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The Time I Didn’t Wait (CV Lay-off Week:10

Last week, we found out that Tim’s furlough was extended again, this time, until July 31st. Naturally, we wonder how many more extensions are in our future and what that looks like for our family. 

Psalm 27:14 is such a word to remember in the waiting. It says, “Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD.” 

Often times, when we think about the word, wait, we might get the idea that it’s a passive act. On the contrary, when we wait upon the Lord, it is an action. The Hebrew definition for wait means: to look for, hope, expect. When we wait for the Lord, we place our confidence in Him with hopeful expectation.

The time I didn’t wait

Last year, I wrote about a time that I didn’t wait on the Lord. Summer was quickly approaching; our daughter, Sarah, was away working at a camp for the season, and Justin was a few weeks launching out on his own. Tim’s new position at work would require some travel, and it would be me at home with our three youngest boys. I decided that I needed to do something for myself. 

I thought, why not start a furniture business? So, I began acquiring great vintage pieces to paint and market. I jumped in with both feet, and soon our garage was filled with treasures. But, every time I prayed about it, I sensed the Lord saying, “No, wait.” Still, I continued to paint and collect more pieces. I prayed about it again, and I received the same response, “No, wait.” 

Well, one morning, I woke up and said to myself, “What am I waiting for? Maybe God didn’t say no; I probably heard Him wrong.” That day, I created my Facebook business page, took countless pictures, and began listing my furniture. I was pleased with myself.

Friend, the VERY next day, we lost Justin. 

God said, “No, wait.” for a reason. He knew what I would be facing, and a furniture business would not at all fit into my journey. 

I share this story because lately, when my anxiety peaks, I’ve found myself thinking, “Hmm, maybe I need to start a side-hustle.” But, I learned a valuable lesson with my short-lived furniture business; no matter how bad I want to feel in control, it is always better to wait on the Lord. If He tells me to start a new business, now that’s a whole different story, isn’t it? 

So, for now, I wait upon Him.

You might be asking, what does waiting look like? How do we wait upon the Lord? Psalm 37:5 gives us some great insight on the matter. It says, “Commit your ways to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.”

The word commit means- to roll, to roll away, roll down. 

Do you see it? It’s a similar picture of 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all our anxieties upon the Lord because he cares for you.” In our waiting, we are pushing, rolling all of the cares, questions, and concerns upon the Lord as we wait upon Him to act. Indeed, there is nothing passive about waiting. 

If you are in a season of waiting like me, set your gaze on Jesus, Friend. Take courage in the wait, stand firm with confidence; the Lord is faithful, and He will bring His plans to fruition. 

Until tomorrow,

Missy

Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD.        Psalm 27:14

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Hoping in the Shadows CV Lay-off Week 8

The first year after we lost Justin, we walked through a series of trials that left my head spinning. The air conditioner stopped working mid-summer; our car broke down, the garage door malfunctioned, and the fridge was leaking. My final tipping point was when I walked into the garage and found a pool of water coming from our water heater. I walked right back into the house, locked myself in the bathroom, and cried, “How long, O’ Lord, will you forget me forever?” (Psalm 13:1a)

Earlier today, as I was shampooing the carpet, I remembered how, in my early days of grief, my mind played in a continuous loop. Oh, how I wished. I wished I would have stopped Justin from going to the lake. I wished I could have somehow known it was my last good-bye, and I love you. I wished I could take away my children’s pain. I wished with all of my heart that I could change our reality. 

Lately, a similar train of thought has been running through my mind. Tim’s furlough began almost eight weeks ago. Today, the travel industry is down by 96% from this time last year. The possibility of him returning to work at the end of June seems very unlikely. I long for normalcy, for Tim to be back in his home office on a call helping a client. I wish for a different reality.

I don’t know about you, but when I am in the eye of the storm, I get a sinking feeling the Lord has forgotten me or worst yet, He doesn’t care. Amid such tumultuous thoughts, my best defense and refuge is reading the Word. There, in the Scripture, my mind is renewed in the truth, and I remember His character. When the sky is dark, and we know not what to do, the Word is our sustenance and our compass to right our thoughts.  

Today, I went to Psalm 27 and listened to verse 14 over and over again. It says, “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD.”  When I looked at the STRONGS Concordance, I noticed that vs. 14 read, “Wait patiently for the Lord at the beginning of the verse and then again at the end.

Wait patiently means to wait, to look, to hope.

Dear friend, instead of wishing away our problems, the Word instructs us to wait for the Lord, look to the Lord, and to hope in the Lord. It is not a one time practice, but a minute by minute reliance upon Him.  And in our waiting, He sustains us with His unfailing love by the power of His Spirit. In this truth, we can be of good courage.   

Until tomorrow,

Missy

A prayer in the waiting

Dear Lord, you are ever so patient, you know my frailty, and remember that I am but from dust. In my distress, please help me to wait patiently for you. I know not what to do, but my eyes are on you.  I love you, O’ God, my strength. 

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Pilgrimage of Trust

A few nights ago, I found an old journal from the year 1991. My first entry included the details of a God orchestrated event that still leaves me in awe today. I, at eighteen years old, was a young Believer; and unlike the majority of my peers, I had no plans for the future. For months, I sought the Lord each night, asking Him to show me my next steps. His answer would come the day after I graduated from high school.

Early that morning, I received a phone call from my pastor, asking me if I would like to be a summer intern with a ministry based in Mexico. My job, he said, would be to help church groups coming from the states build houses for families in need in the heart of Mexico. If I were to agree to go, I would need to be ready to leave in three days. When I inquired about the financial aspect of the summer, I was dumbfounded when my pastor told me that our church was paying for everything. 

Without a doubt, I knew this opportunity was my long-awaited answer. Three days later, I was on my first plane ride donned in my blue jean overalls and a straw hat with a big floral bow attached to the side. And that right there was where the cuteness ended because the rest of the summer was one of the most exacting experiences I have ever faced.

From the beginning, I was in way over my head, and I knew it. On our first day of training at the job site, someone asked me to bring them a 2×4. I remember the look on their face when I wondered aloud how you could tell the difference between a 2×4 and say, a 6×8? Ha! I had no previous construction experience, and deciphering a blueprint was, at best, laughable. One of the natives, Felipe, who worked for the ministry, took pity on me and invited into his family’s home for the weekend and patiently taught me the basic principles of framing. Thanks to Felipe, I’ll never forget the carpentry term, “California Corner.” 

Throughout my ten-week long internship, I cried many tears, and I was exhausted. But I learned what it meant to be in a constant posture of dependence upon God. I was indeed “pressed on every side, but not crushed…” (2 Corinthians 4:8) No matter how badly I wanted to pack up and go home, the Lord faithfully gave me the strength to face another day. In hindsight, my lack of experience and knowledge mattered little. Ultimately, God did not send me to Mexico to teach grown men how to build houses. He sent me to Mexico to teach me how to trust Him.

One night after we lost Justin, I stole away in my bedroom to gather my thoughts. My eyes were full of tears, and my mind was going in circles as I tried to understand God’s plan. At that moment, God reminded me of my Mexico experience and how I learned to trust Him on that long and hard road. In the same way, I knew I could trust Him at that moment, even though I would likely never understand. 

Today, I am lifting my shield of faith and drawing upon my experiences of the Lord’s tender care. I don’t know what our future holds, but I know that I can trust Him to see us through.  

Until tomorrow,

Missy

“Trust in him at all times, oh people, pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” Psalm 62:8

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Walking Forward in Grief CV Lay-Off Day:45

We celebrated Luke’s ninth birthday last week; his big birthday wish was to go camping. Tim and I have camped in the past, long before we met each other. But we’ve never gone camping together as a family. When we moved back to Arizona four years ago, learning how to camp was on our bucket list. But, after losing Justin, our family went into survival mode, and that bucket list went on the backburner.  The more we thought about Luke’s request, the better his idea seemed to us. We needed a change a scenery.

After much preparation, we headed out on the open road, late Friday morning. Our destination was a State Park on the border of Arizona and New Mexico. Google said it would take 3.5 hours to get there; it took us much longer. It was a long, slow ride through mountain roads with hairpin turns of which I am not a fan. And then, as we were entering another canyon out in the middle of nowhere, our check engine light came on. After finding a safe place to pull over, Tim got out, popped the hood, and couldn’t find any glaring issues. Once back on the road, we eased down the mountain terrain until we reached the next city, which was about 60 miles away. In the meantime, we prayed for safety, and I tried in vain to get a signal on my cellphone just in case we needed to find alternative lodging.

We made it without incident to the auto supply store. The kind gentlemen ran the code on our truck and determined that something was clogged in our airflow system. (I am sure there a better technical term for this, but this is the best explanation I’ve got.) Somehow, the problem corrected itself, and the check engine light magically disappeared; we were back in business. An hour later, we rolled into the State Park and found our campsite. The lake immediately magnetized the boys; they couldn’t wait to skip rocks and see frogs.

Everyone pitched in to set up camp, and before I knew it, it was dinner time. We went with easy and had hot dogs and beans. Afterward, the family roasted marshmallows and ate smores; I even brought my 90% dark chocolate so I wouldn’t feel left out. Chilled by the cool breeze coming off of the lake, we huddled around the campfire with the smell of burning mesquite wood filling the air. The stress of the day melted away as we gazed at the stars and marveled at God’s handiwork. The boys headed to bed first. I smiled as I listened to their giggles and watched their shadows dance against the red nylon tent.

In truth, the preparation leading up to our outing was a good deal of work. Adding to that, all week long, I felt like I was walking upstream. The night before we left, the night of Luke’s birthday, I stood in our kitchen, enfolded in Tim and Sarah’s arms, and wept. Justin’s absence is especially magnified on special days of celebration. Justin loved camping and being out in the wilderness. I know that he would have been all over this trip, hyping up the boys, and making us all a little crazy every step of the way.

In the end, I am so glad that we went on our adventure. We learned a lot for first-timers, and have a better idea of what to expect for the next time. Mostly, I am grateful that we bonded as a family; we came home a little closer and a little lighter. In my book, that’s a win.

Stepping out and doing something new amid grief will never be easy, but in doing so, the Lord meets me with His healing balm and provides His touch of comfort. Even in the littlest of things, He cares.

Until tomorrow,

Missy

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3