Friday, January 18, 2013

Waiting . . . .

I'm dusting off the weariness of winter Holy days.  The celebrations were wonderful, but coming down from such heights is always tiring.  Now Christmas is put up.  New toys are tucked away.  The sweaters that boys hate to wear are safely hanging in closets, or crumpled nicely in drawers.  And my fingers are finding their way back to the keys, tentatively opening the writing door that opens the world for me.

I like the routine, the rhythm of normal.  Back to normal.  I'm glad to be here again. 

And with familiar normal comes a new year. 

At the beginning of the new year the LORD will lift a Word up in my heart, something for me to ponder, to try to live out, to breathe life into in the months that follow.  Last year my Word from the LORD was Serve.  To serve, and sprinkle my service like salt, all over the daily bread of my life, wherever God chose to place me.  Serving has become something I never dreamed it could be, a nest of safety and comfort in a world I don't always understand, a safe threshhold from which to learn how to step into the unknown.  Serve has been a good Word to live into as I try to live it out.

The new Word landing on my heart in this new year is simple:  Wait.  The LORD whispers Wait into my spirit, and I wonder what it is I am to Wait for. 

I thought by now I would have a keener understanding of my life purpose, a clearer sense of direction for the next big thing.  I have been waiting, I think.  In this place that looks nothing like the calling that captivated my heart so many years ago.  I did not grow up wanting to be a pre-school teacher.  Yet God has led me to this place where I have been waiting and wondering when it would become another thing, the thing I'm called to do. 

But something quite surprising has happened in my restless wondering about next places and future plans and bigger purposes.  My heart has found rest in the place I am at.  And this Word, which I thought I had already been doing, quietly comes to nest in the surprise. 


As I lead chapel services for these sweet little ones placed in my spiritual care, I recognize the Word God speaks to my restless heart while I speak it to my restless pre-schoolers.  Our fruit of the Spirit for January is patience; our memory verse comes from the Psalms:
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him.  Psalm 37:7
He has quite the sense of humor!  I feel His smile as I have those children sit on their hands to help them remember those words "be still."  I wonder if He is whispering to me, "Maybe you could sit on yours?"

And maybe it's not necessarily my hands I need to sit on.  Maybe it's that thing in me that is impatient for the next phase to begin, for the journey of my life to "get on with it already!"  And God says WAIT.  In my spirit I hear--
"Be still in this place where I have you, stop trying to leave it so quickly, My work here is not yet finished, WAIT for Me to complete in you thing you need most."
I believe that God gets how wiggly this season is. Everyday I am surrounded by active four-year-olds at work and rambunctious boys at home.   The being still part has nothing to do with moving around within the place He has placed me.  It has everything to do with trying to rush on to the next place.   And I get that. 

The thing is, the next place is this place. 

In the waiting something has been weighing on me.  For years before I actually became a mother, I prayed and prayed and prayed to be a mother.  I longed for it, ached for it, cried out for it.  And when it happened I was working in a full-time ministry.  I was so torn between the calling to serve the world and the calling to nurture my home brood.  I won't lie.  That tension was tearing me apart.  So when God intervened and gave me a new life, one where my heart could safely rest at home, it was a huge relief. 

As the relief has stretched beyond a few months into almost two years, I am beginning to sense that my new calling isn't so much to something else that will take me away from my sons, but rather that they are the heart of God's plan for my life.  For now.  For the time being.

I wonder about their character, their manners, their love for the LORD.  It weighs on me and I wonder where they will learn to be His more than they desire to be their own?  And I begin to see that when I can be still in the place God has placed me, I am the one God put here to teach them.  God opened a door for me to be present for them at this critical time in their lives.  How can I shut it?

It's kind of scary. 

I mean, what if I mess up?  What if I don't get this discipline thing down right?  What if I lose my patience with them every day and let them watch old Avengers episodes too many times?  What if I'm too lenient?  What if I'm too harsh?  What if I fail to show them the joy of belonging to Jesus while trying to get them to follow Jesus? 

All of my "what if's" are met by Divine chuckles.

This is what my spirit hears--
"If you will simply BE in this place where I have placed you, you will have everything you need to fulfill MY desires for this season in your life.  You will be everything I need you to be, and you will BE everything they need you to BE as well."
That scripture says it all:  "Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him."

This morning as I read my Bible and prayed God's Word, these words were nestled in the passage I was reading:  "Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who wait for me shall not be put to shame"  (Isaiah 49:23).  Amen.