenly Father has designed it for my good, and I would venture to say with confidence that He has designed your waiting season with beautiful and good intentions in mind.
Colossians 1:9-11 gives me much comfort that God will strengthen us for the waiting. We are not left to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and try to be good at waiting. God promises He will never leave us or forsake us, whether we are walking through a valley or we feel like we’ve arrived. Even more, he promises to graciously grant us all things that relate to life and godliness. He will give us everything we need to get through this season, because He gives us Himself. I’m paraphrasing Paul’s prayer here of the list of blessings that are ours in Christ Jesus as we wait:
And so, we have not ceased to pray for you asking that…
- You may be filled with the knowledge of His will
- You may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord
- You may bear fruit in every good work
- You may increase in the knowledge of God
- You may be strengthened with all His power to endure and wait with patient joy
My prayer for you and for myself is that our waiting seasons be filled with these great blessings, and may we hold fast to the great Hope that is to come – Jesus our Lord and King.
Here’s a little peak into the venue we used for our day of prayer at the Chattanooga House of Prayer. It was a beautiful, serene place designed with rest and meditation in mind. Micki Ann Harris guided us through her resources on “Listening to Your Life” and Crossing Threshholds/Waiting Prayers,” and we highly recommend it.