Apr 21, 2012

Saturday SHINE....

Good morning, SHINE sisters! As always, no weekend reading. You can use this time to catch up on the blog, on your reading and on the prayer request page if you need to. 

Yesterday, I had a very long and treasure-filled conversation with my friend Rebekah. We were both in awe of how God is teaching us and revealing things to  us...at the very same time! Not only that, but the very same concept!

We discussed how crucial our response to the "waiting" periods of our life are. Even if we are not waiting, per se, but just going through a very mundane and slow time.

Girls, we are learning that this is when God does His greatest work in our hearts! It makes us stronger, wiser, and "ready" for what's to come for us. 

However, we must "worship in the waiting", "serve in the waiting", and "trust Him in the waiting."

Without further adieu, be blessed by Rebekah's story. Oh, so good!

In… the… waiting…
by Rebekah Vepraskas

I think it’s remarkable and funny at the same time when God speaks to you.  Sometimes, you don’t even have the subject on your radar screen.  You know what I mean?  And, then- ping, ping, ping- the subject or thought is everywhere you look and your friends are hearing the same thing(s) and message(s) from God.  I love my Lord and I love how He works. Jill and I were squealing on the phone this morning about God and the new things He reveals.

So, I bet you want to know about this new thing, too?!  Well, of course! This past Sunday, our pastor taught on JOHN 20:19-31. You may remember the story, it is the account of Jesus appearing to the disciples, but Thomas was missing. Remember that story? Famously, Thomas said, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in His side, I will not believe."

It's the modern day "I'll believe it when I see it!" The rest of the story is that Thomas waited for one. whole. week. to see Jesus. Wow.  Jesus came and He gave Thomas exactly the proof He needed.  What if we rewind a little, though?
In our small group on Wednesday night, we talked about waiting for Jesus and what that must have been like for Thomas.  Also, what it's like for us when we wait for Jesus to show up.

It can be hard, right?  Lonely, too!  And sometimes communication tends to shut down with Him. We may be waiting, tapping our foot, wondering about our prayer results and where God is?

Well... if we consider waiting and really pause there, how can we wait in a Christ honoring way? A waiting that doesn't include blaming God, counseling God, convincing God... A waiting that is valuable and enriches our souls.
I feel like God has shown me three new things about waiting.  (That sounds very pastorish.  Forgive me in advance!  There are 3 ideas, though!!)  :o)

1- If not for waiting, would we have an electric toaster God? Where we pray and in 2 minutes or less, God gives us just what we asked for? Consider this: what if we did have an automatic prayer answering God, and if we knew what was best for us in the scheme of our whole lives (which we don't, we know nothing about the future.)

Would we even know when God shows up and a prayer is answered?

Would we just expect Him to see it our way and answer every prayer—just being entitled to answered prayer. --Just like we expect that toast to pop up warm and toasted.

We don't appreciate the toast like we should and we also wouldn't appreciate the presence and goodness of God. The omnipotent, loving, merciful God who can enter a situation in your life and make it good. In ways we never even dreamed of...

I have never even thought about that before this week. Can it be that waiting is crucial factor in our faith walk and with waiting we can clearly see our Lord when He works in our lives?

2- So if we warm up to idea of waiting, what next? Waiting with trust. Letting go and giving it to Him over and over again.

3- What does that look like?  He’s been showing me that it takes constant prayer. Praying about it all. As a wife, mother, semi-career lady and child of God, I have started praying more than ever before. Why? Because I need him. I need help.

 I am talking about praising God for every big and small blessing during the day, asking for direction, asking for safety, asking for Him to use me, to have me reflect His love. And, then, saying to God, "Lord if this is You, show me."  He will. He promised to lead us through the Holy Spirit. But how can He if our communication with Him is in an impatient, frustrated stance?

I feel challenged to appreciate waiting, thanking God for how He is preparing me during the waiting and knowing that He is also at work.
Waiting with trust, overt trust for whatever He has in store. Including the bad stuff, because God can be GLORIFIED in every situation.   We just have to be willing to give Him GLORY.

Praying constantly, and inviting God into our laundry day, the grocery store trip, our tax return, the Spring cleaning we need to tackle, a new project or into a completely mundane day. I have been inviting Christ into the lives of the patients I see in the hospital.  It has been such an honor to pray for these strangers who in a matter of moments are pouring their hearts out to me as I evaluate them.

His mouth is watering, He wants to be a part of that fold in your life. The pause where you are waiting for God. There is a whole world with Christ inside that little area, just waiting.

I am writing to you now from Jasper, Georgia.  Our family is on a church retreat up here and I am about to lose power on the laptop and I have a tiny signal on somebody’s wireless connection up here. :o) But, one more thing, I wanted to share this with you.

I have a 1 year old baby who we brought along on our family getaway.  I didn’t bring his milk because I knew we wouldn’t have a fridge in our room.  I thought, I will get a lay of the land, figure out the fridge hurdle and run back out and grab a gallon of milk before dark.  This was my bright idea at 4pm, before we left Atlanta.  Well, at 9pm tonight, we were wrapping up the night’s activities and I was stressing about milk.  I had asked all of my mommy friends “in the know”- no one knew where a fridge was and I was worried that everything was closed because we’re in a totally remote area, way, way back in the mountain woods.  Milk?  Yeah, right? I hadn’t even seen a gas station for 20 miles before arriving here. It was looking pretty hopeless and I was imagining myself driving all over the mountains to find milk for Sam.  I just needed to lay my baby down… 
I started praying, in my frantic, panicky feeling, I prayed for direction and a way to take care of Sam. I couldn’t concentrate during worship, I prayed, though, asking Him for a solution.  My friend asked me to check the Dining Hall and pointed out the building to me. (The dining hall? It’s 9pm!)  I walked that way, just a little bit skeptical.
I walked in and found a girl who thought she may be able to ask the kitchen manager about milk.  They brought out a big gallon of milk.  GREAT!!!!  I poured some in Sam’s cup and thanked them profusely.  They said, “Oh! Take the whole gallon, also, there is a fridge in the suite above your room, we will keep that suite unlocked the whole weekend and you are welcome to use the fridge and let us know if you need anything else.”

It was milk, y’all.  It was a small detail.  Did the Lord care? Yes!!!  Did He blow my socks off answering my prayer with a whole gallon of milk in my hand before I even knew it—in the middle of the woods?  Yes!!!!  Pray, y’all, PRAY!  He wants to hear from us and He is waiting to inject His goodness, grace and love into our little, mundane lives.

If you are waiting, I want to encourage you not to wait on God silently.  “Pray without ceasing.”  1 Thessalonians 5:17

Link arms with me and let’s open ourselves up to all He has. Even and especially during the times in our lives where we are itching for answers.  Let’s itch for Jesus and trust Him with the outcome. Whattaya say?  Let’s find the beauty in waiting.

With much love and prayer~ may peace be with you,

The milk that God provided!

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