Consider Yourself Warned

weddingSomeone should really warn you, when you are up there in all of your bridal glory, what it will look like in ten years. There you are, all radiant and happy and easily fitting into that size 8 dress.When you’re staying up as late as you want and living spontaneously, you don’t have a clue what is about to happen to you. You have no way of knowing that you will do things like this or that you will have days like this.

How could you know that, just ten years later, you would wake up to three kids in your bed and a baby crying across the room? You could never imagine that you would wipe a snotty nose with your bare hand, rock a baby in your other and have no recollection of the last hot shower you’ve had. You will show up in the carpool line wearing things that would have horrified the college version of you.

Yes, someone should warn you.

They should tell you about the dirty dishes and the laundry. They should give you a heads up on the fact that toddlers poop in the bathtub, your feet get bigger when you’re pregnant and you need to pace yourself on the tooth fairy thing or you will be broke by the third kid. You need to know that the kids will color on your walls and pee in your bed and tell the teacher at daycare what color of underwear you’re wearing that day. Seriously, people, these things happen and you should know.

Then, when they have warned you about all of these things, they should warn you that you would do it all over again. They should tell you that you will learn to appreciate life and love yourself. You should know that, on the worst of worst days, your child will do something crazy and you will laugh until you cry.fam of 6

In ten years, your life will look nothing like anything you imagined. And you. will. love. it.

Consider yourself warned.

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me and buxStacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.

I Am a Church Member

When Michael and Liam began meeting for Monday morning breakfast at 6 a.m. more than five months ago, they originally thought it would be a one-time event. They met in a couples’ Bible study group in their church. For many reasons, they hit it off and were becoming good friends. The two men enjoyed their time together so much that the one-time event became a weekly event. It was now rare for the two friends not to meet on Monday mornings.

But on this particular Monday morning, the conversation turned from lighthearted discussions about sports and family to something more serious. Michael and his wife had noticed some changes in Liam’s demeanor in their Bible study group. He no longer seemed as interested in studying and discussing the Bible as he did talking about their church. And his comments were often critical about the congregation. Still, Michael was caught off guard on that particular Monday morning. Liam loved the poached eggs in the little restaurant; it was his regular order. But on this Monday morning, he hadn’t touched them. He was barely sipping his coffee.

Liam didn’t take long to get to the point. “Michael,” he began, “Lana and I have decided to leave the church.” The pause seemed to last minutes. Neither of the men knew who should speak next.

Michael took the initiative and spoke softly yet deliberately. “You want to tell me about it?” Michael inquired. He honestly didn’t know if Liam wanted to say any more about it. His friend seemed resolute. Nevertheless, Liam began to explain his feelings and decision.

“Lana and I went to the church to learn deep truths about the Bible,” Liam offered. “But Pastor Robert is just not feeding us. We’re not getting anything out of his messages. Sitting in the service on Sunday morning is a waste of our time.”

Michael didn’t respond but could tell that Liam had more to say.

“There are several great people in the church,” Liam continued. “You and Karen are the best, and there are a few more like you.” He paused and his facial expression became even more serious. “But, honestly, Michael, our church is full of hypocrites. Did you hear Jim at the kids’ basketball game? He embarrassed me the way he was calling out the refs. What kind of testimony is that for a Christian? And of course, everyone knows about Neal. He was supposedly this pillar of the church, and we found out he’s been cheating on his wife for more than a year. What kind of church is this with these kinds of people?”

Liam was angry but controlled as continued to vent. “Look, Pastor Robert acts like he cares for us, but I’m not sure he does. I told him that Lana’s dad was in the hospital for hernia surgery, and he never visited him.”

Michael knew that Lana’s father was not a church member, and he lived 50 miles away. He also knew that Pastor Robert called him and prayed with him. But he also knew that any rebuttal would not be timely at the moment. Michael held his tongue.

It seemed that Liam’s mild rant was winding down. Liam seemed exhausted, ready to bring the conversation to a close. He did, however, offer a few pointed comments membership and two insightful questions.

“Michael,” Liam began softly. “I really like you and Karen and your kids. All of you are a class act.” He paused briefly. “But you seem enthused about the church. You keep serving and contributing. Don’t get me wrong, but I wonder at times if you are blind to all the problems in the church.”

Then Liam offered a closing that spoke more than he realized.

“We are two different types of church members,” he stated. “Why is that? Why do we have such different perspectives?”

The Difference

Nine out of 10 churches in America are declining or growing at a slower pace than that of their communities. Simply stated, churches are losing ground in their own backyards.

Another way of looking at it is generationally. About two-thirds of the Builder generation, those born before 1946, are Christians. However, only 15 percent of Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, are Christians. Millennials are the largest generation in America’s history with almost 80 million members.

And we have all but lost that generation.

We can blame it on the secular culture. And we often do.

We can blame on the godless politics of our nation. We do that as well.

We can even blame it on the churches, the hypocritical members, and the uncaring pastors. Lots of Christians do that.

I’m proposing that we who are church members need look in the mirror. I’m suggesting that congregations across America are weak because many of us church members have lost the biblical understanding of what it means to be a part
of the body of Christ.

We join our churches expecting others to serve us, to feed us, and to care for us.

We don’t like the hypocrites in the church, but we fail to see our own hypocrisies.

God didn’t give us local churches to become country clubs where membership means we have privileges and perks.

He placed us in churches to serve, to care for others, to pray for leaders, to learn, to teach, to give and, in some cases, to die for the sake of the gospel.

Many churches are weak because we have members who have turned the meaning of membership upside down. It’s time to get it right. It’s time to become church members as God intended. It’s time to give instead of being entitled.

A New Path

Though it’s a small step, I’m suggesting that church members consider a new path. There are six steps we should carefully and prayerfully take. Let’s consider each of these steps to be the type of church member God intended us to be.

First, let’s note the metaphor of membership. It’s not membership as in a civic organization or country club. It’s the kind of membership given to us in 1 Corinthians 12:27, “Now you are the body of Christ and individual members of it.” Because I’m a member of the body of Christ, I must be a functioning member, whether I’m an “eye,” an “ear,” or a “hand.” As a functioning member, I will give. I will serve. I will minister. I will evangelize. I will study. I will seek to be a blessing to others.

Second, I will strive to be a source of unity in the church. I know there are no perfect pastors, staff, or other church members. But I’m not perfect either. I won’t be a source of gossip or dissension. One of the greatest contributions I can make is to do all I can in God’s power to help keep the church in unity for the sake of the gospel.

Third, I will not let my church be about my preferences and desires; that’s self serving. I’m in this church to serve others and to serve Christ. My Savior went to the cross for me. I can deal with any inconveniences and matters that aren’t my preference or style.

Fourth, I will pray for my pastor every day. His work is never ending. His days are filled with constant demands for his time, with the need to prepare sermons, with those who are rejoicing in births, with those who are travelling through the valley of the shadow of death, with critics, with the hurts and hopes of others, and with the need to be  a husband and a father. My pastor cannot serve the church in his own power.

Fifth, I will lead my family to be good members of this church as well. We will pray together for our church. We will worship together in our church. We will serve together in our church. And we will ask Christ to help us fall deeper in love with this church because He gave His life for her.

Sixth, I will remember that this membership is a gift. When I received the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, I became a part of the body of Christ. I soon thereafter identified with a local body and was baptized. And now I”m humbled and honored to serve and to love others in our church. I pray that I will never take my membership for granted, but see it as a gift and an opportunity to serve others, and to be a part of something so much greater than any one person or member.

~~~~

Adapted with permission from I Am a Church Member by Thom S. Rainer (B&H Publishing, May 2013)

Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife,
Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and six grandchildren. Dr. Rainer publishes a daily blog at thomrainer.com and can be found on Twitter at @ThomRainer and on Facebook at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.

 

5 Things You Don’t Say to a Tired Mama

My first three babies were great sleepers. I’m talking sleep through the night at ten weeks old kind of sleepers. I’m not gonna lie – it. was. awesome. Then, I had baby number last 4. That sweet babe of mine did not sleep for more than 45 minutes at a time for nine months.

Sophia - Dedication PhotoThen, I understood. All of those tired mamas on Facebook suddenly made sense to me. I nodded in total agreement how coffee had become a necessity and showering a luxury. I repented of every time I had judged a mama wearing pajama pants at the grocery store. Instead, I applauded her for even making it there. I began having people tell me things that, though well meaning, were either irritating or (worse) discouraging.

So, on behalf of all tired mamas out there, I’m going to tell you 5 things you should never say in response to a post or statement about being tired.

  1. My baby is six and still doesn’t sleep through the night. Nothing will make a tired mama feel worse than the suggestion that there is no end in sight to the physical and mental exhaustion she is enduring. Some days, the only thing that enables us to make it through the day is the hope that tonight may just be the night. Please don’t stomp all over that hope.
  2. My sweet angel sleeps twelve hours every night. I’m just going to go ahead and tell you that this may get you blocked on Facebook. Oh, I kid. Sort of.  If your friend has a child who doesn’t sleep and she hasn’t had the energy to bathe in two days, it is not the time to brag about how well rested and wonderful you feel.
  3. Just enjoy it because you’ll miss these days. I will miss having barbies in my bathtub. I will miss having a toddler sneak into my bed at night. I will miss night time snuggles and footie pajamas. I will miss story time and days at the park. I will not miss being so exhausted that I wash my hair in body wash and mistake diaper cream for hand lotion. When you say this to a tired mom, you instill a sense of guilt in her because she is just tired and wants to wiggle her nose and be at the next stage.
  4. What you should be doing is… This is just a no-no. Mothering is such an intimate thing. The moment you tell another mom what she “should” be doing, it can seem like a condemnation of what she is currently doing. Now, I’m not saying that you never give advice. Just be aware of how you say it. A proper way would be: All children are different, but something that worked for me is… Or maybe you read something helpful. You could say, I read the neatest thing the other day. Have you ever read… Just be aware that a tired mama is a sensitive mama and speak accordingly.
  5. You look exhausted. We tired mamas like to think that we don’t look like we’ve been hit by a Mack truck. So, when you see us out and about at the store or church, just say how great we look. Seriously. We will know you are lying and we will love you for it.

If you are a tired mama, I applaud you.

You can do this.

You are a rock star.

You go, girl.

And you look fabulous!

~~~~

me and buxStacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.

When You Get Lost in the Lonely

I’m lonely.

The words echo around the room. How is it even possible that, amid the kids and chaos, there could be loneliness? But, it is there and it can be overwhelming. A girl can lose herself in the lonely.

There are feelings and there are facts. They are both real, but they are not the same. It’s important to remember. I feel lonely. I am not alone. If we try to view our world through our feelings, everything becomes distorted. Suddenly, everything seems wrong and even God seems far away.  I love what Eugene Peterson says about feelings in his book, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.

My feelings are important for many things.  They are essential and valuable.  They keep me aware of much that is true and real.  But they tell me next to nothing about God or my relation to God.  My security comes from who God is, not from how I feel. 

When we feel ourselves getting lost in the lonely, we must speak truth to ourselves. Our feeling of loneliness is not an indication that God is far away. Also – loneliness is not the same as ungratefulness or discontentment. Sometimes, we are afraid to confess our loneliness for fear people think we are not grateful for where we are or what we have been given.

There are some questions we can ask ourselves when we are feeling lonely.

Have I isolated myself? This question came to mind as I studied Genesis 1-2. Think of all that Adam had: a beautiful (perfect!) home, work which gave purpose and pleasure, fellowship with the Lord, and a drama-free, stress-free existence. Yet, God looked at this seemingly perfect existence and declared it “not good.”

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. – Genesis 2:18

IMG_0140Even if we have beautiful homes and good jobs, it is not good for us to be alone. It is not the way we were created to live. As difficult as it can be for {ahem} some of us, that means we have to seek out fellowship. For an introverted homebody like me, it is easier to stay home. Easy, however, sometimes breeds lonely. 

Where is my focus? Paul wrote some of the most beautiful pieces of Scripture while sitting in a prison cell awaiting his death. He had to have fought feelings of loneliness. How did he do it? His love of Christ was greater than the lonely. Do not hear me say that, if you love Christ, you will never be lonely. My point is we must make a conscious decision to focus on Him and not ourselves.

I don’t have all of the answers. Here are just a few things I have found to help – from one (sometimes) lonely girl to another. :)

  • Keep a proper perspective. Sometimes, we convince ourselves that we are always lonely. When we do that, everything suddenly seems wrong with our lives. A praise journal goes a long way in correcting this.
  • Get out of the house! Seriously, a trip to Target will do you wonders. Take the kids to the park and soak in the sunshine. A change of scenery will do you good.
  • Spend time in the Word. This is not my attempt to be churchy or spiritual. It’s truth. When we neglect God’s Word, we are asking for Satan to plant seeds of discontentment or loneliness.
  • Reach out. There are women in your neighborhood, in your church, at your workplace, etc. who are also lost in the lonely. If we all sit around waiting for someone to reach out to us, it will not work. Someone has to be the first to step out. Quit looking around trying to determine who could be your next best friend. Instead, look around you and see who needs a friend. Then, be one.

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me and buxStacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.

For the Weary With Work Left to Do

I stared at the jar of peanut butter and the bare slices of bread and thought, I just can’t do it. To make lunch seemed to require more IMG_0089energy than I had at that moment. I was more than tired. It wasn’t a simple lack of sleep. I was weary – in body, mind and soul.

I’m sure you have been there. Maybe, you are there now.

Life is so difficult, y’all. It sure can cause a gal to grow weary. The Lord knew this to be true.

Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

Weary and burdened. I’m sure you know all about some burdens.

Financial struggles?

Family drama?

Medical issues?

Lost loved ones?

Broken relationships?

Anyone? Yeah, me too. Here’s the thing. The Lord doesn’t say, “Come to me and I will fix the problem at hand.” Now, he may very well fix it. That, however, is not our immediate need. We may think it is but He knows better. This world is broken and we will always have trials and temptations. Jesus knows that we need rest more than we need a quick fix. 20120920-011548.jpg

The Greek word translated “rest” in this verse is anapauō. (I’ll try to refrain from the corny “it’s all Greek to me” joke. The pronunciation, however, is ä-nä-pau-’ō.) It’s really a great word with a great definition.

to cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labour in order to recover and collect his strength

We don’t give ourselves permission to stop. We know there is always another load of laundry that could be done. There are those pesky cobwebs hanging from the ceiling and fingerprints on the windows. There is always something that needs to be done. So, why does the Lord insist that we come to Him for rest? He wants to give us the permission that we will not give ourselves – permission to just stop for a moment. 

Stop.

You have permission to watch cartoons with your kids this morning.

You have permission to sit on the porch and drink your coffee.

You have permission to turn on the radio and dance in the kitchen.

You have permission to laugh.

You have permission to breathe.

You have permission to recover from whatever has been weighing you down.

You have permission to regain your strength.

The Lord gives you that permission that you have been denying yourself.

And that work that you still have left to do? It will still be there tomorrow. 

~~~~

me and buxStacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.

Real Leading Men

I was in the bread aisle when my husband called me. He needed me to buy band-aids and gauze and some medical tape. That’s never a good thing. My three year old had fallen in the bathroom and had a pretty nasty gash on her chin. I got the items and headed to the check out but, wouldn’t you know it, every lane was backed up.

He texted me, Quickly, please. Mercy.

I picked a lane and watched as the cashier and the bagger made small talk and the customer questioned the price of the watermelon. The mama bear in me wanted to tell them that my baby needed me and they had about ten seconds before it got all ugly up in there. I restrained myself, however, and paid for my items. Then, I ran like a crazy woman to my car.

When I got home, my little one was sitting on the kitchen counter with dried blood all over her. My sweet honey, a.k.a. her daddy, was playing doctor and, of course, had everything under control. I’m not embarrassed to say that I fell in love with that man all over again. These moments, the behind the scenes things that he does for our family, that is true romance. See, I don’t need a Hollywood leading man. I just need a godly man who leads. daddy and ella

The world will tell us otherwise. Romance movies and novels set unrealistic expectations in the hearts of women. The reality is, however, that what the world offers up as romantic loses its luster somewhere around the second kid. If we are smart we will realize that, while a three piece suit and some cologne are great, there isn’t anything hotter than a man playing beauty parlor and washing his little girl’s hair in the kitchen sink.

Don’t listen to the lies of Satan. You know the ones I’m talking about.

I bet her husband doesn’t leave his socks in the floor. 

I promise you, he does.

Why can’t I be whisked away for a romantic getaway like in the movies?

Listen closely. Those are actors. It. is. not. real. life.

He doesn’t buy me flowers as often as he used to buy them.

That’s probably true. And you probably don’t shave your legs as often. Am I right?

My point is that there are stages in life. There is the dating, door holding, bringing flowers stage. Then, there is also the husband who is willing to go to the store and buy your feminine products stage and one stage is no more or less romantic than the other.

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me and buxStacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.

Breath of God

There are constant reminders that this is not our home.  The pain of this world increases the sacred ache within us.  The sacred ache that began at the moment of creation when the Creator took dust of the earth and combined it with the breath of life.

Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life… – Genesis 2:7

The holy mingling with the common.

And that is how it has been ever since. Earthly desires war against heavenly pursuits.  We look to the world, the dust from which we came, for meaning.  And, in so doing, we forget that it was not until the God breath entered us that we truly began to live.

…and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. – Genesis 2:7

The dust of this world can only give us the form, or appearance, of living.  When we cling to this mirage of peace we settle for less than the abundant life He intends for us to have.  We content ourselves with dry bones when God breath is available to us.

Life is available to us.  No matter where we have been or where we currently find ourselves.  No matter what wounds we have endured.  When a situation seems bleak and hopeless, we only need for God to breathe.

Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live. – Ezekiel 37:9

May our prayer be today that God would simply breathe on us so that we may live.

 

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me and buxStacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.

You are a Mighty Warrior

Too often, we allow our insecurities to dictate what we think we can do for God.  We look in the mirror and judge what we see based on the world’s definition of beauty.  We allow man’s version of success to dictate how we feel about our lives and accomplishments.

How differently would we live if we saw in ourselves what God sees?  Because God sees a mighty warrior.

Read the story of Gideon (Judges 6:11-24.) Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Did you see it?

Then the Angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”  - Judges 6:12

Now, at first glance, this may not appear to mean much.  After all, the Bible is full of impressive individuals. How many times have we wished for the patience of Job, the faith of Abraham or the perseverance of Paul? The Lord calls Gideon a mighty warrior.  So what?

But, read on.

Gideon said to Him, “Please, Lord, how can I deliver Israel? Look, my family is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.” – Judges 6:15

Gideon did not come from an impressive family and, on top of that, he was the baby of the bunch.  In his estimation, he was young and he was weak.  In fact, when the Angel of the Lord came to him, he was threshing wheat in a wine press because he was hiding from the Midianites.  No one would have looked at him and seen a mighty warrior.  No one except the One who had created him to be just that.

We can not know what a day will bring or what trials we will face.  For sure, there will be times when we feel too weak and ill-equipped for the task at hand.  We may even find ourselves, like Gideon, trying to hide from the enemy.

But God sees in us everything He created us to be.  So, when the storm comes, listen for His voice.  Hear Him say to you, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

~~~~

me and buxStacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.

Frugal Family Fun

Hello, my name is Stacy and I am a city girl. You know…the Starbucks-drinking, never-fried-a-chicken kind of city girl. So, imagine my surprise when God moved my family to the middle of the country miles (and miles) from the nearest mall, coffee shop or bouncy house.

I will admit to a couple weeks of wandering aimlessly around the house and taking the occasional nap to pass the time. But, then, I found something blooming in the country. You want to know what you can find growing wild in the country? Creativity.

That’s right. When you have four children and no Chuck E. Cheese in sight, you. will. get. creative.

So, here are a few fun and frugal ways your family can spend time together wherever you may live.

  1. Mary, Mary, quite contrary…When my husband announced that he was going to take up gardening, I loudly and obnoxiously ever so respectfully protested. In my defense, please see opening sentence. Much to my surprise, however, a few containers, some seeds and some water have brought my girls weeks and weeks of fun. Now, we aren’t talking about tilling up the land here. Just get some simple, cheap black containers. My girls planted the seeds, helped water them, checked on their growth and, soon enough, harvested a few veggies of their very own. This can be as big or as little as your heart desires. Go ahead. Plant one little pot of squash. This city girl dares you.
  2. Walk on the wild side…Now, depending on where you live, maybe a little walk around the ‘hood isn’t so wild. It can be, however, loads of fun. Here is what you need: comfy shoes, a little notebook and a pencil for each kiddo, and time. You know what you don’t need? Your smart phone!  I know, I know. Hello, kettle? Pot here. Just open up the door and take one step…and then another…and then another. You can do it. Then, you just explore. You will be amazed at what the children will find interesting. They will become mesmerized by the colors of leaves, the shapes of rocks, that pile of dog…well, you get the picture.
  3. Where in the world is…This one took me by surprise. A couple laminated maps and a Dollar Store inflatable globe bought for homeschooling have turned into a daily game of Let’s find that on a map. From television shows to people we meet to Bible stories, every day brings a new opportunity to bring out the globe or U.S. map and find a location. And, if you want to entertain the older kiddos on a road trip, pick up a map at the welcome center for every state you enter. They’re free. You can’t get any more frugal than that.
  4. Talk…Did you know that, if you turn off the television and spend time with your children, they will talk to you? I know! Who knew? Consider yourself warned. They will talk a lot. Are you making supper? Talk to them. Are you cleaning the house? Talk to them. Do you just want to sit and relax and not have to referee the latest fighting match over whose turn it is to have the brown stuffed dog? Talk. to. them. You will be amazed at how much they have been wanting to tell you.

So there you go. Four fun and frugal family activities! Our family has since moved back into civilization the city and, would you believe, we have brought these activities with us? Turns out, frugal fun can be had anywhere.

Now, go have some fun with your kids!

~~~~

me and buxStacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.

In the Waiting

A while back, there was this show on the History Channel called Expedition Africa. It was about this group of people who were – on an expedition – in Africa. So, that part was probably terribly obvious. Anywho. One episode really sticks out in my mind.

The self-appointed leader of the group was explaining the risks of that day’s travels.  You see, they had just spent several long days traveling to the top of this huge mountain.  They were all ready for the easy days ahead of going downhill.  Pasquale (the leader) shocked them all by saying, Be very careful. Going down the mountain is far more dangerous than going up.

That is an important reminder for our spiritual journeys. IMG_0192

It is easy to stay focused on Him when times are hard. We feel weak and desperate for His intervention. We cling to Him every step as we climb our mountain. Then, we reach the top and we think, I’ve got it from here

What happened to the children of Israel that caused them to stumble?

Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and 70 of Israel’s elders, and they saw the God of Israel. Beneath His feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire stone, as clear as the sky itself. God did not harm the Israelite nobles; they saw Him, and they ate and drank. – Exodus 24:9-11

How did they go from seeing God to settling for a golden calf? I’ll tell you how. They entered a period of waiting. And, the waiting? It lasted a little longer than they thought it would.

When the people saw that Moses delayed in coming down from the mountain… - Exodus 32:1

It’s an old, old story. It’s Sarah waiting for a promised baby. It’s Noah confined in an ark waiting for dry land. It’s David waiting to fulfill his kingly calling. It’s the children of Israel waiting for the bonds of slavery to be broken. It’s God’s people waiting for the Messiah. It’s you and I waiting for His return. Maybe you’re waiting right now.

You’re waiting for healing.

You’re waiting for restoration.

You’re waiting for employment.

You’re waiting for romance.

You’re waiting for the salvation of a loved one.

You’re waiting for God to move. And, just maybe, it’s taking a little longer than you thought it would. Beware. This is where the downhill trek gets treacherous. The men of Israel got tired of waiting for God and were willing to accept a substitute.

The serpent enters stage right.

The enemy will parade all sorts of things before the eyes of those who have taken their gaze off of God. Those things will be shiny and those things will be pleasant to the eye. They may be good things, but they won’t be God things and Satan will try to convince you that they are sufficient. The enemy wants you to believe that God is not worth the wait. That, my friends, is a lie straight from the pit of hell and many have believed it and suffered the consequences.

Are you currently in a season of waiting? If so, where is your gaze focused? The answer is extremely important.

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me and buxStacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.