Tag Archives: waiting

One Life – Live it Well

I’ve alluded to the faith stretching journey God has taken me on over the last year, but it seems like the right time to share about it in full. Just over a year ago, I left counseling fulltime to teach at Central College. (You can read about that decision here.) I accepted a one year position, which means I have spent a good portion of the last year applying for jobs (explaining my lack of posting new blogs!). My friends and family fasted and prayed for God’s will throughout the process, but we were all a bit biased. We all wanted for me to be offered the tenure-line position opening at Central. I had felt specifically called to Central and I had worked there in some capacity for the last six years. Central College had my heart and Pella was the community I felt called to remain in. So I continued to work on believing God is the giver of very good gifts. He is the good, good Father and so why wouldn’t He work all things out so I would remain at Central? However, I had to balance that with knowing nothing is guaranteed and God may still have something different in mind. So holding those two truths in tension, I continued to apply for other positions while still praying into and leaning into where I believed I was being called – Central.

As I suspected, I loved everything about teaching fulltime. I couldn’t believe I was getting paid to plan lessons and create learning opportunities and build relationships with students! And as my love of teaching grew, my desire to earn a tenure track position – ideally at Central grew as well. The waiting was so difficult. And then in the midst of the applying and waiting and interviewing and waiting, I received my word from God for the year – FAITH. Let’s be honest, this did not feel like a great word to receive. I knew if God gave me exactly what I wanted – that tenure line position – it wouldn’t grow my faith in the same way as if a different scenario played out. So I had a sneaking suspiscion God was up to something, but I also found myself beginning to believe – truly believe – God’s way really was going to be the best.

We continued to wait…and wait…and wait some more.

Answers began to come. First, I was indeed offered a tenure-line position, but at a different institution. I seriously considered accepting the offer. On the surface, it looked like a potentially really great fit. However, although I was intrigued by the opportunity, I wasn’t excited by it and I never felt called. Faith…do I trust an opportunity at Central to come to fruition or settle for the one before me? Ultimately I turned it down but I remained mindful that you cannot simply “fast and pray and get your way” with God. But I believed I was being obedient and so we continued to wait…

The day came…an email from the academic dean’s office and a meeting scheduled. My tribe and I braced ourselves – trying to temper our growing excitement at what this meeting might mean. I sat down across from the dean and heard these words, “I cannot offer you a tenure track position.” Somehow my mind went blank and began to race all at the same time. Here was confirmation of the sneaking suspicision I had that God was going to choose to grow my faith in someway. The permanency I so desperately longed for, that I believed would be provided by a tenure track position was not meant to be. In its place was an offer to continue as a lecturer for an additional three years. At this moment I had to choose to trust God or not. Can God still be a good, good Father who gives very good gifts when we don’t get what we want? Even when we believe what we want is in line with God’s will!? YES!!

It took time, but I now know without a shadow of a doubt that the offer to teach for three years as a lecturer is a MUCH better situation for me than being offered a tenure line position ever would have been. It was a hard, long year, but it was ripe with growth and lessons learned. Here are just a few…

God REALLY is faithful. It is His VERY NATURE to be faithful. And as we take small steps of faith, He reveals more and more of his faithfulness to us.

God longs to be WITH US. He is EMMANUAL – literally God with us. His Spirit desires to lead and guide, to comfort and empower. God wants to relate and walk alongside us.

NOTHING is more satisfying OR freeing as stepping into God’s call on your life. No matter what the cost! I had a wonderful career as a counselor and I will always be honored and humbled that I was able to walk with so many as their therapist for over 9 years. However, it was not God’s ultimate will for my life and because of that I was absolutely exhausted by the work. I believe I am just as busy teaching as I was counseling, but I feel energized and alive. And it is because I am where God wants me to be. And though I don’t have the permanency I thought I wanted, I’m very content with the unknown!

Switchfoot has a song called, “Live it Well”.  One of the lyrics says, “Life is short, I want to live it well. One life, one story to tell. Life is short, I want to live it well. And You’re the one I’m living for.” I have one life. You have one life. We must choose to live it well by living only for God. And sometimes (a lot of times) that means taking steps of faith – terrifying and sometimes confusing steps – but steps that lead to incredible freedom, contentment, and joy. Live it well friends. Live it well.


Choosing to Trust and Promising to Praise

A couple of nights ago, I went running in the rain. Now I am normally a VERY fair weather runner – it can’t be too hot or too cold and it certainly shouldn’t be raining! But this particular night, the cool rain and the quiet glistening streets just felt right somehow. I often spend my time running talking to God. Often it is simply asking God to make sure I make it back home! But this night, it was confession…I’ve been writing about confession and I suppose I have to live what I write…


I told God just how sorry I was for not trusting Him wholeheartedly and completely. Have you ever been there? I say I trust God with my present and my future and believe He is with me in the waiting (click to read about God’s presence with us as we wait), but I don’t act like I really trust Him. Instead of enjoying the good gifts He’s given me each day, I fret and worry about whether or not He’ll come through tomorrow. I say He’s a good, good Father who gives incredible gifts, but I continue to doubt His provision for tomorrow despite experiencing His abundant blessings today.

And so with each step it wasn’t just sweat and rain that ran down my face…

But God is a good, good Father. He is patient. He is kind. And He is SO slow to anger. And for that I am even more grateful than I am for the tangible blessings He gives.

God is indeed with me in the waiting and as I wait, He longs for me to rest in the assurance of His constant and faithful provision. He has always come through in the past. He holds and knows my future. But if I continue to fret instead of demonstrate faith, I’ll miss the joys of His blessings in my present. So what’s my fear? Well, what if what I want for my future isn’t what God provides? Ugh, I hate even typing it. It just sounds so selfish, bratty even. But I know I’m not alone. Don’t we all doubt whether God’s plans really will be better or at least as good as what we have planned? And don’t we all know how silly it is to think God is somehow holding out!? And yet…

The truth is sometimes we don’t get what we want. Sometimes the path and plans God lays before us involve more suffering or heartache than we anticipated. And so we long to believe and trust and follow God faithfully wherever He leads, but it isn’t as easy as it sounds. We know God’s way is ultimately the best way, but we are also very aware of Jesus’ promise that in this world we will have trouble (and disappointment and sadness and hurt).

And so what are we to do? God in His graciousness knows how much we struggle to trust Him and promises to give us strength where we lack. And so we ask Him for that very thing…strength to trust. We ask the Holy Spirit for the strength to stay in the present where we are much more able to notice the blessings God has given, praise Him for providing, and delight in the joy they bring. We promise that in good times and bad, His praise will ever be on our lips because atmospheres shift when we praise. And so my prayer did just that – it moved from confession, to gratefulness, to promise, to asking the Holy Spirit for the strength to keep my promise: a promise to praise His name whether I get my way or not and a promise to choose to trust Him, because like choosing to run in the rain, ultimately trusting God and praising Him really is a choice.


And so hold me accountable. May I stay present and grateful for the gifts of each and every day. Whether life seems to be going my way or not, may His praise ever be on my lips. And I pray that is true for you as well.

He’s in the waiting…

Recently I realized I had been living with a false assumption. Well, more accurately, God revealed to me during my time with Him just how mistaken I had been. You see, I have always had a very clear understanding that God goes before to prepare and I have always believed that God comes behind to protect, but I was neglecting to recognize perhaps the most important aspect of relating with and walking with God. He’s also in the waiting.


In the midst of changing careers and with the future looking so uncertain, I have chosen to believe God has a plan and is preparing the way. I have always cognitively believed that to be true. It is not hard to acknowledge that an all-knowing God knows and understands more than my limited brain can. It is harder to choose into trusting God’s goodness and sovereignty in carrying out that plan. However, in the midst of this transition, I have found trusting God wholeheartedly with my future to be easier than in the past.

Similarly, I have always known and understood God comes behind me, that He “has my back”. God protects and provides and He responds to my steps of faith in Him by doing those things in ways that are often beyond what I could ever have expected or anticipated. This too was not a new concept to a lifelong Christian. A good father is protective. A good father provides. And God is a very good father, so naturally He comes behind and ensures my safety as I take courageous steps of obedience.

Here’s where the revelation came…God is not just ahead, He’s not just behind, He is also walking with me. He doesn’t just prepare the way. He doesn’t just protect after the step has been taken. He is with and alongside in the waiting. Kristene DiMarco of Bethel Music has a new song called “Take Courage”. The song hasn’t even been officially released yet (thankfully you can find a live recording on YouTube – don’t worry, I provided the link below). The lyrics to the chorus read, “Take courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul, He’s in the waiting.”

I was introduced to the song during “Unite Midwest”, an evening of prayer and worship led by teams from Bethel, including Kristene. Frankly, it had been a very long day at the end of a very long week. I didn’t even want to go to the event. I wanted to just stay at home and order pizza. But I made a promise to a kindergarten age friend that I would attend the concert and sit by her, and you do NOT break promises to six year olds! So I headed to the venue, weary and worn out.  All around me, people engaged in genuine and heartfelt worship. And though I sang along, my heart and head were elsewhere. Until Kristene began to sing, “Take Courage.” At that point, my knees hit the ground and tears began to fall.

A deeper understanding of how God relates with me, with all of us, was forming in my heart. Later a friend asked why I became so emotional during that particular song. I couldn’t articulate why at the time. And that shows another wonderful truth about our God – He’s SO patient with us! Because change takes time. Growth doesn’t happen in an instance. Instead, it happens slowly overtime, requiring patience and careful observation. You must have eyes to see it and ears to hear it and a heart open to change.  And so let me invite you into one of my quiet times.

I honestly don’t really like to call it a “quiet time” – it sounds so boring, like a child in timeout. And so often my “quiet time” is anything but quiet. It is simply time I set aside to spend with God. I sometimes end my “quiet time” worshiping. (It is a good thing I live alone because anyone listening would long for this time to truly be quiet – make a joyful noise, not a pretty one right!?) As I lifted my hands towards heaven, I heard God clearly, and might I add both tenderly yet firmly, say, “I’m RIGHT here. I’m right here.” And my hands dropped. And I could feel him sitting WITH me. And THAT is why I had hit my knees. THAT is why tears began to fall. Because my God is a God that walks WITH me.

waiting 2

Yes, God is far above. Yes, God goes before. Yes God comes behind. Yes, God is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Yes. But…

He is also EVERYTHING in between. He is WITH. He is ALONGSIDE. He is RIGHT HERE. He is in the decision. He is in the arriving. But He’s also in the waiting…