Waiting Part 2: Giving Thanks…Seriously?

To read Part One of Colleen’s story, please Visit: Waiting Part 1: Pray Big!

Thanks for allowing me to come back and share the second part of my story! My prayer is that through struggles, you will see God’s grace; through pain, you will see God’s comfort, and through this crazy adventure of life, you will see God’s goodness.

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Once God physically healed me, my husband and I were excited that our dreams of children would soon come true. Everyone around us had multiple children, and it was the desire of our heart to fill our apartment with these little monsters:)   But again, God had a much larger plan for us.To this day, I have not been able to get pregnant and I don’t know why.

More pain. More sadness. But this time, I had the reminder of God’s miracle when He healed me a few years ago. So I trusted, even though there were many nights and days of tears and anger. I chose to trust.

To trust in who God says He is: He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7); He sees my tears (Psalm 56:8 NLT); He loves me with unfailing love (Isaiah 54:10)! But I also came to understand another powerful truth about Jesus ~ that His ways and thoughts are greater than mine.

My power verse for this period of my life is found in Isaiah 55:9, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

My husband and I decided not to pursue fertility tests because the Lord had been drawing us to adoption. We wanted a family more than we wanted to get pregnant, so we started our adoption paperwork a year and a half ago. Yes, you’ve guessed it. We are once again..waiting!

It has been a roller coaster of every sort. But friends, I can honestly say that I would not want to change anything. These waiting periods have allowed me to touch the heart of God in a way that I would not have been able to do if I had not been in a valley.

When we are in valleys, we have an opportunity to be ushered into the very presence of God and come before His throne.

When we allow ourselves to be stripped of everything that hinders sheer dependence on Jesus, the peace and joy that flow are endless.

Please don’t get me wrong. Our pain doesn’t automatically wash away and we don’t automatically start singing and dancing. But when we allow the truths of Jesus to penetrate our hearts, the cracks caused by suffering slowly fill in with His grace.

As I pray for this sweet baby that has grown in my heart instead of my belly, I am overjoyed at the plan that God has designed just for me. But let me tell you, this joy didn’t come easy. The lessons God wants to teach us are not easy to learn, but worth it in the end. What did I need to do?

I needed to unclench my fists of control and lay open hands before God.  Make a fist. When you clench tightly, nothing can get into your hand. Have you noticed that the stronger you clench, the quicker your hand gets tired? It is the same with our soul.

The more we try to assert control, the harder it is for Truth to penetrate our hearts and the more weary we become. But when we come before God with an open heart, we are able to release all energy into the control of God. With this release comes rest, but this rest is because of Jesus.

Valleys of waiting seem like time has stood still. But not in God’s eyes. May I challenge you to look at waiting as the most active part of your spiritual life? God wastes nothing, especially time. He is constantly working and molding our hearts into His. I am reminded of two stories God shares with us in His Word:

The first one is of Peter. In Matthew 14, we read about him in a boat with his fellow fishermen. It was dark out but across the lake he sees a figure, which happened to be Jesus.  Jesus called out to Peter. Peter heeded His call and stepped out of the boat.

Jesus was his focal point and Peter continued his miracle walk. Until the wind came. Instead of looking forward, Peter looked around him and was frightened. He started to sink. What is the wind in your life?

Is it the out of controlness of waiting? Don’t look to the side. Keep your gaze to the front. Jesus is guiding you. It doesn’t mean the “wind” will stop, but it takes away the power of the wind and gives all power back to Jesus. Jesus has to be our focal point, our all-in-all.

The other story I am reminded of is found in Luke 24. Jesus had been dead for 3 days. His followers were in deep mourning. Two guys were walking down the road discussing the events of the past week and along came Jesus, alive, walking beside them, and talking with them. They had no idea it was their Jesus who was speaking right to them. They were too focused on their hurt and the tragedy of losing Him. How often am I that guy…Jesus right next to me, walking, talking, trying to get my attention?

It is the same in our valleys: Jesus needs to be our focal point so we can hear His voice as He waits.

So how does this happen? I have found it in one specific way: to give thanks. I personally don’t think we have to praise Him FOR the valley, but praise Him DESPITE it.

By giving thanks to Him, we are turning our eyes to Jesus only and taking our focus off of the trial. Philippians 4:6-7 states: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”(NLT)

This will be hard. I know. I read in one of the Psalms about David offering a “sacrifice of praise”. I now understand that phrase. Praise IS a sacrifice…but it is something God will honor. Did you notice how verse 6 ended and verse 7 began? AFTER thanks has been offered, peace is given.

Be deliberate! God’s goodness and mercies are all around us, each and every day. Are you looking for them? How have you seen God’s goodness today? I would love to hear how you have offered a sacrifice of praise!

Some verses to meditate on:

Lamentations 3:22-23 ~ “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Romans 8:28 ~ “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Psalm 100:4-5 ~” Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

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Colleen is married to Adam, her very best friend, and they are getting ready to celebrate their 10th anniversary on 9/28! They are patiently (not really) waiting for their first child by the blessing of adoption. She is a social worker for a foster care agency north of Boston and is in charge of placing children in quality foster homes. She has a passion for adoption, foster care, and being a voice for “the fatherless”. Colleen’s heart is to help women by sharing her own struggles and pointing them to a deeper relationship with Jesus.  At home, you will find her drinking coffee and  laughing with her husband as they attempt to figure life out together. Follow her on her blog Loved First as she chronicles about adoption, faith, and all of God’s lessons in between.

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6 thoughts on “Waiting Part 2: Giving Thanks…Seriously?

  1. What a great analogy… clinching my fist tightly… where nothing can get in. I certainly admit I’m one who has soul-clinched many times. In fact, it’s my knee-jerk reaction… but Jesus is helping me… loosening one knuckle at a time. Thank you for this timeless wisdom. I’m entering His courts with thanksgiving this very moment!

    I love you Colleen and Heather!

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  2. What great food for though, Colleen. Not many people stop to identify “the wind in their life.” For me, it’s the unexpected wind that tends to blow me over sometimes. If I know the wind is coming or recognize it when it hits, that’s different. But it’s the unexpected hurricanes that blindside me. Trusting God is the key, and some days, depending on the strength of the wind, trust takes its time to surface.

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    1. Hi Donna~ Oh, how I can totally relate! The unexpected “wind” is the hardest! And I have quite often felt that the wind was never ending.Thank you for sharing your heart. I wrote a post about being “deeply rooted” based on a verse in the Psalms. The Lord had brought this verse to me as a challenge to help in the storms of life. It doesn’t take them away, but helps us weather them.
      Thanks for stopping by:) Blessings!(I tried including the link but don’t think it is showing up. Sorry!!)

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