Tag Archives: waiting

Waiting for Directions

Weathervane showing North, South, East, West, with a horse on top of an arrow

This week’s post  is from a guest writer, Rebekah Lowe:

Waiting is hell. Okay, it isn’t, but it is really, really hard.

I have just come through a time of waiting, and it was no day at the beach. Unless it is a day with sunburn, sand in your shorts, and lots of jellyfish.  Waiting is hard. Even when I know all the things. Like, that I don’t want to rush ahead of God’s best choice for me. And that I can trust that there is a good reason that I am waiting.  And that He always thinks up better solutions for me than I do for myself.  And that He will take care of me in the meantime, while I wait.  Still…

We were going to sell our house and move.  Not just for fun.  But because we needed to reduce our expenses.  It took us awhile to face facts, to understand that a move was necessary.  But we came to realize it, researched best options to sell, and put the house on the market.  In terms of real estate markets, we live in a hot neighborhood, in a hot city, and it was Spring.  The triple threat, right?  We thought we would sell the house in a couple of days, for near asking price.  Everyone said so.  We had watched God sell houses with remarkable speed for us several times before.  I was fond of saying, “God does real estate!”, and He certainly does, just as he does anything He chooses to do for us.

The first weekend came and went, with many lookers, but no offers.  We  visited another possible home for us, and began to calculate what we might offer for that place.

hourglass with red sand

The first month came and went, with many lookers, but no offers.  We dropped the price a little, and I made my first of many spreadsheets, so I could analyze what we might net, at any given price.

I’m sorry to say, the first year came and went.  Year!!!  By then, I was just about at my wit’s end.  Price drops, a different real estate company, nothing seemed to help.  I still knew, just knew, that I dare not try to wrest control back from God.  Not that He wouldn’t let me, He would have.  God is a gentleman, as Lydia Floren says.

Rather, I knew whatever options I could manufacture would never live up to whatever He was waiting for.  AND, it seemed pretty evident that factors that made sense in this world, like market strength, price points, and selling strategies were not the barriers.

So, I waited.  Not without complaint.  Not all that patiently.  With the encouragement of my friends, I waited.  With pleas for Him to do whatever needed doing, I waited.  With Him meeting our needs all along the way, I waited.

And last week, He sold the house.  I still don’t know why we were waiting, God and me, but I know that good things came from it.

  • During the last year, I went from reluctantly selling the house to being thrilled that the house sold:  God gave me plenty of time to get used to the idea.  Maybe He knew I wasn’t ready.
  • I remembered what it is to wait without knowing what we are waiting for.  May I never blithely comfort a friend who is waiting again!
  • I learned yet again that God will continue to meet my needs, one step at a time.  Apparently, I have to relearn this regularly.  Maybe this will help me with a much harder problem down the road.
  • We found a wonderful new home that wasn’t available when our house went on the market.  Maybe someone in that neighborhood needs me, or maybe I need them.  Or, maybe God just thought it was a cute place for us.

So, if you are waiting, you have my full understanding, and buckets of empathy.  If you belong to God, what I cannot give you is sympathy.  Because, despite how it feels, good things are in the works for you, and you are being cared for all along the way.  This interminable waiting will end, and end well.

And remember the quote from the movie, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel?”  The hotel manager is reassuring a guest and says, encouragingly, “Everything will be all right in the end. If it’s not all right, it is not yet the end.”  So true for God’s people:  if it is not yet all right, it is not yet the end.  Just you wait.

Rebekah Lowe

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you. when you walk through fire you shall not be burned.  and the flame shall not consume you.  Isaiah 43:2

Be Still and Know that I am God.

be-still-recby Lydia Floren

Be still and know that I am God.  Psalm 46:10

In the swirl and stress of the holidays, or just daily living, God often uses these 8 words restore my soul.

Be still and know that I am God.

The simple acts of being and knowing free us from the Twilight Zone of Anxiety, the Abyss of Never Enough:

Be still and know that I am God.

Be.

  • Just be.
  • Be aware of being alive. Appreciate that you have a beating heart, and air to breathe.
  • Settle into the truth that
    • You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
    • You are wanted. Treasured. Valued. Loved.
    • You are known and you are loved.

Be still.

  • Just stop. Rest. Take a breath. Or two. Be still.
  • Be still on the inside, as well as the outside.
  • Release all those thoughts swirling around in your head.
  • Take your mind off your responsibilities, your concerns, those things in your head that are nagging you.
  • Let go right now, and just be still.

 And know.

  • Let truth sink in.
  • Be aware of what is real, and what is not.
  • What is beyond seeing and understanding—and in the realm of just knowing.

Know that I

  • Know the Person who made you,
  • Who knows you better than you know yourself.
  • Who loves you with an everlasting love, which is in no way dependent on what you do or don’t do.
  • Who lives within you.
  • Who has your back.
  • Who has shown, and will show you how to live.
  • Who will never steer you wrong.
  • Who goes after you when you stray—deliberately or unintentionally–and brings you back to the path of life and joy.
  • Who restores your soul, leads you into the light and away from the darkness.
  • Who will never leave you or reject you.
  • Who keeps you safe—protects your identity, value, belonging and calling—for all eternity.

 Know that I am God.

Know that this person–your heavenly father, your friend, your one and only guide in life, your creator—is God.

He is God.

He is

  • 100% good.
  • The most powerful being in the universe.
  • Wise
  • Trustworthy
  • Present
  • compassionate
  • understanding
  • forgiving
  • uncondemning
  • full of life and joy
  • available
  • ready to show you a better way to live
  • Committed to walking with you on that way.

Be Still and Know that I AM GOD.  Psalm 46:10

How has this truth changed your life?  Please share with us!

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

Escaping the Twilight Zone of Anxiety

Escaping the Twilight Zone of Anxietyby Lydia  Floren

In the holiday season it is easy to get stressed.  Anxiety can slip up on you–or just slam you– but it always keeps you from enjoying life.  When we are anxious, we are fretful, not fruitful. We frown. We are easily annoyed. With all the activity and stress of this time of year, it is doubly important to recognize the signs that you may be entering the Twilight Zone of Anxiety.

 It starts with The Coulds.

I think we all have a little ADD.; it’s hard not to get distracted, given the world we live in.  And any tendency our minds might have to wander will kick into overdrive at the holidays.  We think about The Coulds.

There are so many things we COULD do.  We COULD entertain like Southern Living, decorate our home like Architectural Digest, create gifts like Martha Stewart, dress like Vogue, bake cookies like Good Housekeeping.   We COULD attend the office party, the theatre production, the carol sing, the sleigh ride.   We COULD do all the things we didn’t do last year, that we promised ourselves we would do “next year for sure.”  These “coulds” don’t order themselves into a neat list; they swirl around in our heads like a thick fog on a stormy night.

 Then come The Shoulds

Once The Coulds establish themselves, The Shoulds creep in.  We SHOULD make this gift.  We SHOULD call so-and-so.  We SHOULD attend that event, buy this present, send that special card, call that person, volunteer for this cause. SHOULDS go very deep in our psychy.  Beneath the layer of things we SHOULD DO, is the even more corrosive/destructive layer of the things we SHOULD BE.  We SHOULD BE more loving, and caring, and patient, and giving, and thoughtful, and organized, and disciplined.  Between the Coulds and the Shoulds, everything in our heads becomes a muddled mess.  

The Abyss of Never Enough

Eventually, we are forced to face the fact that we don’t have enoughof anything.  We don’t have enough time, or energy, or resources, or even compassion–to do what we think we SHOULD do, much less what we COULD do.  At first we might complain (whine) “if I just had more _______”  Or we might try whipping those around us  (usually less than enthusiastic family members) into action to help us  get some of those Shoulds off our backs.   Finally we get it. We admit to ourselves: “There is never enough–and there is never going to be enough–of me to do all these Shoulds, no matter how hard I try.”

While this truth should be freeing , it is not. Not yet.  We aren’t finished sliding down into the pit, and we do this by saying to ourselves “somehow this is all my fault.  I SHOULD have done this, I SHOULD have planned that.”  We get frustrated, depressed, and twice as stressed, beating ourselves up for every missed opportunity, every less-than-perfect outcome. When we reach the SHOULDS of REGRET, we have tumbled headlong into the Abyss of NEVER ENOUGH.  Here we are truly at a standstill.

 Escaping the Twilight Zone of Anxiety

The way to freedom from all this anxiety and stress is 180 dgrees opposite the busy road we have been traveling.  Our freedom comes when we decide to quit focusing on ourselves, and our little corner of the universe, and turn our eyes to Jesus.   Jesus said “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No one comes to the Father but through me.”   When we spend our efforts connecting with the Maker of the Universe we get to know Truth—in Person.  That Person also said “You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free.”

I find when I choose to make time with God my top priority—more important than anything else on my schedule—everything changes.  The fog clears. I start to see the world more from His perspective.  The things I was worried about don’t seem as important. And other things—things that weren’t even on my radar before—take precedence. The hymnist Helen H. Lemmel expressed  it this way:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus.                                                                                                                  Look full in His wonderful face,                                                                                                              and the things of earth will grow strangely dim,                                                                                in the light of His glory and grace.

The psalmist David said it another way:

…I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God… Isaiah 40:1-3

What ways has God freed you?  We’d love to hear from you!

For more on staying focused at the holidays, watch for upcoming blogs.

For more reflections about the holidays, check out  Perfect Holidays, Shine your Heart, or   Crunch Time.

The Difficulty of Blessings

wheat photo

Blessings can be much harder to handle than hardship. When God blesses us, if we do not immediately and often acknowledge that it is Him at work, we can quickly come to believe Satan’s whispered lie:

“God had nothing to do with this. You did this yourself. You deserve this.”

We abandon God’s leading and return to our old way of thinking—God is not good, He does not care.  We reject our growing connection with Him—our focus on following Him– and resort to self-dependence:

“I must get and do what I think will make me happy, and will make me feel good about myself.” 

God loves to give good gifts to His precious children

So in good times as well as hard times, it is helpful to remember:

  • What we think will make us happy—pleasure, power and pride—only makes us more miserable, because the momentary rush from these things is replaced by long term emptiness and gnawing discontent.
  • When our life is spent trying to impress or please others–or ourselves–we are enslaved in the worst kind of way.
  • The only way to joy, contentment, peace, purpose, and long-lasting blessing is to follow the Father who loves you more than He loved His own son’s life, and to do so with an attitude of anticipation and trust.
  • That means accepting “no” and “not now” exactly in the same way we accept “yes”: with gratitude, knowing that God IS good, and DOES have your best in mind, and fervently wants you to overflow with joy and contentment and the passion of a high calling.
  • God loves, loves, loves to give good gifts to His precious children. And He knows what is truly good.

God loves you. He really does.

james 1 17 blessingsWhat do you do to remind yourself that God truly has your best interest at heart?

By Lydia Floren

 

Worth the Wait

O’Hare Airport: The Ultimate Test of

Patience, Part 4

(Click to read Part 1: The Scramble, Part 2: Cot City, or Part 3: Giving Thanks!)

Pelicans in tidal pools at Hilton Head

We made it to Hilton Head, and spent four glorious days in a room overlooking the ocean.  When we returned, people asked “how was your trip?” My mind immediately went to

  • sunrises over the water,Sunrise over water at Hilton Head
  • walks on the beach collecting shells,
  • discovering an old Civil War graveyard,discovering a Civil War graveyard at Hilton Head
  • biking down flower-lined streets to a secluded park overlooking the bay,
  • wandering out to an isolated part of the beach at low tide with friends, finding sand dollars and conch shells inhabited by crabs,Gathering shells on the beach with friends at Hilton Head
  • eating great seafood at some wonderful restaurants, including low country boil, and some truly wonderful key lime pie, and
  • strolling through Savannah with my sweetheart.strolling through Savannah with my sweetheart

The “O’Hare experience” was a forgotten nightmare only briefly recalled (just a little PTSD) as we passed through Chicago unimpeded on our way back home. Funny thing, a couple of our new/old friends from the original flight were on the plane with us back to Chicago. They were all smiles. They had a great time on their golf trip–36 holes the first day there.

It is amazing how blessings eclipse tough experiences when we let them. We remember what we choose to remember. We remember what we remind ourselves to remember. And what we share with others is either a gift or a downer.

All good things come to those who wait, especially in difficult situations. Being patient is possible when I know that God works all things to good for those who love him and are called according to His purpose. This truth gives me real hope: I can anticipate with joy the good God is doing and will do.

When did you choose to remember the good during a difficult situation?

Hope is anticipating wtih joy the good God is doingBy Lydia Floren

 

Giving Thanks

O’Hare Airport: The Ultimate Test of Patience, Part 3

(Click to read Part 1: The Scramble, or Part 2: Cot City!)

Beach at Hilton Head

One pair of our travel buddies from Eau Claire, who were going to the same conference we were, were not fortunate enough to actually make it to Hilton Head.  They turned back home after their 3rd connecting flight from Houston fell through (don’t ask).  Nevertheless, Bobbi wrote about her blessings on her Facebook wall, which got me to thinking about my many blessings. So the morning after we arrived I made my own list of things to be thankful for. (Thank you Bobbi, for reminding me to be thankful.)

  • Got to get to know—and bond—with Jeanne, a fellow traveler. What a wonderful person.
  • Some awesome, patient, hardworking airline folks, especially Jill and Lon with United Airlines.
  • Kate from the Westin, who kept our room ready for us, despite >24 hour delays.
  • Two crosswords finished with my husband.
  • Our luggage came on our airplane!!!Birds at Hilton Head
  • My knees and other joints didn’t bother me [always a concern as I gather a few more years], despite tromping from one end of the airport to the other and back again a few times.
  • Exercise.
  • The inner peace and calm I enjoyed almost the entire travel time.
  • My husband’s company, and great care for us.
  • The great sense of humor of fellow travelers, which helped make the long delays more tolerable.Magnolia Bloom at Hilton Head
  • Much to laugh about.
  • The commitment to safety of the FAA, airlines, and airport staff, despite much pressure from us road-weary travelers.
  • My own toothbrush, toothpaste and a change of clothes with me.
  • Carryon bags with wheels!
  • A book on my kindle.Blooms at the beach at Hilton Head
  • Chargers for computer and phone, and a place to plug them in.
  • A great night’s sleep in cot city–thanks to earplugs, a sleeping pill, and my husband-protector, even though we were awoken by a guard at 4am and told to “move along.” (Is this what a homeless person feels like?)
  • I am not a homeless person.
  • An oceanfront room at a gorgeous hotel.
  • Low country shrimp and grits for supper first night, courtesy of Becky and her company.Sunrise at Hilton Head
  • Great conversation at dinner, and of course an audience to share our travel saga with.
  • A shower, a comfortable bed, and privacy.
  • The drum of ocean waves as we slept.
  • Room service breakfast.
  • A quiet day to rest.

1 thess 5 18

When did you give thanks in a difficult situation? Leave your replies below!

Click here to read O’Hare Airport: The Ultimate Test of Patience Part Four – Worth the Wait!

By Lydia Floren

Cot City

O’Hare Airport: The Ultimate Test of Patience, Part 2

(If you missed Part 1: The Scramble, read it here!)

O'Hare Airport Cot People

It is a little disturbing when an airport has hundreds of cots in storage, and a well-oiled plan to set them up quickly.  It sure makes a person think twice about scheduling travel through such an airport.  At least I think I have learned my lesson.  But I digress…

So the evening of the first day we found ourselves in Cot City.  Cots were set up in long rows up to three cots deep, at one end of each terminal. Each unoccupied cot had a little blanket and pillow sitting neatly on top.  When we arrived about 1/3 of the cots were taken, and we scoped out the best spots still available that would have minimum noise and light, hopefully allowing us some sleep.  I was beginning to wonder if this is how homeless people on the street felt, minus the cot and blanket and pillow and nearby bathroom and credit card.  No, we weren’t Street People quite yet.  We were Cot People.  We made up our cots, putting our carry-ons behind us so no one would steal them in theo'hare airport cot people night.  I headed to the bathroom with my toothbrush and a change of clothes.  I washed my face in the sink and dried it with a paper towel, and headed back.  I hunkered down in my cot, feeling very safe next to my strong husband, put in my earplugs, took a sleeping pill and went to sleep. 

At 4am I was jolted awake by the security officer walking through the rows, hollering at everyone to wake up and move along.  The airport was opening and they needed to clear away the cots.  Each person was handed a standard issue “welcome to Chicago” toiletry packet.  (I’m not kidding.  They really have that written on the front.  I refer you to my first comments.)  We groaned our way off the cots (apparently sleep isn’t so good in Cot City) and clutching our blankies and pillows (who knows how many nights we will be spending here?) we moved along.  We shuffled to the nearest Starbucks, and from there to the next standby gate.  We were getting that haunted look about us.  Fellow travelers from our original flight were old friends, comrades in battle.  We knew the ever-gracious counter agents–our allies on the front line–by first name.

At 7:00 AM we “stood by”—hence the word “standby”– and watched as those lucky enough to have confirmed seats shuffled onto the plane for Savannah.  (There was not room for even one standby passenger.) After that, something amazing happened:  the plane took off.  It actually took off.  To Savannah.  Same thing happened at 11am. Stand by. Shuffle. Take off. To Savannah. Our hope was renewed.o'hare airport cot people

At the 1:20 flight—where we had actual tickets–we finally felt sure enough to abandon our blankies.  For the second time—about 24 hours after the first–we handed our tattered boarding passes to a gate agent and prepared to get on the plane for Savannah.  An alarm sounded, and a red light flashed.  The agent looked up, rescanned. More alarms. More red lights.  It wouldn’t have surprised me if he had held out his arms like Gandalf and declared “you shall not pass.”  But he didn’t.  He double-checked the manifest against our driver’s licenses, and waved us through.  Whew.  We hurried forward before he changed his mind.

For the second time in 24 hours we were buckled into seats on a direct flight to Savannah.  The flight attendant apologized for the five minute delay in leaving (are you kidding me?), and explained the safety instructions as we rolled toward the runway. Been there. Done that.  I don’t think I really believed we were going to get there until we took off.  I clapped and cheered.  When we landed I had a brief impulse to kiss the ground.

beach at hilton head

Click here to read O’Hare Airport: The Ultimate Test of Patience Part Three – Giving Thanks!

I know you’ve all had a travel mishap that was simply unbelievable. Go ahead and share!

By Lydia Floren

The Scramble

O’Hare Airport: The Ultimate Test of Patience, Part 1

cot people ohare airport the ultimate test of patience

Everyone has a horror story or two about travel, and I usually don’t bore people with mine, but after 34 hours in the O’Hare airport recently I feel compelled to “share the love.”  (The irony that this experience occurred in the month I am meditating on patience is not lost on me, BTW.)

Andrew and I got up at 4am and drove to the airport, planning to hop on a flight to Chicago, and then take a connecting flight to Savannah, on our way to Hilton Head, SC for a long weekend conference and getaway.  Things went according to plan from Eau Claire to Chicago, but we arrived to relative chaos at the O’Hare airport which was jammed up after three days of bad weather.  When we checked in at the gate for our connecting flight to Savannah, we were immediately told of a delay because our crew lacked one flight attendant. We waited. And waited. 2 ½ hours later a cheer from the passengers greeted the arrival of our substitute crewmember, and we started boarding shortly after.  I scheduled dinner reservations in Savannah, and texted friends we were to meet up with, informing them of our delay.

With everyone seated, we rolled onto the runway, in a long queue of planes waiting to take off.  And then we waited. And waited.  The pilot gave us periodic updates.  Some kind of trouble with weather, and then something with air traffic control.  A fire.  The control center had to be evacuated. After two hours on the tarmac–we were #2 for takeoff– the pilot’s voice over the intercom regretfully informed us that we had exceeded the legal time we were allowed to sit on a plane.  We would have to return to the gate, and deplane, and then re-board a little later.  No one could believe it!  Sure enough we turned around, headed back, and shuffled off the plane.  Two more hours went by, and then they announced we were about to re-board. Finally. We all gathered our things, dug out our tattered boarding passes, and moved toward the gate.

cot people ohare airport the ultimate test of patience

Suddenly our flight was cancelled!  Really?  Really?? We had a plane. We had a full crew. We had a room full of road-weary travelers. But what we didn’t have was a working radar to guide us safely into the air.  Details, details.

Everyone launched into action, scrambling for a new connection, no easy feat in an airport crammed with fellow travelers on a similar mission.  Armed with cellphones and dragging bags, everyone rushed to our airline’s help desk, where the line snaked ominously down the terminal.  Folks were surprisingly calm, joking about our shared dilemma, although you could tell the ones who had already spent at least one night at O’Hare—they had kind of a haunted look.  I cancelled our dinner plans, and texted our friends and told them to go on to the restaurant and change the seating from 4 to 2.  Andrew called and reconfirmed our hotel and car reservations. The airline booked us on a flight out the next afternoon, but told there was a good chance we could catch the last flight out at 7:20pm that night flying standby.  We hurried across the terminal to the new gate, and grabbed a quick dinner before boarding time.  We might not get to see the sunset at the beach that night, but at least we had a decent chance of walking along the shore under the moonlight.

Our friends texted us from Savannah.  The restaurant was A-MA-ZING.

About 20 min before the evening flight was to board, it cancelled.  In fact, we were told, no further flights would be leaving O’Hare that evening.  By this time, of course, every hotel room for miles was booked.  We decided that since there was an early flight the next morning and we were numbers 2 and 3 on the standby list, our best option was to spend the night at the O’Hare airport.  We headed to “cot city.”

What would you have done? Tell us below!

Click here to read O’Hare Airport: The Ultimate Test of Patience Part Two – Cot City

By Lydia Floren

 

Wait, and Hurry Up

by Lydia Floren

Have you ever been driving and in a hurry? Have you ever, when you were running late, come upon a long line of vehicles stopped in front of you, and impulsively swerved off the main road, barreling down side streets to avoid waiting? Then, found yourself repeatedly checked by school zones and stop signs, eventually had to admit to yourself that you would have been better off just staying on the main road?

Sometimes God’s work in us is visible, and sometimes it isn’t.

If we jump in to try to move things along, it will often just slow us down.  Lack of discernible movement does not indicate lack of progress – quite the opposite, in fact.  Much of God’s most important work is accomplished in us through our waiting.

John 5:17 Belovedlove.org My Father is always at His work to this very day  Isaiah 40:30-31 Belovedlove.org Those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles

Being still doesn't mean we are not making progress. Belovedlove.org Patience

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