On Birthdays & Being the Big Sister

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:

v.  3  ‘Trust’
v. 4  ‘Delight’
v. 5  ‘Commit’
v. 7 ‘Be still’ (literally, ‘Hold thee still’.)
Here’s why this takes work–because if I’m going to trust, I have to let go (that’s a verb) of what I’m holding onto….how can God fill me up if my hands are hanging onto other things?

These you can DO with your heart, soul and mind.

v. 34 says,
“Wait for the LORD and keep his way.
(‘keep’–there’s a doing word–hold fast, be still)
He will exalt you to inherit the land.”

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.

It would NOT be the land where there would be No More Very Hard Times,
but the Land where He would be there to help in those Very Hard Times….

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):

“Never let your common sense become so prominent and forceful
that it pushes the Son of God to one side.
Common sense is a gift that God gave to our human nature—
but common sense is not the gift of His Son.
Supernatural sense is the gift of His Son,
and we should never put our common sense on the throne.
Our ordinary abilities will never worship God
unless they are transformed by the indwelling Son of God.
We must make sure that our human flesh is kept in perfect submission to Him,
allowing Him to work through it moment by moment.
Are we living at such a level of human dependence upon Jesus Christ
that His life is being exhibited moment by moment in us?”

Oh, I so wanted to overtalk and offer solutions.  Lean on my humor, be the big sister. 

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.”
All good things take time.

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.

14 thoughts on “On Birthdays & Being the Big Sister

  1. Linda–sometimes when I write a post and leave it there…I just wonder, “Jesus, is this going to speak to anyone?” wow, so blessed that He used it to connect with you.
    And of course, since I've written it the Holy Spirit continues to remind me to wait and listen…
    Thank you for your kind words.
    You are a blessed friend.

  2. Oh my! I have been learning to rest and be still for quite a while, having much more learning to do. I have been a quiet one for over a month now and tonight, He led me here. Jody Lee, this fits, dovetails, right into the work He is doing in me. Your post will be read and pieces copied into my journal for there is deep meaning for my soul here this night.
    May the LORD continue to bless you in all you are and do.
    with love, ~ linda

  3. Shelley–thank you for the birthday wishes. It IS practice of abiding– I am so thankful for a new start each day.

    God bless you and thanks for stopping by.

  4. Wait and surrender…it was easier to do when I was away. Now that I'm home I'm back to the same ol, same ol, so just reminding myself moment by moment–'wait for the God things, Jody'.

    bless you, Jen. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Thanks so much for this reminder that abiding/waiting is an active restrain of our flesh nature. I'm so glad God blessed your weekend away … Happy 60th by the way!

    Never let your common sense become so prominent and forceful
    that it pushes the Son of God to one side.

    These are powerful words – and a bit of a slap in the face rebuke to my heart who wants to wait but will logistically figure things out in my head! Bleh

    Thank you Lord for the patience you have with me.

    May you continue to see His kingdom purpose worked out in the lives of those you love.

    Thanks for visiting me yesterday

  6. Oh, Jody. To hear this is to experience it almost first hand. Who hasn't been in this situation? I read the Oswald Chambers admonitions about common sense, too. And tried to obey them. Sounds like you listened better than I did. Would love to hear some of the details some time.

  7. Jody, this hit my heart hard and I am so grateful to read your words today:

    “Step back. Don't operate in the familiar, safe ways of before.
    WAIT on Him–He'll show you what to say and do.”

    So, I'll be joining you in the spirit of wait and surrender.

  8. What a gift He gave you in that time away. I wrote about how waiting is a verb one time. You made me remember it. It's just so true, isn't it? Blessings to you Jody, for more of those divine appointments in the wait.

I'd love to hear your thoughts

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