Making the Waiting Worth It

Everyone is waiting for something. What are you waiting on? A spouse? A job? A house? A sickness to pass? Or maybe you’re waiting for things to simply just get better. Maybe you’ve had a rough patch and things just haven’t been going your way lately. Whatever you’re waiting on, keep reading and I hope you’ll find that the wait can be worth it.

I have a lot of things I’m waiting on. I have dreams and desires. But the thing about dreams and desires is that they don’t always happen or come along when we want them to. I used to think that when Jesus said, “Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” I had this thought that John 14:13-14 was my ticket to getting what I wanted, when I wanted it. This was especially true when I was a child and even in my teen years. “Dear God, I want ____,” or, “Dear God, please make _____ happen,” and ending all of my prayers in “in Jesus’ name.” Now, I knew that prayer was not the equivalent to rubbing the magic lamp, because God is, in fact, not a genie in a bottle, but that’s pretty much how I was treating my prayer life when I was young in my faith.

So yes, I have plans. I have dreams and desires. But you know what? God has plans for me too. And his plans for me are a whole lot better than my plans for me. And sister, this applies to you too. I’m sure you have all sorts of dreams for your future and might even want it all to happen right now, but God’s has a plan for you and He’s going to bring it to pass in His perfect timing.

One thing I have wanted since I was just a little girl is to be married. If you’ve read my “Twenty-Five and Single” blog post, you know I’ve been longing for this for a long time. I remember many times praying for my future husband. “Dear God, I pray you’d bring Future Husband into my life. I pray that you would tell me who my future husband is. I pray that you would make it clear to me if _____ is my future husband.” For a long time I thought these prayers were going unanswered. The book of James says, “You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and wage war. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” (James 4:2-3) I think in some instances I was asking amiss. I didn’t have the right motives in my prayers. I want what I want and I want it right now. I’m applying this to my longing for a spouse, however you can apply this to whatever it is that you’re waiting on. Are you praying about it and it seems to go unanswered? Maybe you’re asking with the wrong motives.

I used to get agitated in my waiting and would easily become discontent. I’d start comparing myself to others and wanting what they have. I have to really be careful to not let my heart grow covetous and envious. My sinful heart is prone to this, however these verses from Psalm 37 are always a great reminder for me, whether in regards to waiting to be married or in regards to waiting on literally anything else I’ve been longing for in my life.

Do not be agitated by evildoers; do not envy those who do wrong. For they wither quickly like grass and wilt like tender green plants. Trust in the Lord and do what is good; dwell in the land and live securely. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act, making your righteousness shine like the dawn, your justice like the noonday. 

Psalms 37:1-6

“Do not be agitated by evil doers; do not envy those who do wrong. For they whither quickly like grass and wilt like tender green plants.”

At times the comparison trap can be hard to avoid. I’d see those who I knew were not living for God seemingly living their “best life.” They were openly pursuing sin, yet they seemed to have everything I wanted. Over time, though, I realized their happiness was fleeting. I literally watched a few of their lives crumble right before my eyes as they continued to pursue sin. Their sinful lifestyle was catching up to them. Some of them still seem like they have it all, but when you look a little closer you can see they will never truly be content until they find Christ.

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.”

My heart’s desire concerning having a husband have not always been pure, especially when I was rather immature in my faith. My desires were vain. I wanted someone to show me physical affection. I wanted someone to give me attention. I wanted to be able to post a cute picture. I wanted to be romanced. I wanted to feel cherished. I wanted someone to hold my hand and someone to kiss goodnight. Now these desires are not necessarily bad or sinful and I still long for them, however they have nothing to do with the purpose of marriage or a godly relationship.

As I grew in my faith and matured in my walk with Christ, my desires began to evolve. I’m going to shoot straight with you: just because you’re pursuing the Lord does not mean God is going to immediately give you your heart’s desires. The really cool thing is that as we grow, he changes our desires to match His desires and His plan for our lives. As I took delight in the Lord and pursued Him, He began to change the motives behind my desires. I still desire all of the things I wanted before, but they’re no longer the priority and sole reason for my desires. God changed my priorities to match His priorities.

I now desire a husband so that I can be his help-mate. I so long to be able to come alongside my husband and encourage him and help him. I now desire a husband so that we can serve Christ together. I desire a husband so we can demonstrate to the world the love between Christ and His church. I want to honor God with my future marriage. Can you see the difference? My previous wants were all based on me. Those desires are still there, but they’re not the driving force or my “why”. I had to examine my “why” behind marriage. Why did I want a husband? Why do you want whatever it is that you’re waiting on? Ask God to reveal to you why you want what you want. Is it for a reason that honors God or is it based solely on selfish desires?

I delighted myself in the Lord. My desires were becoming more like His… yet God still hadn’t given me the desires of my heart yet. So now what?

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act”

In my blog post, “Twenty-Five and Single,” I talked a lot about finding my contentment in Christ, and I briefly want to touch on that again. Human hearts are deceitful and prone to wickedness. We have to take every thought captive and be cautious of where our heart wants to lead us. As a believer in Jesus Christ, He has given me a new heart and He renews my spirit. However, my flesh is sinful. My heart is still sinful. I don’t naturally want to seek Jesus and find my contentment in Him. Some days it’s the very last thing that I want. I struggled with contentment for a long time and often still do if I’m not keeping my focus on Christ. 

We were created by God and for God. But, when we go back to the very beginning we were separated from God by sin. We have a God shaped hole in our hearts that only he can fill. However as humans we try to fill that hole with friends, family, significant others, possessions such as cars, phones, homes, etc. It doesn’t matter how much wealth you accumulate. It doesn’t matter how many possessions you have. If you don’t have God than you are always going to be longing for more.

For everything was created by him,
in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions
or rulers or authorities—
all things have been created through him and for him.

Colossians 1:16

Committing my way to the Lord is not something that comes naturally. I have to constantly strive to find contentment in Him, what he has for me, and commit my way to him. 

As silly as it might sound, sometimes I worry about all the things I don’t have and all the things that haven’t happened yet in my life. Some days the anxiety really just piles itself right on my heart and mind. Those days I especially need to be faithful in praying to God and asking Him to help me trust Him. But honestly, everyday I need help to trust God and His plan and will for my life. I have to choose to remind myself of His faithfulness, goodness, and reliability. God never changes and His promises never fail. 

Commit your way to the Lord. 

Trust Him. 

He will act. 

Reminder: In his timing, not mine or yours.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
and your ways are not my ways.”
This is the Lord’s declaration.
 “For as heaven is higher than earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9

So how does one commit their way to the Lord? What does it even mean to commit your way to the Lord? Let’s dive into this a bit. In this context the word “commit,” means to pledge or bind. The way that I go, I want it to be bound to the Lord and what He wants for me. I want my way to be inseparable from His.

One definition of “bind,” is to cohere into a single mass. That’s what I want. I want to be so unified with God that when people look at me, they see Him shining through. 

I like to bake chocolate chip cookies and one of the ingredients is vanilla extract. When those cookies come out of the oven you can smell the vanilla, they have a beautiful golden vanilla-y look to them, and when you take a bite… you get wonderful vanilla. The smell of the vanilla permeates the house. You can’t ignore the fact that there is in fact vanilla in those cookies. And if you wanted to take the vanilla out of the cookie, it’s impossible. That vanilla is bound to flour, integrated with the eggs, and creamily blended into the buttery sugar. I want God to be the vanilla in my life. I want everyone I come into contact with to think, “There’s something different about her.” I want people to see Jesus in me even if it’s just in the small everyday acts of life. 

Unfortunately, I don’t just naturally emit the light of Jesus. I have to work on my relationship with Him and then He will shine that light through me.

So back to the question, “how do I commit my way to the Lord?”

You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13

Step one in committing my way to the Lord is to be sure of my salvation. 

If you’re not sure if you’re saved or what that means you can ask yourself a few questions and look up a few verses that are listed below.

Questions to ask yourself:
Do I know that I am a sinner?
Do I know that God is holy and perfect?
Do I truly believe that Jesus was the atoning sacrifice for my sins and that He is truly the only way to the Father?
Do I know that there is nothing I can do to get to heaven other than putting my faith in Jesus Christ?

References to look up:
John 3:16
Romans 5:8
Romans 3:23
Romans 6:23
Ephesians 2:8-9
Romans 10:9-10
1 Corinthians 15:3-4
1 John 5:11-13.

Step two is to spend time with God. This means you need to read your Bible. You cannot know what God wants from you if you don’t read His word. Scripture, the Bible, is good for you. Even if you don’t understand it all yet. I sure don’t, and that’s totally fine.

All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.  

2 Timothy 3:16-17

God’s word prepares us, teaches and instructs us, corrects us, trains us and equips us to serve him. The Bible is how God speaks to us, but we can’t have a one sided relationship. We need to make sure we spend time talking to Him in prayer. Ask for His guidance, how you can serve Him, where He wants you to go, what He wants you to do. Talk to God about the big important things in your life, but also take the small seemingly inconsequential things to Him too. I often will pray something like this: “God, I know you you’ve got way more important things going on, but I can’t find my car keys, please help me find them.”

Talk to God about everything.

Step three is to serve God.

Get involved in your local church. If you’re reading this I’m kind of assuming you have some sort of social media. Use it for God’s glory. Share a bible verse. Share the gospel. If you truly believe Jesus is the way to heaven and the Father you should want to share the gospel so more people can take part in having a relationship with God. If you have seen the goodness of God in your life… Share it however you can. Faith is believing without seeing and faith is required for salvation. But growth in your Christian walk requires action. Get out there and serve God. Will you do it perfectly? Nope. Will you mess up? Most definitely. But you’re not going to learn or get better if you let fear hold you back from serving. Trust God to take care of you.

Take a moment to examine your heart.
What are you waiting on? What does your heart long for? Check your motives behind your longing. Then… while you wait… commit your way to the Lord. There is no magic formula and God is not a genie in a bottle. I still see those images on Facebook with a picture of praying hands or an ethnically incorrect Jesus that sometimes has an angelic glow or strategically placed blood drops and will be captioned with something along the lines of, “pass this along and you’ll be blessed,” or “don’t ignore this, comment and say amen and God will bless you.” That is not how God works. He’s not someone to be bargained with. 

My waiting.

My waiting has seemed long. For the first 25 (pretty much 26) years of my life I was single. No signs of that perfect for me man. I spent a few years wasting my waiting, so I hope you can learn from me and use your waiting for good.

Once I realized that God truly was the only one who would satisfy me I started to serve Him without selfish motives. For example, there were a few years at Bible camp that I served there to spend time with my friends and to potentially find a man. It sounds awful, but my desire to actually go to Bible camp to learn about the Bible or see someone get saved was little to none. I wasted my waiting by being selfish and looking at all the things I didn’t have. In my late teen years, I got my heart right with God. My motives gradually became centered around God and His kingdom rather than myself. I could have used my waiting to wholeheartedly serve Jesus. To pursue Him. So rather than waiting to commit your way to the Lord, just do it. Surrender to Him and watch Him transform your life. Sometimes this transformation takes years, but He is faithful to continue working in you.

He who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. -Philippians 1:6

In God’s perfect timing He didn’t bring me the man of my dreams. He gave me a man who is so much better than the man of my dreams ever hoped to be.  Looking back I can see God’s hand through it all. Through the waiting, the perfect timing in starting a relationship, and everything that’s followed. Despite living in the same small rural area our whole lives, having mutual friends in common, our paths never really crossed until God wanted them to.

Our small town was finally starting to feel the effects of the covid-19. Schools closed early. I was helping my niece with her remote learning, watching a lot of professional development webinars, and getting ready to start a day camp stateside since the border was closed. In the midst of all of this we were launching Radiantly Brave. Some of you might remember the RB team doing our introductions on social media. Well, a certain guy happened to find me because of this project and my introduction interview being shared by one of the other girls. He followed me on instagram and we started talking. I knew he wasn’t a catfish or creepy stalker because we had mutual friends in common and he had actually been a part of my cousin’s wedding. One of the first things he did was invite me to a virtual small group Bible study. The funny thing with this is that two different people had invited me to this Bible study months before. Both times I had a feeling like I should have gone, but I chickened out last minute because I am not a huge fan of social situations and meeting lots of new people. But when he asked me I just knew I couldn’t say no a third time. We continued chatting, bonding over Jesus, music, and food. It was in the height of the covid pandemic and everything had shut down. The US/Canada border was closed which means I wasn’t at camp in Canada like I had been for the last 13+ years, so I was actually in town and available. About a month before I turned 26 my now fiancé asked me out for coffee, however we weren’t able to actually get coffee because the shop we were going to was closed, so we went for a drive. I remember being nervous the whole week leading up to our first in person date. We met at one of the local coffee shops and I could see him sitting in his car as I pulled in the driveway. I was definitely feeling some nervousness and a bit of anxiety at this point, but as soon as I opened that passenger side door to his car and sat down there was an immediate wave of peace that washed over me and all anxiety was gone. We hit it off immediately. I can confidently say that very early in this relationship… as early as the first month… I knew that this man was the man God had for me. As we continued to get to know each other I could still see God moving and working things out. I could see that if this had happened a year or two prior it probably wouldn’t have worked out.

So is waiting for your heart’s desire difficult? Sometimes, yes. But don’t waste your waiting by focusing on yourself and what you don’t have. Instead, focus on God. Focus on serving Him. Focus on serving His kingdom. Share the Gospel. Be a light. Trust that God is working on your behalf. Trust that God will give you the desires of your heart at the perfect time. When you find your contentment and joy in serving God it makes the waiting 100 percent worth it. If I could go back and meet my future husband when I was younger… I wouldn’t. My years of waiting, although difficult, were beautiful. Some of those years were tough, but God had a plan in them and led me to where I am now. Whether you’re waiting for the right person to spend the rest of your life with, a new car, a new job, a house, children, good health, or maybe for things to just start going right… Make your wait worth it. Commit your way to the Lord. Trust Him.

Wisdom in Relationships: Scripture Writing + Bible Reading Plan

This month’s scripture writing plan will take you through the book of Proverbs. Proverbs is full of wisdom on a variety of topics, but this plan’s focus is specifically wisdom in relationships. Find someone you can share this plan with, do it with a friend or a with a group!

Download the B&W version HERE and the color version HERE.

Study & Memorization Guide: Romans 12

This month’s plan is a little different than our previous scripture writing plans. At Radiantly Brave we believe it is vital to hide God’s Word in your heart and commit it to memory. We encourage you to use this guide to write Chapter 12 of the book of Romans upon your heart.

Memorizing scripture can sometimes be an intimidating task. Here are a few of my tips that help me in memorizing scripture:
1. Find someone to memorize scripture with. This can be someone in your home or it can be a friend. Kaitlyn and I have worked through this plan together and it was so helpful to have someone to encourage me and hold me accountable to the memorizing the verses. I also have a group chat of girls and we have started quoting the scripture we are memorizing to each other even though we are all memorizing different verses/chapters. This really helps to hold each of accountable to one another and it encourages us to keep pressing forward.
2. Be flexible. Kaitlyn and I dedicated ourselves to memorizing one new verse every other day. This was helpful because it gave us more time to meditate over the verse and not feel overwhelmed as we eased ourselves into the rhythm of memorizing scripture. If you miss a day, don’t sweat it, just pick up where you left off the next day. If you need to break your verse into smaller chunks… do so! Memorize a phrase or half of a verse one day and do the next phrase or other half the next day.
3. Use mnemonics. Mnemonics are different things you can use to help you commit something to memory. Some people put their verse to a beat/rhythm. Check out @hunterbeless on Instagram to see how she uses this technique with her children. Others who are more musically inclined find putting it to a melody helps them memorize. You can find @melodicallymemorizing on Instagram who turns scripture into song. One of my favorite techniques I learned from @shieldandportion on Instagram is to use the first letter from each verse as a cue to help you. For example if I was memorizing Romans 12:1 (CSB) which reads, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship.” I would write the following on a piece of paper or on my hand/wrist: T, BAS, IVOTMOG, IUYTPYBAALS, HAPTG; TIYTW. I actually preferring taking a pen and writing this right onto my skin so I carry it with me throughout the day. Not only does it help me to make sure I’m remember/memorizing the verse correctly, when I catch a glimpse of the letters it prompts me to review and practice it. A lot of people find writing it out on index cards help. You can put them in your purse, your car, etc.
4. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. When it comes to memorization repetition is your friend. This is for those of you who struggle with memorizing (me!) and those of you who are able to memorize quickly. Repetition is what’s going to wire the verse into your long-term memory, which is the goal. Short-term memory is not where we want our verses because that means in a day or week they will be gone from our memory. When I initially memorize a verse I read it aloud to myself ten times. Then I write it out. After that I recite it 10 times. If I have to repeat smaller chunks of the verse before I can put it all together I do. But, when I get to reciting it the ten times my goal is to do that without any peaks or clues. When it’s a new day I review the verses I’ve learned for that chapter/week before moving onto a new one.

Download the B&W version HERE or the color/floral version HERE.

God’s Art

The sun has been out this week and there is something so blissful about a warm sunny day. In the midst of this lovely summer season, there have been difficult stories like dealing with war, losing loved ones, and sicknesses. I ask God a lot, “How much longer does all of this have to go on?” And by a lot, I mean several times a day. It just seems like there are so many sad things happening all the time, everywhere. I am amazed by God’s patience with this world because I don’t have a lot of it when I hear about all this stuff. Even though this world appears to be right full of junk, there is still God. His beauty and generous gifts are everywhere.

I was staring at the hummingbirds yesterday and I stood in wonder of His extraordinary creations. Some of these birds fly all the way from Mexico just to eat at one of my hummingbird feeders and that is just fascinating to me. For me, driving all the way to our nearest city, which is just under two hours, can be such a chore and I have a difficult time staying awake. God made this little bird that can fly over 2000 miles to Maine in a matter of several days just to slurp on my sugar water and that’s pretty cool. 

Everything He creates is infused with such amazing detail that it often blows my mind. He draws every speck of color on the blossoming trees and flowers. He strategically places every hair in beautiful perfection on my cats to make them look stunning. He constructs each of us so meticulously that no two are alike. God loves to create all the marvelous things on Earth and I bet He has a lot of fun doing it too. He takes joy in His creations and ultimately, His glory is on full display for all of us to see. We can get so busy that we don’t notice Him in our surroundings. I give thanks for the smile on my daughter’s face, for the unique relaxing sound of a cat purring, for the delicious scent of a grilled steak, for when I hear my dad perfectly play the piano and so much more.

I give thanks. 

For the big things down to the minuscule things… I give thanks that He even thinks about blessing me. Each of us have been tremendously blessed by God because He gave us Jesus. Plus, in the end, we get to be with Him forever and ever. We can’t even fully imagine how Heaven will look, feel, smell, taste or sound like!! This earth can’t even compare to what is waiting for us on the other side of life. Even if Heaven was solely Jesus and nothing else I would be ecstatic, but I believe God has amazing forever plans for His believers. I believe our souls will be enraptured by what He has built for us. He has a new life already planned out for us and therefore leaving this world doesn’t scare me in the least bit. 

While we are still here in this world, we have to get out there and minister to those who don’t know Him! Ministry takes a lot of work, patience, and love. It takes a small army to run a church or a ministry of any kind. Often, it feels like the army is retreating, and because of this I pray that God will spur the hearts of His people to get back into the fray. Serve God with a pure heart and His presence will never leave you. Even though we could never repay God for the enormous amount of blessings He has gifted us, we can serve Him and be thankful, right? These words are from Jesus – “If anyone serves me, he must follow me. Where I am, there my servant also will be. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” John‬ ‭12:26‬ 

I hope all of you get to enjoy this summer especially after last year. God bless you and remember to smile because He loves you more.

Guest Writer: Cara

Scripture Writing Plan – Straightway: Faith to Do

Faith requires action. As you dive into this scripture writing plan we pray that you will put your faith into action and be a doer. Don’t just read God’s Word… Obey it.

Download the floral version here and the B&W version here. We encourage you to share these plans with your friends and dive into God’s Word together. Use these plans as a way to hold each other accountable to getting into the Word daily.

Treasured Hope

Hi everyone! I hope you are doing well in the midst of this black fly season. I was determined to get my flower garden set up so I had to wear my jacket with the hood tied tight. They still bit me but my flowers are in the ground. I win. 

I have said more than once that I am so glad that I won’t get bug bites in Heaven. A lot of people say how much they can’t wait for Heaven so that they can see Jesus, family, friends and pets. We can try to imagine how it will all happen and what it will look like when we wake up there. There are movies, books and dreams galore, all trying to depict something that I believe will be so far off from the true Heaven. 

I saw a quote this week that completely stopped me in my tracks:

 “Did you ever stop to think that God is going to be as pleased to have you in Heaven as you are to be there?” 

A.W. Tozer

Personally, I have never thought about it from the viewpoint of Jesus. When I think about Heaven, I picture myself running to Jesus and hugging him. I can imagine asking a million questions and being so excited to get the heavenly tour. 

Now, all these words are coming only from me and my heart, so take it with a grain of salt or maybe, please think about it deeply for yourself, but what if when we get to Heaven, Jesus is the one who is running towards us, jumping up and down with joy? Imagine Jesus being the one who is happier to see our face up close and personal. We tend to make it all about us getting to Heaven so we can see Him, but really it is about Jesus. It is about what He did for us when He suffered, died and rose again. He went through hell on earth for us; because of this I can believe that He is passionately counting down the days when all His people will be home with Him, forever. I can envision it like completing an obstacle course. We have to climb walls, crawl through mud pits, delicately walk through sticky situations, balance ourselves through highs and lows, jump over hurdles and then sometimes we veer off the path. Jesus is there to guide, encourage, strengthen, refresh and save us. He gets us through the course of life. Then at the finish line, He is waiting with anticipation of receiving us into His arms. I believe there is a celebration for every soul who enters into Christ. There is so much discussion about us being in sin and deserving wrath which is true, but we also need to remember that we are made in God’s image. Focusing only on what sin has done and not what Jesus has done can cause us to lose sight of our worth to the Father. His inheritance is us being in a sinless form and having an eternal relationship with Him. 

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what is the wealth of His glorious inheritance in the saints…”

Ephesians 1:18

 Even while typing this, I am blown away in deep gratitude that God infinitely loves me so much. It is hard to wrap my head around the idea that God would call us His prized inheritance. We are His valued treasure! Steep your mind in that truth because He is amazingly generous to all of us. So, as you go about your week, remember to live in a way that honors the fact that you are a treasured inheritance of the Most High. God bless you!

Guest Writer: Cara

Scripture Writing Plan – Attributes of God

This scripture writing plan focuses on just a handful of the attributes of God. Every five days you will dive into a different characteristic of God. Take your time in this study and ask God to show you who He is. Meditate on how you can find comfort, encouragement, peace, joy, and hope in knowing who God is each day.

Click here for the floral version and click here for the B&W version. The black and white version is great for women who don’t care for florals, but it’s also great for any guys in your life.