On Sunday, Tom Regan, one of the pastor’s at our Washington church, Imprint Community, gave a sermon on waiting. He shared parts from his own story in life of hard broken places that his family has had to walk through. Their own seasons of waiting. As he spoke, a song came over me, a reminder of what my family has walked through in our own times of waiting.
This last year, Nick and I had our plans of how things would go with moving up to Washington. We came up thinking our kids would go to a certain school and we would get engaged at a certain church, and we chose to live in a neighborhood that we would plan on buying into once our house in Oregon sold. But as we started to make the transition and say goodbye to the familiar people and places that had been our home for so long, none of those plans went the way we had hoped.
So much waiting. So much holding my breath. Would our house ever sell? Would our kids settle into their school? Would we find a church community that would work well with our family and start to build friendship? Now that our house sold we can’t afford to buy where we hoped. Do we keep renting or do we purchase a home further away? Should we try a different church closer to our new home? Do we change our children’s schools again when we move? I have been an anxious walking train wreck throughout this year. Why was it so hard for me? I struggled over and over in drawing close to the Lord in this. Why? Why did I struggle? This weakness of mine to desire to be in control instead of rest in His presence in the waiting. I wrestled with God so much over the lack of control I was facing.
Waiting came up all different types of forms in all of this. Being faced with raw changes over and over, and watching our kids take the hits, I struggled so much with doubting. I felt it deep in my stomach, a heavy weight that I kept carrying with me. All of these ideals I had come up to Washington, of how Nick and I were going to structure our life, were not coming together in the way I had hoped.
A verse the Lord reminded me of, was one a friend gave me last summer when Nick was job interviewing and we didn’t know how this was all going to go.
A man’s hearts plans his ways,
But the Lord directs His steps.
The prayer God had given me to speak over this whole move, was this:
“The Lord go before us, pave the way.”
Not our will be done. But His. His kingdom come, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven, in the Adams family home. Not Kari’s will be done, Kari’s kingdom come in our home. Nor Nick’s nor Josiah’s, not Ava or Lena or Mallory’s. His kingdom come, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
My ideals of how we would rebuild our life up here were falling apart. This dream I had created in my mind, was not working the way I hoped for. This Utopia of having a home close to my kids’ school and our church and my husband’s work, with beautiful walking paths to wherever I needed to go so I would never have to drive again was not coming together. In fact, quite the opposite on so many levels were what was coming together. I knew once more it was driven by the desire and longing for my eternal home. The tension of living once more in the presence of an imperfect arrangement with a longing for my permanent eternal home, was feeding that desire in my OCD driven brain of trying to make things perfect. However, the truth is Perfect was not to be strived for, nor would it be found in my circumstances. Contentment with what we had been provided with by the Lord was where I would find my rest once more.
God has been making clear to my heart this beautiful valuable lesson. From walking through so many of our own uncertainties, and watching the lives of those around me. He is in the midst of the waiting. He is right in the center of our waiting. When we feel so out of control of the circumstances and life around us, when we have that desperate ache that we cannot hold onto anything that this world offers us because it is so loose and could fall a part or be taken away in one second.
He is in the waiting.
For my dear friend who has been walking through hell on earth watching her marriage break a part, and watching her press in over and over closer and closer to the Lord with each and every passing grief and loss in her life. He is in her waiting. He continues to be in her waiting. And it’s BEAUTIFUL to watch her take each step on this path she would never have hoped or dreamed of for herself. This broken awful path. She presses in, and she finds Him there.
He is in her waiting.
For one of my closer than a sister friends, who has walked with me through my own broken fire a few years ago, and been so faithful to me when I felt in some of those moments in my deep struggles with depression, she would reach in over and over and speak to me truth I needed to hear. I watch her as she walks through the lack of control of her body with an autoimmune disease, colitis. The years she has spent fighting to gain control over something that wreaks havoc over her body. A disease that prevents her to be able to ambitiously pursue areas in her life she would love to pour into others’ lives, as she does so well, so beautifully. He is in her waiting. As she falls back into the pain from it, and the control it takes over her body and over her schedule and ability to function well, I watch my friend fight to seek the Lord, to ask Him hard questions, of how can she be engaged and involved in being an active member of the body of Christ. He meets her there, speaks truth into her life.
He is in the waiting.
As I watch my beautiful mama friend with 6 children, one of them diagnosed at birth with a condition that told her that her little baby boy might not live a year or two. Then I see her with all the strength a mama could muster, with the presence of the Holy Spirit in her life, step into the role of Fighter for her little boy. This mama not only fights for her little boy, but she fights to give her family a love that is life giving and chooses home schooling for her children so she can be intentional in all of their lives. She sees her children change and grow in ways only God can do, as they love their brother well. And now her son in the condition he is in is now 7 years old, and his life brings glory to God in so many visible ways. And my mama friend does not know what to comes, but takes courage to find hope and give life with every day she is given, not living in the fear of what could happen, but living in the today of what is happening.
He is in her waiting.
I have witnessed so many of our friends walk through hard trials in life. But in those trials, I see them press in closer to the Lord, to His Word. Reaching out. Grasping. Knowing that in these uncontrollable places they have a choice to lose hope and fall apart. Or they find that in everything falling a part there is a God at the center of it all who is there to walk along with them through it all.
The song God spoke over my soul when Tom spoke last Sunday, is a song Bethel Music released recently called “Take Courage.” This song has played over and over in my mind the last few months. As I watch friends walk through their own personal refining fires, and as I settle into a place of laying anxious thoughts aside in my own life and lean close once more to the One who has been faithful to me. And there I see Him. There I find Him.
He is in the waiting.