TAP IN — #1 (T)IME

**OVER THE NEXT WEEK I’LL BE SHARING A 5 PART SERIES CALLED “TAP IN”. THIS DEVOTIONAL SERIES IS DESIGNED TO RE-IGNITE YOUR DESIRE TO SEEK GOD CONSISTENTLY AND INTENTIONALLY.
BY USING EACH LETTER IN THE PHRASE “TAP IN”, WE’LL TAKE A LOOK AT VARYING ELEMENTS THAT PLAY A KEY PART IN EVALUATING WHERE WE STAND IN OUR PERSONAL PURSUIT OF KNOWING JESUS.
AFTER READING EACH POST AND IMPLEMENTING EACH ELEMENT, FEEL FREE TO POST ON INSTAGRAM WITH THE HASHTAG #TAPIN AND CONNECT WITH OTHERS WHO ARE MAKING A DECISION TO GET REALIGNED WITH CHRIST, INCREASE THEIR UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORD, OR ACTIVATE THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS BY TAKING THIS CHALLENGE. **
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One of the things I have to be willing to admit is that while I love to read – the older I get and the more I have on my mind , the harder it is to comprehend.

As I look back over the last 2 years, the things that have stuck with me, the things that have taken root in my spirit and transformed my perspective or understanding have been the things that I studied instead of just reading.

I read “Scary Close” by Donald Miller earlier this year. It was an incredible book! In fact , I sent a text to no less than 10 people after reading it declaring, “This is the best book I’ve read in years.”

And it was….it was a great book, with so many “aha” moments and opportunities to reflect and confront my own inconsistencies when it comes to relating to others. The sad part is I can only remember a few points from the book, and most of what I remember is a general theme, not specific points.

I read Toni Braxton’s memoir just 3 weeks ago and I can spout of facts about her life like an excerpt from wikipedia. I like Toni Braxton, but I’m not a super fan or fanatic. So what about Toni’s life story made it easier for me to comprehend and carry with me when Donald’s book was actually the better book?

(T)IME.

I read Toni’s memoir in less than 2 days. I didn’t put it down until I finished. I made time to read it. I allowed the story of her rise and fall to captivate me. I accepted the fact that her story had the ability to inspire and educate me in regards to my involvement in the music business, so I read it until I was finished.

It took me 3.5 weeks to finish Donald’s book. I’d sit down to read it and take notes . But, I picked it up and put it down often. And although I was underlining various passages in the book, I wasn’t spending time with that book. I was simply reading.

I find myself in the same predicament when it comes to the Word of God. I read it regularly. Almost every day. But, rarely do I sit with the bible in my hands for 30, 40 , 60 minutes. And when I look back over the last 2 years and the moments when revelation and confidence in the Word of God was building and increasing in my life, I also notice that the time I spent in the Word ranged from an hour to 2 hours ….every. day.

Sure, I have a new baby now and she requires a great deal of attention.
Having another person in the house also means I average 2 more loads of laundry per week. ( As if the Mount Everest piles I had prior to weren’t demanding and time consuming enough. It’s a wonder I have time to do anything else other than laundry)

What about getting up an hour earlier while she’s still asleep and the house is quiet?

Why can’t I forego checking instagram and twitter 35 times in 35 minutes and use that time to get in the Word?

Perhaps I need to stop skipping around the bible via various devotionals and stick to one book of the bible at a time? (This just works best for ME – do what works best for you)

The transformation that took place in my heart was rooted in the TIME I spent in the Word of God. Too often we’re hesitant to admit or pursue persistent prayer, God talk and in depth bible study because it may cause us to appear “deep” . But, I’m convinced that part of the problem with the Body of Christ is that we’re (as a whole) too shallow. We know more FACTS about God, rather than living and breathing out the love of God that can only come from being consistently intimate with Him.

Join me in making a decision to make TIME for the Word of God. Not time to read OVER it, time to INDULGE in it.

Write it down in your planner.

Set an alarm on your phone.

Put a post it on your bathroom mirror.

Let’s do. Let’s make TIME to get in God’s Word.

We WILL be transformed.

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Experiencing His Word

It took me awhile to even find it.
If I’m honest, I wasn’t even looking for it. I was looking for a novel.
I’d found a 30 minute window for some mommy time, and I hoped reading would lead to napping.

As I began to reflect over the last few days I realized I hadn’t opened its pages in almost a week.

Wow.

I felt a bit troubled.

It didn’t seem like I’d neglected the Word in all of this. The water breaking. The rush to the hospital. The heavy contractions. The spinal that just wouldn’t go in. The c section that seemingly lasted for hours. The recovery. The wee hours. Hadn’t I read the Word?

Hadn’t I taken the time to open its pages and seek?

It was if flashes of an upcoming movie begin to fill my mind.

Jesus when I was scared.
Father when I was in pain.
Holy Spirit in the peace of the night.

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Within every thread of this birth I could feel and see Him….present.

At times we cling to the written word of God, more desperately and consistently than we do the presence of God. As a pastor friend once said , “To honor the Word of God higher than the person of God is idolatry. ”

Interestingly enough, although I’d heard this and deep down believed this, I fought the feeling of condemnation I felt for not having read my bible in almost an entire week.

Until, I acknowledged that THE WORD was present each and every moment of this delivery and continues to be in this recovery.

“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Jon 1:1 lets us know that the Word has ALWAYS Been. The WORD was not only with, in, and operating in cooperation alongside God….the word WAS God. Jesus…the person of the Word has always been and will always be. Reading the written word is simply a pathway to His presence. Yet, His presence is too big to only have the ability to meet us through the way of the written Word. He reveals in songs. He reveals through trial. He reveals through trust. He reveals in celebration and praise. He reveals in quiet reflection or lament. He is always.

As I held my baby girl last night in the wee hours….watched her eyes open and attempt to focus as my husband and I whispered to her and marveled at her precious little form….the Word was present. I knew then what David meant when he said, “Your word have I treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against you. ” (Psalm 119:11 NASB)

Your written, spoken, revealed person I have treasured, adored, spent time with so that I won’t sin against you.

Wow.

Relishing in the truth of who He is….. constantly being revealed to me and always with me. Jesus….the WORD.

The Waiting Game

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I have a confession.

I’m not very good at waiting.

I pay very close attention to time, and I’m the type of person who likes to have a list made out for the day (even if it’s just in my brain) of tasks, goals, and the time frame I’d like to have them done.

So, picture me… the epitome of impatience….spending a total of 25 weeks of this pregnancy on bedrest…now waiting on this baby to come.

I have contractions daily.

I’ve been to the ER twice in the last week with intense contractions but very little progress.

I average a total of 3 hours of sleep per night.

I’m totally not in control of this baby girl’s arrival, and that truth is causing me to unravel.

Before now you couldn’t have told me I am a control freak. As much as I like to have a time table and make a list for everything, I’m also very spontaneous. But, like any other cluster of unforeseen, imperfect conditions, what’s in you comes to the surface.

This pregnancy has been my hardest by far. For weeks I was on bedrest hoping to keep this baby girl from arriving too soon. Now I’m walking daily in the hopes that she would hurry up and get here. Babysitters are lined up. Laundry is clean and folded. My husband is actually off work this week. In my mind, this is the PERFECT time for her arrival.

On Monday morning while tears streamed down my face as my doctor told me I was only 20% effaced despite the intense contractions….this scripture came to me.

” FOR EVERYTHING THERE IS AN APPOINTED TIME, AND AN APPROPRIATE TIME FOR EVERY ACTIVITY ON EARTH. A TIME TO BE BORN…..” {ECCLESIASTES 3:1-2A NET}

I really felt as though 2 things were happening.

1. God was reminding me that He has a sense of humor. I mean…c’mon. The first activity addressed was “A TIME TO BE BORN”. womp, womp, womp.

2. I also felt like God was correcting and aligning me with a resounding reminder that He is sovereign. While we have been given the incredible privilege of seeking and agreeing with Him in prayer, He knows best and His will takes precedence over our preference. Every. Time.

So, I continue wait. I spent a half hour or so crying this morning. And, I’ll need to cross over the caffeine limit today in order to endure a homeschool field trip this afternoon. But, it’s working for my good. My flesh has no choice but to submit to my spirit which genuinely desires to allow the characteristics of God to be prevalent even in this. Plus, baby girl gets a chance to “cook” a little while longer with less chance of issues post delivery.

Tell me….are you good at waiting?

The Truth. Nothing but The Truth.

Over the weekend a friend of mine shared a podcast with me from her church. The topic of the podcast was one I really didn’t want to hear or think about. But, I trust her. And one of the things I really respect about our friendship is that she always challenges me to see things from a different perspective then my own.

On Monday, I listened. I wouldn’t say I was convicted. I can truthfully say in the complicated situation I’ve been dealing with for 6 months now ( and the fact that it’s been 6 months still seems unbelievable and ridiculous to me) , I’ve tried my best and done my part to remain prayerful, do the hard things even when I didn’t feel like it, understand or at least see the other person’s perspective , and reconcile. While I wasn’t convicted, the message did bring about a lot of emotions and energy that I really wasn’t up for.

I shared my feelings with my friend after listening. We began a healthy, but intense tennis game type texting frenzy back and forth. She was determined to help me remain positive, hopeful, and to keep allowing my heart to be open and free instead of closed.

A few hours later I sent her a text along these lines.

“I apologize if I seemed short and irritable. I’m tired. I can’t keep fighting for (this situation ) when right now I need someone to fight for me. “

And there it was….all spilled out….the truth.

We’ve become these robots, right? Social media gives us this platform to connect with others whether our relationship with them is surface or deep. We post and share the things we want other people to see or experience along side of us. And at its core, it’s a good thing. I keep in touch with family and friends who live hundreds, even thousands of miles away , via Facebook and instagram. I keep up with friends who have 3+ kids, and really don’t have the time to catch up on the phone for a half hour. I’m able to share the insight God gives me on various topics, and engage in healthy conversation with others. As long as we’re posting the best of us, all is well.

But the truth is, there are days I am hurting so badly that even picking up my bible seems like a chore. There are times I find myself unable to speak audible words in prayer…only tears. There are days the same children I just posted about the day before….telling the world how much I love and enjoy them…..those same children seemingly lose their hearing and run like wild tigers through my house. And on those days I don’t want to hold them close or laugh it off and say “They’re just being kids”. I want to hide in my room, lock the door and be alone. That’s the TRUTH.

When people post pictures of themselves at the hospital, crying tears, or tell us how they’re hurting or lonely….you know what we do? We call them attention whores and accuse them of needy.
The ironic part is that often we criticize people….we even make meme’s and twitter updates about how people only show us what they want us to see on FB or instagram, and that most of it is fake. But the question is,
If people have the courage to tell us the truth….nothing but the truth, will we still love them? Accept them? Respect them? Stand with them? DO WE EVEN CARE?

When I texted my friend the other day, a part of me was nervous. I was a bit nervous that she’d disconnect when I blurted out that the bottom line is I’m just swimming through so many emotions at this point in my life (plus I’m 8 months pregnant), and at any given time I may be short, irritable, rude, and disenchanted because I’M TIRED. I’m tired of being the one to tell the truth, lay it all on the line….take me or leave me….only to be made to feel that I’m “too much”. AREN’T WE ALL? And yet and still, we have this power….this very person living inside of us as born again believers who empowers us to love one another in spite of our humanness.
The question is…. ARE WE WILLING?

I don’t want fake relationships. I don’t want to see a person’s highlight reel and never know their tears. I don’t want people to only feel comfortable quoting scriptures with me, but never knowing me well enough to know they can talk to me when they’re doubting the very same scriptures they know by heart. I want the TRUTH from people. I give people the TRUTH of me….nothing but the truth. And I desire the same in return.

Is being Relevant….Relevant??

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There’s been a lot of talk lately about the church, its purpose, its message and the way in which church is advertised, presented and “done”. I’m personally thrilled that there’s dialogue about something that has been a taboo subject for way too long.

I grew up in a pretty strict denomination. Salvation came with a list of do’s, don’t’s, behavior expectations, and dress code. I have a solid foundation of bible basics as well as church protocol. I can dress the part with the best of ’em.

It hasn’t been until the last 5 years that I’ve began shedding the layers of condemnation that come with a salvation of “works”. You know…the idea that you can earn your salvation. The perception that God loves you based on how often you read your bible, pray, attend church, and of course; the length of your skirt.

I’ve read a few tweets, FB rants, and instagram posts about churches being too concerned with being relevant.

“Jesus doesn’t need any help”

“The lights and videos take away from the star of the show….Jesus.”

“We’re missing the point of church”

I’ve taken some time to ponder these thoughts. I actually used to feel deeply that these thoughts were correct. But, you see….I’ve gone to almost every type of church you can imagine. The strict church. The pastor centered church. The “just enough” Spirit church. The black church. The white church trying to seem black. The grace church with wonderful worship, wonderful teaching, but lacking in outreach and fellowship. I’ve even done the “I don’t go to church because I’m sick of church but I love Jesus” church.

Finally, my husband and I have found a church that suits the needs of our family. After attending for a year we recently became members, and both of us are now actively serving.
Guess what? It’s a “seeker friendly” church.

Lights.
Video presentations.
Preppy dressing pastor.
Lively music.
and coffee. Lots of coffee. Because coffee is important.

You know what? I LOVE my church. I love that my husband is excited to go each week, and is now actively using his various gifts in video, sound and music production in our church. I love that my children are actively growing in the Word of God and meeting new friends. I love that the music ministry is presented with both passion and excellence. I love that my pastor speaks plain truth applicable to every day living and very much Christ centered. You know what I love the most? I’m not afraid or ashamed to invite strangers or unbelievers to my church. I love that there are plenty of care groups and community groups to be involved in to assist with growing in God’s word and actively living out the commission as not just believers, but disciples. I love that my church isn’t boring.

Maybe the question we should be asking isn’t “Should the church be relevant”, but rather…”Who is church for?” When I think back to the various churches I’ve gone to before now, they all had one thing in common. There were rarely any visitors who were unbelievers.

Hmmmmm….

Aren’t we supposed to go out into the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in? (Luke 14:23) What’s compelling about a lecture? What’s compelling about coming to a place where you feel uncomfortable because you’re not dressed like everyone else? What’s compelling about a building falling apart at the seams and a pastor that takes up 2-3 offerings in one services and drives away in his luxury car?

I think back to the book of Genesis and the way God took His time in creating the world. Day. Night. Land. Sea. Animals. Colors and variation everywhere an eye could see. I doubt for one second that God thought to Himself, “Maybe I shouldn’t make the beautiful body of water…turquoise and flowing….because it might take away from my beauty. ” Are you kidding? A) There’s no comparison. B) The beautiful , turquoise water is just another element of God’s person. He’s creative. And His creativity is another tool to draw us into Him. Why can’t it be the same with our presentation of vocal, music, lighting, and video gifts in church?

The message of Jesus can be heard, felt and received in so many ways. I think we do ourselves and those we are trying to reach a disservice when we assume it can and should be delivered in only one way.

I Broke Up with the Black Church

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Saturday night I was sitting in church next to my husband. I was holding hand with my left and taking notes vigorously with my right. I had on sweatpants and sneakers since I’d just come from visiting my sister and brand new niece at the hospital. My husband had a smoothie in the cupholder next to him, and the couple in front of us were sharing a scone. In the sanctuary. Blasphemy, right?

I thought about how I used to STRESS about what I was going to wear to church. I’d buy stockings in bulk in case of an unexpected run. My cleaners bill was obnoxiously high. I’d have to keep a mental note of when I wore each outfit so I didn’t repeat them within a 6 week period. I liked shoes, but I didn’t have the budget for more than 3 pair of heels so I rotated my black nine west with my navy enzo angiolini’s and my beige Payless specials that I hoped no one looked too closely at. Earrings, bracelets, rings, perfume. It all had to be just right, especially when I started leading worship and had to either sit, stand or sing on the pulpit one or ore times during the service. I remember coming to one Tuesday night service when I wasn’t scheduled to sing, wearing black dress pants and a simple blouse. I was politely scolded by one of the women in leadership. “If I have to always look the part, so do you.”

I grew up in church. I watched my mom go through the Sunday morning ritual every week. But, she seemed to like it. She has more of a knack for dressing up than I do. (Her 2 closets packed full of women’s suits and shoes in every color are proof of this). We grew up in a small, but power packed church. EVERY Sunday we had “church”. The deacon would open up the service (usually my dad or my grandfather) with a hymn, the choir (when we still had one) would sing a soul-stirring selection or two, offering would be taken up, and then our pastor (who had been playing the piano or organ through the entire service), would take her place at the podium and preach the good news. Sure she preached about sin and hell sometimes, but she preached Jesus much more often. Her loving but direct personality made her a wonderful pastor. To this day I’ve never heard anyone say a negative word about her leadership as a pastor.

I’m not sure what happened. I don’t know if I simply got older and understood more of what was being talked about, or if things really did change. Somewhere in my teen years I remember being deathly afraid of hell. I would ask the Lord to forgive me at least 30 times a day. I was scared almost EVERY night when I laid down, that the rapture would come and I’d be left behind. Once, I was out riding my bike in our neighborhood and came back to grab a drink of water. All the doors were open, lights were on, tv on, but my mom was no where to be found. I ran frantically through the house calling her name, but she didn’t respond nor could I find her. I laid on my parents bed and started to confess every sin I could think of. “I’m sorry for lusting after Andre’ at school. I’m sorry I don’t like wearing skirts. I’m sorry I stuck my tongue out at my mom behind her back. I’m sorry for sneaking a pepsi after school. I’m sorry for kissing my wall and pretending I was kissing Andre. I’m sorry for saying a cuss word so Eli M would think I was cool and possible consider dating a black girl. ” I was literally snotting and on the verge of crying at this point. I was certain I’d missed the rapture and signed myself up for the tribulation and oncoming mark of the beast. I thought of all the adults in my life who had left me behind. How would I eat? Pay Bills? Drive? I had to call my grandparents. If one of them answered then I KNEW I hadn’t missed. I mean….my grandfather had a direct line to God. The phone rang twice, and then my grandfather answered , “Praise the Lord…. _____________’s Residence.” YESSSSSSSSS!!!! I hadn’t missed the rapture!!! I still continued to cry, but I was relieved. Turns out my mom had taken our neighbor dinner and came back only to find me hugging my grandparents whom I’d insisted come over until her whereabouts were discovered.

I lived in fear. Even in my 20’s I was scared. I had a horrible experience when I was 19 with a woman prophesying something over my life that made me feel like I was struggling with something I actually wasn’t. But she said it out loud in front of people…..so it had to be true, right?

I led worship with a commitment and fervor that never let up. I planned and prepared like I was going to be singing for the world’s greatest diplomats every Sunday. When things didn’t go as planned or people didn’t respond like I’d hoped, I’d go home feeling like garbage and questioning my abilities and anointing. Every. daggone. week.

I remember learning that if you didn’t pay your tithes you’d be cursed, and walk around with a hole in your pocket. I barely made enough to buy groceries, gas and chip in on rent every pay period. Not to mention the fact that I HAD to dress a certain way and therefore HAD to shop for dress clothes regularly. But of course, it was my fault…because I’d stopped paying my tithes (I couldn’t afford to), and was now cursed.

I remember the PRESSURE I felt not to be just at church, but look and act a certain way. I confided in a mentor once that I was struggling with some feelings of inadequacy and heartbreak from a relationship I’d been in.  The relationship had been near perfect. We’d made general plans about marriage and even received prophesies about being together. Then, he stopped talking to me one day. No rhyme or reason, just gone. I was doing my best to recover, but I was pretending. I was heartbroken, and feeling less than in all areas of my life. “You just have to believe,” she told me. What a let down. I didn’t need a soup can answer. I needed help and compassion.

I continued to pretend. I shouted and danced on cue, even when I didn’t feel God. I stood in $100 lines because I needed a blessing and that was the way to get it, right? I felt guilty at every altar call even if I couldn’t think of any sins I’d been actively committing. I prayed and read my bible regularly. I knew I was anointed when the people responded, and questioned everything about my relationship with God when they didn’t. I was okay believing God was angry and waiting for me to mess up so he could abandon me and watch me pine after him in condemnation until He decided to take me back….THIS time.
I thought it was okay for the pastor to tell my husband and I that our “personal lives were of no concern to him. He expected us to be at church at every service, working in the office 40-50 hours per week, and giving above and beyond others since we were in leadership”.

I thought of all of this on Saturday. I looked around at the auditorium filled with people of different colors, different backgrounds, and different levels of spiritual commitment. A guy behind us had just finished drinking….I could smell it on his breath. But, he was in church. A couple to our right seemed to be visiting. He listened to and hung on every word our pastor taught. She wiped at her eyes throughout the entire message. Obviously hurting, but in church. In the balcony I saw a group of young adults who spent most of the message on their phones, texting, tweeting, whatever. But, they were in church. There was no heaviness. There was no pressure. There was no fear. But God was there. Jesus was revealed. He was there in the freedom.

People ask me often, “Don’t you miss CHURCH?” It’s sad that “church” has been defined as the way we dress & the way we worship rather than the way we are challenged to actually BE the church when we leave. I have watched my family grow spiritually in the last year that we’ve been going to what most call a “seeker friendly” church, than we’ve grown TOGETHER in all my years. It is most encouraging as a wife to see my husband soaking in the message and then bringing it up later in the week & sharing how the Lord is challenging him and encouraging Him through that word days later. I love that my children honestly believe God is their best friend, even when mom and dad are giving them the blues. They’re not afraid to love God and whisper to Him at night when they’re scared or tell Him thank you over the simplest of things. I love that for them. and I love that I no longer have to feel less than because I don’t have a budget the size of California to keep up with all the latest fashions and expectations so I can “look” the part. I’m even back to leading worship….and I sing in my JEANS.

I love the Body of Christ. I love seeing people eager to get to their respective churches on the weekends and share what their pastor preached. We all have different needs and preferences. I no longer need the key of Bflat to announce to me that God is in the room. I now understand He dwells within me, and He never leaves. When I open my mouth to praise Him, it’s because He’s real, not because I do or do not feel “the anointing”. When I give…it’s because I love Him. It’s my honor to give to Him. And when I don’t have it, I pray and ask Him to bless me with more so I’m able to give more. And He does….because He gives seed to the sower.

I broke up with the black church. And while I’m thankful for the firm foundation I was given as a child, I’m even more grateful for the house I”m building on it…in Christ with my family. Wearing sneakers and all 🙂

When The PERFECT will of God ain’t so perfect

For at least 4 years since returning to Michigan from L.A. , we have been praying for God to send us to the right church for our family.  I know some people who have been at the same church for 20 years.  I think that’s awesome and a true blessing to find the place where you belong and grow, serve, and persevere where you’ve been planted.

When I was 23 years old, I remember a woman of God whom I admire and respect but don’t often talk to, walking up to me and telling me that she felt that God was going to use my husband and I (my husband whom I hadn’t even met at that time) to travel and minister for years to come — sometimes planting churches, rebuilding music departments, and in some seasons being planted in specific churches for training and polishing.  She said we’d rarely feel at “home” for a long period of time.  But not to worry – this was a part of God’s plan.

This has literally been the description of the last 6 years of our life.  We’ve helped ministries get back on their feet, we’ve rebuilt a music department, we’ve trained and taught some vocalists and musicians, and we’ve been aching for a home.

In January we found that home.  In March I actively started serving in that home church.  In July I was asked to become one of the worship leaders.  And here I am in September…on bedrest….not able to attend let alone lead worship at the place that we call home.

Some might say , “Well , maybe it just wasn’t God’s timing yet.”

But, I know better.

It was God’s spirit that nudged me in March to stop using old hurts as an excuse and get active in the place where He was planting us.

It was God’s favor that nudged my worship pastor and led him to come to me and say that he recognized the anointing , understanding and heart of a worship leader on my life and wanted me to step up.  He was not aware of my previous experience as a worship leader or a minister of music at that time.

It was God’s timing that allowed me to get pregnant in this season.  We hadn’t been “trying”, but we hadn’t “not been trying” either.  And because we’d endured 2 miscarriages, and we already have 2 beautiful children, we’d decided and prayed that if we were to have any more children God would only allow it in  HIS TIMING. 

So here we are right smack dab in the middle of a season we know is God’s will, but it would seem unfair that now that we’re in it, things are not going as planned.

I’m on bedrest and for the time being cannot lead worship or be on my feet for a long period of time.  I’m used to teaching at least 4-5 vocal students per week , and its been 3 weeks since I’ve been able to teach voice lessons. I’m used to traveling 1-3 times a month singing background or doing studio work, and I’ve had to turn down those opportunities because of a pregnancy complication.

I was obedient.  I stepped out.  And now Im sitting on the sidelines.

Often times the perfect will of God ain’t so perfect.  His plan is perfect, but the circumstances He uses to bring his plan to fruition can be confusing, disappointing, and difficult.  God is not the author of confusion, but He can certainly use confusion along with any other life element to work for not only our good, but our best. 

I find encouragement in the word of God as I look at the story of Abraham , who was promised a son.  Upon receiving his promised son, God then asked Him to lay Isaac on an altar to be killed.  Abraham had no foresight to see that God would allow a ram in the bushes to be used as a sacrifice instead of Isaac.  Abraham simply obeyed.

I find encouragement in the word of God as I look at the story of Hannah, who was barren and unable to conceive a child.  Her husband loved her deeply, and his other wives made fun of Hannah because she could not bare children.  She wept sorely before the Lord and prayed desperately for a child.  God gave her a promised son; Samuel.  And when Samuel was weened, she left him at the temple to serve in the house of the Lord for all His days.  Hannah gave up the very thing she’d prayed for.

I even look at David, who was an unlikely choice, but nonetheless chosen to be king.  Yet, being God’s chosen also meant that he spent many days and nights running from Saul who was jealous of and hated him.  David had to hide in caves, go without food or water for days at a time.  Lived in fear of His life all because He was God’s choice.

I have a few promises that God has manifested in this season.  A church home.  An opportunity to serve in my church home.  And now, a baby.  I’m in a waiting pattern concerning all 3 of these manifested promises.  Waiting to see when I can go back to church.  Waiting to see if I’ll be able to lead worship again during this pregnancy, or if I’ll have to wait until next spring after the baby is born.  And I’m waiting on bedrest…..to see if this hemorrhage between my uterus and the placenta is going to dissolve on its own so that the baby I will no longer be in danger, and the remainder of this pregnancy will be healthy and care-free.

It’s hard.

I’ve cried.

People forget about you.

Sometimes I feel like I’m missing out.

It’s scary.

It ain’t so perfect.

But I have peace when I lay my head down at night because I’m in the perfect will of God.