Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Waiting Game

You may not know the details of our life, but you know that we have spent the past 10 months or so waiting on many things. We wait and nothing happens. We wait, something happens, and then we wait some more. We wait, something happens, then it all falls through, so we wait again.

This morning, with the ice and snow falling, I was given lots of time to sit and think over our waiting.  And I have to ask myself, "Am I waiting well?" and "How can I wait well?" Though I've not waited well all the time, I have figured out what helps in doing so. In no way is this an exhaustive list. I could go on for days...

1. Don't waste the wait

Whatever you are waiting for - a job, a husband, a child, a house - don't waste the time while you are waiting. It is so tempting (and I've done it) to stop doing things, especially to stop serving others. But when you believe that God saw fit to bring this into your life for you to glorify Him and to become more like His son, you get a new perspective on your waiting. Let me give you an example of one of my best and worst days.

One day, I went to work and Hubs came along to work on a project at church. We spent the entire day doing something for someone else. Then, we went over to some friend's house that night to fellowship and have fun. Although we talked about our situation and thought about it, we were so wrapped up in other people that we didn't get overwhelmed by our own issues.

Compare that to another day, where I didn't text anyone, left the house only if I needed to, watched shows on TV, checked my email and social media, ordered food and went to bed early. I was completely consumed with my own situation, that I was depressed and my attitude towards others and Hubs was selfish and crabby. I wasted the time that God had given me.

So, find things to do. Meet with people. Don't waste this time, but redeem it. Never, ever will I believe that God's purpose for you is to sit and think about yourself.

I'm not always good at this, but when we serve the Lord instead of ourselves, I think our attitudes naturally get a little better. I am constantly reminding myself to be thankful that God has brought us to this spot to serve Him. Which bring us to the next one:

2. Choose Gratitude

I can't stand complaining, and I really, really try not to do it (out loud). Right now, it is super popular to complain about the weather, and I know I have even said a few things about it. But, when you believe that the Lord has graciously allowed you to be in whatever situation it is (even cold weather), it's really hard to complain and grumble.

Sometimes there are things that you have to work on moment by moment, and this is one of those things. I can be at church and see someone who is in a situation that I wish I was in. A little thought comes into my mind, maybe envy, and so I immediately start thinking over truths that I believe. God is good and sovereign and faithful. My life has been custom designed for me to grow in grace through faith in Christ. God has not forgotten me. Christ emptied Himself and came to die for me. What else do I need but Christ?

Choosing gratitude means you will stop choosing yourself. It's so tempting to just sit and think on your own situation. You can even sit in a room with other people, listening and talking with them, and really just be thinking of yourself. Please tell me that I am not the only one who has done this!

There is only one way I can think of that you can actually accomplish choosing gratitude. It's building  up a good theology from God's word and keeping it in your mind. It's an active thought-life based on who God is. And, neatly, that takes us to the next one!

3. Think what you believe

What do you believe? What do you think? What do you know?

Our thoughts can really change the course of our day. I can let my mind go down a horrible rampage and be changed in a matter of minutes. For example, I was driving to the mall yesterday and I thought about if we were in a car accident. In my mind, we are in this accident and I see this huge beam coming straight for us. Hubs is unconscious and doesn't duck, but I do just in the knick of time. Hubs dies and I am distraught. A few weeks later, I realize I need to talk to someone about what I went through because I am having nightmares. And although all of that is completely made up in my mind, I am in my car bawling.

That's a silly example, but I can do this with anything. I can be super mad at Hubs or think someone is in the wrong completely because I let my mind run away with a tiny thought.

What if we did the same thing with truth, though? I'm in this situation. God is still good. He has given us so much, everything we need and even more. God is faithful. I know He does all for His glory and our good, which is conforming us to the image of His Son. So, I am going to trust Him. In God's gracious timing, He has given me more hours to serve Him and others. Now, what am I going to do about that?

What you believe about God is the most important thing about you (from A.W. Tozer). Why? Because it is what will be lived out and it is what will inform your thoughts. Learn to reign in your thoughts and think biblically about your situation. When one of those moments happens where you are tempted to start feeling sad for yourself, ask yourself these questions: What do I know? What do I think? What do I believe? Maybe someday I'll give you even more details about how I do this personally.

4. Love the Word of God

There are still times where your heart is overwhelmed and you just don't know what to do. Sometimes this is the hardest one for me to do, but open your Bible and read God's words. My favorite place to turn to right now is Psalm 61.

"Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I."

I love to learn from David's example of what to do when you are discouraged or confused or overwhelmed. I love that God put verses in the Bible that can balm our struggling hearts. I haven't found anything else that comforts and attends to my needs more than Scripture, yet often it is what I turn to when nothing else works. Learn to go there first.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Question we Constantly can't Answer

"Do you know where you are going yet?"

We get the same line of questions each week because people care about us and are praying for us. Never would I think of complaining that people want to be involved in our lives! Just the opposite - I am thankful!

Unfortunately, we don't have an answer that would only take a few minutes to share. Our answer is long and complicated and best summarized as, "We don't know."

In the past 9 months, we have had lots of challenges. Mainly, we have faced many unmet expectations. Not unreal expectations, just normal ones that most people have. God has seen fit to take our lives in a different direction, however, and we are praising Him for his faithfulness on a day-to-day basis. We have food. We have a house. We have great friends and family. And as we wait and wait and wait, our goal is to be faithful on a daily basis in what the Lord gives to us. What does that look like? It looks like me going to work. It looks likes serving others in whatever way we can. It looks like fellowship with friends. It looks like cleaning the house and car maintenance. It looks like making little decisions and doing as much as we can to make the process go quicker.

I'm so glad everything in our life has purpose. How depressing would it be to have a "trial" and not understand that God works through them to conform us to the image of Christ? There is purpose and reason behind all that goes on in our lives! Hopefully, this is cultivating me to be a person who desires God's glory more than my personal desires.

So, when I say, "we don't know," I am not avoiding the subject or trying to be vague (that's not me). We really don't know what will happen over the next weeks and months, but we hope our life demonstrates trust in God and a desire for his name to be exalted in our life.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Big Day x2

Hubs graduated over a month ago. So, I totally missed the opportunity to tell you in detail about what a great weekend it was with our friends and Hubs' family. We ate great food (The Tavern) with friends, went shooting with family and had a fun time celebrating over all.
We introduced Hubs' parents to our enjoyment of target shooting, and I got my first dead on bullseye with my gun, plus I got a few with Richard's! 

At graduation. We are so bad about taking pictures these days that I am very thankful we made sure to get one! I wish you could see my full outfit, but it included a chunky gold pave link bracelet, gold belt and (my fave) gold peep toes. I debated for days about whether or not to go bare legs in the cold and I did. I'm glad. The dress wasn't as cute with tights.

Oh look! I found a photo of my shoes!

The valedictorian. 

The graduation was different than you might expect. It was a catered dinner with a program at the end. Each graduate goes up a says a little something before receiving their degree, mostly thanking people that helped them get to where they are today. Then they announce the valedictorian, which was Hubs. After so much hard work over the past 30 months, it was such a wonderful thing for him to be recognized for the accomplishment. I mean, being valedictorian of high school is cool. In college it is a bigger deal. And in graduate school it's so impressive. But to be in a group of 14 highly educated, proven intelligent individuals, is not easy. Each day, he put forth his very best and he was recognized for that. We have been overwhelmingly thankful for all of the people that have prayed for us, encouraged us and helped us through these years!

We had a great time saying good-bye to Hubs' classmates. He has seen those people almost every day for the past 2.5 years! It is a very sharp change in your day-to-day routine when graduation occurs. Most people were headed to their new state/country/practice within the week. And, in case you were wondering, we are still in St. Louis, working hard to determine what is next in our life.

Yesterday, Hubs had another big day. He turned 30! This is a crazy year because this year we are not only in our 30s, but this year will be the 10 year anniversary of when we met. It's unreal that we have known each other that long, and yet it is hard to remember life without each other. I think we say that about every milestone, but time continues to fly by and we are enjoying the ride.

As you know, I love birthdays and think that something special should be done. On a milestone birthday, it just means something more special should be done! If you remember, last year, we went indoor rock climbing and it was fun. This year, we went indoor karting and it was special because some friends came along with us!

No messing around with these karts. You have to wear helmets, and they about did me in. I felt so claustrophobic! 

See. They go fast!

We had never been indoor karting before, but these things can get to 45 mph and they are electric, so they don't smell! It was a lot of fun, although I was pretty intimidated by the other races who had obviously done this a lot. Most importantly, Richard enjoyed it and it was worthwhile. I ordered ribs from Jack Stack and they were amazing and we spent the evening with friends, which is exactly what Richard wanted to do for his birthday.

I completely disagree with those that say as you get older, birthdays don't mean as much. I mean, if you want it to be like that, fine for you. But in my book, we will be having a fun day no matter how old we are!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Am I Ready?

Last Sunday, we were challenged to take some time before the new year and plan for our spiritual growth. It was a great sermon that asked a lot of questions, and since then, I have wanted to sit down and plan out my year. What will I study? What will I read? Is my theology ready for whatever comes in 2014? (Click here to watch to that sermon by Rick Holland.)

This morning, I finally sat down to think through the sermon and make a plan for spiritual growth this year. I started off by reading a sermon by J.C.Ryle, "Are You Ready?". It is a short little read (from which Rick Holland quotes frequently in his sermon) and it started me thinking soberly about the next 12 months. (Click here to read that sermon by J.C. Ryle.)

Never before have I really prepared for the year ahead, but I want to make sure I am ready for whatever happens. Not that the trials will be easier, the loss will be less or the growth will be exactly scaled at what I think it should. But that what I believe about God and his Word will be the solid foundation I need to be tossed against when both hard times and good things come.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


When you reach the finish line of a race, the course doesn't seem as long or as difficult as it did while you were in the midst of it. That's how I feel this week, and it wasn't even my race.

On Saturday, Hubs graduates for the second time in our marriage. It's a lot different this time. When he graduated from dental school [2009] I threw a big party [click here to review], we left for Hawai'i two days later, we moved for the first time two weeks later, I had just quit one of my favorite jobs and life was a bit crazy. There was a ceremony and a cap & gown and he was officially pronounced as a doctor for the first time. It was exhausting and stressful and the very next day I accidentally locked myself outside our apartment and sat outside for hours with a migraine headache.

When he graduates from orthodontic residency in a few days, there will be no party or vacation, we have no moving plans yet, and I'm still working at my job. Life is normal (depending on your definition of that word) and we are celebrating in a much calmer way. There is no ceremony and no cap or gown, just a nice dinner and a program with awards and congratulations. Although it is different, the excitement is just as high.

The first part of the race was hard. We struggled to find our stride. There weren't a lot of people nearby to help keep us going and it really felt like the end was forever away. The work was long and strenuous, but Hubs kept pushing through. We kept trying to find the new normal for our life.

About halfway through, we found our pace. People came alongside of us to cheer us on, to support and to encourage. We were enjoying it, and although we hit a few bumps and found times of fatigue, we knew we would make it to the end.

For the last few weeks, we have been sprinting to the finish line. We have been thinking about what happens after we finish and trying to prepare for it. We still aren't sure what will happen, but that will come in a different post.

It's kind of nice that this time is much calmer. We get to enjoy the finish much more. Hubs has raced extremely well and he is finishing with excellence. I couldn't be more excited for him and am so thankful to have shared every moment by his side. And I'll keep on cheering for him even after he runs through the tape at the end.

And, just like finishing a race, I'm so glad that we did this, but I'm not interested in doing it again for a really long time.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Great resources

There are some really great resources that I have found over the past few months. I really want you to know about them.

Trusting God by Jerry Bridges. If you've never heard about this book, then I'd be surprised. I feel like it is a must read for everyone. God is trustworthy in everything and I have been so comforted by studying God's sovereignty, wisdom and love.

"Sorrow, Suffering, and the Sovereignty of God" by Rick Holland from Right Thinking in a World Gone Wrong.  A short article, again on God's sovereignty, but focusing on how we handle our trials and asking ourselves: What do I know? What do I think? What do I believe?

"The Believer's Right Response to Difficulty" sermon on Lamentations 3 by Rick Holland.  He says at one point, "Complaining is the most serious of all spiritual threats because complaining puts yourself on the throne of God and says, 'I expect and deserve better than what you have dealt me in my life, God.'"

"Trusting God with Infertility and Miscarriage" lesson by Lisa Martin. A great perspective for you if you know of someone dealing with this or are that person dealing with it.

"Heart of Hospitality" radio series by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.  I'm still listening through these, but they are great on learning what hospitality is and is not.

"Unmet Expectations" series by Lisa Hughes.  This is a great series on unmet expectations, which we all have! I really love that you can print off the notes, which have a section for you to do extra study in your own personal time in the Word. I've been incredibly thankful for this.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

What I will miss about St. Louis

There are a lot of things, but for sure this:

Not sure if you can tell, but this tree is keeping up with the times and has decided to go ombre this year, starting with a light yellow at the bottom and turning to you a flame red at the top. It stands strong and tall at the entrance of our neighborhood, and I had to snap a photo from my car before those leaves dump to the ground.

Where we are [most likely] going has trees, but not like this. I'm so thankful for such a beautiful Fall this year!