Lady in Waiting

By Julie Reed

“I wait for the Lord, my soul awaits, and in his word I put my hope.  My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning.  Blessed are those who wait for him.” (Psalm 130:5-6; Isaiah 30:18)

 

I have co-workers and friends who are always asking me about different things going on in my life.

What’s going on with the foreclosure?  Any word yet?  “I’m still waiting to hear from the courts.”

How’s the house hunting going?  “I’m still waiting for the right one.”

How’s the insurance claim going?  “I’m still waiting on the adjustor to call me back.”

How are the kids feeling?  “I’m still waiting for the antibiotics to kick in.”

How are you celebrating Thanksgiving this year?  “I’m still waiting to hear if my parents will make it down or not.”

Any word on your sister-in-law’s surgery yet?  “We’re still waiting to hear from the doctors.”

It seems like I’m constantly waiting for things to start happening or for the right timing of other situations.  We joke about it all the time at work.  My dear and trusted friends have dubbed me the “Lady-in-Waiting.”

Most of us don’t like waiting though.  We don’t like waiting in the long lines at the grocery store.  We don’t like waiting in traffic.  We don’t like waiting at the doctor’s office.  We don’t like waiting for test results.  We don’t like waiting to hear if someone has safely arrived.  We don’t like waiting when a child is arriving home way past their curfew.

Waiting just plain stinks.

As a widow, it stinks even more.  I really hate waiting for a table at a restaurant by myself.  (If I’m even brave enough to venture out on my own to begin with).

I hate waiting in the pew at church, wondering if anyone will stop and say “hello” or offer to sit next to me.

I hate waiting to hear from the doctor, especially with no one here to help calm my wandering fears and anxiety.

I hate waiting and wondering if God will send someone into my life to share the next 40-50 years with me.

I looked up the word waiting in the dictionary, just out of curiosity.  Waiting is defined as to stay, to linger, to tarry, or abide.

It seems to me that I do those things a lot.  I tend to linger, to tarry in the past.  Wishing my husband was here to hold my hand.  Waiting for him to come through the door and give me my daily bear hug and kiss.  Lingering in the walk-in closet, caressing his leather jacket as if it will make him appear before me.

The last part of the definition really hit me though.  To abide.  That has a completely different appeal to me.  To abide; it means to dwell with, to reside near, to stay.  That’s what God wants me to do in these long, lonely days of widowhood.  He hastens me to come and dwell with him…tuck in under His wings and just rest.  Snuggle in tightly and closely so the only sound I hear is the rhythm of his breath and heartbeat.

Waiting.  Although at times it’s not fun or pleasant, it has much peace and power.  I’ve learned three things that we can do while we are “ladies-in-waiting.”

First, love God.  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength.”  Deut. 6:1

No matter what we are waiting for, we can always love God.  The sad part is that God is always waiting for us to love him back.   We’re the ones who continue to linger and tarry, dragging our feet through the past or trying to carve out a path in the future before its even time, instead of residing in His promises.  He’s always ready and waiting for us to love him.  That’s a simple request that we can easily fulfill while we wait.

Second, serve others.  “Serve one another in love.” Gal. 5:13

So much time is wasted while we are waiting and worrying about things or situations that are either out of our control or cannot be changed.  Instead of impatiently stomping our feet while we wait, why not help someone else out while we can.  Serving others will certainly take your mind off of the things that we are waiting for and sometimes serving others makes us realize that what we were waiting for, we didn’t truly need to begin with.

Third, tell others about Him.  “Proclaim (announce) the power of God.” Psalm 68:34

We tend to put ourselves in a “waiting” bubble and forget to share our worries or concerns with others who would eagerly join us in prayer, service or praise, if we would only let them in.  Share with friends and strangers the feelings or anxieties you may be having about the upcoming holiday time.  I’d venture to say that most people would love to offer a shoulder to cry on, a warm cup of coffee to sip, or a meal to bring warmth to your belly and soul, if we would only let them know our needs.  When those friends reach out to you, share how God has comforted you, provided for you, or even sometimes felt far away.  I’m almost certain that most could relate to all of those feelings at one time or another.

So, if you are a “lady-in-waiting”, I hope that you will choose to wait in his care.  He promises us that we are loved and that we have a purpose created just for us by him.  Let’s not waste any more time waiting, but more time abiding in God and His Word.  I hope you’ll take time this week to join me at the bottom of the cross.  I’ll be the one abiding there with arms wide open.  Thanks for “waiting” there with me.

Keep Calm and Carry On

By Danita Hiles

Keep Calm and Carry on… variations of this poster are everywhere these days.  The clever slogan was designed during World War II to encourage the morale of the English people.    The Ministry of Information plastered the city with posters to remind the people of Britain of the facts:    There is a war going on, but we must remain steadfast.  We must trust in our army.  In spite of blackouts and air raid sirens and food rationing and fear, we must carry on.

Right now, I am staring at a bright purple poster on the wall of my 16 yr old daughter’s bedroom.   ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’.   I bought it for her because the purple looks awesome against her lime green walls, and because she loves all things British.   Funny thing, it has become, for me, in the past three weeks, a life slogan.

Sometimes, sweet friends, I think we make it all seem way too simple.  ‘It’ being life and all of the drama it entails.  Often when we write a post here, it is about a subject in the past, something where there has been a victory, where God has proved faithful, where emotions have subsided, where specific acts of obedience have led to amazing solutions.   Victory is sweet and life is seemingly tied up in a tidy bow.

Right now, all of that is a distant memory.   I see no tidy bows in my life!  I am literally in a war.  The details are irrelevant.  Because war is war.   The enemy is on the prowl like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.   Can anybody relate?  Your war may be physical, it may be inconsolable grief, it may be anguish over your kid’s choices or your finances or your own fragile emotional state.   If you are in a calm peaceful state, Praise God, and pray for the rest of us!   If you are in a raging war- take heart, my sister, you are not alone.   I believe this WWII poster has some wisdom for all of us.

Keep Calm:  How can we possible keep calm when war is raging?  When life is coming at you hard and God’s truth seems elusive?  When you feel powerless and hopeless and tired all at once?  Maybe just by really remembering who is fighting for you…you are not alone!

  • Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
    Isaiah 40:28
  • For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory. Deut. 20:4

Carry On:    How can you carry on with ‘normal’ when you can barely breathe?  Is it possible to live joyfully when you are under attack and are being hit hard from all sides?   His word says yes.

  • The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.  Isaiah 58:11
  • I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  The boundaries will fall for me in pleasant places.  Psalm 16: 6-8
  • But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  Isaiah 40:31

Keep Calm and Carry on, dear sisters.

Let the storms blow and the winds beat, your house will stand.

And in the midst of it all, know that He goes before you and we stand beside you.

The Bout with Doubt: Part Five – Freedom to Greive Healing Tears

By Kitty Hinkle

If you’re coming to us for the first time this week, begin with the part one of our posting on The Bout with Doubt- Part One:  Occasional Wallow or Habit? After reading the introduction to the series, follow through each part of the series as we walk through the steps of eliminating the habit of unhealthy anxiety.

Step one: Recognizing habitual tears (Tuesday’s posting)

Step two: Observing the habit (Wednesday’s posting)

Step Three: Replacing a habit with Truth (Thursday’s posting)Step Four: Freedom to grieve honestly (Friday’s posting)

The more I heal from the loss, the easier it has become to recognize and welcome the tears at a moment when I know God wants me to work through something. I recognize it by listening only to God- feeling that connection and feeling His encouragement as I grieve.

Sometimes I crawl into bed at night with my laptop and flip over to the youtube video I uploaded. It’s a video tribute to my husband put to the song, Captain Sunshine.  You’re welcome to check it out here.

It’s been three years, so usually when I look at it, I have warm thoughts and a sad smile and that is it.  But there are those days where a surge of sadness comes over me as music plays and I erupt into tears.  I’m sobbing heaving tears, but I’m feeling relief—peaceful and healing. It’s God led grief, and I know it.

My prayer is that all of us lean more on the tears that heal the wounds.

Dear Lord, there are many reasons for tears when we grieve. Even patterns that may turn habitual are part of the grieving process.  You made each of us with specific design, and the grieving of a loss has to take its own particular path through each of our hearts.  I pray, Lord, that somewhere in all the different perspectives we’ve covered on the bouts of tears this week, someone finds Truth to help her better understand her tears so she can embrace her grief as a part of Your healing.

The Bout with Doubt: Part Three – Observing the Habit

By Kitty Hinkle

“You can begin to embrace your sadness in an observant way and then step aside and let it dissipate.”

If you’re coming to us for the first time this week, begin with the part one of our posting on The Bout with Doubt- Part One:  Occasional Wallow or Habit? After reading the introduction to the series, follow through each part of the series as we walk through the steps of eliminating the habit of unhealthy anxiety.

Step one: Recognizing habitual tears (Tuesday’s posting)

Step two: Observing the habit (Wednesday’s posting)

Step Three: Replacing a habit with Truth (Thursday’s posting)

Step Four: Freedom to grieve honestly (Friday’s posting)

Yesterday we had the discussion about healthy grieving tears and a habitual pattern of anxiety. If you listen to what’s going on inside as you shed tears and talk it over with the Lord, He’ll reveal to you whether you’ve developed a habit of unhealthy self-doubt.  I know I’ve had those habits in the past.  At one point a friend offered this advice on breaking a habit.  Don’t assume you can stop the worry and anxiety on your own strength and overnight.  Do the following instead: When you find yourself in an episode of unhealthy negative thinking, just notice the pattern.  Label it.

I thought her advice was interesting. She didn’t put pressure on me that the tears of worry I relied on as a crutch had to stop right away, and that was a relief. She only suggested that I keep the following idea in mind as I obsessed over the sadness: “Oh, I see I’m repeating a habit.”  She said that the more you learn to recognize the habit without beating yourself up over it, the less power the habit has over you, until eventually, you’ll begin to observe your tears as though you were someone watching you in tears—someone loving, like a sister in Christ, looking at you and saying, “It’s okay. You’re not as alone as you think you are.”  You can begin to embrace your sadness in an observant way and then step aside and let it dissipate.

She was right when it came to the pattern of worry I developed after trying to sell a house for a year.  Every time an obsessive thought popped in my head, I could see it as a habit before it took root in my heart and threw me down the road of self-pity.  It was my first step into a life of boldness!

Come back tomorrow to read about an even more powerful step towards eliminating a habit of doubt—replacing it with Truth!!!

The Bout with Doubt – Part Two – Recognizing Habitual Tears

By Kitty Hinkle

“Sometimes we can be tricked into mixing up cleansing tears of grief from tears of self-pity and self-doubt fed by whispered lies from the enemy.”

It’s the habit that I’m focusing on today, and what to do about a habit.  If you’re coming to us for the first time this week, begin with the part one of our posting on The Bout with Doubt- Part One:  Occasional Wallow or Habit? After reading the introduction to the series, follow through each part of the series as we walk through the steps of eliminating the habit of anxiety.

Step one: Recognizing habitual tears (Tuesday’s posting)

Step two: Observing the habit (Wednesday’s posting)

Step Three: Replacing a habit with Truth (Thursday’s posting)

Step Four: Freedom to grieve honestly (Friday’s posting)

Now for Step One:  Recognizing habitual tears

We all fall into patterns of response in our lives. A kid who goes through ridicule by the in-crowd might still grow up to be a healthy full functioning adult able to socialize and form great friendships, but when faced with a group of worldly handsome talkative individuals, he might find himself tongue-tied.  This is simply a habit rooted in a bad experience from high school.

I remember finding myself in a pattern of anxious thinking after a year-long struggle to sell my home in 2003.  I had four children at the time under the age of six. I kept my home flawlessly clean for showings—85 showings!  Can you imagine scrubbing floors and baseboards and staging the furniture perfectly 85 times? All the while with toddlers and babies crawling about my feet and preschoolers tugging at my hem. The constant cycle of adrenaline—clean the house, show the house, wait in anticipation, receive disappointing news, get the call for the next showing—left me repeating a pattern of anxious thoughts that led to a habit.  Once the house sold, the crisis was over.  I figured no more anxiety, right?  Wrong.  My mind was so used to the pattern of anxiety repeating itself that it looked for something else to put in place of the house selling anxiety.  I repeated the emotional cycle with everything from waiting for news on a medical test to waiting to hear from a friend who was deciding whether the book club I invited her to join was a good fit for her.  Because the cycle of emotions were so practiced, I found even the trivial silly things like the book club decisions brought the most ridiculous level of anxiety.  In noticing it, I identified it as a habit.

You can do the same with your tears. Just observe yourself as you cry. Notice whether the tears are cleansing you or digging you deeper into sadness. Sometimes we can be tricked into mixing up cleansing tears of grief from tears of self-pity and self-doubt fed by whispered lies from the enemy.

Only you and the Lord know if your pattern of grieving and bouts of tears have tipped beyond a healthy level, but if you find you might have developed a habit, don’t feel alone.  It’s a common experience among those who’ve been through difficult events in their lives.

Come back tomorrow when I share with you what I learned about dealing with the habit self-doubt and anxiety.