Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. Psalm 37:7 (NIV)

Have you ever had a frustrating experience? Or was there ever a time that your patience was tested? Surely, all of us have been frustrated or lacking patience at some point in our lives. It is during these times that we need to call on the name of Jesus to calm our spirits and bestow upon us the divine patience that only He can give.

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Women of Faith conference in Tampa, Florida. Little did I know that my first experience as a Women of Faith Group Leader would not only uplift and inspire, but it would also bring me closer to His throne, strengthen my faith, and increase my patience.

The alarm clock sounded. I woke up on time. Yet I drove out of the driveway fifteen minutes late at 5:45 a.m. Still, I had allowed adequate time to get to my destination, so I was not too concerned. The only thing that concerned me was the fact that my phone picked this particular morning to malfunction. Making this three and a half hour journey without a properly working cell phone had me a little on the edge, to say the least. Quickly, I composed myself and began to pray…for my phone. Shortly after, my phone began to run like a Swiss watch. I’m so grateful that God even cares about the little things. It wasn’t until the last few miles of my journey did I realize just how God’s hand had covered much more than my phone.

The last four and a half miles of Interstate travel took more than 45 minutes to navigate, due to a three-car pile-up. While I am certainly not an expert on vehicular accidents, it appeared that the accident had likely taken place approximately fifteen minutes prior. Fifteen minutes. The amount of time I was delayed. Immediately, I began to pray for those involved in the accident, that their lives would be spared and that God would place His hand upon them. And I quietly thanked Him, too, that I was spared from this accident.

Part of the WOF team praising God
Upon my arrival in downtown Tampa, I had difficulty finding my way through the maze of construction and detours. Yet I ended up in a parking garage, parked right next to a dear friend I had not seen since last year’s Women of Faith event. The entire weekend was a waterfall of unexpected blessings like this one. From a seat right next to the Porch Pals the entire weekend to spending time with dear friends, everything was better than I could have ever imagined. And some moments were so special that an experienced screenwriter could not have penned them so beautifully. There were so many highlights, including my visits with Sheila Walsh, Mary Graham, and so many other special people who have grown so very dear to my heart, along with the sweet spirit that was present throughout the arena. These moments made a wonderful weekend even more precious.

Sheila Walsh and I

Of course, the weekend would not have been as meaningful without the encouragement and inspiration presented by the Women of Faith team. One pivotal moment was when my question was answered by Sheila Walsh and Dr. Henry Cloud during the Q&A session on Friday afternoon. It was as if God was speaking through them, for the Holy Spirit knew exactly what I needed to hear. Natalie Grant’s rendition of “It Is Well With My Soul” brought to mind 2 Corinthians 2:15 (NIV): “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” This scripture exemplifies the way that all of the Women of Faith speakers and artists dedicate their lives to sending off the sweet spirit of the Lord to thousands of women every year.

Every moment of the weekend was incredible. And the entire time, I wondered, how would the weekend have been if I had not left fifteen minutes late? What would it have been like if I had gotten angry instead of getting through to the throne of grace? All weekend, I told others of my journey to Women of Faith this year. And the entire time, I felt as if I was walking on cloud nine. My smile was wider, my steps were lighter, and I am sure I was beaming with joy because I was filled to overflowing with the goodness of the Lord. Little did I know, amidst the fullness of joy in my heart, that God was still preparing another test of my patience.

On Friday night, I walked out of the arena when the event was over, expecting to find the shuttle waiting to transport me to my nearby hotel. Yet, countless buses, vans, cars, shuttles, and taxi cabs drove by, picking up ladies from all walks of life. All except for the shuttle I was waiting for. Fifteen minutes went by. The hotel said they were on their way. Fifteen more minutes passed. The shuttle driver relayed a message via telephone that the roads were blocked. The police said the roads were clear. Twelve ladies remained. The other 7,000+ had found a way to their accommodations for the evening. A taxi cab came by and took four ladies to our hotel for two dollars each. Inexpensive? Yes. Did I go? No. Something tugged at my heart, urging me to wait. Just wait. After waiting for over an hour, the shuttle finally came. Apparently, the shuttle driver was having a difficult night. We had been asked to stop by the front desk when we arrived at the hotel. The manager apologized. Our patience was rewarded with $100 being deducted from our bill. God amazed me once more by turning this aggravation into a blessing in disguise.

Sometimes, God wants us to wait patiently to avoid a harmful circumstance. Other times, He wants us to wait patiently for a blessing that He has in store. Psalm 37:7 (NIV) says, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” God’s word does not call us to fidget and become frustrated while we are waiting. Instead, it says that we should “be still” and “wait patiently.” So, the next time you’re in line and someone in front of you seems to be using their debit card for the first time, wait patiently. God may use you to minister to them or someone around you. Or if your flight is delayed, remember that God may know something you do not. Even a small delay could be the difference between life and death. Our Heavenly Father truly knows best.

When I think back to all of the times God has protected me from harm, and I consider the times when I didn’t even know harm existed, I fall in love with Him all over again. He loves us unconditionally. There is never a time in your life that God is not thinking about you. He wants you to listen to His still, small voice. Sure, you may have to wait. Every day, I am reminded that patience really is a virtue. At times, it may be a struggle to demonstrate patience, especially after waiting for days, months, or years. But God’s word says that like Abraham, we, too, will receive what is promised if we wait patiently on Him (Hebrews 6:15). Be still. Wait patiently. And see God move.

In Christ's Love,

Changing Leaves

On this first day of October, I woke up to find a crisp, cool breeze outside, something quite uncommon in this part of the world. Living in Florida, we do not generally have a significant change of seasons, yet I have grown to notice the subtle changes that occur at this time of the year. For instance, the warming nature of a friends’ status update on Facebook concerning a pot of chili she has simmering on the stove in celebration of the fall weather coming on. Or the beauty of the increasing number of pumpkins, scarecrows, and mums displayed on every corner. Everywhere I look, I see the transition from summer colors to fall ones. And you know what? The leaves aren’t the only things that are changing.

Just like the changing leaves, our lives change each season, each month, each week, and each day of our lives. Some of these changes are welcome, much like the refreshing nature of the cooler weather in the fall or the birth of a new infant. But other changes are undesired, such as the failing health of a friend or loved one or added stress from a new job. Even so, we do not have control over these situations. We cannot change the future no more than we can change the past. But we can pray for God’s strength and peace to help us get through every difficulty we encounter.

Recently, I have had several close family members and friends face critical medical conditions. Just today, I found out that one dear friend may be battling cancer and another may be going into assisted living. Another has doctors trying to figure what is causing their discomfort, and still another is being asked to try a fairly new medication to see if it will help them. Several others are facing various trials in their lives as well. None of them expected to have their health change so drastically, but their physical condition changed nonetheless. Still, they must ask God for strength and healing, holding on to the joy that still exists all around them, despite the unwelcome change in their lives.

Personally, I have seen change in my own life as well, some welcome and some otherwise. Being blessed with my first trip to Europe this summer was a very welcome change from our usual summer routine. This was a change that filled my heart with joy and provided me with an epic adventure that I will always cherish in my heart. On the other side of the coin, there was one change three years ago that caused my heart to break in two. Losing my mom was a very unwanted, tragic change. There are still days when I cannot believe that she is not here with me. I cannot comprehend why this happened. I only know that it did and there is nothing I can do about it.

Both of these changes came like a gust of autumn wind, but what a difference between the two. Even so, I know that God is always with me. He was with me as I made my way to the top of the Eiffel Tower, just like He was with me when I sang at my mom’s funeral. You see, He wants to be a part of every aspect of my life, from the most amazing joys to the darkest sorrows. He walks with me in good times and bad. And He wants to do the same for you. All you have to do is ask.

Much like the brilliantly colored leaves that fall to the ground, the changes we experience in life will never be distinctly alike. Some of changes will be pleasant ones that we wish would last forever and others will bring with them an unpleasantness that seems unbearable. No matter what type of change you are going through, God will walk through the valley with you. He will hold your hand. He will carry you all the way. While this world may be racked to the core with change, there is one thing that will never, ever change. Remember that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 NIV). Put your trust in Jesus. Don’t let the unwelcome changes in life get you down. Instead, step outside in the crisp, fall air. Listen to the rustle of the wind blowing gently through the trees. Spend some time alone with God in prayer in the midst of the changing leaves.

In Christ’s Love,