The Wait of Saturday

img_7170Originally posted in 2016, this post below has been updated and edited.


I have a small sign on my desk from a friend that reads “Hope always.” It was given to me in a time where I couldn’t muster much hope. I was practically an empty shell and questioning much about what I had known for some time. It sits not only as a reminder but a marker of a time when I may not have been able to find hope, but someone else was giving me some of theirs in the waiting.

Today, Saturday, I think on this hope in the waiting.

I think of those who couldn’t muster hope after standing, watching the One Whom they called Christ die. The One Whom they believed to be just as He said He was, the coming Messiah. He was their hope, and hope was dead.

I thumb through the words of Matthew, of Mark, in Luke and John looking for hope. I find waiting. I find Joseph active in the wait, I see the women resting in the wait. I just see a whole lot of waiting.

When it seems like our rescue is dead and buried, when that promise will not be fulfilled we can lose our hope. We watch it slip away, confident expectation no longer pulling us. But in that waiting I believe we see hope. We see hope isn’t always this shining, beautiful thing but a mess. It’s hard. It’s difficult, and maybe even borrowed when we can’t seem to muster the hope we once knew and called our own.

Hope in the waiting can look like doing the thing we know we should or resting in a promise given by Him. The wait of Saturday can be a weighty thing in our lives. It can bear out grief, mourning, doubt and fear. Hope collides with each and every one of those to bring us through and unburden us from the weight of it all. Waiting through Saturdays of our lives guide us to the beauty of the coming morning. We no longer want the pain of Friday, a necessary grief. Yet our hearts aren’t quite prepared for Sunday.

So we wait. We wait in Saturday.

Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord;
Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
To the voice of my supplications.

If You, Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than those who watch for the morning—
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.

O Israel, hope in the Lord;
For with the Lord there is mercy,
And with Him is abundant redemption.
And He shall redeem Israel
From all his iniquities. 

Psalm 130 (NKJV)

Laboring in Waiting

sfl-2015-labor-day-freebies-dining-deals-free-fun-20150904

A friend shared this sermon from John Piper with me yesterday as we discussed waiting and working in the wait. I felt I needed to share it here, the truth of God breathed out in whatever waiting we may be in today. Honoring Christ in the labor, as He labors for us.

Hold firmly to the message of life. Then I can boast in the day of Christ that I didn’t run or labor for nothing.

Philippians 2:16 (HCSB)

I am not sure what your Labor Day holds, what this weekend brought or where this next season of life will lead. Take time to give this a listen or a read-through. Take time to see what you labor in, and whether it is for nothing or for Christ. Sometimes the labor we choose is a labor of wait.


Another resource on the matter:

Even If You Labor “for Nought”

 

 

God of the Unfinished

“Sit still.”

A mother said this once.

My mom has said this countless times to me over the years. Mothers and grandmothers, aunts and nannies whisper those two words, cajoling or even sternly warning with those words.

Yet I find them here in Ruth. Words that echo across our lives in profound ways if we but take a moment to revel in them, to see them as relevant to what we find ourselves in today, this week, this month, our lives.

Naomi’s put herself at Boaz’s feet, quite literally, to seek redemption for her and her mother-in-law. We think, “This is it!” and Boaz reveals that there’s another relative that can handle this for them, one closer than he. (If this isn’t a Hallmark Movie production waiting to happen, I’m not sure anything is)

Let’s change up the circumstances a bit and see if we can’t put ourselves in Ruth’s position. You feel called to something, bigger than yourself something, from God Himself as you see Him written across the calling in your heart, a drawing near. (or maybe it’s even a turning from something and you know it’s turning to God now) You go with obedience and a confident YES (or maybe it’s a quiet yes filled with concerns, questions and doubts), still  you go.

You do the work, you dig in and while it is hard you begin to see small changes leading to a bigger revelation, to a God promise that is affirmed within. Then comes the crestfallen “wait” of the situation. It’s not where you thought it was headed, and now expectations are soon ushered out while disappointment and alternate scenarios are quickly rushing in.

Someone you trust, maybe a parent or a mentor, a close friend or confidante leans in and says, “Just wait. Sit still in it til we see how it shakes out.” And you want to smack them…or maybe that’s just me in my fleshyness. You’ve been moving along and now you’re told to sit still? To wait? It truly is the hardest part in all this. Not the starting, not the doing, the waiting. You are smack dab in the middle of it and you’ve had your story hit the pause, the buffering stage to load the remainder of it.

I don’t know how long it took for Boaz to find that relative, to orchestrate that meeting at the city gate and discuss the matters with him. In the story it seems like it happened that same day, and we just want to look at Ruth and say “Girl, it ain’t that hard.” But it might have been days, weeks or even months to locate this other man who would be her redemption and not this man she’d come empty to looking for filling. Our own waiting may be much longer than we anticipated, we may be seeing it as a hindrance to the work we began by saying yes to Him.

But we sit still. We wait to find out how things will go. For God will not rest until this story is finished, our redemption brought to fullness. Because here’s the thing…

God never leaves our story unfinished;

He never leaves us unredeemed.

While our expectations at God’s work has morphed the outcome a bit, we have to sit in the stillness of His redemption at work. The people He is pursuing and meeting in special places and times so that our story is His story, our work is His work, and our redemption is fully in Him.

So we sit in the stillness of a wait. Not looking to the what-ifs and should have beens, but to the God of finishes. The God of redemption. The God of our story. Because He will not rest until the matter is done. That’s a story worth being a part of. That’s a God worth saying yes to, no matter the plot twist or long pause.

My Extreme and His Opportunity

Earlier this week I shared a bit on the reality of a single. Most of what I shared was from a vulnerable place, but a real place nonetheless. It is one that I find I am not alone in feeling, as conversations have sparked with numerous friends after that post (and even before).

Over lunch yesterday I was talking with someone that I didn’t know a year ago. I had never met her, nor heard her story, and there we sat in the cafe at work discussing her family and mine. Our work life and our home life. I couldn’t help but put our lives down on paper in my mind at how different they are, with our commonality of pursuing God’s purpose for us and our lives.

The reality of both of our lives and the stories we are living out is that God meets us in them, in the hard and painful and in the joyful and contented. While my pain of singleness can often be hard to bear out, so can marriage and raising children. I can honor that and know that perfection and 100% satisfaction will not be seen this side of heaven. But it also shot through to me that in my extremes of life-job loss, singleness, illness, anxiety-God’s very present.

“My extremity may be God’s opportunity.”

-A.B. Simpson, Seeing the Invisible

When I am in extreme times of life, what if I considered those opportunities for God? In my agitation of extremity am I harming myself? others? my relationship with God? It’s difficult to see the opportunity when you have just lost your job, when that relationship has just ended. You can’t quite slap on the “glass half full” mentality.

But I want to see it as His opportunity in my life. I want to believe and hold fast that His miracle is at hand in my life. I desire that He shows up big and loud, and that it doesn’t have anything to do with me. I want that.

But I don’t ask for it. I don’t seek it out. I don’t allow Him the space in me, in my extremity to work. I get my hands and I mash up the clay He’s been forming, trying to make it into a jar to contain my life when He’s crafting a bowl to receive His goodness in. I don’t stop to see the opportunity for His work, but my chance at control.

I don’t live in the silence of opportunity, of His work, of the wait.

But I will. I must. I have to choose the cost of His opportunity in my life over the return of self, investing in His economy and not my own. Seeing the maturation of promises He gives rather than the immediacy of my will.

So I stand in an extreme, not wanting to be in the throws of my own will but in looking on it as God’s opportunity. Believing He is rather than what I think I am. Choosing His opportunity over my extreme self.

The Wait of Saturday

I have a small sign on my desk from a friend that reads “Hope always.” It was given to me in a time where I couldn’t muster much hope. I was practically an empty shell and questioning much about what I had known for some time. It sits not only as a reminder but a marker of a time when I may not have been able to find hope, but someone else was giving me some of theirs in the waiting.

Today, Saturday, I think on this hope in the waiting.

I think of those who couldn’t muster hope after standing, watching the One Whom they called Christ die. The One Whom they believed to be just as He said He was, the coming Messiah. He was their hope, and hope was dead.

I thumb through the words of Matthew, of Mark, in Luke and John looking for hope. I find waiting. I find Joseph active in the wait, I see the women resting in the wait. I just see a whole lot of waiting.

When it seems like our rescue is dead and buried, when that promise will not be fulfilled we can lose our hope. We watch it slip away, confident expectation no longer pulling us. But in that waiting I believe we see hope. We see hope isn’t always this shining, beautiful thing but a mess. It’s hard. It’s difficult, and maybe even borrowed when we can’t seem to muster the hope we once knew and called our own.

Hope in the waiting can look like doing the thing we know we should or resting in a promise given by Him. The wait of Saturday can be a weighty thing in our lives. It can bear out grief, mourning, doubt and fear. Hope collides with each and every one of those to bring us through and unburden us from the weight of it all. Waiting through Saturdays of our lives guide us to the beauty of the coming morning. We no longer want the pain of Friday, a necessary grief. Yet our hearts aren’t quite prepared for Sunday.

So we wait. We wait in Saturday.

Hoping always.

Singling Out Saturday 2.8

Today on Singling Out Saturday I wanted to share this quote from Mandy Hale, author of The Single Woman. With Valentine’s Day coming up next week, I thought it might serve as a good reminder of who we are and not what our marital status is at present.

What we are waiting for

is not as important as

what happens to us

while we are waiting.

Trust the process.

I don’t know about you, but I often don’t trust the process. I think it’s something many of us have ingrained in us from an early age…question the process, doubt any feeling that is uncomfortable, be wary of what you are learning.

In the waiting of meeting someone, in the waiting of healing from a broken heart, in the waiting of a new adventure to begin…what if we relish the waiting room we are in? What if we chose to see waiting as a good thing that is perfecting us, refining us, and growing us?

Waiting doesn’t mean doing nothing, but it does mean trusting God’s process regardless of our desires and wants. It means finding who we are in relation to Him and recalibrating to be in His will for our lives.

So as we approach Valentine’s Day, let’s enjoy the wait and all that it affords us as singles.

In the Stillness.

I can identify with Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman just a bit. Not for the whole prostitute made good, but for that moment when Richard Gere sees her waiting in the restaurant for her and he says, “you look stunning when you aren’t fidgeting.” I am a fidgeter in life. In a lot of aspects…

Lately I have seen my fidgeting ways become more prevalent as I sit in a place of unknown and newness. With my personal life now at a place of singleness again, it has been mildly difficult to understand this season, to learn what is being written in my life. I want to mess and squirm to get out of the uncomfortable season that this seems to be.

I want to rush through the process of learning what God is teaching me in this season professionally as well. I am learning that I need to stop messing eventhough my Activator strength is in overdrive at the moment. (that’s not a superpower, but from a StrengthsFinder assessment) I fidget, and get antsy when the only action step is wait.

I alluded to this yesterday on Instagram when I shared that I kept getting the same verse after my workouts recently. Our fitness and recreation department puts “spiritual vitamins” for people to take with them as they leave a class or the facility. After much haggling over the last few days of waiting I got this verse…again:

Drawing by Sara Stacy. Photo property of Sara Stacy. Do not copy or use without permission.
Drawing by Sara Stacy. Photo property of Sara Stacy. Do not copy or use without permission.

I laughed…because that’s what Sara(h)s do. But I will be really honest with you all, being still is not a strength of mine. Activating, doing…that’s me. I’ll even color-code it, index it, and file it for you properly. But waiting? Where do I put that? How do I schedule that?
Being still though is crucial to listening. To actually hearing from God. Being still means my hands remain off of things. It means letting go of the grip I have had on some issues and finally letting God do His work in them, but using me in the process, instead of me just messing it up.

Being still looks vastly different for me than it may for you. But I do know that the theme of stillness will keep coming up in my life until I get still. Until I learn what waiting (longsuffering/patience) looks like in my life. Until I see how I reflect that image of Christ’s waiting the way God designed me to bear it. Until I realize that I need only be still, because He fights for me, not against me. That I should stop fidgeting, because the beauty is in the stillness.

The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still. -Exodus 14:14