Just Wait…

Two of my least favorite words: “just wait.”

I heard these words from so many people when Jordan and I were engaged and just married. “You just wait until you’ve been married a few years. The new will wear off and you’ll be just like the rest of us’ Or my favorite, ‘You just wait…enjoy the honeymoon stage while it lasts!” I never will forget how discouraging that was to hear. Why must people tear others down? Why can’t you just let people be happy?

And now we are hearing it again, but for a different reason…”You just wait…you’ll find out soon enough!” (Pertaining to ANYTHING child related – behavior, eating habits, how I’ll never sleep again, school activities, tantrums, how our house will never be clean again, how expensive babies can be, and the list goes on and on…). Don’t you think we’ve thought about all of this? My husband and I are 30 years old. And while we don’t have a real clue what we are about to get ourselves into when Grayson arrives, is it really necessary to make us feel defeated as parents before we even get started? I know that I won’t get much sleep the first several years (I’m already getting good at running on 5 or 6 hours or so just due to pregnancy). I know that my child will not be perfect and he will act out in the most inopportune moments, and he’ll probably say things that embarrass us from time to time. I know that boys will be boys, and we will probably have broken windows, messy floors, stinky clothes, and lots of jokes about bodily functions.

But I prayed for that.

I admit – after wanting to be a stay-at-home mom for so many years (that’s all I wanted to do when I was in high school), I totally changed my mind when I graduated college and started working. It took me a long time to get mentally ready – well, as ready as you can be – to start trying to have kids. But once God showed me that the time was right, I prayed for those things. I prayed for the sleepless nights and dirty house. I prayed for the chaotic schedule that we’re sure to have that will completely throw off my beloved, familiar routine. However, I also prayed for the snuggles, and the “I love you Mama,” and getting to see my husband be a dad. So let us enjoy it – even if for a short time. Let’s turn the “just waits” into “Just wait until you lay eyes on your son for the first time’ and ‘Just wait until you get to hear those sweet baby giggles.”

I know life is hard. And I know I don’t know how hard it can be just yet. But life is too short to “just wait” on the bad things and focus on the hard times. So for now, I’ll “just wait” on Baby Grayson to get here and for my life to be changed forever. And I’m completely ok with that.

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Are You a Hopeful Christian? Or Are You a Believing One?

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Yesterday I prayed a prayer that I have been praying for months now. I pray it multiple times a week. It’s on my prayer wall. I have even asked others to pray it with me. But do you know what was different about yesterday’s prayer?

I realized that this entire time I had just been “hoping” it would be answered. I was hopeful that something would happen. Up until yesterday, I don’t think I truly BELIEVED that anything would come of it. As awful as it sounds to say it out loud, I didn’t believe that God was going to answer my prayer.

How guilty are we of doing that, though? How many times do we pray a prayer and “hope” that God will take care of it, but then we never actually give it over completely to Him? Why do we feel that we need to care those burdens around with us when God wants to take them off our shoulders?

Now, God may not answer my prayer in the way that I see, but He WILL answer it. And He will answer it in His timing and in His perfect way. Last week, I attended a leadership conference where I had the privilege to hear Lysa Terkeurst speak. She shared an amazing story about God’s perfect timing, but the one thing that she said that has stuck with me is this: “There’s what I see…and then there’s what God is doing.” We do not get to see the big picture, but God is always in control of it all. We only get a small piece of the puzzle BUT when we trust and BELIEVE that He is going to see it through, God will show up and show out.

So from now on, I am fully believing that God is going to answer my prayer. It may not be today, tomorrow, or next week. It may not happen for another few years. But when it does (and it WILL), I cannot wait to tell you all about it.

Whatever Happened to Gratitude?

Gratitude: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

 

I’ve come to realize just how rare this quality is these days.

 

Just in the past week, I’ve witnesses more selfishness, hatefulness, and ungratefulness than I have seen in a very long time. In our society, it seems that no good deed goes unpunished. People try to take advantage of you. You try and do something nice for others, and all they seem to do is complain about what you DIDN’T do with no “thank you” for what you DID do. 

Also, now more than ever, our society lives in an “all about me” mentality. It’s all about “what can you do for me?” or “what can I get out of this?” and “how long can I MOOCH off of this?”

 

Whatever happened to gratitude? Being thankful for acts of kindness? When did we enter such a selfish mindset? Or maybe it’s actually a lazy mindset where we think the world owes us a favor?

 

Either way, I still choose gratitude.

I still choose to show appreciation when someone offers me a meal. I still choose to be thankful when someone offers a place to stay. I still choose to show my gratitude by offering help in return for acts of kindness. I still choose to send cards in the mail to offer encouragement to those who are struggling. I still choose to send little gifts to team members to show how much I appreciate their hard work. I still choose to work hard to chase my dreams because I’m grateful for the opportunity to do so, and I know this world doesn’t owe me a dime.

I still choose to be grateful when things don’t go my way because God has a greater plan in mind.

 

Gratitude is not only a virtue, but a mindset. Choosing to be grateful should not be something our grandparents did – it should be something we choose to do each and every day. We do not deserve any of the blessings we have on this earth. We do not deserve any of the gifts given to us. We do not deserve grace. We do not deserve salvation. But I am so grateful for it.

 

That’s how we should be in all things. So, so grateful.

Who are you when you think Jesus isn’t looking?

Today on my lunch break, I decided to make a quick stop into the local CVS for a few necessities (shaving cream and something to battle these terrible summer allergies!). I usually make at least one stop into the store each week because I get great customer service and the employees are always so friendly.

As I was standing in the checkout line, the man behind the counter begins to tell me how he sees me in the store quite often and asks if I work in the area. I tell him yes and we begin to chat about the city, community, church, local activities, etc. We discovered that we had an “acquaintance” in common, and the man goes on to praise this acquaintance as such a wonderful person that he held in high regard. I stood there shocked and almost speechless because my thoughts about the common acquaintance were…let’s just say, definitely less admirable. So what caused the stark difference in opinion? This man went to church with the common acquaintance, and I knew who the person was out in the world – beyond the church doors. I smiled and nodded, thanked the man for his help, and went on my way.

 

I left the store with a mix of emotions. How could our opinions be such complete polar opposites? Do people view ME that differently outside of God’s house? Am I truly the same person – with the same integrity, same values, same morals, same smile, same heartfelt concern for others, same positive attitude – that I am on Sunday? Would people who know me outside of God’s house say the same things about me as the ones that see me in church each week? I sure hope so. And if not, today is a great day to get my attitude in check and be intentional in living out the person that I strive to be EACH and EVERY day. I don’t want to be the person that puts on her “church face” on Sunday.

My prayer today is that each of us live out our Christian lives on a day-to-day basis so that others may see Jesus in us and through us. We are to be a witness to everyone – the sinners and the saints. Sometimes we forget that people are watching us. Who are you when no one is looking? I want to live out my days like God would have me to live them – for Him and for His glory. I want my friends to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I know Jesus. I want them to come to me when they need to be lifted up in prayer. I want strangers to know that I am authentically, genuinely concerned for them and their salvation just by my actions. I want my life to be a walking Bible for the world to see. I want to treat people as Jesus would treat them.

 

So who are you? Are you the person people know on Sunday? Who are you when you think Jesus isn’t looking?

Worth the Wait

I can’t believe it’s been a year. It seriously seems like just yesterday! Almost one year ago, on February 6, 2016, on a hiking trip by a waterfall in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Jordan asked me to be his wife. I honestly don’t remember everything he said that day because I was too busy smiling and nodding and happy-crying.

I had waited a long time for him. I had honestly reached a point in my life that I had given up on finding a husband. I had finally given everything over to God and told Him that I was content and at peace with it, but if He had other plans, then I would gladly follow. Only a few short weeks passed by, and then I met Jordan.

I had been on some terrible dates before I met him. I had also been on dates where everything “should” be right. You know, where the guy has a great job, nice house, goes to church, treats you well…but you just aren’t feeling it. I would get so discouraged when my family or friends would ask how my dates had gone because I never had good news. I felt like something was wrong with me. Eventually, though, I realized (after lots and lots of prayer), that you just can’t force those things. If a relationship doesn’t come from God and God is not in it, OF COURSE it won’t feel right. God is trying to tell you something when a date (or relationship!) doesn’t go as well as you hoped – He isn’t in it, and that man is not the one for you. I truly learned patience through this process. I learned to trust God and I learned to trust HIS timing.

I feel that so many young ladies settle. They settle for the one they “should” be with according to material matters. They never wait and find the one that was MEANT for them. The one that God made especially for them.

If you are still waiting on your meant-to-be, I encourage you to keep waiting. He’s out there. God has a plan for both of your lives, so the decisions you may make trying to force something that isn’t right will affect not only you, but the man God made for you. I’ll share with you the verse that I clung tightly to during my waiting period.

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalm 37:4.

Cling to Jesus during this time. Wrap yourself with His love, stay in His Word, and surround yourself with His people. Your time will come soon enough. Right now, delight yourself in Him, and He will hold true to His promise to you. Your meant-to-be will come and you will KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is from the Lord. I did. And I am so glad I waited.

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How’s the Married Life?

“So how’s the married life?”

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I wish I could count the number of times I’ve been asked that question over the past two weeks. Each and every time, I smile and say “It’s wonderful! I couldn’t be happier!”

…but then, I am almost always met with the words “Enjoy it while it lasts.”

 

How discouraging, especially for a newlywed. I have waited twenty-eight years for this. I actually had to wait twenty-six years just to meet the man God made for me. Why put a damper on my excitement?

Better yet, why does it have to be this way? Why does the happiness have to end? Why do couples have to grow stagnant and forget why they fell in love with each other in the first place?

 

IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY.

 

Maybe – just maybe – it goes deeper than that. Maybe couples forget their first true love instead, Jesus. Once they forget to put Jesus in the center of their relationship, everything begins to fall flat. Now, I understand that Jordan and I will hit rough times. I understand that we will get angry with each other and disappoint one another. But I never, ever want to enter into the place of constant bickering and misery that I see so many couples in today. I want to continue to date him. I want to continue to love him more each day. Most importantly, I want to continue to grow together in Christ.

Dear friends, I encourage you that if you are in that stagnant stage, do not grow bitter and spread your unhappiness to others. I ask that you examine your heart and have a real discussion with your spouse to make things right. Marriage is meant to be a beautiful thing. It is a true gift from God, and a gift that I do not intend to take lightly. It may have taken twenty-eight years of patience, but from this point on, the smile I wore on my wedding day never has to leave again.

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“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” – Mark 10:9