December 31, 2013

Waiting & Staying

A couple of months ago, I read a devotion about the seasons of life - periods of life where you are in the throws of either sowing, growing or harvesting. This devotion came at the same time my husband and I were praying for discernment as to where God was calling us to serve; where to live, where to work, where to make a home. He will be marking his fifth year workiversary in May and I will have been at my job for two years. Everything seemed to make sense to us that if there was anytime to see where God wanted to plant us next, this would be the time.

For the last couple of months, I got caught up in the quick, fast-paced movement of life. Somehow, I developed a "quit if you're not happy because, why not?" attitude on life, partially fueled by many famous authors and subsequent articles/journals/blog posts about quitting if you're not happy, or quitting if you don't feel God working through you at your job/vocation/station in life. I started interpreting periods of silence and idleness as signs of "you've done all you can here, you need to move on" and "time to get movin'! time to travel! time to see the world!", instead of thinking that maybe - just maybe - this was my period/our period of planting and sowing right where we were.

I mean, why not right? My generation is taught to grab life by the horns, have jobs you are only 110% passionate about every waking moment of your life, quit one job to get a bigger/better/higher paying job, "stop waiting for yo' man and start getting out there and finding one" (and conversely "true love waits but God is taking too long so..."), bigger/better/faster/stronger. Our generation is consumed with making sure our our hashtaginstavinechattweet (see what I did there) is refreshed to! the! second! so that we know what everyone else is doing so we can let everyone else know what we're doing too.

Everything's got to be now. Right now.

But it was just Advent season, and for the first time in a long time I realized that the Advent season is all. about. waiting - anticipating patiently! - for what (or rather, Whom) is to come. Coincidence? I think not.

Prior to the birth of Christ, historians place a 400+ year time span between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New. 400 years! Of waiting! (I can barely wait 400 seconds for something I want, imagine 400 years!) For four. hundred. years, generations upon generations actively and faitfully chose to believe God, believe His promises, and believe His will for their lives, even though He appeared "silent".

When I began having these stirrings in my heart, I started to pray. I prayed for everything - for our future, for our jobs, for our friendships, for our marriage, and for God to make clear to us what/where He was calling us to do. With "Oceans" pumping through my veins, I poured my heart out in my journal, with specific prayers in all areas, seeking after His heart and His voice to lead us - to a place I thought was not Savannah.

"Yes Lord! Lead me where my trust in You is without borders! But lead me somewhere fun...and Nashville! Or Charleston! Or overseas!" My prayers were all over the place, and quite frankly, very selfish. Why Nashville? Why Charleston? Why overseas? Friends, of course! Cool coffee shops, the stories of great community there, the possibilities of new exciting things to do, why not?, the "grass is always greener" syndrome.

Then came a whisper, a stirring, a realization...what if, instead of away, God was calling us to stay? Back to the start of it all. Back to Savannah. Back to my current job. Back to our church. Back to our little house we have made our home. What if God was calling us to stay right where we were?

At church, sermons were about waiting. In Sunday School, lessons were about waiting. In my small group, we read about Esther and her years of waiting. Suddenly, my eyes were illuminated to my prayers written months ago in my prayer journal and I started seeing God at work the whole time I thought He was silent. Prayers were getting answered. So much so, that I had to start writing down how/when/what prayers were getting answers in the margins.

Now it's the end of 2013 and I looked back to where I was almost year ago, and I am made painfully aware how willing and determined I was to accept this past year of waiting - and in a strange but glorious way - welcomed a year of waiting:
"...if there's anything I'm learning about my God, it's that He is good. All the time. No matter what. And if things aren't 'good', who am I to say otherwise? God is God, He does what He wants, when He wants, how He the most loving, we-wont-understand-because-He's-God-and-we're-not kind of way. I find comfort in knowing that at the end of the day, the world does not revolve around my ability to cross things off my own list of to-dos for life (or the fact that a list of to-do's exists, for that matter). I am loved by a God who beckons me daily to seek after Him, to seek after what He loves, who He loves. Yes, this is good news, good news indeed."
(Post written January 7th, 2013)
What He wants. When He wants. How He wants.
Heard you loud and clear now, God.

Thank you for giving me a year of waiting.