Waiting as I Wander

“But I trust in you, O Lord, I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands…” – Psalms 31:14-15a (NIV)”

“There is an appoint time for everything. And there is a time for everything under heaven.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NASB)

“All the different periods of life:
The times of prosperity and the times of adversity,
The times of advance and the times of retreat,
The times of activity and the times of waiting,
They are all in your hand.” – Steve Gallagher

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” -Psalms 27:14 (NIV)

     I have never been very good at waiting. It’s a character flaw, I suppose. I live in an impatient society. My generation is one of instant gratifications, a phenomenon studied by many psychologists, some of whom I would imagine were not raised in an era where that was even a thing. I live in a world where smart phones get more attention than our friends and family, Netflix is chosen over a good book, and looks are all that matter. It’s heartbreaking, but you can’t help but get caught up in it all.

     Yet, when I do, I not only reduce my ability to wait on the things I want, but I also lose my ability to wait on the things of God. I want an “instant God.” I want my prayers to be answered and my desires to be delivers right away. I don’t want a mediated “No.” because something isn’t meant for me. I want everything to be a “Yes, of course you can have that, Anna.” I want the wages without the work, so to speak.

     The Israelites wandered 40 years in the desert searching for the Promise Land, even though the journey should have only taken days. They grumbled and complained, they were not instantly satisfied, even though God provided for their every need. And Moses failed to enter the Promise Land because of his disobedience to God. WOAH, what?? Fast forward a few thousand years and let’s apply that to my life.

    How often do I feel “lost” and like I’m wandering without a purpose? DAILY! How often do I complain or question that? More times than I care to admit! And if God is telling me to wait on Him and I am being disobedient, is He going to withhold His promises from me? YOU BETCHA!

     Praise the Lord that a story of searching that happened so many years ago can relate and reflect my life today. To me, things like that teach me lessons, they bring the Bible to life and they guide me in the ways I should go (as the Word is meant to). So, while I may be wandering in my own little desert right now, I need to PRAISE GOD in the midst of my journey for all He has provided me. My obedience to Him should be of the utmost importance, and if I follow Him, He will lead me into a land overflowing with the abundance of His promises.

God is something else, something that may not be instant, but He sure is eternal. Amen!

Set It Free.

Forgiveness

I thought I knew what forgiveness was. It’s when someone says they’re sorry and you accept their apology, letting go of the offense they made towards you. Isn’t it?

Well, yes. But forgiving someone and letting go of what they did to you doesn’t always take away the pain and the hurt that they caused you, no matter how unintentional it might have been. And usually, people don’t intend to hurt us, but they do and it’s in those time when it hurts the most.

Today during church, the pastor said that he felt someone needed prayer for forgiveness. Instantly, my mind went to one person. It was the same person that just this morning I had written about in my journal…

“So many times I just want to text and tell him how much I miss him and how much I hate him for everything he did and to thank him for all the lessons I learned and tell him I’m happy for him and ask him what wasn’t good enough about me and just cry so that he can see and feel and deal with everything he just dropped when he stopped giving a damn about me. But I never will. I will never again let him know that he had such a strong impact on who I am today. Because he won’t care enough and I’ll care too much. And that’s not worth it anymore.”

I didn’t go up for prayer.

I continued sitting with my legs crossed in the very back row of the church like I normally do. I figured he wasn’t talking to someone else. I had forgiven A quite some time ago for all the things that he had done to me. It wasn’t until I was in Europe that I realized I was truly over it all. I let it go. That meant I forgave him, right? I said I forgave him. Then that day that I was back home and I broke down in tears because I didn’t feel like enough, the day that God met me right there on the driveway as I cried out to Him. Surely I had let all of A’s offenses go for good that day. Hadn’t I?

When he walked away, I was devastated. After everything we had been through. Even after it all, I had stood beside him, and then he left. Just like that, with no explanation. No phone call, no apology, nothing. I let him go, knowing that I needed to, but that didn’t make it any easier.

A part of me was still hanging on. Why? I don’t know, and I may never know.

But I do know that when the pastor continued waiting as one then two and three then four others walked up for prayer, that he was waiting for me. I kept sitting, shifting ever-so-slightly in my seat from the discomfort of the heaviness I was feeling in my chest. With each second, it burned even more.

Before I knew it, I was moving towards the front. I heard a whisper, “there she is” from someone in the pews as I walked. I stood at the front of the church fighting tears as I twisted my rings around my finger, as I often do when I’m thinking over something I’m not sure of.

“What if it wasn’t me he was talking about?”

Usually when someone else goes up for a prayer call, I sigh a breath of relief that it wasn’t me who the Lord was calling out. But not this time. This time, I knew the moment pastor spoke that it was me he was talking to.

He confirmed that when he anointed my head with oil and breathed the words “thank you for your obedience” onto my forehead.

He clasped both his hands on the back of my neck and I sobbed. His words aren’t something I’ll soon forget, nor will that prayer of forgiveness I repeated. In that moment, I was setting it free. I was once and for all letting go of the hurt and the anger and the resentment that I had towards this person who had damaged me so badly.

For the first time, I was finally forgiving him and meaning it.

Mother’s Day Weekend.

What a nice, good weekend.

I spent Friday after doing what I now can’t quite remember (darn you early onset forgetfulness!), then I met my mama at the gym after she got off of work for our workouts. After that, I headed home to make some dinner – GF pizza for her, leftover grilled chicken with asparagus and a sweet potato for me. As soon as I had gotten out of the shower, a friend text me and invited me to join her and some friends to see Ironman 3. However, I’m not a huge movie fan (not to mention I haven’t seen Ironman and Ironman 2), so I planted myself on the couch and watched/helped the girls play games (my mom and sister were playing Apple-to-Apples and Headbanz with my nieces and two of their friends). I was quite content.

On Saturday, I woke up early for breakfast and devotions before I was off to the gym for some cardio and core. Kali, the new trainer, kicked my butt in her core class. But I completely enjoyed it! After a quick lunch and shower, I set off with mom and sis to get some grocery and dress shopping knocked out. Chesterfield Bottoms, Whole Foods and West County Mall on a Saturday afternoon – not our best plan! But we accomplished everything we set out to do, and when I got home, I threw together dinner (while helping put away all the groceries, I might add) before heading over to Kory’s for a relaxing night in with friends. I absolutely love nights like that. Nights where you play cards, take goofy pictures and stay up just talking, laughing and joking – it’s such a good time. By the time I got home and took a shower (I knew if I waited, I wouldn’t get one before church — oh the perks of living with a ton of people!), I didn’t get to bed until nearly 2:30am!

Sister

Sister

Luckily, I was wide awake at 6:30am on Sunday morning to start my busy day in the kitchen. First up, GF banana nut pancakes, eggs and bacon for a small Mother’s Day brunch! Then a cake in the oven for sister’s 21st birthday (a very drunk Barbie cake) and a GF apple cinnamon streusel coffee cake for mom (and me!). I got the girls and myself ready for church, decorated the cake and managed to prep a bunch for dinner before we headed to church. It was such a great sermon. Pastor spoke on how we don’t see ourselves as clearly (or near as beautiful) as everyone else sees us. What a much needed message! While out shopping Saturday, this young girl who was passing me stopped to say, “you’re really pretty, just so you know” – it completely made my day! It’s amazing what a simple compliment can do! I suggest you look for an opportunity to compliment someone today, as I promise you, it will make their day a bit brighter.

Mama Bear

Mama Bear

Mother’s Day with the family went off without a hitch! Well, unless you count the strawberry sauce that fell and broke, leaving glass all over the floor. Or the grill that kept going out because of the wind (I love/hate propane). Or the million other little things… but I didn’t let them get to me. I grilled, set up dinner, washed all the dishes, cleaned up after – all so my mama could enjoy her day (which she did, btw). By the time everyone left and I sat in the recliner, I was exhausted. I passed out in the chair at 8pm!

Next up…

Now, it’s a glorious Monday morning and I’m feeling so very blessed. I’m off to work on internship things before heading to an interview, a chiropractor appointment and the gym.

I may not be where I was expecting to be by this point in my postgrad life, but I know that I’m right where I need to be, right where God wants me. I’m working on being content where I’m at and living in the moment, rather than being so wrapped up worrying about the future. Let me tell ya, it isn’t easy, but it’s so worth it.