The Classroom of Pain

The Classroom of Pain

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” // James 1:2-4

Happy Sunday! (+ Thanksgiving Week!)

Last week we talked about seasons of hurt, and how God is not only present in our hurt, but can relate to our situation. This week, let’s talk about reasons God sometimes allows seasons of pain and hurt, and maybe we can get a good perspective change on how to handle and go through life’s trials.

  1. God uses trials to make us more like Him. This is by far the number one reason God often sends trials. We see from our opening verse that we should count it joy when we face trials. I don’t know about you, but when I encounter a trial, joy is not the first thing I think of. But let’s dig deeper. The reason why we should count it joy when we find ourselves in the midst of a trial is because we can recognize that God is doing something within the trial to make us more like Him. Trials often teach us and exposes a weakness that maybe we weren’t aware of before. Once we become children of God through accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, God doesn’t leave us where He found us. The end goal of this life is to become more like Him. More like Him in things like character, conduct, and speech (1 Corinthians 1:11, Philippians 1:6, 1 John 2:6). If you ask most Christians about a time in their life that God used to change them, more than not, they will tell you of a time when they endured a hardship, and not only saw God through it, but became more like Him because of it. Count it joy, friends. God is always up to something greater and of eternal value in trials. Our job is to allow Him to do that within us.
  2. God uses trials to change our course. Sometimes we get a little … what’s the word … self-dependent in this life. We starting thinking we’re capable enough to make our own decisions, choose our own path, walk our own way. Take this from me, friends, this is not a good path. We were designed to listen to God, to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit within us, and to obey God in this life. We know that obedience brings blessing, peace, and closeness with our Lord. It also produces maximum effectiveness in our life and our ministry. When we get too self-dependent or wander a tad too far, God will use trials to get our attention, to get our hearts and minds to turn back to Him. He doesn’t do this because He’s cruel or demanding, but because He knows your best life will always be one that is lead by Him and in His way (Psalm 18:30, Proverbs 3:5-6). Trials remind us that we are never in control to begin with. Count it joy, friends, because God’s way is best, and I’m so thankful He’s stops me from wandering too far. There’s no better place than to be than in His will.
  3. God uses trials to test us. Back to our opening verses. James also tells us that trials test our faith, and in turn give us perseverance, which then mature us so we don’t lack anything. It’s trials that are defining moments in our lives — they show us if what we believe about our God is real enough, deep enough, and pure enough. A lot of times people follow God to avoid hardship. Or they just want to follow Him for what He has to offer (see Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23). Hardship will expose these motivations. On the contrary, they will also expose if our hearts are genuine, and if we will choose to praise God even when trials come. Trials test what we know about God, but if we seek Him with our whole heart, they will strengthen what we know about Him, and in turn increase our faith and trust in Him even more. This is one of the most beautiful things about trials. Our intimacy with the Lord grows, and He teaches us new things about Himself that affirm our faith even more. This then produces in us a testimony we can use to tell others about our faith and what God has done for and in us. 1 Peter 1:6-7 tells us it like this, “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” Count it all joy, friends. God is who He says He is, and He often shows that powerfully in the midst of trials.

Know this — if you’re going through a trial today, God is not mad at you. He has not forgotten you, He has not forsaken you. He knows the pain, He’s there to comfort you in it, but He’s also looking to accomplish something of eternal value in you through this season. And that is worth it.

Take a moment today to reflect on seasons of hardship and hurt in your life. How have you seen God work in those seasons? If you’re going through one right now, ask God to show you what He wants to, and ask Him to open your heart for all He wants to do in you through this season.

Until Next Time ❤

Stephanie Jaye

@stephjayewriter

The Wait is Worth It

The Wait is Worth It

“I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in His word I put my hope.” // Psalm 130:5

Hey guys! Welcome back to the blog. If you’ve been here before, you’ll know that this isn’t the first blog that I’ve written on the topic of waiting, (and it probably won’t be the last, tbh). The topic of waiting is something that I am so passionate about. It’s something that is incredibly difficult, but is something that is complelty rewarding if we wait the right way.

We’re all waiting on something in life. A job to come through, a dream yet to be fulfilled, a spouse we haven’t met yet. And in the waiting, it can seem like the thing we’re waiting on will never happen. Worse than that, it can seem like God has complete forgotten about us, and it tempts us to despair and ruffles our trust in God.

But friends, please hear me when I say this: God has not forgotten about you. God is not a God who forgets about His children. The Israelites were wandering the desert for 40 years before they inherited God’s promise for them in Israel. David waited 20 years from the time he was chosen to be the king of Israel before he ever took the throne. And Jesus waited 30 years on earth before starting His ministry and living out the very reason He was here on earth.

So if God’s chosen people, God’s chosen King, and God’s only Son had to wait, chances are, so will we.

But if God didn’t forget about His people, His King, or His Son, He won’t forget about you, either.

In the waiting, it is vital that you keep your eyes on God and your heart in the Scriptures.

Hear me when I say this: In the waiting, it is vital that you keep your eyes on God and your heart in the Scriptures. The waiting season can feel like you’re in a desert with no water – that’s a fact. But we have Living Water through both Jesus Christ and His Word – two things that are readily accessible to us right now. God promises to sustain us when we trust in Him.

God is infinite – He knows every single thing from eternity past to eternity future. He knows what’s best for you, when it’s best for you, and what’s not His best for you.

Along with the waiting season, I’m just as passionate about the reason we wait. I believe God has His very best in mind for us. The best spouse, the best job, the best place for us to live. God’s “best” meaning the things He has for us that He knows we’ll love and that will bring us closer to Him and the person He wants us to become. God is infinite – He knows every single thing from eternity past to eternity future. He knows what’s best for you, when it’s best for you, and what’s not His best for you. That’s why in the waiting season it’s so important to trust God and keep our focus on Him.

If it’s not God’s best – don’t settle for it.

While we’re waiting, we’ll often be tempted with things that look good or even okay. And when we stumble across these options, know this. If it’s not God’s best – don’t settle for it. You will know what God’s best is when it comes. Just like you’ll know what’s not His best when it comes. When Jesus was fasting for 40 days in the wilderness, Satan came to tempt Jesus when He was weak, hungry, and vulnerable. He offered Jesus bread – because Satan knew he was hungry. He tested His identity. He offered Him every thing this world had to offer, if only Jesus would bow down and worship Him.

Satan found Jesus in a season of testing, and offered Him things that seemed “good”, but the consequences would have been disastrous. Jesus met Satan with Scripture, not giving in to any of the enemy’s temptation. Jesus knew His mission, His identity, and His God. Satan’s temptations to settle for anything less failed against it.

So often, we’re blinded by good or okay, that we forget about God’s best.

When we’re in the waiting, it’s easy to only see good or okay. And so often, we’re blinded by good or okay, that we forget about God’s best.

Don’t settle for the guy that shows you attention because you don’t think the “right” guy will ever come along. Take this time to grow in your relationship with God, until He is enough. Get to know the Scriptures about traits a Godly spouse should have, and wait for that guy (and prepare yourself for that person in the process). The wait and the process will be worth it. Promise.

Don’t settle for the job that pays the bills when God’s called you to do something great. Trust that God will open the doors in your life when it’s time. Until then, work well where you are, showing Jesus every chance you get (Colossians 3:23).

Don’t settle for staying comfortable where you are. Instead, prepare yourself for when God moves. Invest in those around you, allow the Holy Spirit to work in you, and spend time with God so He can do everything He wants to do in you while you wait. He will come through in His perfect time. He will.

And every single second you spent waiting will be worth it. He’ll be worth it. His best will be worth it.

And when we do, someday we might just change the world. ❤

Until next time,

Image (5) - Edited (3)

@stephjayewriter

When It’s Always Everybody Else

When It’s Always Everybody Else

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” – John 5:7

We live in a day and age where feelings of discouragement, loneliness, and jealously can be triggered in a moments time. I know I get like this sometimes. Especially lately. This blog post finds me in a (very long) season of waiting. One where prayer after prayer isn’t answered yet … one where I see the answer to my prayer literally happening to everyone around me … but not me. And because of this, I’ve had small moments of self-pity, as we all sometimes do. And in one of those moments, I remember saying, “Why does it always happen to everyone else, but never me?”

Though my words were spoken out of emotion, and I trust that in God’s timing, He will answer my prayer, these words are very real feelings for many of us. Whether these words are uttered over something like a job promotion, or a financial breakthrough, or maybe because healing that hasn’t come yet, we have all felt like this at one time or another.

We find in John 5 the story of a man who had been paralyzed for 38 years. 38 years! Can you imagine this? I’m not even 38 years old, let alone being able to imagine being paralyzed for this long. In this man’s day, there was a legend- a superstition really- that an angel would come and stir up the waters at the Pool of Bethesda, and when that happened, the first person inside the water would be healed. It was around this pool that the paralyzed man, along with many others who were blind and disabled, would gather and wait for their opportunity to be healed.

Jesus met this man one day at the Pool of Bethesda-which literally translates, “House of Mercy”. And when Jesus saw the man there and learned of his condition, Jesus asked the man in verse 6, “Do you want to get well?” To that, the man replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Does this sound like you? Every time you want something, or are praying desperately for something, you feel like you get trampled on or beat to the prize. Like when you are desperately praying for a new job, and your co-worker gets a promotion. And when the next promotion comes up, another co-worker gets it. After a while, it all gets frustrating. And while all this time this paralyzed man was waiting by the Pool to get healed by a superstition he believed, Jesus stepped in during year 38 of the man being paralyzed, and He offered healing. This man didn’t need a Pool, he needed Jesus.

I believe this is the lesson we as Christians need to learn today. Are we still going to want and pray for that promotion? Absolutely. Are we still going to plead with God for healing? You bet. But when we’re left waiting-maybe for 38 minutes or maybe for 38 years-that’s where Jesus wants to step in and meet you. It’s in that waiting where He is standing with arms wide open saying, “Come on in. Let me be enough for you.”

It’s hard when opportunities and time pass us by- believe me…I’m in the valley of waiting with you. But it’s not until we find that we want Jesus more than we want anything else that we’ll ever truly be satisfied. And I’ve found that in this waiting process, waiting for God’s best is better than any quick fix or substitute we could ever really want. Let’s keep steadfast in prayer, our heart’s seeking His truth, and let’s offer praise for all He’s already given us. If we trust in Him, wait on His timing, and find our hope and strength in Him, He will provide us with everything we need in time. And until that, He’ll provide us with Himself. And that is worth more than anything anybody else has.

Until next time,

❤ Stephanie

@stephanie_jacqu

P.S…Check out this song by Alisa Turner. This song as been such a blessing and battle cry in this season of waiting:

Jesus, I want Your way no matter what that means I leave behind: 17 Things I Learned in 2017

Jesus, I want Your way no matter what that means I leave behind: 17 Things I Learned in 2017

“At the LORD’s command the Israelites set out, and at His command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the LORD’s order and did not set out.” -Numbers 9:18-19

Happy New Year, everyone! Can you believe it’s the end of 2017 already? I feel like we were just ringing in the year, and now it’s coming to a close. It’s crazy how fast this year went by. I felt like I blinked and it was gone.

However, this year was indeed filled with many things. Many good, and a few bad. Over all, I can say that 2017 was a good year for me. Probably the best in recent years. And during this year, I had this idea to write down these lessons that I had been learning, and boy am I glad that I did. While I’m only going to give you 17 of the ones I had written down that I had learned from this year, I was stunned when I looked back on the pages of pages of things I had written down! It’s been such a blessing to me to look back on these lessons, and to carry them forward with me into the future.

If I had to choose one word that summed up 2017, it would be surrender. This was a year that was, especially in the last half of the year, characterized by surrender. Surrender of relationships, dreams, and plans. And these things were not always easy. However, it was out of some of these things I had to surrender that some of the most powerful lessons came about, many which are listed below.

So without delay, here are the 17 things I learned in 2017 that I wanted to share with you today. May these strengthen you in your own walk with Christ and in seasons to come in your own life.

  1. Your obedience to God, no matter what you’re losing now, will always be worth it in the end. This was one of the most powerful lessons I learned this year, and one that I repeat to myself over and over again. When you obey God, you may be losing something now, but no matter what it is, it will always be worth it in the end (see Philippians 3:7-11).
  2. Pray for God to guard your heart. This is one of the most powerful things you can do. And it works. He will guard your heart against temptation, emotions, and wrong desires. Pray this as many times a day as you need to. It works. And it’s commanded in Scripture. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Above all else. Pray for God to guard your heart.
  3. Fear melts away in the face of surrender. In my struggle with fear and anxiety, God revealed to me that these emotions often arise when I’m in conflict with God. When I don’t want to do what He’s asking of me, or I want to do something my own way. But true freedom is found in obedience and surrender to God. When we walk in obedience to Him, joy, life and peace will fill our hearts like it would no other way. Plus, there’s a boldness and courage that empowers you when you submit and do what God says. There’s a peace that floods you when you give in to God and His way.
  4. Live today and consecrate yourself as though God will do amazing things among you tomorrow. Right before the nation of Israel was about to cross the Jordan River and enter in to all the fulfillment of the promises of God, Joshua gave them this command in Joshua 3:5, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” Basically what Joshua was saying was that they were to set themselves apart, to make sure their hearts were ready for the amazing things God was going to do tomorrow. So, always have your heart in a posture that if God were to drop a miracle or hit the start button on something in your life tomorrow, you’d be ready to receive and walk in it.
  5. Pray for people to share the Gospel with. I did this a few times this year, and God answers this prayer. God will bring people into your path to share the Gospel with. He may do so without you praying this, but if you’re having a hard time sharing the Gospel, pray for God to bring those people into your life, and He will. And then He’ll help you carry out that mission to share the Gospel with them.
  6. Every no is a yes to something else. And every yes is a no to something else. Every choice you make impacts something else. Think about the end result of your choices before you say yes or no to something.
  7. Life is hard work. You can’t just sit on standby or auto Pilate.
  8. Run your own race. God has called and set everybody on a different course in life. Don’t compare and certainly don’t judge others based on their lane in the race. And don’t listen to others who try and distract or discourage your way in life. God has ordained that, too.
  9. Don’t waste opportunities to make a difference while you have them. Your words, actions, and smile could change someone’s day and even life. There’s no delete button in life. Live without regrets and seize the opportunities while you have them, because most of the time, you don’t get a second chance.
  10. There are seasons where God has us set apart for training in Godliness. God often brings His children into a season of waiting. This is when He trains us for all that is to come. This time is so critical, so never despise it. When He moves us forward, we’ll have the foundation of this time to keep us grounded and we’ll know how to live when we get to where God is calling us.
  11. You don’t lose or waste any time by waiting on God. He knows the exact, right time for everything.
  12. Don’t waste or despise times of singleness. It’s just a season. When you’re with someone, that’s often not a season, but a whole new way of life.
  13. It is vital to always be in the Word and keep your relationship with God fresh and vibrant, because when someone comes along and asks you about your faith or needs witnessing to, you’ll be ready (1 Peter 3:15).
  14. You can’t save people. Only Jesus can do that. You can’t force the truth on other people. Your job is to pray for them, share the Gospel with them, and live the Gospel for them to see, and let God do the rest in time. Just do your part and God will do the rest.
  15. Ask God to show you His best. Oftentimes I think we settle for okay because we don’t have the patience to wait for what God’s best is. But it’s so vital to know what God wants in and for your life, and what He doesn’t. So pray, “Jesus, show me Your best”. But also be prepared to have Him show you what’s not His best. But either way, needing to know what God’s best for you is vitally important. You don’t ever want to settle for what His best isn’t—even if it looks best to you at the moment. His best is so much more than we could ever hope or dream of.
  16. I don’t have to be in control because I follow the One who is. God knows all. I don’t. When I lock my eyes with Him and just follow Him, He’ll never lead me wrong, and it’ll save a lot of heartache. Pray, “God, teach me to follow”.
  17. Enjoy life! This is one I’m learning. God gave us good things to enjoy! He loves to see us enjoying the good things of His creation. Lighten up. Have fun. Enjoy life. You’re set free in Christ, we need to start living like it. And enjoying the good things in life that God provides is one way to do that. He loves to see His children joyful and loving the life He’s provided for them. The real, abundant, and joyful life that is rightfully ours in Christ Jesus.

Well, that’s about 17, ya’ll. I hope these are an encouragement to you. Thank you for all of you who take the time to read what I write and for those who have been an encouragement to me over the past year. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for 2018. May it be a year of growing in Christ, loving Him more, and watching His marvelous plan unfold.

❤ Stephanie

@stephanie_jacqu

 

Good News and Great Joy

Good News and Great Joy

“An angel of the LORD appeared to them, and the glory of the LORD shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the LORD.'” – Luke 2:9-11

Many people are familiar with this passage taken out of the Christmas story in Luke 2. As I was thinking about Christmas and heard this passage, two things stuck out to me this year. Good news and Great joy. This angel was sent from God in heaven to announce the birth of the Savior to a group of Shepherds in the field at night, and when the angel arrived, they announced that there was no need to be terrified at its appearing, but in fact the angel was bringing an announcement. This announcement was good news that would cause great joy. And that this announcement was good news that would cause great joy for all people.

Just like today, the people in Israel 2000 years ago could use some good news that would cause great joy. The people of God had been long awaiting a Savior to rescue them from their oppression of their time. In fact, at the time Jesus had been born, the people had gone 400 years since a word from God. But all the while, they trusted and waited that God would send a Savior to them. And that the Savior had been born was the greatest announcement ever made, and the Shepherds tending their sheep in the field—a people group who was considered too unclean to even worship in the temple at the time no less— received this announcement. The announcement proceeded with this: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the LORD” (vs. 11). The long-awaited, long-promised Savior had been born. The one who would free them from their bondage had come! God hadn’t forgotten about them! God hadn’t forgotten His promise! God hadn’t forgotten His people! This indeed was good news that would cause great joy, not only to the Shepherds and the people of Israel of that day, but to us as well. We are included in this good news that causes great joy today just as much as the Shepherds were that night when the angel appeared. Jesus wasn’t just born for HIs people, though He was born for them too, but He was born for us. He was born for you.

But there’s more to the story then just an angel appearing at night to a group of Shepherds. I mean, nothing ordinary was happening surrounding the birth of  Jesus. A young women yet to be married and who was a virgin was pregnant and called favored by God while society would see her much differently? The angels announced the birth of Christ three separate times? A star indicated where the Savior had been born? The Shepherds were the first people group to know the Savior had been born?

Let me say this: the birth of Jesus just isn’t some event that took place 2000 years ago by chance. Every detail about His birth was carried about by the exact plan and will of God. It was 2000 years in the making. Every event in history leading up to that point happened so that this event could take place at this exact moment. The roads built years before Jesus came so that this message could be spread to people around the world. The census that was called right before Jesus was born. And the list of God preparing the stage goes on. And why did it take place? That you and me might be saved and forgiven by that same baby and have an eternity in the unending presence of God Almighty. That He might show us His love and power in an unimaginable way. And that we might have a relationship with Him once again.

That’s what Christmas is all about.

Its about a God who keeps every promise to a T every single time. Proving that He does what He says He’ll do. That His love for us is more than we can fathom. And that He deserves the highest of praise. Every detail of the Christmas story was set in place at the perfect time. That a perfect Savior might be born. And God’s perfect plan would unfold. It was a plan set in motion from the beginning of time. From when God knew Adam and Eve would sin in the garden. He knew it before He created Adam and Eve with a free will. He knew it before He spoke the world into motion. The same world He would send His Son into at that precise moment in history to undo all the wrong humanity had done. And He did all of it knowing that the greatest and most costly price would be paid at the end of this baby’s life. But He did it because He’s a God of His promise. Because He is a God who loves us that much. Because He’s a God who went to the ultimate length to buy us back to Himself. And this is the good news that causes great joy for us today and forever. So when you think about the birth of Jesus this year, remember the reason He came. The love that was given. The price He came to pay. And the victory He came to win. This is the good news. This is the thing that causes great joy. And it’s the thing that will last into eternity.

So, yes, Christmas is a time to celebrate. This is the single event in human history that allows us to be free from every sin that held us captive, and be engulfed forever in a love that is unimaginable. Indeed, we who are forgiven have received good news that will cause great joy. May this good news and great joy consume your heart this Christmas season and in the year ahead.

Merry Christmas!

❤ Stephanie

And for fun, here are my top picks of Christmas songs this year:

When I Think Upon Christmas- Hillsong Worship

Little Drummer Boy (Live) – For King and Country

Baby Boy (Live) – For King and Country

White as Snow – NewSong

Noel – Lauren Daigle

I Celebrate the Day – Relient K

His Favorite Christmas Story – Capital Lights

What To Do While Waiting for “The One”

What To Do While Waiting for “The One”

“Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” -Psalm 27:14

Last week I put up a blog post title, “Why I’m not freaking out that I haven’t found “the one” yet, and why you shouldn’t be, either.” If you haven’t had a chance to read it, please go back and do so. This was actually going to be all one blog post (last week’s and this week’s), but it was really long. So I thought I’d split it up. That being said, please try and read last week’s to get some context as to what’s happening! 🙂

The topic this week is what we’re supposed to be doing while we’re single and waiting for “the one” as Christians.

So what should we do while we’re waiting? Here are a few vital things.

  1. Stay obedient. I know I mentioned this in the last blog, but it’s absolutely critical. We must stay obedient to God in order for Him to align everything down the road. Yes, God has a perfect plan, but we must stay inside of His plan in order for things to go according to plan. If we misstep and throw the plan off for the moment, it’s okay. It just means that it might take a little longer to get where we’re going. And none of us want that. So, stay obedient.
  2. Trust Him. Again, I know I stated this before, but it’s another thing that’s so important. If we can’t trust God with the idea and desire for a spouse, then what are we going to do when we find that spouse? Singleness is a prime season for learning to trust God. Remember, our future spouse is not intended to replace God, but to grow us closer to God. So while we’re waiting, let’s build the root and foundation of trusting in God now.
  3. Grow in our relationship with God. We have a lot more free time as singles than those committed to marriage do. And before we get into a relationship, it’s important that we are committed to God and His Word, first. Devote yourself to prayer, reading and studying the Scriptures, and serving one another. That way you’re going into a relationship not looking for the other person to fulfill you, but you’re going in it to be with someone you can further God’s Kingdom with.
  4. Pray for, and about, your future spouse. Start asking God to bring you a Godly person to be your spouse. Pray for the qualities you want in a spouse, and pray for those qualities to be in the person God has for you. Pray for them and their faith, family, and circumstances, too. It may sound crazy, but because God knows who we’re talking about, it’s actually a pretty cool thing we can do. And we might even get to see the results of those prayers someday. And while you’re on the topic of praying for qualities you want in your future spouse, let that be a mirror to reflect who you should be working to become as a future spouse as well. If you’re praying for someone who loves others more than themselves, the chances are, that person’s going to be looking for a person with those same selfless attributes. So, you can look at yourself and ask God what He wants you to focus on so that in the future you can be a Godly spouse for someone, too.
  5. Do not settle. Oh guys, I can’t stress this enough. Do not. Do not. Do not settle. Don’t settle for the next guy that says hi to you because he noticed you. God has not made you to settle. When we settle, we’re telling God that His best isn’t worth the wait. And trust me, it is. Can it be hard somedays, yes. But, waiting on God is the most important thing we can do. I’d rather be single for another ten years than to settle for something that’s not from God because I can’t wait another moment for God to bring me His best. And this principal really applies to anything. Whether it be a job, a move, a spouse, ect. We make an absolute mess of our lives when we refuse to wait on God, take things into our own hands, and settle. Do not settle. God’s best for you is wayyyyyy better than that.

One last thing on this whole subject. Remember when looking for a spouse, they need to be a Christian, too. If you’re a Christian, you need someone else who is a Christian, too (see 2 Corinthians 6:14-18). Marriage is designed to reflect Christ and the Church (see Ephesians 5:21-33). You should be with someone who is bringing you closer to Christ, not farther away. You need to be with someone who will pray with you, study the Bible with you, serve with you, and love you as Christ loved us. This is how God intended for marriage to be.

If you’re single—stay faithful to God. He knows. He sees you. He hears you. Stay faithful and stay obedient. God promises His best to those who wait on Him.

We’ll talk soon 🙂

Stephanie

@stephanie_jacqu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting Between the No and Not Yet: Part 2

Waiting Between the No and Not Yet: Part 2

“‘We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!'” – Numbers 11:5-6

In the last blog post, I shared about the time period of when God calls us out of a season that’s not His will—or is no longer His will—but where we haven’t reached all that we know God has for us. I called this period of time waiting between the no and the not yet.

In this posting, I want to talk about how not to act during this time of waiting. While I mentioned in the last post that I did commend the Israelites for their act of waiting in the desert between Egypt and the Promised Land (see Numbers 9:19-23), that’s one of the only good things to say about the Israelite community at large during this time period of their history. Just a few chapters later, we see that while they were in the desert, they started to complain against where God had brought them this far and what had He provided for them.

God had graciously provided them with manna—enough good food for what they needed during this time. However, we see starting in Numbers 11:4 that the Israelites start complaining about this provision from God. They “began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, ‘If only we had meat to eat!'” (vs. 4). And then it got worse. After everything the Lord had brought them through, and all the battles He had won for them, and all His acts of power and strength to bring them to where they were at now, they started remembering their life back in Egypt as slaves, and as we see in upcoming chapters, they actually wanted to turn around and go back to Egypt—the very place God rescued them out of!

Furthermore, over the next couple of chapters, their attitudes get even worse. They went from complain about the wilderness to complaining against their God-ordained leader, to outright doubting the promise that God would bring them into the land that He had delivered them for and promised to them.

Friends, this is a good example of how not to act in your season of waiting.

If you find yourself in the season of between no and not yet, take some pointers from the Israelites.

#1: Don’t complain about where you are or what you have. We are often so tempted to complain about where we are because we’re not where we want to be yet. Complaining will not get you anywhere faster. If anything, it will keep you in the season of waiting for longer. Due to the Israelites disobedience, just about all of the adults died in their season of waiting and never entered the Promised Land. For the very few who were allowed to enter, they had to wait 40 years until the rest of them died until they could enter into God’s good and perfect plan for their lives. God hates complaining. He is sovereign and knows all you need, and He sees you right where you are. Don’t complain.

#2. Don’t long for Egypt. Don’t look back at the place where God has called you from because you’re not at the place where He has you going. He has called you out from that season for a reason. Don’t look back and regret or long for that place. Trust that His plan of bringing you into His good purposes will be brought to completion if we wait in His perfect timing.

#3. Don’t doubt what God has promised you. God had told Moses to send out twelve spies to check out the land that He had promised them (Numbers 13:1-3). When the spies went into the land, 10 of them came back with a bad report: “They spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, ‘The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size…We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them” (Numbers 13:32, 33). But yet, the same God who sent plagues on Egypt to let the Israelites out of Egypt, who parted the Red Sea, who provided them a way to have fellowship and meeting with Him through sacrifices and the Tabernacle, and the one who promised them this land, this same God was more than able to bring them into the land they had promised, yet they doubted that. But do you ever feel like this? As though God is unable to bring you into all He has for you? Be encouraged by this: God does what He says, and if you’ll listen and obey Him, He’ll bring you to all He has for you. Whenever you’re tempted to doubt, remember who God is, what He has done, and look to the Scriptures for His promises to speak over your life and situation.

These are just a few lessons we can learn about how to wait from the Israelites in their season of transition. Remember, seasons of waiting aren’t seasons of doing nothing. Actively seek God, listen to Him, and follow His instructions. Praise Him, thank Him, and trust Him. And His plan for your life will come to completion. He is faithful, guys.

We’ll talk soon 🙂

-Stephanie

@stephanie_jacqu

To read Part 1 of this post, please click here

 

Waiting Between the No and Not Yet: Part 1

Waiting Between the No and Not Yet: Part 1

“Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out.” -Numbers 9:22

In the twenty-one years that I’ve been around, there is one thing that I’ve learned: Waiting is hard. But another thing that I’ve learned is that waiting is incredibly important.

I think one thing that is so hard about waiting is the fact that we’re often waiting without control over a circumstance, or we’re waiting with control over a circumstance. Each situation can be equally hard, but God is equally in them both.

I’ve recently found myself in a season of waiting. Waiting for God to move and give further instruction. And I think a lot of us miss this season of waiting because we’re simply unwilling to wait, or we don’t think that God would make us wait. But I have come to learn that God is a God with a perfect timetable, and we need to be sure to stay on it.

We see in Scripture that the Israelites, God’s chosen people, endured a season of what I like to call: Waiting: Between the No, and the Not Yet.

And this is exactly the season I have been finding myself in lately.

A season where God has called you out of what is not His will—or no longer His will—but He hasn’t brought you into all He has for you yet. We experience this all the time.

One relationship has ended, but you have yet to start a new and right one.

Our job comes to an end, but we have yet to step into our dream jobs, and we’re seemingly stuck with the job we have now.

We’ve moved from one location, but we’re not where we’ve dreamed of being. So we stay where we are instead of where we want to be.

This is what was happening with the Israelites: God has called them out of their horrible season of slavery and bondage in Egypt, and they were making their way to the land that God had promised them, often referred to as the Promised Land. Yet, they found themselves in the Desert, which was in-between point A and point B, for a long time until they reached their destination. And while the Israelites stayed in the desert way longer than what it would normally take to get to their destination because of their own disobedience, there is one thing I took note of that I found commendable in their behavior. And it was their act of waiting.

We see in Numbers chapter 9 that God has a way of moving the Israelites. There was a cloud that would cover the Tabernacle, where God would meet with His people, and when it was time to set out to a new destination on their way to the Promised Land, the cloud would lift. When they were to encamp at a destination, the cloud would settle. Numbers 9:18 tells us, “At the LORD’s command the Israelites set out, and at His command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp.” And I love the next verse. Verse 19 tells us, “When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the LORD’s order and did not set out.” Even when it was a long time, the Israelites didn’t jump ahead and move before God told them to.

We often think that God wants us continually moving about and being busy doing His work, and while there are times and seasons where He has us doing these things, we often forget there may be times where God calls us to just stay put, stay still, and stay faithful. And yet, we often mistake times of waiting as times of wasting time. But this is not what the time of waiting is designed for.

If you find yourself in the season of “Between no but not yet”, be encouraged that God is preparing you now for the not yet. God sees everything, and His timing is completely perfect. Even if we don’t understand why we’re in a season of waiting, and even if nothing makes sense, don’t underestimate what God is doing. Use this season of waiting to press into all He is trying to say to you, and learn to listen to His leading and promptings that will take you through this season into all He has for you, and every day from here on out. He’s up to something better than you can imagine, and He’ll bring you into all of it if you just stay obedient and faithful, even—and especially—in the times of waiting.

In part two, I’ll talk about how to wait (and how not to). We’ll talk soon 🙂

-Stephanie

@stephanie_jacqu