When You’d Rather Take Control Than Wait

When You’d Rather Take Control Than WaitI’ve never been very good at waiting.

It’s like my heart has little hands that want to grab onto the situation’s throat and say, “Isn’t there something more productive I could be doing right now?”

When we decided to purchase our double-wide home in May, we had no idea what the process would look like. After five months of delayed court hearings, paperwork, and moving permits, it feels like the end of a pregnancy—sure to happen sometime, but with no idea when the contractions will come. . .

. . . When we will finally be able to settle into our own place and watch Isaiah run around in the dramatically increased square footage.

Much of my life so far has involved waiting for something. This time, Christopher’s dad has taken care of so many details to make this a reality, and yet there is a constant temptation to feel impatient, discontent, and despair that our dream will dissolve into a mirage.

Worrying about it feels like I’m accomplishing something. Forgetting about it feels irresponsible somehow.

Jesus asked his disciples, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” (Luke 12:25-26)

It’s like Jesus is saying to me, “I’ve got this, daughter. Resting in Me will be a lot more peaceful. I promise.”

I’ve wanted to pretend that I can be God just as well as He can. That if He would do what I want, we’d both end up feeling good about the situation. (Kind of like my 2 year old son trying to convince me that cereal would be a healthy choice for breakfast, lunch and dinner.)

My Thoughts, God’s Thoughts

When You’d Rather Take Control Than WaitMy friend Jewel recently shared with me about a book by missionary Amy Carmichael called, His Thoughts Said. . . His Father Said. . .

Jewel said she’s taken the format of the book for her own prayer journaling. On the top half of the page, she writes out her thoughts, fears, and worries. On the bottom half, she writes the truths and verses God shows her as His Spirit works through the tangle of her emotions.

Though I haven’t had much time to journal in these toddler-filled days, I’ve tried to go through the same exercise verbally in my prayer time (or at random moments when my emotions decide I just need to have a good cry).

These prayers of admitting my weakness have helped immensely in freeing my worried thoughts and reminding me to thank God for the answers He brings.

Here are some verses God has brought to mind as I’ve struggled through worries about finances, parenting, relationships, and feelings of insignificance:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. . . He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:28, 32)

“For every animal of the forest is mine,
and the cattle on a thousand hills. . . for the world is mine, and all that is in it.” (Psalm 50:10-12)

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.” (Ephesians 1:4-10)

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”  (1 John 5:14)

“Abba, Father,” [Jesus] said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36)

Another resource God has used to help me let go of my thoughts and embrace His has been a devotional by Sarah Young called Jesus Calling. Like Amy Carmichael, Sarah went through a similar process of surrendering her thoughts to God and listening to the truth He was saying back to her.

Drowning is Not An Option

When You’d Rather Take Control Than WaitMy friend Elizabeth reminded me that following what God has for us is “very much like walking on water. . .

“Sometimes I gaze at God and I can feel the impossible turning firm beneath the soles of my feet, and sometimes I look at all I have to do and start freaking out and I can feel the salt water starting to go up my nose, but He never lets me go down. These are the only two options. And drowning is not an option. He won’t let me.”

Our loving Father delights in using our Spirit-shaped desires to bring Him glory and to bring us joy.

Maybe there’s a desire in you that feels like it will never be fulfilled.

Maybe He’s getting the details together to answer your request even better than you would have imagined.

Or maybe, He’s waiting for you to invite Him to fill it with Himself.

What worries do you need God’s truth to cover today? What is He saying back to you?

How to Thrive as a Transplanted Wife

How to Thrive as a Transplanted Wife Christopher and I were on our own during our first two years, figuring out how to be newlyweds. I was finishing my last year of college, and then we both got teaching jobs for a year.

We tried to keep up with our families up in Delaware and North Dakota (and siblings scattered from Michigan to Africa), but our social network was made up of college friends and members of the Chinese church we attended.

When the school year ended, we decided to spend some time near Christopher’s family and community as we prepared to move overseas. A year later, we felt the Lord’s redirection from overseas ministry and had to decide where we would live.

I had enjoyed the past year of putting down some roots and getting to know Christopher’s family and community more. I’d never lived in one place more than seven years, so we decided to stay put.

It’s been almost three years now since moving here–good, hard, fun, exciting, vision-searching years. God has continued to lovingly draw me out of my comfort zone as I’ve begun to find my place here.

Here are a few things I’ve learned since being transplanted into my husband’s community:

How to Thrive as a Transplanted Wife 1. Relationships take time.
When I was living in a college dorm, everyone had to actively make friends or have none. Friendships were measured by the semester, and I had to figure out who I was going to keep up with once graduation happened and everyone scattered across the world like confetti.

The ground felt much more solid when we moved to the same town where Christopher’s great-great grandparents had lived. I noticed that there wasn’t as much of a rush to deepen relationships as on the college campus. Interactions felt more like a slow cooker than a microwave.

I had to learn to relax in these new relationships and enjoy the seasoning process.

2. His family isn’t mine (and that’s okay).
I’m so grateful for my in-laws and the life perspective I get when I’m with them. It helps me understand my husband better and be more accepting of traditions and ways of doing things as we build up our own little family. (Things like adding seasoned salt to popcorn, singing before meals, and appreciating a well-told story.)

At Christmas, we spent some time with my family and Christopher said, “You’re like a totally different person with your family.” My counselor reminded me that I had a whole lot more shared experiences with my own family, and as I get to know my in-laws better, I’ll grow into my place there, too.

3. There’s nothing wrong with observing (or not knowing).
Sometimes when I was in a group setting, I worried about not contributing to the conversation. I feared they thought I was rude. I had to learn that it was okay to enjoy breathing the same air and just listen.

And when stories were told from “before my time,” I could appreciate the history of the place I’m living.

4. I have the unique opportunity to enjoy and bless other transplanted wives.
I’ve found that there can be a certain camaraderie between other transplanted wives if we are only brave enough to share our experiences with each other. And what a relief to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t know how everyone is related.

It’s also a good excuse to be the one to welcome someone who is even newer to the community than me. We can even relate to missionaries who are coming back to the States and finding their place in the culture and community again.

How to Thrive as a Transplanted Wife 5. My friends aren’t all my husband’s friends.
Shortly after we moved here, I started a women’s prayer group at my house. I made additional friendships through church and other mutual friends.

When I had a baby, I got to know women who had already been wiping up sticky floors for a few years. Christopher got connected with friends who play music and enjoy board games.

It’s been a blessing to feel the freedom to pursue friendships individually and as a couple.

6. I can enjoy new ministry pursuits.
When I lived in North Dakota in high school, I regularly played on a worship team at church. In South Carolina, I taught 3-5th grade Sunday School for three years. When I moved here, I was able to start fresh and ask God where I would best fit at this stage in my life.

7. Being bold brings blessing. (Do you like that alliteration?)
I’ve need this pep talk regularly. When I’ve quit worrying about how I’m being perceived and shared my own life and struggles with others, it’s opened up the way for others to do the same. It doesn’t matter that we didn’t sit next to each other in kindergarten or that we didn’t graduate from the same high school. Maybe we can’t laugh over shared memories yet, but we can enjoy life right now and listen to each others’ histories.

So if you’re a transplanted wife, know that there are others in the same canoe. We might just be too shy to say anything yet.

On the other hand, if you’ve been planted in the area your whole life, we can’t wait to get to know you, too, (and hear some embarrassing stories about our husbands.)

What have you learned as a transplanted wife?

From Pain to Freedom

God’s Healing from a Decade of Pain and Worry
From Pain to FreedomEighteen months ago, our son took his first breath. He has learned so much since then–smiling, laughing, rolling over, sitting up, eating solids, crawling, talking, walking, and now climbing. When he was born, I couldn’t picture him doing all the things he can do now. Neither could I have imagined the journey of healing from physical pain and worry God would take me on as my son was experiencing each baby milestone.

My physical pain started back in high school. . .

Click here to read the rest of the article.*

*This article was originally published as the May 2015 Rosedale Bible College feature in the Beacon, the newsletter of the Conservative Mennonite Conference.