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Stress, Anxiety, Panic

1475973_10152423323564097_804826418_nBeing a single parent with 100% custody comes with a lot of responsibility.  Sure, there are people that help out, but ultimately no one cares or invests to the level of a parent. I find myself responsible to pay the bills, unable to tag team in the raising and disciplining of my children, and without support when I just can’t take it anymore. I have found myself in positions where I had worked a seventy plus hour week, had to choose which utility bills to pay vs which ones I could stretch out until the next pay period – no child support here, no idea who I would be able to find to watch my children while I work, short on sleep, a messy house, no clean laundry… and the list goes on – not to mention the judgement I have faced from others. These things that I face seem to have no resolution other than enduring until my children reach adulthood. I feel as though I have been robbed of my motherhood, and missed their childhood. It used to be a regular thing to carry a diaper bag slung over my shoulder, one sleeping toddler in each arm, and trek across a block or two of parking lots to my apartment at two in the morning – just getting home from work.

What I am trying to say is that I am familiar with an overwhelmingly stressful amount of responsibilities. These are not the things a typical twenty-three year old American female faces – but I was facing them. So how are we to deal with stress? What about worry? What is it that triggers panic, gives us anxiety, and straight up scares us to death?

I can’t do it anymore.

I will never be enough.

I am going to get an eviction notice.

I am going to mess up my children’s lives.

I am falling short of the pinterest housewife.

I am not making the six figure income the other fathers are making.

I can’t stay awake.

I am suffering physically because:

I don’t have time to take care of myself.

I don’t have time to be a mother, a father, a provider, and a housewife.

I can’t go to the gym because:

I can’t afford a babysitter for pleasure.

I am alone.

I have no one that cares for me.

I can’t do this anymore and I definitely can not last until they are 18.

I will be lucky if I live until 40 with this amount of pressure on me (Yikes that’s not very long!!!!!)

All these worries. All these stresses. Many are legitimate. All off the seem hopeless, and all of them have something in 60457_10150095322499097_1982694_ncommon. They all start with the same letter, the same word. “I.” Recently I had the epiphany that these stressful moments are merely what I have labeled “selfish attacks.” There are so many concerns that seem like they are ok to have, but ultimately if you take yourself out of the picture, how many of them are really left? The crazy thing is that we don’t even have to be concerned about ourselves. We have all that we need through one source. I would never put my children in harms way. So why would my heavenly Father do that to me? I remember coaxing my little Carter to jump into the pool years ago. I can hardly keep him out of the pool now, but there was a time when he would be brought to tears at the thought of jumping in to me. I had him. There was nothing to worry about. Mommy would catch him – and never let him drown. Carter was worried that he would die. I had to convince Carter to let go of his worry, and give his worry to me. His job was to move forward. My job was to catch him. He had nothing to worry about – that was my job. Carter had to stop thinking about himself and all his worries and focus on my direction.

There is Rest

1001754_10152039268089097_219248586_nPsalm 55:22 proclaims “Cast your burden on the LORD, and He will sustain you.” Over and over the Bible tells us not to worry. Matthew 11:28-30 records Jesus’ precious words; “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Nowhere are we told to worry. In fact, we are instructed quite the opposite. We are told again by Jesus in Matthew 6:34 “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” There is one more precious gem I must include from Matthew 10:29-31, straight from the caring lips of Jesus “ Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?[b] And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

When we do as instructed, we are never to worry. He will take care of any needs we have.  My God will supply all my needs. Our earthly concerns are essentially centered around ourselves, and our own selfishness. When we stop focusing on ourselves, and start focusing on greater things – loving and serving others and glorifying the one that takes care of us – our stress vanishes, our anxiety ceases to exist, and our panic is starved to death.

Do not worry my friend, simply rest in His care – have peace knowing that His grace is sufficient. He is more than enough.

Cherry Lips and Pretty Pearls – A Contagious Tale of Drab to Fab

Recently there has been a new girl. The service became instantly terrible. Becky was too scared to speak audibly, too timid to come to the counter without being beckoned, and the latte was cold. I guess I don’t mind cold coffee so much – Becky is a very pretty, sweet, looking girl with the lightest, softest blond hair, and a beautiful fair complexion. She looked so scared that she could have burst into tears at any moment. I thanked her for my (cold) coffee, threw some small talk her way, and had my first cold latte. It wasn’t too bad. Over the months she has learned how to nail a white chocolate mocha, and even come to the counter without being coaxed. She smiles a little now, and still nervously shakes a lot.

baristal come here every week. Every Monday night I have about 24 minutes of downtime. This is almost awkward because I am not used to being in public without a child literally pulling at me, or a client figuratively (and sometimes literally) pulling at me. …but here I am. I enjoy my coffee, knock out a proposal, or sometimes just stare blankly and don’t do a thing – because I can.

Then today… I walked up to the counter. Becky was nowhere in sight. Instead there was a brunette with a perfect bun. Her back faced me as she confidently bustled about fixing the customer’s drink that stood between the counter and me. She had HUGE pearl earrings, and perfectly blushed cheek bones. She was just about perfect from the back. In my boredom I wondered if her face was as pretty as the rest of her. She turned around with a bright energetic smile, and sure enough, Violet was the complete package. She was even able to persuade me to try the new holiday flavored drink – WHICH I LOVED!

I took my spot and settled in. Out popped Becky from the back room. I almost didn’t recognize her. She had her hair in a beautiful side braid, she moved with confidence, wore a sincere smile, and she donned cherry red lipstick. I used to think Becky was a very pretty girl, but now she was stunningly gorgeous! Over the course of one short week Becky had transformed from a timid, shy, and dowdy, to beautiful, radiant, and confident. The energy in the coffee shop had changed – so had Becky. Violet’s demeanor, energy, and encouragement had inspired Becky to let her beauty shine, and to step forward in the same confidence that her new peer so easily exhibited.tswiz2

There are two takeaways from Violet and Becky. The first one is something you can’t log into social media without being bombarded by; surround yourself with positive people that lift you up, they will influence you and mentor you in powerful ways. That being said, the second takeaway is quite the opposite. Although we are bombarded with little quotes telling us not to interact with people that are not positively impacting us, we need to remember that there is a time and a place where we need to be exposed to and interact with people that are not going to lift us up. There are negative Nancys and bashful Beckys that can easily pull down our spirit – fearful of the glass that appears to be half empty, and possibly a bad influence. Although it is true that we must be careful as a rotten apple spoils the barrel, following Violet’s lead, when we cross paths with someone that may not have the potential to enlighten or empower us, take the initiative to shine your light in their darkness. We are instructed to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.” We preach the gospel from our everyday interactions – by loving more, by encouraging one another and building each other up, not by rejecting those that in our eyes are not worth our time or meet the expectations to be in our life. Let your light so shine, that men may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven. Lights don’t “shine” where there is already light, they shine the most in the darkness. Find darkness, and start shining. Be contagious! That is true empowerment. Well done Violet and Becky.

The Broken Crib

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Rivers of tears.  Rivers and rivers, accompanied by some sniffling, and a wet hand trying to smear away the bursting streams that flooded – refusing to cease. My tears. The crib was broken. My son Carter had outgrown it, he was sleeping in a cute little toddler bed – perfect for him. My oldest daughter Kaylee was a good 18 months ahead of him. I had no reason for a crib. I had envisioned giving the crib to someone that needed one but was having a tough time financially. I didn’t have anyone specifically in mind yet – no one was at a loss.

I was working hard at getting divorced. I hadn’t shed a tear about my divorce since I had moved out of state about nine months prior. I was surprised at how good I felt about it. I was waiting for a melt down. People would give me their sympathies, but I didn’t even feel sad about it. I had escaped a terrible situation and my life was getting better! In fact it had already gotten quite a bit better! It was amazing how I did not miss my ex-husband. I thought I would feel a huge loss, but instead I felt cold, tainted, and anything but emotional. At this point no one, or nothing could hurt me. 

Then the crib broke. I had refused to get rid of it claiming I would give it to someone in need – which I would have done. But someone broke it when they were moving it while in storage. The breaking was more than I was able to handle, and exceeded anything I had been prepared for. It was just an old crib. Why the big fuss?

We all know divorce can be pretty terrible. We talk about losing a spouse, some children unfortunately lose parents, houses, finances, lifestyles, possessions, you name it, it’s taken. Your identity is ripped from you and you are left to “start over” – which starting over is essentially a joke if you are just trying to survive juggling single parenthood.

We had always planned on having more precious little babies. Carter would be such a great big brother, and maybe we would have another little girl to take shopping with Kaylee and me. I tried not to let those thoughts run. I had enough to think about and those thoughts were just absolutely silly and ridiculous. Of all the loss I was going through, the future of more children was absolutely absurd to me. I already had two healthy babies, and I had even been so lucky to have one boy and one girl *perfect.* 

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This was it. The final. No baby would ever lay there again. There would be no more late nights, early mornings, no more baby cooing, no more baby smells… Just like that in an instant it all became final. The past can hurt us, and leave some pretty heavy scaring, but letting go of something the future once held can surprise you and cut you up just as conivingly. Carter would be my baby. Our family was broken, but also pre-maturely cut off. I finally felt the loss. There lay splinters of the crib in little pieces. The crib was now just as broken as our little family. The one last thing I had from their baby-hood was gone, as was all momentary hopes of a future…

 

 

 

Papa

papa and kids

The anniversary was this week.  This last summer I was able to visit the resting place of my Papa’s body with my children – for the first time.  A lot more emotion surfaced than I expected.  When I was younger I never imagined my children would visit a grave site, rather than my Papa.  I would have loved to show off my children to my Grandpa, and on the flip side show off my awesome Papa to my little ones.  Love that man.  Here is something from a few years back, a small handful may have seen this before.  🙂

Today marks the ten year anniversary of my “Papa” changing his residence to a far more beautiful home.  Looking back I remember this day ten years ago.  I was wearing a white casual dress, in training at a new job.  I had already completed one week of training.  Suddenly I was called out of my cubicle.  I looked up to see my mother about 50 feet away from me, near the foyer area.  She had a look on her face I was not familiar with.  Immediately I thought someone had died.  Ironically I don’t know why that was my first thought, but my fear was shortly confirmed.

 “Papa died.”  

Immediately I burst into tears sobbing.  Now when something tragic happens my first thought is to question, how do we know this is true, and then I usually go into shock.  At age sixteen it was different, my emotions were less gaurded, and my heart was much more tender.  I kind of miss the pure emotion of that age.  Although I am thankful I can easily put on a front now a days.  We moved into a small conference room, got ourselves together, and went home.

I still can’t believe he is gone.  I cried myself to sleep that night and many nights following.  There were so many moments in that specific day that are SO impact-full to me.  Looking back I do not even really understand how I had time to experience all that I did in that one day.  

Walking into my house and seeing my grieving family.  Trying to comprehend that my dad had just lost his father and what that must be like.  My little brother had lost one of his heroes.  Appropriately it began to rain.  Pouring rain.  Weeping rain.  I went on a run.  I had sweat pants on, I was soaked, and I could cry.  No one could distinguish the tears from the rain. I listened to my music and ran.  I went to the park and swung in the rain.  The park was empty, no one was there.  The sun was no where in sight, the world was sad.  A wet, sad, cold, empty world, with a vacancy that no one could ever fill.  There was no other Papa.  He was gone.  God had taken him.  He never knew how much I had loved him.  I never knew how much I had loved him.

I think I could go on for about twenty pages…. the first time I returned to his home….  seeing specific relatives display different emotions… the strength of my dear grandma…..  

There were some bible verses that helped to get me through these times.  I wrote them on a notecard, and eventually gave them to my Grandma.  It was the only thing I had to offer her along with my love and hugs.  They were verses about God’s comfort.  Most of them were written by David.  I remember one was the ever popular “joy comes in the morning.”  I can tell you it is true.  Joy does come in the morning.  God’s timing is perfect.  I miss my Papa.  I would not do anything to bring him back.  I know that he is in the perfect place.  I want him to stay there and never come back.  I miss him.

The closeness that was displayed by my whole extended family was amazing.  There was grief, love, memories, hugs, and comfort.  It was also a spiritual time.  It made a strong family closer.  Unconditional support, love, and faith.  (Oh, and an unconditional supply of food lol)  

God has comforted, supplied our needs, and let us remember a truly great man.  Experiencing the death of my Papa was a good experience.  He is loved and missed greatly by all.  I will never stop missing him while on this earth.  I dream of a family reunion  in heaven lol….  we will see about that one lol….  I don’t know if they have those up there 😛 

I am thankful for the Papa that my children have to call their own.  Although they do not have the joy of meeting my Papa, just like my little brother, my son has a Papa to look up to as his hero.  My Papa would be proud of their Papa.

papa

Your Love Language – Inspired and On Fire

love language

Have you taken the test? There is a book written, and there is an online test about your love language. I can tell you which love language I speak according to the test. It seems to be the rage. Admirers ask about it, and friends post about it. Don’t get me wrong it’s always interesting “finding out more about yourself,” but what is the real benefit of knowing your love language? I have had a few “deep” conversations about love languages. All of these conversations were with people that wanted to learn how to love me better. After the conversations ended, I walked away with a warm fuzzy feeling – these people wanted to learn how to love me better. That feeling faded, as the promises took the form of a lovely unrealistic, far fetched fairy tale – out of reach, and out of this world.

What if we made it a little more simple. Throw away the test, set down the book, and end the lofty conversations. “Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” Wow, so simple. How many times can you look back at a love that has gone wrong, and heal it with that short sentence.

Have you ever been shocked when someone tells you they love you? We already know they love us well before they dare express it in words. Our love languages should not be focused on how we like to receive love, but on how we love others. These love languages that we speak to others are some of the most precious gifts we are given. They come in different forms, a heavenly love, and a unique love.

love welcomeThere was a day when many believers were gathered together.  The Holy spirit cam upon them, and they were gifted with the gift of speaking different languages. Here is a picture of what it would have looked like: Jose – who only knew Spanish – suddenly began speaking Mandarin to Liu, and Liu understood every word Jose uttered.  These were words from the Holy Spirit.

Today we are also given languages and words to speak to others, that not all can understand. I have a dear friend that speaks a language I can not, she speaks it beautifully, and is able to touch others. She speaks the language of a widow – I don’t know that language. There is another friend that is able to reach some that I can only speak to at a broken level. He speaks the language of a drug addict. He is recovered now, but he can speak to others fluently in a language that many of us can not. In reality all of the things that have happened to us, give us another love language. I can speak single mom fluently. I can speak broken, young, hurting girl, I can speak divorced, and many other languages.

sad

The crazy part is, so many of us are bilingual when it comes to the love languages that we speak, but we insist on keeping it a secret. We only speak the language that we deem most accepted, when there are people that could benefit from even a few words. 

I came around the corner. I saw Michael speaking Spanish to one of our customers. I had worked with Michael for a year now, and had never heard him speak Spanish before. I immediately thought of all the times he could have helped our Spanish speaking customers – he would have benefited the company with his gift – a valuable asset. Turns out Michael was embarrassed. His mother could not speak English, and he viewed himself and his mother as lower in society, when I viewed him as more valuable. Rather than taking on the same view as Michael, speak your languages, make them your love languages! Shout them from the mountains, and embrace your gift of a diverse love!

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3 Reasons Good Girls Like Bad Boys

niceguy2

It happens all the time, without fail. The sweetest girl goes for that terrible worthless bad boy – AGAIN! She has so much to offer, the perfect catch, yet she chooses a boy (we can’t even bear to call him a man) a handful of notches below her level. We cringe when we see our girlfriends, sisters, and daughters make the same mistake of picking up bad boys over, and over again. It isn’t usually a one time slip up, but some type of pattern that repeats itself – one jerk after another, always resulting with a broken heart and a swollen face full of masquara infused tears.

As we watch these relationships repeat themselves like a chapter on a scratched DVD, we figure there has GOT to be a reason for all of this madness. What could possibly cause a beautiful, well rounded, bright-futured female to stoop to the levels of an unaccomplished unqualified bad boy, that would treat her nothing even remotely close to what she is worth? Well, in reality there is an endless number of reasons that could cause a good girl to fall for a bad boy, but there are three major reasons that seem to be the most common triggers:

Scream and shout: Two girls scream as they face a downward spiral of fear

1. The Good Girl emotional adrenaline junkie. Bad boys tend to be more adventurous, and less predictable. Go back to the time when your significant other told you they loved you for the first time. Remember that emotional high, the euphoric sense of being free from all gravity, and savoring those sweet words you have waited so long to hear. There will never be a first time of “I love you” again in that relationship, never again will you feel that same high… unless… unless you can get to a place so low and so dark that even the dimmest ray of hope will be enough of a contrast that you will feel as if you are inches from the sun, giving you that same crazy high you experienced before. Let’s face it the lower the lows, the higher the highs seem to feel. These emotional adrenaline junkies can’t bear an even keeled ride.

2. He’s a really great guy with a good heart. Or, better said – he looks really good, and he’s a charmer. The excuse: “He’s a really great guy underneath that bad boy exterior.” The fairy tale: “I will change him, he will change for me, he just hasn’t met anyone worth changing for yet. He just hasn’t met anyone like me.” The reality: Although your ego tells you otherwise, this guy isn’t changing for anyone, and guess what; you can’t change him. Until he decides to make a real change for himself, he is unrescuable from the life of a bad boy.

3. They associate love with hurt. This is my least favorite reason, and perhaps the most common of them all. It could be a parent, sibling, friend, or even a past hurtful relationship that breeds this association. The one that loves them the most – or is supposed to love them the most – hurts them the most. When the one that is supposed to be meeting the need of love in their life begins hurting someone, that is where the association comes in. The role of a lover becomes distorted. When a good girl gets hurt by a bad boy, she associates the hurt to the same hurt her parent/friend/ex lavished her with, and expects that because she is feeling the same hurt, she will also feel that same love – which she will, but it will never be the right love, and it will never be enough.

What are your thoughts on why good girls go for bad boys?

 

Sweet Talk and Google Malfunctions

angry-phone-woman

“Just so you know, I think about them all the time, and I miss them.”

“Ok.” I responded.  It was the safest response I could come up with. I have heard this before a few times. I miss them, I love them, I made the biggest mistake, this time is different. It gets old, and I tend to be a bit sarcastic, realistic, and harsh. In fact, this was the perfect opportunity to tell him all about actions speaking louder  than words, what a real father is, give him that deserved verbal lashing, and grin as I walked away leaving him to drown in his own blood that I had just shed… Instead I put on my smile, “ok.”

I thought tonight I would rant about being wise, not falling for empty words or empty promises.  Maybe steal that line from one of my favorite poets “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, and all he could whisper was sweet, empty nothings–
which meant nothing!” Maybe something about being “wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Nah, forget that, how about we just focus on the shrewd serpent part, those doves are pretty over rated anyway.

That’s when Google started acting up. I like to look up some Bible verses, inspire myself reading similar topics that I either passionately agree or disagree with… Well, the wrong verse came up: “love beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” Ha! Wrong verse, bad job Google, plus I don’t love him so that doesn’t apply to this situation.

whispers: “Love your enemies…” grrrrrr

Another Google error found me paging through my Bible, landing in Luke 6 starting at verse 32 – red words. Jesus basically tells us that even really terrible people love those that love them, but we need to love others, give to others, and make sacrifices even when we know that we will receive nothing in return. He then goes on to speak the ever famous “Judge not least you be judged.” Hmmm… I was more in the mood for flipping tables and braiding whips…

Let’s be serious here, what does this guy actually deserve? How can I effectively protect my children and myself from him? What would make me feel good? What does he have coming for him? What about justice? “Forgive and you will be forgiven.”  “Be merciful just as your Father is also merciful.” Luke 6 started sounding more and more beautiful. When we can view those that wrong us, through heavenly eyes, we can see ourselves, and understand a fragment of the immense forgiveness the Father has gifted to us. Just as we are created in His image, we are called to forgive as He forgives.

 

 

 

Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:22

*I would encourage you to read Luke 6 – especially verses 27-38.  Here is a link if you are looking to save page turning. 🙂  http://biblehub.com/niv/luke/6.htm

 

Did I Hear You Right?

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My whole life was falling apart. Our family was breaking. I was leaving my house that I had poured so much into, and had made a home. I was mourning a failing marriage – the loss of a husband and father. I was crushed, and absolutely devastated for my children. All I could do was put one foot in front of another. All I had was my two babies and my job. I needed to move away. I needed to continue to provide for my children.

Work was great. I threw myself into it, I was a top performer, I knew the job inside out and could do it in my sleep. Everything in my world was being changed, flipped upside down, wrecked. If only I could transfer my job from the location I was at, to the location I was moving, it would be ONE thing that I could keep the same – one less thing to worry about, and one constant. Normally a request like that was easily fulfilled, however this happened to be an abnormal time in the company where there was a hiring freeze – of course. 

Those days were hard. I was truly broken. Daily I would take steps to transfer, and daily I would find less hope. I prayed to God, begged God, pleaded, and cried to please let me hang on to this one thing. Ending a marriage, researching lawyers, packing a household and taking care of two babies was enough.  I did not want to job search on top of all that. 

I drove home from work that night discouraged. I finally let go. Tears flooded my cheeks as God pried my white-knuckled little fingers away from one of the only things I had left. I finally surrendered, I finally let go. God told me that He was more than enough. That night I began to look at other employment options. I leaned on God, trusted Him, and had faith that His way was perfect. I had peace.

The very next morning when I got to work, I was informed that there was a brand new position available. This position was only available in one store in the whole company nation wide.. It was a job grade higher than mine, and two miles away from where I was moving to. There was quite a bit of competition for the position, long story short, I miraculously got the job, which was a promotion, that came with a heavy pay increase. God took care of me in a way better than what I had dared ask for, but He required me to lose my grip and give up “my control” to Him before meeting my every need. He made me listen to his “no” before changing His answer to a “yes.”

As I learn (sometimes the hard way) to listen to God’s voice more and more, sometimes I become confused. You do the right thing. You listened to what God has told you to do. The message was beyond clear, there was no doubt in which direction He was leading. You may have been excited about the new direction God was so obviously leading you in, and ready to give 100%. Then, out of nowhere, God changes the direction. You begin to question the voice of God. If He was so clearly giving me a “yes” why is He now so clearly giving me a “no?” Would God tell us to do one thing, and then change the direction after we have surrendered to His will? Did I hear God right?

“…he stretched out his hands, and took the knife to slay his son.” I can only imagine the tears that stung his eyes, and the incredible sorrowful pressure that must have filled his chest. “But the Angel of the LORD called to him from the heaven and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ So he said ‘Here I am.’ And he said ‘ do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.’ Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide, as it is said to this day, ‘In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”

 

 

I’m Waiting… (but not really)

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Waiting.  I hate it so much.  Whatever the outcome may be I want to know NOW.  I find myself refreshing my email constantly, running to the mailbox, and checking the screen on my phone just to make sure that I haven’t missed the bit of news I have been anticipating.  Really waiting for anything can be enough to make me go almost insane.  I find myself constantly preaching to myself via my own self talk; “Jacob waited.  Jacob waited for SEVEN years to marry the love of his life.  SEVEN YEARS!!  …and then he had to wait ANOTHER seven!  So really, time to work on that patience girlfriend!”  I have these conversations quite frequently not only with myself but also with some of the close ones in my life as they go through their seasons of waiting, whether it be for that new job, a solution to a problem they have, or whatever the case is, I preach Jacob to them.

Jacobs waiting has always blown my mind.  Four-teen years is quite frankly too long for me to wait.  However, I was recently given a new perspective that made four-teen years seem like, well like it did to Jacob; like a day.  We always hear “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.”  I usually just roll my eyes, smile, and nod then  I hear these remarks.  That’s absolutely ridiculous.  I don’t care how I get there, as long as I get there, so therefore the journey is absolutely irrelevant for the most part. – ha

Then there’s Joseph.  He was take captive wrongfully at around 17 years of age.  He was then sold off to an Egyptian, and wrongfully accused, and imprisoned for a crime he did not commit.  It wasn’t until approximately 20 years after Joseph was sold by his brothers that he was used by God to save a nation.  Joseph kept close to God during his wait.  Today we could expect to hear things come out of his mouth such as “I don’t deserve this, why would God do this to me? why do bad things happen to good people?” or my absolute least favorite “I’m mad at God.”  Joseph was blessed with grace as he kept God as his rock during these trials.  God did not leave Joseph hanging for 20 years, he prepared him for what was to come.  Joseph was able to tell of a deadly famine that would come, and ultimately save a nation.  In the words of Joseph himself after his brothers apologize he tells them what they have meant for evil God has meant for good.  It may appear that Joseph waited twenty years for God to use him, but he didn’t wait, he prepared, drew closer to God, became a recognized man of God even inside the prison.

Well twenty years definitely makes four-teen seem a little less.  …but what about eighty years?  Well that one seems to take the cake.  Eighty years of waiting????  Enter Moses.  Leading God’s people to the promised land.  Why did God not let his biological family raise him?  It wasn’t fair that his brother and sister got to grow up in the constant care and nurturing of their natural parents.  Why would God do this to Moses?  How could an innocent little baby deserve to be taken away from his loving mother?  He hadn’t done anything wrong!  Moses waited (prepared) eighty years to lead God’s people to the promised land, and then died before he could enter himself.  Moses had his share of doubts and questions, but he still kept close to the Father.  When I think of Moses I think of a man whose face shone from seeing God, a burning bush, the parting of the Red Sea, and the Ten Commandments.  Even these mighty men had their moments of weakness, but ultimately when we turn our faces upward God is glorified, and we are used.

My challenge to you, is to stop waiting.  Get out of the depth of despair, and look upward!  Stop waiting and start preparing.  Maybe you don’t have the answers, and maybe you don’t know why you of all people were chosen to go through certain trials, but guess what!?  God has a plan!  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.”  Turn your face upward, press on!!  For what man has meant for evil, God has meant for good.  Embrace it, embrace Him, stop waiting, and PREPARE yourself for great things!