A Year Full of Expectation

I chose expectation as my word for this year. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I chose this word.

Man, was I unprepared for what God had in store for me this year!

Here are a few things that I learned from this year full of expectation:

  • God doesn’t like to stay in the boxes we tend to put Him in.

This has been a lesson I seem to learn time and time again. I try to put God in a box of what I think He can accomplish or how I think He’ll heal me. Time and time again this year, I put God in a box, and time and time again, He burst out of the box doing more than I ever imagined. I sent out letters for Ukraine and within week…WEEKS…I was fully funded due to generous people. I didn’t expect to fall in love but I did. Ukraine wormed its way into my heart within minutes of touching ground. I finally got content with being in my corner of the world, and God put hospital nursing back on the table. Through an unintentional interview, it was like God was saying “Your story is not over yet.”

  • Bravery and expectation go hand in hand.

Living with expectation takes a lot of bravery. I mean, if you expect God to move, you have to say the next brave “yes”. You can’t expect to sit on your butt and wait-just wait-for God to do something. Living with expectation means listening to God and saying the next brave “yes” that falls in front of you. It means making plans, but holding them loosely as you expect God to move in them.

  • Rest is not selfish. It enables you to be your best self later in the week.

Rest. Self-care. In some circles, these words make people cringe. Honestly, 2 years ago, they would have made me cringe. It wasn’t until I was literally forced to slow down that I realized how necessary it is. My energy is like an opaque coin jar. I keep taking change out of it not realizing I’m close to the bottom until I hit a wall, get a TBI headache and I’m put out of commission for 24 hours. I hate it. I hate that I can’t do everything. I hate that I seemed to need more rest than an average 24 year old. I realized something this year. If I plan time into my schedule for rest, it doesn’t feel unproductive or a waste of time. Over time, my mentality changed because I didn’t view it as selfish rather I viewed it as necessary for me to be my best self. I couldn’t help the littles feel better if I was at the end of my rope.

  • My story isn’t over yet. Your story isn’t over yet.

I don’t know where you are or where your story has taken you. You may be reading this and you are on a mountaintop. God has never felt closer, and life is perfect. I’m happy for you. Cling to that feeling. Soak it in, and capture it to remember in the hard times. On the other hand, you may be reading this thinking “What has she got that I haven’t? Why is life so hard right now? Why is God so far away? Is God even good?” Don’t…and I mean don’t be ashamed of those questions. They are real. I’ve been there. All I can say is try and remember the mountaintop experiences. It may not seem like it but that God is the same God in the valley. This is why reading the Psalms is good-oh so good. David lamented about where He was but he always said “remember when…” You may feel like your story is over. I’ve felt that way many of times in the past two years, but GOD. He has redeemed what I thought was lost, and put my mind and my heart back together. 3 years ago, I begrudgingly settled for Akron, OH when I really wanted the ends of the earth, 2 years ago, I had no choice in moving back to Mansfield, OH. Today, I am realizing that God is up to something at MCS and in Mansfield. I am honored to be a witness to what God is up to.

This has been quite a journey, and I’m not there-wherever there is-yet. Thanks for walking this journey with me. This has been a year full of expectation. I started out the year hopeful, but depressingly realistic of where I was. I end the year overwhelmed with how God has blown those seemingly realistic thoughts of who I would be out of the water.

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Waiting

Waiting.

This simple word causes many people to wince because it is associated with hard times. It is often associated with moments of disappointment or things that we want but can’t have yet.

Waiting.

There is an art of living life fully while trusting that God has a plan for you. Patience is not a virtue that I possess in any capacity. I do not like to wait for things in life, especially when I know that it is something good and worthwhile.

Remember when you were a child, waiting for Christmas day. Remember the expectations and excitement as you lay in bed thinking about the presents under the tree.

The shapes.

The noises.

The surprises.

Remember how you jumped out of bed and ran downstairs on Christmas morning because the awaited time had come.

That feeling is one of the most exciting and frustrating feelings to have.

Expectations.

Excitement.

Waiting.

Waiting for God, the Creator who breathed stars into existence, to reveal aspects of his magnificent plan.

Waiting for that next right step to take in a situation that is sticky and messy.

Waiting for that wonderful man to ride in on his white horse, or possibly a turtle, depending on how long he takes.

Waiting for those dreams, those deep, heartfelt passions, to begin to unfold in a beautiful and holy way.

As a result of this waiting, we spend a lot of time praying to God because we desire to live life completely and utterly in His will.

I was recently challenged to use this time of waiting to prepare. The first thought I had was, “Prepare for what?” I have no idea what I am supposed to be doing with this time, so how am I supposed to be prepared.

Sometimes, it feels like I am blindly preparing for a future that could go in any direction. How can I be prepared for every possible situations? What can I do in my season of waiting to keep myself from going incredibly crazy balancing the excitement of knowing?

Waiting does not mean that I am useless or stuck, it simply means that I am waiting. I can still move to further God’s kingdom in the moment. Sarah Bessey writes, “It’s a scary thing, a life-changing, paradigm-shifting thing, to honestly ask yourself this question: Am I moving with God to rescue, restore, and redeem humanity? Or am I clinging fast, eyes closed, teeth clenched, to an imperfect world’s habits and cultural customs, in full knowledge of injustice or imperfections, living at odds with God’s dream for his daughters and sons?”

Sometimes, I get so caught up in the frustration of hearing “Wait” from God that I forget to act. I forget to continue to play my part in the story God is writing for humanity. I am a small blip on in the story, but, as I wait, I should not forget where I am.

As I wait for my brain to heal, there are things I need to be doing to help make that happen. In the same way, as I wait for God to move in my life, I need to be continually seeking His will, and loving others as God loves me. Sometimes, I need to take that leap and take steps toward where God is leading as I wait for Him to reveal Himself step by step.

As I continue to wait on God, I desire to use this time to grow into the woman He is molding me into.