Joyful Words Blog
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.
– Psalm 119:105
– Psalm 119:105
Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
If you were to give yourself a score between 1 and 10; 10 being awesome, how would you score yourself at waiting? Are you patient, still and peaceful as you wait or are you fidgety, anxious and impatient? What would you think if I told you I was going to give you a free trip to sit in a waiting room? I’m not sure how many would find that much of a trip at all but maybe it could be if we took a different look at waiting and the things that can happen to us while we wait.
One December many years ago I remember sitting in waiting rooms at Mayo Clinic with Mom for an entire week. I am reminded of a simple blessing of all that waiting each year when I put up our Nativity set. As we waited and waited, I began to visit with people who were also waiting and there was one particular couple from Wisconsin that made the waiting so much better. Throughout the week he would whittle little pieces of wood and she would card wool from the sheep they raised. On the last day we were at the clinic they told Dad and me they would be praying for us and they handed each of us a set of nativity animals made from the wood he had carved and whittled and the wool she had carded. Each year as I unpack them I pray for that couple and remember the gift of their talent and their friendship and prayers during a time of frustrated waiting. They were our Mayo clinic blessing; a waiting blessing.
I think we’re all waiting for something. What are you waiting for? Maybe you’re waiting for a new job, or a headache to go away. Perhaps your wait is more serious like waiting for a baby, for test results, a lost love to return or for a diagnosis. Perhaps you’re waiting for someone to get car keys so you don’t have so much carpooling to do or for a little one to finally sleep through the night or master the art of potty training. Many are waiting for a blanket of sadness, grief or loneliness to be lifted from their heavy heart. We spend months just waiting for something to start and something to stop so something else can start. The honest truth is, many of us are simply waiting on God to organize our life just the way we’ve been planning it; just waiting for him to do his job the way we’d like it. Since we spend so much time waiting, the kind of waiter we are matters.
The prophet Isaiah promised that those who waited on the Lord would have their strength renewed. I could use a little of that! The fruit of waiting patiently is peace. That peace gives way to humility and docility. What if we invited God into our waiting? What if we offered him the seat right next to us? Through that attitude of humility and docility that comes with peace, we might begin to realize that the job we’ve been waiting for might not be ours at all; maybe it’s the perfect job for someone else. What if that person we’ve been waiting to love us is meant to love somebody else because God has someone chosen that will love us far more than the person we had in mind ever could. What if healing meant making our soul healthier than our body so we could enjoy eternity with Jesus instead of spending more years on earth? What if we became so good at waiting we grew in humility to such a point we rejoiced when others got something and we forgot we were even waiting in the first place? What if we realized all of the waiting we do has a great purpose; one we usually can’t see. Not to worry, God can see it and someday we’ll figure it out and realize when we patiently wait for him to bring everything to complete perfection, we are blessed with something so much better than we even hoped for!
Isaiah said that we would not grow weary or faint. How can that be? Worrying and waiting is exhausting, everybody knows that. Well, here’s a news flash, waiting is supposed to be an inactive thing so we shouldn’t be worn out. If we are waiting right we are in peace, letting time pass with contentment knowing God has it all under control. Instead we get worn out because we fight and squirm and wrestle with God’s plan confident he’s forgotten, or misunderstood our needs. Advent seems to be a great time to practice our waiting! Ready…set…wait!
A Seed To Plant: What are you waiting for? Make a list and ask God to take your worries and “waiting for’s” and exchange them for peace and patience.
Blessings on your day!
…In this world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world. John 16:33
When the “three little Wohlferts” were all in school full time, I went back to school and turned my Kansas secondary teaching certificate into a Michigan elementary teaching certificate. Some days have been WAY more amazing than I ever expected and other days, not what I expected at all! My first teaching partner taught me more about being a good elementary teacher during the first semester than I learned in all my years of college! She loved her job, she was GREAT at her job and she had an amazing ability to draw the best from each student and “get the job done”. She affectionately referred to me as “Pollyanna.” I will admit I am like that Disney movie character because I usually live in my little bubble and always think things are going to be just fine, and just as lovely as I see them in my mind. Sometimes life takes a turn from the way I picture it in my mind and Pollyanna gets her britches in a twist!
The older I get, the more I am reminded that life is about balance. If we go through life expecting things to always be happy or right or good, there will be trouble and we will get frustrated. As I look back at the twists and turns in my life, I realize it was the times when stuff I didn’t expect landed in my lap, that I grew and changed and deepened my trust in God the most. We tend to get a little hung-up on good stuff. When things are good and happy we expect them to stay that way and then when the unexpected happens we can feel a little like we’ve been punished or abandoned by the Father who is supposed to love us. As a society, we can be pretty “all or nothing” in our thinking. We forget that nothing is meant to be permanent…not happiness and certainly not sorrow. God works through both the good times and the tough times. We can be assured of His blessings and His love always! He did not SUGGEST there MIGHT be trouble. He didn’t say PERHAPS on the 3rd Thursday of July there is a CHANCE you will have trouble…no…He flat out promised that trouble WILL HAPPEN. So why are we so puzzled and pouty when it does? I think it’s mostly because we weren’t expecting it.
Each time I come through troubles, I feel stronger and more peaceful. The greatest thing trouble does for me is make me realize compared to most other folks…I’ve got NOTHIN! It makes me realize I have so much to be thankful for and so many reasons to praise His Holy Name! I read a little slogan on a billboard not long ago that fits perfectly. The sign said, DON’T LET YOUR TROUBLES GET YOU DOWN, REMEMBER YOU CAN’T USE AN EGG UNLESS IT’S BROKEN. Maybe it’s the Pollyanna in me, but I believe even in my biggest troubles, I can look back and truly see the hand of God guiding and protecting me. Nothing is without reason…and we may not always like the reason but it is exactly in those situations I just have to sigh, shrug my shoulders and say…this must be something I need for heaven! Life is full of things I didn’t expect. I didn’t expect to move to Michigan, I didn’t expect to teach elementary school and I certainly didn’t expect to be a writer! I wasn’t expecting to get grey hair, have nine pairs of reading glasses and have every dessert I ate show up on my hips! However in each of those unexpected events, there have been great blessings. The thing we forget…we are not going to be judged on what we expected, but rather on how we managed the unexpected.
A Seed To Plant: Look back on two of your biggest troubles. Write down the blessings you can identify as a result of those troubles; how did you grow, change or deepen your Faith.
Blessings on your day!
God is closer to us than water is to a fish. St. Catherine of Siena
A few weeks ago I was flying home and my travels took me through the Dallas Ft. Worth airport on a Saturday evening which was a crazy adventure to say the least. It was a stormy night which added delightfully to the chaos and lots of delayed flights added to the crowd. I had to board a tram to connect to another terminal and when I got on, it was full but not packed but as the tram approached the second stop that began to change. Each stop added another glob of passengers and I got packed tighter and tighter toward the middle of the tram car. Everyone was laughing about it which was great but at one point I had to turn my head sideways in order to breathe because my face was pressed tightly into the back of a tall gentleman in a tailored suit who would probably not have appreciated me breathing on his fabric. I remember getting off at my stop thinking; Phew! I don’t think I’ve ever been packed so tightly against that many people in my life!
Today’s quote from St. Catherine of Siena reminded me of that tram trip in Dallas. It also reminded me of a line from Psalm 139, I will hem you in behind and before with my hand upon your shoulder. God desires to be that close to us; as close as water to a fish and as close as the people in the tram car. Isn’t it funny though that sometimes we think he’s so far away? If that’s how we feel then the ten million dollar question becomes; is he far from me or am I far from him?
I am a visual person. I learn much better by demonstration and touching than reading so when I came across this quote it made Gods desire to be with me so visual and so clear. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take the blame for all the bad geography! You can’t get much closer than water to a fish or being hemmed in from before and behind so if God’s not close it’s because I’m in the wrong place. If I don’t feel him close it isn’t because he’s taken a lunch break, it’s because I’m not on the path he led me to. If I can’t feel him when I reach out it isn’t because he’s not there; it’s because I’m reaching for something that isn’t mine to have. I suppose before I again question his nearness to me, I’d better make sure I’m in the right spot…on my knees with my arms stretched out toward him asking for a rescue and a re-start. He doesn’t want to be a Father who loves me from a distance; fish and water are pretty close and he wants to be even closer than that to me. Come on God…I give you permission to invade ALL my space!
A Seed To Plant: Find a picture of a fish and put it somewhere visible to remind yourself how close God is to you then while he’s right there, go ahead and ask him to guide and help you!
Blessings on your day!
Sheri's writing can also be found at Faith Catholic Publications and on CatholicMom.com