I’ve heard it said, “Waiting is the hardest part.” I’m not sure that’s true in every case, but for a girl like me whose greatest virtue has never been patience, I’d say it’s true more often than not. :)
I’m two weeks from my baby’s expected due date. I haven’t been feeling well the last few days. I went to my weekly prenatal checkup this morning and things are progressing right along. Yet, I wait! I try to stay busy. Then again, I wait! The waiting seems to be the hardest part. It’s nerve racking not knowing when it will happen or what to expect next. Although I’ve had a baby before, this experience could be completely different. I wonder how it will all take place, what it will be like, what my child will look like…and still I wait.
I should be better at waiting than what I am. I have had to wait a lot in my lifetime. My patience level has improved as I’ve learned more about Christ and have lived to practice more of His patience in my life…especially as a wife and mother. Still, I found myself saying a rather impatient prayer this morning, “God, would you please just let this baby come now?”
After saying it I realized that although God hears my prayers, He also knows the precise rightmoment for this baby to be born. He knows what’s best for me, what’s best for our baby. He created this life I’m nurturing and has already predetermined the exact number of days of my child’s life! Why wouldn’t I trust His timing over my feelings? Because I’m impatiently waiting, that’s why?!
As I thought about this it got me to thinking some more (hey, a 38 week pregnant girl has to have things to keep her mind pre-occupied, you know?!) I asked myself: How many times has God waited on me?!
I think about the time I spent running from Him and His will for my life. I had felt such a closeness to Him early in life and then turned my back on Him as a young adult. How did He feel then? I think of Him patiently waiting (like the father of the prodigal son). Then, I see Him with arms open wide and tears in His eyes as I came back to Him in repentance. He gracefully accepted me just as I was, without reservation or condemnation. He wrapped His arms around me and said, “I’ve been waiting!” Oh the joy, as He accepted His child into His arms, embracing the lamb that was once lost!
Even after surrendering my life to Christ, I have spent some time running from His perfect will for me. I’ve wasted time trying to do things my own way and running from the things He’s called me to. He’s dealt with me in a certain areas of my life, to be more obedient or disciplined, and because of my own stubbornness there have been times when it has taken me a long time to submit. I’ve failed to or at least been slow to pray over situations that have risen in my life, either forgetting the power I have available to me or foolishly thinking I could handle it on my own…or in my own strength. Again, my Father patiently waited! And eagerly answered when I called! This growing process continues in my life.
At times like these I picture Him with His head in His hands saying, “When will she ever learn?“ Even as He prompts my spirit, He patiently waits!
I’m thankful He’s never been impatient with me. He never gives up on me! He waits patiently…loving, guiding and teaching! I am a work in progress.
Oh, and I will wait also (like it or not!). Perhaps today He is trying to teach me to have more patience. When will I ever learn?! :)
Thank you Lord for being patient with me, your child. Thank you for lovingly accepting me, faults and all, embracing me with your loving kindness and grace. Thank you for your forgiveness and salvation! Forgive me now for my tendency to be forgetful, doubtful and impatient. Teach me more of Your ways and help me not to forget to seek them! Thank you for not giving up on me…even though I know you’ve done a lot of waiting.
…the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; how blessed are all those who long for Him.
Isaiah 30:18 (NASB)
Despite being raised in a Christian home by a godly mother, going to Christian school, attending church regularly, making a commitment to Christ at a young age, being saturated with the truth of God’s Word day in and day out as I grew up, as a young adult I chose a different path for myself.
Somewhere along the way, even though I knew it was wrong and I consistently felt the Lord calling me back to Himself, I decided that I wanted to do things my own way. I didn’t want to answer to Him. I turned my back on Him and out into the world I went. It wasn’t one giant step, just one small step at a time. It didn't seem that bad at first. In fact, it seemed quite inviting, and for a while I thought I was having a pretty good time. I so ignorantly thought I was free. I did what I wanted.
I’ll spare you all the gory details, just take my word for it, sin took me further than I wanted to go, and kept me longer than I wanted to stay. All my “freedom” and “fun” had led to bondage. I was miserable, lost, broken. Although I promised myself that I would never feel regret, I felt an overpowering regret and oppression hover over my life like a dark cloud. I felt like my life was headed no where fast and, honestly, I wasn’t sure that I wanted it to continue.
It was in February of 2004 that my knees hit the floor. Cries from my broken heart pleaded with the Lord to forgive me for my rebellious ways. I told Him that I wanted to change. That I wanted to live for Him. That I knew that I was dirty and broken, but would He please renew me to live a life for Him and His service. I meant it and God heard my prayer.
Something extraordinary happened within me that day. For the first time in a long time, faith welled up inside me. My heart changed. I knew-I JUST KNEW-that He was doing a brand new thing in my life (Isaiah 43:18 & 19).
I changed that day…and the evolution has continued from there. As I’ve continued to surrender more to Him and His will for my life the more freedom I have experienced. I feel peace, hope and joy that was completely lacking in my life before. I know where I put my trust, and it isn’t in temporal worldly pleasures.
If there is one thing I’d like to tell the world…all people, all my friends and family and acquaintances…it would be this: there is a REAL God that works in our REAL lives in this very REAL world! It isn’t about being spiritual or religious, it’s about a personal relationship with a REAL God that loves me, and He loves you too. I didn’t always believe that, but I know it to be true in my life today. I know where I was and I know where I am now. I cringe to think of where I COULD be today, and am thankful that He loved me so much that He took me, dirty and broken, and gave me a NEW LIFE!
You can readily recall, can’t you, how at one time the more you did just what you felt like doing-not caring about others, not caring about God-the worse your life became and the less freedom you had? And how much different is it now as you live in God’s freedom, your lives healed and expansive in holiness? Romans 6:19 (MSG)
YES I DO readily recall!! And I am extremely grateful that I now live in freedom, healing and holiness. Ironically, when I gave up my life, surrendered to Christ, I found true freedom.
This is really what Easter is all about, friends! This is why God sent His son, why He chose to humble Himself to come to earth as a human; to voluntarily die a disgraceful, excruciatingly painful death; to willingly take upon Himself our sins and iniquities; to arise from death to life on the third day...so that we too may live. To live eternally, yes. Yet, also so that we can live life abundantly NOW, in true freedom with peace, hope and joy that the world does not offer. He loved us that much!!
Each of us have a choice, we can “hold on” to our lives or we can surrender them to the Savior who gave His life for us, accepting His truth, His grace and His will for our lives. It’s not a one time decision, it is a daily choice. Take it from someone who knows, you must first “lose” your life to find true freedom. He is what each of us need. None of us are “good enough” on our own…or have been “too bad” to receive His grace! Thank You Lord Jesus for Your love, grace and mercy. Thank You for giving up Your life so that I may LIVE…and not just live, but TRULY live in the freedom only You offer. Thank you for forgiving me and allowing me to move so far beyond my past mistakes. Thank you for doing a “brand new thing” in my life. I pray that I will continue to die daily to myself, to my selfish desires, self-doubt and self-will, so that I can experience all the good You have planned for me. TRUE freedom! Give me courage to share You with others in my life…knowing that You are the life-giving Savior we all need in order to experience the abundant life we each desire. Let my life be an example. Help me shine Your light into the darkness of this world, sharing Your LIFE and love with others. May You be glorified!
Do you know Him, dear reading friend? I mean, REALLY know Him? Are you experiencing the abundant LIFE, the TRUE freedom He promises to those who serve Him? Do you believe that He died for YOU? If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9...Christ's love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have alldied to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. II Corinthians 5:14 & 15… anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! II Corinthians 5:17 Previously you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy…You are now ashamed of the things you use to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:19 and 6:20b-23 (NLT) I read this quote recently, “It was not the nails, but Jesus' amazing love for us, that held Him to that cross." He had the power to remove himself from that cross, but He chose not do so.
He did this for ME. He did this for YOU. LIFE is His free gift to us, if we accept it.
It is easy to laugh at men's ideals; it is easy to pour cold water on their enthusiasm; it is easy to discourage others. The world is full of discouragers. Many a time a word of praise or thanks or appreciation or cheer has kept a person on their feet. Blessed is the person who speaks such a word. ---William Barclay.