Jul 072015
 

 

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.  Isaiah 40:31

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.   As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  Isaiah 55:8-9

I was driving back from a “new beginnings” venture.  It was a park meet and greet follow up after our first preview service of the church plant.  Anytime a change, whether good or challenging, is on the horizon or befalls us unexpectedly, I begin to go more into my head than my heart.  So my drive home was just that-a lot of head brainstorming-with me, myself and I-what should can we expect our role to be in the church?  How can we get the marketing just right so people will come check it out?  Are we doing enough?  (Maybe you can recall or currently find yourself in a place of change and can relate with the brain crazy taking over.)  My heart was beating fast.  And if I am being honest, my curiosity was quickly moving to frustration and anger.  Because I didn’t.  Know.  What.  Was.  Next.  I wasn’t.  In.  Control.  And I seemed to be swimming upstream in search of peace.

My tunnel vision was called to a sudden stop as an unexpected brilliance of colors filled the left side of the sky.  This sunset was bright, bold, beautiful, it was lacking in nothing less than spectacular.  It was difficult to keep my eyes looking forward on the road when God’s firework show was happening in a different direction.  I happily welcomed the distraction from my current agitated heart state and under my breath I commented to the Creator, “Show off!”  (And He is the One who actually has the right to do it, I quickly recognized.)

My gaze had to quickly switch back to the road (go figure).  But even though this was a familiar route, I couldn’t help but recognize how many road signs I kept passing.  All were dictating to me what I could expect up ahead.  10 miles to Salem, strawberry U-pick in 2 miles, horse riding lessons next right, 20 mile an hour turn, and so on.

I realized 2 deep truths about my personality/flesh tendencies as I gazed out the window:

1-I want detailed, quick, step 1,2,3 “signs” (like I saw along the road) from God to make minor and major life decisions.  And if I don’t see the “signs” in my timing I easily get agitated and upset. I place too high a value in knowing the destination.

2-Unfulfilled expectations, circumstances which throw a kink in “my plan/ways”, also cause a little “fight or flight” feelings to arouse in me:  Causing me to say, “I am so consumed, angry and distracted in my mind and heart with this trial, pain, decision I am ineffective for the Kingdom” or” Well, I will just quit this work/friendship/ministry”.

I asked God some heart felt questions in this soul searching episode:

Lord, why are your road signs somewhat criptic?  Why are your road signs seemingly spaced real far apart?  Why do my emotions overwhelm so quickly when unfulfilled expectations arouse?  Why is waiting needed? 

Immediately, as if in perfect timing to my questions, the “show off sunset” creeped around enough for me to catch one last breathtaking glimpse.  And I heard my God respond to my heart and mind with this truth, “You always know the sun is going to set, but you do not know how it will set.”  Would it be a primarily pink sky with whispy clouds intermixed?  Would it have purple and red and orange with no clouds in the sky?  I can’t anticipate or expect how the sunset will look on any given night, but I do not even doubt for a minute that the sun will just keep hanging out at the top of the sky.  And so I wait.  And watch.  For the unforseen beauty to unfold before my eyes.  Always good.  But always unknown as to the specific color scheme until it arrives.

Maybe you have caught the spiritual analogy our Father was speaking loud and clear to me through this sunset.  It was a revelation to me.  The faithfulness, goodness, and love of God is like the undeniable truth that the sun is going to set each night.  We never have to doubt our God’s character and His living and active Word, the Bible.  In other words we can bank our trust in our Gods ever unfolding plan for us just like we can bank our trust in the fact that the sun will set tonight.  But a life of faith in Jesus means we do not know the how of our road ahead, just as we do not know the how of the color scheme/cloud pattern of the sunset tonight.  It means we bank on Jesus-THE way, THE truth, and THE life and we rest in His control.  His way.  And His unexpected orchestration.

Maybe you are in a time of unfulfilled expectations.  Wondering what God is doing, or if He is doing anything.  Angry with the circumstances/people around you. Questioning, still waiting where the road “signs” of the next are.  Of the how’s of our now and future-my prayer is that your strength would increase, not decrease as you wait on God. That your hope and trust in God’s good plan for you would increase, not decrease.  That your peace and joy in Jesus would increase and anger, frustration with the circumstances/people would decrease.

And may we wait.  In expectation.  For how God will unfold His great plan for us.  With a “show off sunset”.

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

Share
May 132013
 

IT HAD BEEN YEARS SINCE I DROVE DOWN HWY 99 TO MY HIGH SCHOOL STOMPING GROUNDS.  I was on my way to pick up a forever friend for a girls weekend.  It had been too long since we had the opportunity to deeply connect.  Kids, activities, ministry, and distance have a way of causing years to pass quickly.

The scenery around me ministered to my soul.  I turned the dial down on Chris Tomlin’s song, “How Great is our God”, and began to sing my own.  A new song.

I thanked God for the green, green trees.  I thanked Him for the blessing of forever friendships.  High School lockers, choir concerts, mentor coaches, cheerleading competitions, and science fairs.

I sat with memories of the past.  But not all the memories were positive.

Failure to be in the “cool crowd”.  Failure to make the team.  Failure to step out and love the least of these.  Failure to see myself as beautifully created by God.  Failure to see the hurt inflicted by my sarcastic words and gossiping.   Failure to stop abusive relationships.

As I wallowed in this regretful place, I noticed the turn to my high school.  There were so many new houses, trees, flowers and signs.  I almost missed the high school because I didn’t recognize the new surroundings.

But not all of the terrain had changed.  I smiled as I drove by the massive cement building which held my indoor softball practices.  Where I tried over and over to get that drop ball pitch.  With mounting feelings of anxiousness, knowing the first game was tomorrow.

Then I sensed God whisper to me, “I make ALL things new.  Not just some, but ALL.”

God doesn’t make some things new and leave some old, like my high school stomping grounds.

He has taken my past failures and sin.  He has torn down ALL these “old buildings”, and has replaced them with “new buildings”.  Which are built on the firm foundation of Christ.  New buildings spring up all over as Christ lives in me.  “New buildings” are the fruits of the Spirit in my life.

A Father’s letter to His daughter:

I am a God who is all about new.  I am doing a new work in you and in the world around you.  You are new in your mind, heart, attitude, and actions. 

You may have a tendency to be drawn to respond out of what was successful or beneficial in the past.  To rely on human tradition and expertise. 

Throw out expectations of how things have been and how they should be.  Get rid of what you know and rely solely on Me to guide and equip you.  Be ready to act out of your weak area’s.  Humble yourself and respond in obedience. 

You WILL see fruit when you are connected to me.  I WILL be glorified in my ability to move the Kingdom in ways you find peculiar.  

Get ready to learn.  I am a unique God and My ways are unique. 

Trust me.  As I  fulfill the purpose I have for you.  Trust me.  As I build a new Kingdom.  Trust me.  In new ways. 

Now walk, my daughter, in courage and strength.  As we embark on a new journey together.

 You make ALL things new.

Rev 21:5a “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make ALL things new'”. (Bold added)

2 Cor 5:17 “He is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!”

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

Share