What to Do in the Waiting Room

A few months ago, I stumbled upon this graphic online. It was just what I needed at the time, and still do, by the way. I posted it on my Facebook page, and it has had over 600 shares! That means 600 other people shared this photo from my page, not to mention all the folks who posted it on their pages and then shared it. It was obvious that I wasn’t the only one who was in the middle of a holding pattern!

Everyone is waiting on something. Some are waiting for an open door to buy a home. Some are waiting for a job. Others are desiring a child, by birth or adoption. Some might be waiting for a loved one to be healed of a disease or for a relationship to mend. Still others might be waiting for their financial situation to improve. And, dontcha just hate waiting? I do! Well, there is one thing that I hate more than waiting, and that’s waiting with nothing to do! Not too long ago, I took a child to the doctor and forgot to take a book! I had to sit on the little vinyl couch and watch “Bubble Guppies”. It was the longest half-hour of my life!  My sister recently shared that she likes waiting more now that she can knit while she waits. She has recently developed this skill, and is a pro, I might add, so she enjoys the “excuse” to do it. My cousin was once stuck on I-30 due to a car accident. She organized her trunk and balanced her checkbook while she waited! I believe that’s the secret to surviving in the waiting room of life: stay busy. 

Not too long ago, I was in a tailspin of depression. I gained weight, slept a lot and got up each day thinking “Maybe this is the day things will improve!” When I muddled through the day, and things stayed the same, I slipped a bit deeper into the depression. The only thing I did right was that I continued walking with the Lord. I read my Bible every day, prayed everyday and faithfully attended church and soul winning activities. I was also working in my home, caring for the kids and homeschooling, but I went about my daily tasks with little, if any, enthusiasm. I had reached a holding pattern for my life and was comfortable there. One day, the Lord gave me a gentle shake that awoke me. Notice, He didn’t have to slap me, just shake me. I was trying to serve Him, I was trying to please Him, but I was off track a bit; I’d lost my focus. I believe that’s why I didn’t have to have anything drastic happen to get my attention. I just needed to be pushed back on the path a bit.

He showed me that turning to food for comfort was useless. It made me feel worse than I did in the beginning. It was only a temporary fix. Many Christians turn to food since we do not smoke or drink. Gluttony is a sin, and I was swimming in it! I have since lost 12 pounds and 3 inches around my hips. I have more to go, but I’m using moderation in all things (Phil.4:5) and exercising again. The exercise is hard to do, but I have set reachable goals. I don’t want to be supermodel-skinny, just healthy. I want to take care of the one body God has given me.

He showed me that lack of hope can be lack of faith. I reached a point where I gave up on thinking things would get better. That was giving up on God. As long as I’m alive, there’s hope of change in myself and in others. I can give up on the hope of my changing things, but I can’t give up on God changing things. He is all powerful, and He will help me. Even if life never improves, I know I’ll be in Heaven one day! Now that’s something to look forward to!

He showed me that my priorities were out of order. By resetting my idea of what was important in life, I was able to find the contentment I was missing. I used to end the day with a list of “what I didn’t get done” running through my brain. For example, it might be like this:

  • I didn’t get to read a book today.
  • I didn’t get to email (or call) my friend today.
  • I didn’t blog today.
  • I didn’t get to write anything today!

I noticed a pattern in my “Didn’t Get Done” list. Everything on it were things I did for fun. I was getting all of the important stuff done! My “Completed Tasks” list was this:

  • I did read my Bible & pray.
  • I did send a card to a lady.
  • I did prepare for Sunday School.
  • I did do three loads of laundry. 
  • I did cook today.
  • I did clean something today.
  • I did read a book aloud today. 
  • I did homeschool four children.
  • I did play with and change my baby today.
  • I did talk to my husband today.

It didn’t take a genius to see that I was accomplishing the tasks that needed to be done each day. I was just unhappy because I didn’t get my “me time.” So what? There would be time for “me” when the kids were older, and I have already seen how quickly they grow!

He showed me that I need to praise Him in all things. (1 Thess. 5:18) Just as the picture above says, we must praise God for the blessings of life, even while we’re waiting. Life is still moving along, regardless of our circumstances. We don’t want to wake up one day and see that ten years of waiting have passed, and we were miserable for each day of it! It’s important to find the blessings and emphasize them. One day, “things” will get better, but that doesn’t mean today has to be terrible. God’s blessings are all around us! I must consciously look for them.

My husband says that I’m too hard on myself. I’m a perfectionist and I need to “relax” (his words). I hate being told to relax, but, that’s what I often need to hear. I’m trying to do just that.

Here are some books that helped me:
Suffering and Death: The Saint’s Highest Calling by Henry R. Pike. Don’t let the title scare you. It’s a great book.
By Searching: My Journey through Doubt into Faith by Isobel Kuhn. Another book God used to help me. Follow Isobel Kuhn, missionary to China, as she seeks God and finds Him.

I just wanted to share a bit of my heart. I hope that my struggles might be a stepping stone to help someone else as they sit in the waiting room of life.

With love,

My Heart is Full

My heart is full to overflowing with emotions. I feel joy, grief, loneliness, shame, despair, love, hope, fear, and more. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so overwhelmed before, in this way, that is! How can you feel joy and grief? Only I could be so crazy! So much was supposed to happen, and now, will not. I want to hope that more will happen someday, but I’m afraid to go down that path, lest I find more disappointment lurking in the shadows.

I am a jumble of nerves and words, so this post will be brief. I don’t want to say anything that I will later regret! I can say that God has revealed some major faults in my life lately, faults that now seem so glaring – how could I have missed them all this time? I know about them now, and now, I must deal with them. Once the light is revealed on sin in our lives, we must do something about it. To ignore it is to embrace it.

I have my work cut out for me, as I purge myself through prayer and Bible reading, as I discipline myself to change my attitude and actions, as I go through this exciting time of growth. Your prayers would be appreciated. I don’t know when I’ll be back here, I hope it’s soon, because I like keeping in touch; I love hearing from you. My hope is that this blog can become a greater blessing in the future because of this time of purging.

God bless,

Look at the White Line

I will never forget the excitement that coursed through my veins as I got behind the wheel of our Tempo that chilly, rainy night. At that time, my mom was the elementary principal at Jessieville Schools. She wore many hats, as most faculty of small school districts do. She was head of the cafeteria and Title 1 coordinator aside from her regular principal duties. She spent many of her nights with stacks of folders beside her, writing vigorously at our kitchen table. She also did small things, like work the door at basketball games and the gate at football games. My brother and sister had long since flown the coop, so it was just my dad, my mom and myself. The three of us enjoyed being together, and we worked to do that whenever possible. That’s why Dad and I and were making the forty mile drive from our house to the football field that night. We wanted to be with mom. I secretly wanted some nachos, too.
Dad asked me as we loaded up, “You wanna drive?”
“Sure.” (He was such a cool dad.)
“Yes, sir!”
I got in and buckled up. Dad might have been nervous about his youngest child being behind the wheel, but he never let on. Mom did, but then, mothers are more nervous by nature.
I merged onto I-30 with no problem. I took exit 111 toward Hot Springs. Then the Lonsdale cutoff…and then, the rain came! It poured and poured. The road became hidden behind the sheets of water that fell from that cold sky that autumn night. I couldn’t see. I was inexperienced  – this was my first storm! Dad was right there, telling me it was okay, just slow down, but those words didn’t help too much. I gripped the steering wheel tightly, leaned forward and squinted – as though any of those actions gave me more control over the situation. I stared into the blackness ahead of me, willing myself to see. Cars approached from the other direction, but I didn’t see their lights until they were right in front of me! I thought about what might be in front of me: a broken down semi? A person stranded on the side of the road? All clear? I didn’t know – I could be about to have a terrible accident! Fear gripped me. I prayed. I’m pretty sure Dad was praying, too!
Finally, the storm let up. The rain slowed to a drizzle and all that remained of the storm were scattered leaves on the black pavement. By the time we pulled into the school parking lot, my pulse had returned to normal. And Dad looked very relieved to be able to stretch his legs. I was pumped! I had just successfully driven through a torrential downpour! Yes!
Dad and I made our way to the gate where mom was waiting with Mrs. Ballew, her companion in the ticket booth. Most of the crowds had made their way in, so I was able to chat with mom for a bit. I excitedly shared with her each minute detail of the drive over. When I finished, Mrs. Ballew said in her slow, southern way, “Next time, when you can’t see the road, just look at the white line.” I just smiled and filed her comment away in my brain. Then I got those nachos.

Months passed, and once again, I was making the forty mile drive out to Jessieville, only this time, I was alone. It started raining. Hard. I couldn’t see the road. But I remembered what Mrs. Ballew said: “Just look at the white line.” So, I did. I looked for the white line, followed it, prayed and drove slowly. And, I made it!

The intelligent people at the highway department have done more than just provide for us the shortest route possible to various destinations. They also care about our safety. That’s why they have placed those grooves along the sides of the Interstate. And, that’s also why the lines on the road are painted in reflective paint. That’s why we have the double yellow lines down the middle of the road, and white ones on the sides. They knew that one day, there would be an inexperienced sixteen year old driver making her way down a dark, slippery road on a rainy, foggy night. They knew she would be afraid when she couldn’t see the road. That’s why they put the lines on the road, so that all she had to do was look for the glowing white line and follow it, until the storm ceased and the fog cleared.

It’s been twenty years since I was that inexperienced driver. When I drive in storms today I still get a bit frightened, but now I know where to look for help. I’ve experienced other storms in life, too. Some really, really bad ones. I couldn’t see where the storm was taking me; the darkness hid my Father, the road curved and twisted…or had I gotten off the road? Was I in a ditch? Fear gripped me! Just then, I remembered to look at the white line; I remembered to go to His Word! My omniscient Father knew there would be a young, inexperienced wife and mother who would travel the road of life during a storm. He knew she wouldn’t know where to look for help. So, in His infinite wisdom, He placed promises, encouragement, hope, direction and love in a book. He illuminated that book with His Holy Spirit. His Word, the Bible, is the white line for life. It keeps me centered, focused and moving in the right direction, even in the darkest storms of life.


Waiting Periods

Every morning, I meet the Lord at our special place. I have my coffee {with vanilla creamer}, my notebook, and my Bible with me. I have my Bible reading schedule, too! I sometimes read other books, like If by Amy Carmichael or Suffering and Death: The Saint’s Highest Calling, after my Bible reading. While reading through Psalms, I recently read a verse that I’d thought I’d understood before. 

I first read it, and took note of it, when I was seventeen years old. I was nearing the end of my high school days – graduation was months away – and I didn’t have a clue what to do with my life. I was interested in college, but not a college far away. I could have gone to a local school, but how would I pay for it? And what would I be? I had a million and one things I wanted to do – teach, write, sing, practice law, just to name a few. Of course, I hoped to marry, but at seventeen, my prospects weren’t looking too snazzy in that department. I sat down early one morning, opened up my Bible to that day’s reading, which included Psalm 27. I got to verse 14, which said, Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: waitI sayon the LORD. I told the Lord, that yes, I would wait on Him. On His peace, His direction, His plan. 

God was extra merciful to me back then, because He didn’t make me wait too long. I admit, it was still longer than I’d wanted, but it could’ve been much longer! I met my husband when I was fourteen, then again at eighteen. We fell in love at nineteen and married that same year. On January 2, 1998, I had a purpose! I was a wife! Waiting over. *phew* God poured out a blessing larger than life when He allowed me to have my five children, with only a nine month waiting period for each! 🙂 I didn’t plan on this – I was prepared to wait – but I didn’t have to. 

Years have come and gone, and waiting has become a part of my life, as it is for everyone. Thankfully, my waiting periods have been short overall. However, several years ago now (I can’t believe it’s been years), my family and I started waiting on God for something very specific. Yes, it’s been years, and we’re still waiting. There have been times when we have thought about just “making it happen”, doing something bold (impatient), or just giving up. But we haven’t. We’ve resisted the temptation to go out and change our lives – that’s what the world says, right? “Go make a difference! Get out of your comfort zone! DO something!” We’ve opted to stay busy for the Lord while we wait. Yes, sometimes, action is required from us to see God’s plan fulfilled. Witnessing for Christ is a good example, praying for others is another fine example where our action is vitally important. But, not always. Sometimes, we are supposed to stay busy while we wait. 

Some of you, also, might be waiting on God’s direction for your lives. Some are waiting on a baby. Some young ladies wait for a man. Or that job opportunity. Or a new house. Or winning the Publisher’s Clearing House. (Just kidding!) I’m right there with you, I know that waiting is hard. 

This waiting period hasn’t been a total waste of time for me though. While I’ve been waiting, I’ve been learning lessons from my Father. I’m learning that waiting takes courage, and through Him, I can be courageous. 

With love,

The Saint’s Highest Calling

I’ve owned the book, Suffering and Death: The Saint’s Highest Calling since about a year after my dad went to heaven. I can vividly recall the first time I ever saw this book. It was lying on my brother’s desk, many years ago. We were working in the church he pastored in Hot Springs, where I often did a few secretarial jobs for him.One day, while in his office for such a reason, I saw this book. I shuddered as I read the title and avoided it like the plague! I knew where I was going when I died, but I had no desire to dwell on death – or suffering – for very long. I was only 23 years old. I had endured a few hard times, but nothing that I would have called “suffering”, and I’d never lost a close loved one to death, either. No, I was not interested in reading that book.

Years passed. I began to go through some significant valleys. The biggest was the sudden death of my dad when I was 26 years old. Two years later, darkness shrouded my life again in a trial which I am unable to share. It was between those two trials that we bought this book from our very good friend, Evangelist Tim Green. My mother had just read it, and commented on how good it was. Still, I couldn’t bring myself to read it. I thumbed through it, but that was all. I didn’t want to acknowledge suffering. It was as though if I kept thinking that life wouldn’t be hard, then it wouldn’t be.

Here I am, almost six years from that time. Trials have continued to wash onto the shore of my life. The raging waves have left me heartbroken, defeated, depressed and hopeless. I have been ashamed of myself. How could I doubt God? How could I feel that He had left me? In a tearful time of prayer, asking God to please help me, it is no coincidence that my eyes fell upon this book on my shelf. The book I shuddered to look at; the book I couldn’t bring myself to read; the book I had wished I’d never seen. I decided to read it. I started reading it a few chapters each day during my Bible time. It didn’t take long to finish, it’s only about one hundred pages. And yes, it was a blessing! It was not at all the dreaded monster that I’d made it out to be in my head. I had assumed that page one would say, “So, you’re a Christian? A servant of the Lord? Suffering is your future. Get used to it.” I was wrong. And, no, it wasn’t the first time. 😉

The book shares the testimony of the author, missionary Randy Pike. He tells how God used trials and suffering in his life to bring glory to the Lord, to direct his life’s work and to see souls saved. He hammers away at the “prosperity” preachers, revealing them for the lying charlatans that they are. Saved people are not promised a life of success, fame, riches and ease. If so, the author points out, then John the Baptist, Elijah, Peter and John the Beloved were not saved! He says that not everyone will be healed of their illnesses. Look at Elisha. He died because he was sick. The book is replete with scripture, many of which I looked up for myself. It offers hope to those of us who are suffering, a reminder that this world is not our hope, Heaven is, and it’s wonderful. He shares insight into making sense of the sufferings that we must endure, and he offers comfort from the Holy Scriptures.

I wanted to share a few of my favorite quotes from this book.

We must never conclude that we have taken the wrong path in Christian service when the storms fall suddenly upon us without warning. Oddly, that is the way God often works. Christ was there near His disciples only a few feet away! He was with them through it all. When a boat full of water (see Mark 4:37), will not sink, something wonderfully divine is about to happen.

Suffering is universal to every true child of God. If you are a servant of the living Christ, you too must be tried – as gold is tried. It is part of your divine calling. And in a majestic sense – almost sacred – somehow, God’s glory shines through His suffering, weeping saints.

Our Lord is more interested in what we are gradually becoming through our trials and sufferings, than what we presently are. The ugly, repulsive caterpillar of today, through struggle and death, becomes the beautiful butterfly of tomorrow. “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Rom. 8:18)

Though frequently very difficult to do, we are called upon to thank God “IN everything”, but not “FOR everything” unless it is “unto Himself”. 

When everything seems to indicate failure, when nothing makes sense anymore, and when our sufferings and sorrows appear to smother the promises of our Lord’s help, the Bible declares “…(God) hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Heb. 13:5) The responsibility lies squarely on Him to do this. And He will!

At no time did God rebuke Paul for such “mood swings” in his missionary experiences. He was only being normal. Beware of those “spiritual leaders” who condemn God’s people for being normal Christians.

This book, which I had feared for over ten years, was nothing to be feared. It offered me strength as I journey through my life on this Earth. It offered me the hope that God is there, even when He seems so far away. It reminded me of the beauty of life in Heaven. And, best of all, it helped me see that I’m not insane, I’m actually normal! (That alone made it worth the read!)

If you are interested in ordering this book, you may do so by visiting Tim Green Ministries. Scroll down the page until you see this book pictured and click on it.

Thanking God IN everything,

Now I See

I remember hearing my home pastor, Bro. Ken Graham, say many times over the years, “Don’t judge other people in church. You have no idea what that person is going through. It may be all they can do to sit there and hold up their head.” I remember marveling over that thought! Could it be a person is so burdened down by a problem that they can barely walk in to church, or hold up their head? I trusted his word on the matter completely, but didn’t understand it.

As a grown woman, I still puzzle over things, especially biblical things. I marvel over the Savior’s love for me! I wonder how He could do it? How could HE love ME? I don’t understand it, but I trust Him completely on this matter. And I’m so grateful!

However, I do now, after some fifteen years, finally understand Bro. Graham’s admonition not to judge others. I know firsthand that the burdens of life can, in fact, press so heavily that one can barely hold up their head, or take a step. I know financial reversal and stress, I know the feeling of being betrayed by a friend, I know the feeling of abandonment by “Christians”, I know the pain of harsh words spoken by family or friends who are supposed to love you, I know the pain of death. And yet, there are people out there who are hurting in ways which I have not experienced! Pain is abundant in this world and all of it can be crippling, it can take your breath away, leaving you weak and dizzy – both literally and figuratively. How dare we judge one another for their response to church, or preaching, or anything? We have no idea what someone else is going through, and if we do know, shouldn’t that make us that much more understanding and compassionate? I would hope so.

Tonight, I sat in my place, barely able to hold up my head. I could barely move one foot in front of the other. I thought of my home pastor’s words, and the truth of them rang inside me. “This is what he meant. I hope that no one is judging me now. And I hope I never judge anyone else again!” Pain, of any kind, can be debilitating – for a time. With Christ beside me, I can keep going. I can, if at times falteringly, hold my head up. I can put one foot in front of the other. I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me.(Phil.4:13)


The Birthday

This year, my birthday fell on a Sunday (March 25). Because of that, my husband wanted to celebrate it on the Saturday before. He hired a babysitter and took me out to Olive Garden for lunch! We both enjoyed salad, a bowl of potato soup, and we got those miniature versions of their desserts! And I didn’t eat a single bread stick! 🙂 After we ate, we visited Books-a-Million, Best Buy, Bath and Body Works and a few other stores in the mall. God gave me 70 degree temps and sunny, clear blue skies to enjoy! Terry took the kids shopping for gifts for me, but they wanted to wait until my real birthday to give them to me.

The next day, the Lord gave me another beautiful day! I awoke and went through my morning routine as usual, but not feeling quite right. I thought it was just stress and blew it off. Terry told the kids we’d all go out for a meal at the Chinese buffet for lunch and they would give me their gifts after that. Well, by the time we all got to church, I was feeling worse. I went to the nursery for Sunday School with Matthew like I always do. We sing some Bible songs and then he just plays. If he’s quiet, I can listen to my husband’s lesson over the speaker. I sat in the recliner, still not feeling the best. Suddenly, a situation erupted in Sunday school that was very stressful. I could hear it all over the speaker! I felt ill, but then, I was feeling ill before, so…was it emotional or physical? I started praying, and I prayed and prayed and prayed. I was so achy after Sunday school that it was all I could do to put Matthew in my lap for the morning service (we didn’t have a worker for that service in the nursery, so I had him stay with me). As soon as church started, I started shivering and feeling achier. A kind lady in our church offered to stay with Matthew in the nursery. She saw he was getting fidgety and, in a small congregation, that’s a big distraction! I was so thankful that she did this, because I was going to have to go home, I was too weak to handle him. I had my five year old snuggle up to me for warmth, but that didn’t help much. I have no idea what was preached that morning – my heart was broken as well as my body. I managed to carry our Bibles and my purse home, which isn’t far, but it felt far that day! Usually, my husband and I walk home together, but I was so sick, I just left alone. I changed my clothes and lay down. I think the kids were home by this time, I’m not sure. Lauren took Matthew for me, which was so helpful. When Terry came in, I had a high fever and was covered with several blankets.

The kids were disappointed to have to have sandwiches instead of Chinese, but they were also worried about me. They came in and checked on me often. They really wanted to give me their gifts, so I propped up on pillows and they quietly brought them in to me. They gave me my own pair of purple ear buds, a purple magnetic pencil can (to put on the fridge) and a box of my favorite candy! I had several sweet cards from loved ones and friends to open, and those words were just what I needed! The children sang “Happy Birthday” to me – it was prettier than a symphony to me! I had the best birthday party ever – right from my bedside.

I couldn’t make the Sunday evening service, so Lauren stayed home to watch Matthew and help me if I needed it. Again, what a blessing my twelve year old is! Thank you, Lauren, for loving your mother and showing it.

That night, around 2 AM, the stomach flu hit me! I spent the next day in bed, and two days after that fighting it, even though I was up and around by that time. Finally, on Thursday of that week, I felt better. My appetite was off for a while longer, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing! I’ve still not eaten a single piece of the candy the kids gave me – it doesn’t sound good anymore! 😦

When it was all over, I realized how happy I was, and that surprised me! I had the worst birthday ever, and the best! I had my heart broken, my body broken, but I felt happy! The Lord was using this to show me that I’m growing, I’m learning, and that’s just what He wants me to do. In years’ past, I would have inwardly grumbled, and maybe outwardly complained, about these problems. While I was sad about the events, I was also joyful. I know, that doesn’t make sense, unless you’re a child of God, and then you understand. Not too long before this, I’d asked the Lord to help me be sweet, not cynical from our trials. I believe He is helping me with that. I do feel joyful! I am doing what God says to do in 2 Tim. 2:3, I’m enduring hardness. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to do that. Actually, a few months ago, I wouldn’t have been able to do that! I can see some growth! My hearts’ desire is to keep growing, but I know Satan (and others) would love it if I digress. With God’s help, I will continue to move forward in my Christian life.

I am now a year older, and feeling better than I did a year ago! This year, God gave me a very special gift from Heaven. He showed me that life doesn’t have to be perfect for it to be wonderful. ♥