I was so looking forward to 5 days with my sisters and close friends for my birthday, celebrating my big 6-0 in an extraordinary way.
I reserved a place at the beach in Southern California, my birthplace. My head was filled with imagining the familiar sights and sounds, the walks on the beach, the fun ahead. I had pretty high expectations.
There would be conversations laden with 40-plus years of history and ‘oh, you had to be there’ laughter. The usual hallmarks of times with people who’ve known you forever.
But there was one subject in particular I was nervous about.
Could I bring it up? Would anyone else?
What should I say? What should I DO?
I’m the Big Sister after all. Supposed to be in charge. Supposed to be The Christian.
The day before my trip I shared my hopes and some of the self-talk with a dear sister-friend. I knew God had something big in store….what would it be, I wondered out loud.
“Here’s what I think you need to remember,” she said.
God is going to do God-things,
not old things,
not Jody things–
something entirely new that won’t be like anything in the past.
Step back. Don’t operate in the familiar, safe ways of before.
WAIT on Him–He’ll show you what to say and do.”
The next 24 hours I pondered this–Wait, Rest, Dwell….
Funny (not) how this dovetailed with what God had been speaking to me all year long–
Abiding in Him.
Living in Him
and moving when He says to move.
But it’s scary–I was hesitant with all this letting go. It’s so easy and comfortable to revert to my old self, carry the day, dominate the conversation.
This time would have to be different.
“Wait on me every day,” He said.
“Each morning I will have something to say.
Trust me. I’ll tell you what I’m doing that day.”
I discovered being still and waiting is an active process.
Even though God says, “Stand still and see the the salvation of the LORD.” (Exodus 14:13)
it takes effort.
Why? because, as the pastor said on Sunday, it takes a lot of work to stop–especially when we’re going so fast.
So—what can I DO while I’m waiting?
Psalm 37 is full of action/being words:
These you can DO with your heart, soul and mind.
We will inherit the land, the kingdom He has promised us. Not physical territory, but spiritual territory, a land of freedom, a place that is ours where we can grow.
There is kingdom property that is ours for the taking, IF we Dwell in Him,
IF we wait on Him. In other words, if we submit to Him and do things the God way, not our way.
There was a family member for whom I was praying. There have been years of seeking God to see her receive the promises of freedom and joy that God had purchased for her–the God-promised land filled with His presence.
Here’s how all this waiting practice worked out for me as the days unfolded:
I had the fruit of a completely new frame of mind
Every single morning without fail,
in the middle of a no-sleep-at-night vacation,
days of intense emotions and
over the moon laughter and joy,
my Father consistently spoke as I waited on Him.
I found myself stepping back, getting out of the way,
letting Him speak to me so clearly:
one morning–‘speak the truth in love’
the next–‘identify the enemies’
and the next–‘just get out of the way’
I read from Oswald Chambers while on vacation (August 9th):
But moment by moment I was walking in dependence upon Him. Did I forget from time to time and put my foot in my mouth? You bet.
Did I embarrass myself and say too much? Yep.
Did I hear Him say, “Shhhhhhh…..listen, wait”? YES. I. DID.
When I got out of the way and let God do God-things there was a release we experienced at the end of those 3 days was uncontained, God-ordained, overflowing joy.
Remarkable, daily interventions where I saw His hand going before us, planning our moments, orchestrating down to the details:
- a happenstance conversation with a clerk at a Thrift Store that touched a deep place in a very closed heart.
- The just-so-happens-I-grew-up-here-too banter with the lady by the pool.
- The place I chose to stay over 10 months ago that was a refreshing, soul-nourishing place….touching our spirits to say, “I so love you. See how you can trust me.”
There were God moments from beginning to end, resulting in life-changing decisions.
Huge mountains scaled.
Enemies confronted and dealt with.
Choices for a new future.
Brokenness and prayers, tears and healing….
more than I could have ever imagined,
more than I could have ever asked.
So very much worth waiting for.
Thank you, Father, for your grace to teach us old ones new ‘tricks’, to continue to bring those lessons into our lives. Here’s to more waiting on you, Lord.
Bench photo by the Author