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.

God is a Loving God… That’s Why He Doesn’t Accept Sin

Do you know what argument or excuse I hear most often in regards to sin?

“God is God of love. He loves us (or loves me or loves them) so much. I just can’t see God, who loves His people so much, sending someone to hell for being happy or a good person.”

This false, albeit incomplete ideology of who God is can only be described as dangerous because it only tells half the story.

Yes, God is a God of love but He is also a just and righteous God. Only He knows what it truly right and wrong. We see this first come to light in Genesis when He warns Adam not to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”” Genesis 2:15-17

Before the fall, man had no concept of what sin was. Adam, and all of mankind, was created with the purpose to glorify God. How do we glorify God? By loving Him and doing what He commands.

So when the Lord lovingly tells Adam not to do something, it’s not because He was withholding power or some juicy secret. God knew that sin was not something man was created to bear upon his shoulders. God knew we were incapable of knowing what sin was without partaking in it. Other than creating man and giving him all he needed, commanding Adam not to do something for his own good was one of the earliest acts of love God committed.

The question isn’t whether God loves us or not. His love for us is demonstrated over and over again in the Bible, with the biggest and most significant act of love being the sacrifice of His perfect son Jesus Christ.

The question we must ask ourselves is “Does my definition of sin line up with God’s?”

How do we begin to understand God’s definition of sin, of what’s right and wrong? The answer is simple. Turn to your Bible, study it, and gain the correct context in which the scripture was written.

We have the Bible which is God’s word, available to us to read and study as much as we want. This is a gift! But we can’t just twist scripture and use it in whatever context we’d like. So we must study it and be under good teaching in order to gain the proper perspective of scripture.

We can’t accurately know what right and wrong is without knowing God’s word. By knowing God’s word, we deepen our knowledge of God. Which in turn should change our hearts so that we do things that bring glory to God. Not separate us from Him.

We know that Christ has already paid the price for our sin. We must acknowledge this and truly feel repentance in our hearts to be made new in Him. But willfully going against the word of God doesn’t show that we are truly repentant. And that won’t bring forth the fruit of righteousness we are destined to have by our fellowship with Jesus Christ.

The fact is: Sin is not a grey area, even if we like to think it is. We also cannot hide sin from God. We may be able to keep our sin hidden from those around us, but the Lord knows our heart and sees all. Simply saying a sin isn’t a sin doesn’t make it less of a sin. It isn’t a loving thing, but an act of deception. Whether we are trying to deceive ourselves, those around us, or even God himself.

“If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:6-10

So even if…

our intentions are good and honorable

we sin because of our love for others

it brings forth something good in the moment

…committing a sin that God commands us not to commit is still committing a sin. And it is sin which separates us from God.

God isn’t a loving God because He accepts sin. He’s a loving God because He gave us a way to break out from the eternal prison sentence sin brings.

““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.””John 3:16-21

Lord, I pray that whatever sin we or our loved ones are struggling with, that they would be defeated and the bondage of that sin be broken. I pray for healing and restoration. I pray for community and fellowship so we know that we are not alone in our sin. So many of us have the same sin struggles in common and so many of us have people we care about walking a life fueled by sinful desires. I pray for guidance as we try to lead ones who are living a sinful life to a redemptive and holy life with you Lord. Please be with us in these difficult days and may everything we do be for your glory. Amen.

Jesus Wept.

John 11:35 is only two words long. The shortest verse in the Bible tells us so much about our Savior.

We serve a God who came to earth and led a radical revolution; one that ushered in love and hope for all those cast aside and marginalized.

We also serve a God who came to earth and experienced real, raw emotion.

Jesus wept alongside those experiencing shattering sadness.

We weep too.

We weep because unfathomable injustice still lives in our nation and our world.

We weep because too many lives have been lost- lives of people made in the image of God and loved so tenderly by Him.

We weep because voices are silenced and stories are shoved away.

We weep with those who are weeping and enter into the real pain being experienced by so many. We weep as we take a humble position and desire to engage in real conversation with those hurting.

We weep as we lament the places we’ve failed and confess how we have knowingly or unknowingly added to these injustices.

In our lamenting and weeping, we’ll continue to pray Matthew 6:10: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

This world is not our permanent dwelling place. While we are in this world we are to be constantly in pursuit of reflecting God’s kingdom on earth. We are not here to accomplish our mission or glorify ourselves, but we are here exclusively to accomplish God’s mission: To spread the message of His radical love and redemption to every tribe, nation, and tongue; to declare value and worth and purpose over every soul.

We have to be brave when things are dark and when things are not going the way we want them to go. We cannot walk away from the only source of hope that we have. We must choose to trust God even when we don’t understand; even when it seems like justice is far away.

May we all walk radiantly and bravely as we commit to intentionally learning how to love better and bigger as we serve those in our communities. May we truly mourn loss and injustice the way our Savior did, and still does, as we press forward, carrying a bright lamp in this dark time.

Our response to all of this needs to be unwavering, because Christ Himself is sure, secure, unwavering, unshakable, and never moving.

“But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.”

We will look to the Lord and wait on Him always. We will have confidence that He will hear us and we will have faith that the enemy will not prevail. We know that when we feel defeated, through Christ we will rise. Darkness encompasses every corner of the earth right now, but the Lord is our light in the midst.

Wife to Simon and mama to Theodore Samuel. Hannah began her walk with Christ at age 17 and He is radically reshaping her world daily. She find so much joy in coffee cup conversations with other women at her home, serving alongside her husband at our church’s middle/high school youth group, exploring new cities, cozy days with a book, decorating/reorganizing, filling journals with brightly-colored pens, hand-writing notes on pretty stationary and time at the beach.

Downloadable Verses to Pray + Proclaim

God’s word is over our word.

When our words fail, God’s word prevails.

It is okay to not know what to say right now.

Romans 8:26 says, “In the same way the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings.”

Download these verses.

Pray them out loud.

Cling to them.

Declare them.

Let them grow roots in your heart.

God’s word is still active.

Jesus Christ is still our hope and our salvation.