“You went to the Bahamas Nicole”. That is what I tell myself from time to time when I get discouraged and fearful about God’s plan and will for my future. Am I the only one who is fearful of God’s plan for the future? Am I the only one who loves Him like crazy because He loves me like crazy but I’m still a little skeptical of His definition of “good” versus my definition?
In my journey with Christ I’ve experienced lots of “holding patterns”. Sometimes there would be holding patterns within holding patterns; tests within tests. I see in hindsight these holding patterns were times of Him pruning me to grow me and teach me His ways. They really were in answer to my prayers to “be more like Him” or “know Him more” (Have you ever said those prayers? Have you ever regretted saying them?). In one older journal entry I said “I know that if I am not content in this season, then I will not be content in the next”. At the time I was waiting on a job God promised. Well, as with all of His promises He delivered. And yet I find myself waiting again in this same area. I did come to a place of contentment and surrender in that season but I still fight discontentment now. It’s not that I didn’t learn what I was supposed to learn then. In fact, 24-year-old Nicole learned exactly what she was supposed to learn then. But what I am learning now is that God is taking us from “glory to glory”, from “strength to strength”.
That means the process of surrender never ends.
He is building in us faith that can withstand the test of time, even if it means we are tested WITH time.
When being treated to a b day lunch today with a good friend (yes I celebrate my b day all month long!!) she shared about the hardship of waiting. The burden one can carry when day in, day out, you are longing for more. You long for more b/c you know that you are called to more. And yet the door of opportunity remains closed. I must reflect on my experience with this. I must reflect on the faithfulness of God; we do reap in due season if we do not lose heart.
Yes the waiting is difficult, especially when waiting in multiple areas of your life (tests within tests). The endurance it takes can test one mentally and even physically (at one point I even lost my hair I was so stressed by the waiting). There have been many times I have second guessed my calling or what I thought God promised. I even struggle with that now. BUT there are times He moves SUDDENLY. There are times I may find myself on a cruise ship headed to the Bahamas with a woman who loves me dearly (shout out to Jiesha Perkins) drinking exotic drinks and laying on exotic islands, all in the middle of the worst winter Cleveland, Ohio has had since the 80s. There are times when the testing and waiting is OVER and for a FULL YEAR God moves SPEEDILY. He moves me out of my mom’s crib, into a home with roommates. I get a new car. He restores my relationship with my father and I see him after 20 years and on top of that I am promoted in my career. There are times like those that are refreshing and strengthening and I know without a doubt “Jesus loves me!”
But the truth is, He loves me during the testing. During the waiting. If it weren’t for those hard seasons, I would be a spoiled brat that couldn’t possibly give Him glory because she was full of SELF.
So, I’m here. Coasting along with Jesus. Seeing what His plan is and trying to not be fearful of it. Because in my heart of hearts I know I don’t have any reason to be afraid. After all, He sent me to the Bahamas…after 10 years of waiting to leave the country. He blessed me with 7 years in my current occupation. He blessed me with my independence after 3 years of obedience. He has established perseverance in my character. Can you say the same?
What things have you successfully waited for and how did that period of time help to build your faith?