It was that dreaded statement from the backseat from my 3 year old daughter….. “Mommy I have to go POTTY NOW!!!” I looked around and we were nowhere near a place to pull over. We live in the country and of course in the middle of nowhere for at least 5 minutes. Tears started streaming from my perfectionist daughter who NEVER wants to have an accident. I told her there was nowhere to pull over but she would make it. She said “Are you going as fast as you can?” to which I answered, “No, but I am going as fast as I should.” (After this exchange we had a conversation about police and speeding in preschool lingo!)
As we got into town and I was absolutely relieved to see the Walmart sign we had to stop at the only stoplight preventing us from getting to the bathroom any quicker. While at the stop sign I began to think about God and His plan…..(I love when that still, small voice begins to talk at the strangest of locations)
How many times do we just want to get there as fast as we can? In the middle of the night when we are pacing incessantly with a screaming infant we want to fast forward to the stage where they sleep through the night (and so do we). When your toddler throws them self down in the middle of Kroger because you aren’t getting them Oreos…. we want to skip ahead to the age where we can rationalize with them and talk through why they aren’t getting their way (or at least skip to the end of the tantrum so we are not the center of attention of all of the eyes in the store). When we are driving carpool for the 5th time today to a variety of activities for the kids…..we want to skip ahead to the high school years when they are more self-sufficient and can drive themselves to their own activities.
Perhaps it’s not about going fast with the kids… perhaps we want to fast forward ahead to when the mortgage is paid off, when we can travel with our spouse, or when we can slow down and just have “us” time again! Maybe we just can’t wait until the day we can retire from our job…. and the list goes on and on of what we may want to fast forward to or at least get to faster than the pace we are going at now.
But God has a plan for us. He paces us according to what He knows we can handle as well as pacing us so we can learn from Him along the way. He doesn’t always make it easy to want to remain in the present. But He does want us to lean on Him and trust Him in everything. “Trust in the Lord<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-16461A" data-link="(A)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-16462B" data-link="(B)” style=”background-color: white; box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> straight. ~
Proverbs 3:5-6New International Version (NIV)
God promises good things for us if we have faith in Him. He tells us time and time again…
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-30174A" data-link="(A)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> and assurance about what we do not see.” ~ Hebrews 11:1New International Version (NIV)
“The opposite of impatience is a deepening, sweetening willingness to stand in the place that God has appointed or to move at the pace that God has appointed… to stand in God’s place or go at his pace.”
Boy does that hit home for me!! Recently I have begun to pray that I will remove myself from God’s place and trust that He has it all under control. As a control freak that is extremely hard for me. But it is something that God and I are working on and He is growing in me! I challenge you to look at your heart’s desires for the journey before you. Are there areas in your life you are trying to fast forward? Or will you move at God’s pace?
“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him” (Psalm 62:5)
*Note: Lucy made it to the bathroom and was happy that she could maintain her record!
For as long as I can remember I have been a “church-goer.” In my earlier years every Sunday morning my parents would get me up, put on my Sunday dress of choice, tights, and mary jane shoes and off we would go. I was involved in Sunday School, Cherub Choir, and the Christmas play while my mom was involved in almost every committee the church had to offer. My dad was a Trustee. We were very involved — even from my earliest memories I remember being very involved at church.
When I got a little older (Jr. High/High School age) I went to church because I was very involved in our youth group. They were my social scene outside of school – my best friends in fact! I sang in the youth praise band, went on almost every mission trip, served at the local soup kitchen, and went to every form of high school youth group game night imaginable! Still highly involved…….
Between my junior/senior year of high school my mom passed away and it was harder to be involved in youth group. Everyone else’s parents were so involved. They all seemed happy and normal. I felt like the odd duck out even though it was only that way because of my perception. My home church friends and youth group reminded me of life before when I had a mother that was alive. Life for me had changed dramatically and theirs stayed the same. So I began to make friends with other kids in my high school outside of my youth group. We went to Christian concerts together, etc. I had friends now that weren’t highly involved in church (until now) and I was able to witness to them in a new and different way. God had moved me from my comfort zone and used it to stretch me in my being able to have new friends and being able to share His word.
When I moved to college I was very rebellious my first semester. I was finally free of the Sunday morning alarm clock—- I could sleep in and make my own choices. I was involved in Christian Campus House which was a student ministry group. I got involved in a small group there as well as plugged into several ministry opportunities. However going on a Wednesday night was different than going on Sunday morning. I usually chose to skip church on Sunday mornings…… I wanted to make my own rules and sleeping in was amazing! Things didn’t change much when I returned home from college. I typically didn’t go to church with my Dad and new stepmom because I was able to not go. I wasn’t comfortable at my home church…. It wasn’t meeting me where I was at spiritually. To me it didn’t get to the deep places I wanted to go with Jesus… it stayed at the surface. I didn’t feel like I was “plugged in” anymore. A friend of mine urged me to try out this new church in downtown Peoria. I really didn’t know any other church outside of my own at home or at Christian Campus House. This was a move I wasn’t sure I could make. One morning I decided it was time to try it. Through this move I made several new friends, got deeper in my relationship with Jesus, and began to realize who I was supposed to be in Christ. But I wasn’t plugged in other than attending Sunday morning services and the twenty somethings group on Sunday nights. This frustrated me so I ended up returning to my home church because it was comfortable…. I had been plugged in before so why not plug in again?! I tried to plug in through the worship team and that was a way I felt involved and part of the church family again! I was also asked to use my love of theater to direct a few of the dramas presented at various times throughout the year. Things were going great! Then life changed again….. I met my husband (at my home church shortly after I had come back) and after a year and a half of dating we got married and moved an hour and a half away. Once we settled into our new home and jobs we decided we should try to go “Church Shopping.” I hated the whole experience. I expected to feel “at home” or “connected” right away at a church. After trying out several different churches and not feeling connected with any of them I just quit. Even after we adopted Jack and had Lucy I really wanted to plug into church and tried to go back to a few churches but never attached to any of them. I relied strictly on Bible Study with a group of friends. In Oct. 2014 we moved back home into our current (forever) home and made a decision that we had to make a church work. Both Chad and I had wanted to make sure church was an important part of our children’s lives. I was feeling like a failure as a mom because my kids didn’t have a church home. They didn’t have a church family to help them grow. So I decided we had to plug in this time…..so we went back to my home church! For the first few months I didn’t get involved and started to make excuses on Sunday mornings. We still weren’t going to church. Chad would take the kids and go but for some reason I came up with every excuse in the book. It wasn’t like me at all! FINALLY I decided it was up to me to get plugged in. God was providing many opportunities but I had to make the move to plug into them. So Chad and I joined a small group. The group consisted of 5 other couples who all had small children like us and not very many adult friends. God had answered our prayers for friends!!!! Now they are our best friends and we love doing life with them!
All of a sudden I felt like this church felt like home and we had a place to grow! Shortly after I joined the worship team and started singing again. This pushed me to get to church on Sunday mornings. No more excuses!!! Then this past year I have been involved in the VBS leadership team, Awana children’s ministry, Building Better Moms leadership team, and continued with small group. WE are finally plugged in! But God needed me to make that move even when it was scary and unknown. Not everyone needs to plug into church to make themselves go. And I wasn’t trying to avoid church to avoid God. Acceptance and a sense of belonging is a huge thing for me and I wasn’t just feeling it by being an attendee. For me I had to be involved. Throughout my times of not going to church I didn’t feel any less connected to God and was consistently pursuing a deeper relationship with Him. However I was using so many excuses to not go to church — and all of them were lies from the enemy. He didn’t want me to go. He didn’t want my kids to grow up in truth and love. He LOVED all of my excuses. Finally I decided it was up to me to MOVE and get involved! It’s harder to come up with excuses when you are involved and need to be there. Fellowship with your church family provides an amazing connection with God that is indescribable. We push each other to be the best us we can be, we love each other in good times and bad, we help each other in our pursuit of God. Can we grow closer to God on our own… YES! But God designed us to grow together and to be the CHURCH! (Check out Acts) Do we attend church 100% of the time… Sadly no. 85% YES! WE are getting there. I still hear those excuses in my head …. “But you need to sleep in,” “You are still a good Christian even if you don’t go to church.” ETC…. I need to silence the enemies lies and pursue God. God requires sacrifice which may mean sacrificing sleep, time to clean my house, etc. God wants us to choose HIM and requires us to MOVE out of our comfort zone and plug in! How is God calling you to MOVE? Does He want to stretch you and plug you into a new opportunity of ministry?