Delight, Trust, Wait

Fall 2011 151“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).

My heart jumped when I read that verse several years ago as my husband and I were trying to decide if it was God’s will for us to add another child to our family of 4. Already blessed with 2 daughters, I believed that we were meant to have a son, but our life circumstances kept us wondering if having more than 2 kids would be pushing the limits. For 4 years, I had been praying regularly for God to give us clear direction, but lately I’d become so focused on getting an answer, I let worry and discontent creep into my life. I’d forgotten to rest in his presence and delight in his company every day. I’m ashamed to admit that I was focusing more on my prayers than on the one I was praying to.

I knew what the desire of my heart was, but I needed to trust that if I stayed in close relationship with the Lord, my desires would also be in alignment with his will. I think sometimes we want to cherry pick the decisions we consult God on. We might go to him first in the middle of a health crisis or tragedy, but we like to do other things on our own. Psalm 37:5 says, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him…” Often, it seems a lot easier to just do what we feel like doing than to commit everything we have and do to his control and wait for his timing. I can’t tell you how many times during those 4 years I wanted to just decide something one way or the other so that the decision would finally be made. Sadly, not giving God control of our decision distracted me from the incredible blessings I was already surrounded with.

Maybe you are in a season of waiting too. Perhaps you’re waiting for a dream job, a dream spouse, a dream baby or a ministry to come to fruition and the wait has become longer than you ever imagined. “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;..” (Psalm 37:7). Take heart and remember that he is with you. You have not been forgotten! Rest in his joy and delight yourself in the knowledge of his love for you while you are waiting. He knows the desires of your heart and when we align ourselves with his will, we can trust that he has our best interests in mind.

Right about the time I began delighting in the Lord’s presence again and realized that my happiness wasn’t dependent on whether or not this desire ever came to fruition, I arrived at my mailbox one day to find a letter with my name on it congratulating me on my pregnancy from one of the large baby product companies. Not only was I not expecting, I hadn’t signed up for anything or done anything that would warrant such mail. My husband and I laughed it off as an ironic coincidence. But week after week, other companies sent random baby items to my mailbox. One day I’d discover baby shampoo samples, another day it’d be a box of formula. By the time two tiny newborn diapers arrived, it was pretty obvious that it was more than just a coincidence. Doesn’t God have an awesome sense of humor? I can’t tell you how much I delighted in finding those special treats in my mailbox each week. Through prayer, advice from Christian friends, daily reading of scripture and dreams, God made his will for our family clear in his time.

On a beautiful morning in July of 2008, I found out I was expecting our third child. After I shouted praises quietly (my girls were still sleeping), I stood there wondering what to do. At that moment, only God and I knew about the little one to come. I opened my Bible and my eyes fell on these words, “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him” (1 Samuel 1:27). My son, Coleton Samuel, was born 5 years ago. He brings such joy and delight to my life! All those years of waiting make his presence with us now that much sweeter.

God gives the most incredible gifts. But the most amazing gift he gives to us is his presence! I don’t know what your heart’s desire is, but he does. And I know that whether the ending is sweet or bittersweet, he will always walk with us. It just doesn’t get any sweeter than that. Whenever I’m tempted to try and rush this thing called life or make a decision on my own because I’m impatient, one glance down at my little boy reminds me of these three steps; delight in the Lord and embrace joy today, trust him to take care of your tomorrows, and wait patiently for his timing.

*This article was originally published in the Winter 2011 issue of Between the Lines magazine. You can read the full issue here.

In the Meantime

My #2 (yes, we use a highly sophisticated code in our house for referring to our children) sighed this morning and said, “Whenever I try to teleport myself, it doesn’t happen.  It makes my life seem so lame.” Lame, indeed.  

Some days, staying in the same place is just plain hard.  We have been waiting for adoption paperwork from China that says we can go get our little girl.  In the meantime, the seasons have changed and she has grown from a toddler to a preschooler.  A few days before her 3rd Birthday this month, I pulled out an outfit with a 3 embroidered on it.  And for the first time, I cried.  Why can’t I be there to celebrate that she is fearfully and wonderfully made? 

The smile that greets me each morning.

In my head, I know that God’s timing is perfect and he wastes nothing.  I’ve learned this lesson before.  But my heart still questions, “Why not today? Do it now!” 

The truth is we are all waiting for something.  And when that something comes, it may have us shouting for joy or weeping for sorrow.  So what do we do in the meantime?  We live our lives.  We celebrate the joy of the moment.  We stay close to him and delight in the knowledge of his love for us.  We surrender control and we trust.   

Because one day when we stop waiting and we start living, we will get a word, a decision, an email, a phone call, or a package that will change everything.

My FedEx delivery man was lucky he was in such a hurry or I would have given him a big, awkward stranger hug.

And we will know that the waiting was not wasted.  The joy of this moment was part of the still waiting of the moments before.  Like David, we will sing a new song and know that only God could see the path before us clearly. 

How many times have we cheated ourselves of seeing a miracle by trying to hurry the wait?  Let’s wait patiently for God so he can get all the glory.  Only he knows when it is time to go.

I waited patiently for God to help me; then he listened and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out from the bog and the mire, and set my feet on a hard, firm path and steadied me as I walked along.  He has given me a new song to sing, of praises to our God.  Now many will hear of the glorious things he did for me, and stand in awe before the Lord, and put their trust in him. Psalm 40:1-3

 The latest issue of Between the Lines magazine is here.  This issue is all about forgiveness.  I took a walk down memory lane to the early years of my marriage.  I hope it encourages you and makes you laugh!