Waiting for anything in life is hard. We all want, what we want, when we want it. Can I get an “amen”?
From the time I was a little girl my deepest desire was to have a family to love. Of course I also thought it would be like one of the Hallmark Movies that most women love, where if there is conflict, it is resolved in 90 minutes and everyone is happy, healthy and singing praise to one another. Turns out, I have been blessed with an amazing family and we do love each other, but it has also been like a Lifetime Movie – or, honestly more like more like a Lifetime Movie Series!
Over the years my family became fractured: our oldest son, Jasen, made some bad life altering decisions 9 years ago that has affected our entire family. He spent 4 years in jail and while in jail his first wife, who was pregnant gave birth to our first grandchild. Eventually they got divorced and from there our family continued to break apart.
As a parent you want to hold your child, no matter how old they are, close to you and heal whatever is broken. However, you also want to pop their head off like a PEZ candy dispenser. I can honestly say, Jasen has given me every gray hair on my head and caused me to go to the salon. Of course, he also says I have given him the gray hair on his head – so we’re gonna give grace and call it even.
Anyway, my world crumbled. You definitely can’t have a picturesque family when you are throwing a baby shower for your first grandchild an your son, the father, is in prison. Talk about awkward! Navigating all the emotions for myself, my husband and our youngest son was exhausting both emotionally and spiritually. There are not enough adjectives that can begin to describe the pain, fear, and brokenness that rippled through our family. What I did know, and clung to was the first verse of Psalm 46, which says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
I clung to the scriptures that God would see us through the season and I laid my family at the foot of the cross. It hasn’t been an easy journey but I have learned a lot. In last 6 years, Jasen has gotten his life together, remarried and given us 2 more amazing grandchildren. We are proud of the work he done to really change his life. It has taken years for us to rebuild our relationship with him and we have healing… but not full healing yet.
Our youngest son was still full of hurt and anger. He had not spoken to Jasen for 8 years. I was not able to have all 3 of our grandkids together – ever, not even for holidays. My husband and I had to delicately navigate everyone: their feelings, the drama, the hurt … it was exhausting. Then last year as we were preparing for 21 Days of Prayer, the Lord impressed on me that it would be “a year of change”. I didn’t know what that meant, but as the year unfolded it became quite clear.
After 8 long years, my prayers were answered. In August, our youngest son and his wife came home and we actually spent time together as a family! This past Christmas, our ex-daughter-in-law and our first grandson, came over to celebrate with Jasen, his current wife and their two children. I even got a picture of all three of my grandkids together!
Now it’s not all sunshine and roses – there is still more healing to be done! But our God has heard my cries and is definitely moving in my family. Praise the Lord!
So what are the desires of your heart? Are you in need of healing in a relationship, a new career, to find a spouse, have a child? Where do you want God to move?
I don’t have all the answers when it comes to prayer, but during my season of waiting I learned a few things that I hope will help you:
1. Cleanse your heart. – Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a pure heart, O’God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
Remove any barriers that you may have keeping you from receiving the fullness of God. For me it was anger, hurt and disappointment.
2. Join with others in prayer. – Matthew 18:19-20 “Again, truly I tell you, if two of you on earth agree about any matter that you pray for it, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them.”
Get a prayer partner of the same gender. I have two and on days that I was weak and had no more words to pray – they were taking my requests before the Lord. Join a small group! If there is power in two or three joining in prayer, think of how much more powerful to have an entire group joining you in prayer.
3. Fill your life with positives. – Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others.”
It is easy to become self-focused and if that is all we do, ultimately we will become selfish and negative. Focusing on serving others will bring you joy and energize you spiritually. Negativity breeds; Joy spreads.
4. Power of Gratitude – Psalm 69:30 “Let me shout God’s name with a praising song, let me tell his greatness in a prayer of thanks.”
Look for God in your life. Even the littlest places where he is present already in your life – be thankful to him and tell him so! When my prayer partner’s requests were being answered, I allowed no room for jealousy – I praised God. It was a confirmation that God was hearing our prayers. Ask God to give you the spiritual eyes and ears to see and hear his movement.
5. Trust – Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” Trust can be one of hardest things to do. We may do it for a little while, then take back control – which leads to frustration and hopelessness. I had people say to me about my family, “it is never going to happen,” but I wouldn’t receive that. I made a conscious decision to trust God. My prayers will not always be answered in the way or timing that I think they should. But I believe the words written in our Bible truly are breathed by Him. He is the God of Hope.
Isaiah 55:8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, says the Lord. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”
So what are you waiting on God to do in your life? What prayer are you waiting to be answered? I challenge you to hold fast to these scriptures and keep your faith in Jesus. He will come through for you like he always does. He is a God who cannot fail.