20 Questions for 2019

075e9d0d-52da-4b48-a219-6fb5825938ef.jpeg

What was the best thing that happened this year?
Oh wow. I thought 2018 was good, but 2019 has been killer!! The three things that shine brightest in my mind are: (1) Robyn and Amanda’s weddings, (2) Planning my first wedding, and (3) Going on our second friendscation cruise but with wayyyy more people this time around and it was THE BEST WEEK!

What was the most challenging thing that happened this year?
Saying goodbye to our old community group. It was healthy and thriving, and we were asked to help combine two other existing groups and foster a new environment of unity, trust, and affection for each other, just like we had with our first group. I had a really hard time with it at first, even though I knew it’s what we were supposed to do. But God worked things together so beautifully, and now I look forward to Tuesday nights every single week. I love them all so much!

Who were your most valuable friendships with?
My Lakepoint people. Directly related to my last answer, I have been astounded by how quickly I’ve bonded with people within our community. There are people in our previous group and even our current group that I saw at church every Sunday but never had much of a friendship with, and now I can’t imagine going a single week without seeing them. My heart literally hurts when we are apart for a long time.

What are some new skills that you learned?
I tried aerial yoga for the first time, and I got a lot more confident with normal yoga! I also planned my first wedding as a paid event coordinator, and it was freaking unreal!!

Pick three words to describe this year.
Honestly? I want to keep my words from last year: Fun, restoring, & enlightening.

What was your biggest personal change from January to December?
I’m finally starting to care about my health. I still don’t really enjoy working out or eating right, but I had a pretty big mental breakthrough when I did Keto again before our cruise, and I am determined to keep that healthy mindset alive in 2020.

What was the best book you read this year?
Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot or The Mystery of Marriage by Mike Mason. Both offer invaluable insight about God and marriage for anyone, whether married or single.

What did you do to serve others this year?
Too many things to name at Lakepoint. I also volunteered downtown as a Durant Main Street Influencer, and I did Meals on Wheels with some coworkers.

Name a couple of positive memory-making experiences from 2019.
In addition to everything I mentioned in the first question…Durant was a finalist in the Small Business Revolution competition, we spent a weekend in Dallas with the Burnses, Ezra James was born, we traveled to D.C. to see the Burkes, we spent our anniversary weekend with the Wesberrys, and Craft Pies Pizza Co. opened downtown!

What 2019 accomplishments are you most proud of?
This might sound stupid, but between huge projects at work, planning Nicole’s wedding, and preparing to leave for the cruise the day after said wedding, September and October were two of the longest months of my life, haha! My mind is still blown every time I try to figure out how I got so much done the week before the wedding.

What are some things you’ve learned to accept this year?
Two big things! First, a lot of things I freak out about really aren’t that big of a deal, and I just need to get over myself. And second, marriage doesn’t look anything like what you see in the movies. Even 7½ years in, I still catch myself expecting Daniel to read my mind and say all the right things at just the right time, but I feel like I’m ending 2019 in a more realistic, patient, forgiving place than where I started.

In what ways did you grow spiritually?
For the first time in my life, I spent time in the Word EVERY SINGLE DAY this year. It has truly become part of my daily routine, and I can’t go to bed without doing it. I’ve also gotten a lot better at praying for Daniel every day and reflexively surrendering my thoughts to the Lord.

What did you gain in 2019? What did you lose?
Gained = new friendships through our new community group, and a general sense of “okay-ness” with who I am. I’m finding a happy medium between pride and self-loathing.
Lost = weight! lol

Name a difficult situation you overcame.
Truthfully, each one that came to mind is a little too personal to blog, and even more truthfully, I don’t really feel like I’ve overcome most of them – I’m still in the midst of a couple of messes. But as the year comes to an end, I can confidently say that life is still good, my faith family is a taste of Heaven, and I trust God completely with my future.

What is something you want to do better in 2020?
I want to be less self-centered as a wife, coworker, family member, and friend. And I want to plan more parties and weddings!

What was the best thing you did with your time this year?
Host people in our home. Nothing else compares to fun nights with people I love in my favorite place to be. ♥

What was the single biggest time-waster in your life this year?
Games on my phone. *I know, I’m a child*

What are you most grateful for in 2019?
If it’s not obvious already, Lakepoint Community Church, and everything that has come along with it.

What do you want to leave behind in 2019?
Hurt feelings, awkward conversations, impatience, and laziness.

Who do you want to be in 2020?
Emotionally strong. Brave. Fun. Whole.

Maybe 2019 was an amazing year and all your dreams came true! (And if so, just shut up and enjoy being a Disney princess.) Or maybe this year completely sucked, and you’ve been ready for 2020 since June. Either way, we can’t successfully walk into the future without making peace with our past, whether it was good or bad. I can’t think of a better way to close the book on 2019. Feel free to join in and answer them for yourself!

Robyn’s Wedding Shenanigans

robyn.PNG

2019 was the year of  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. After my sister-in-law Amanda’s wedding in March, I immediately started gearing up for the next one – this time, for my sister Robyn and her beau Travis! (Okay, let’s be honest…I started planning Robyn’s wedding shenanigans the day after she got engaged.)

Her bachelorette party was easily one of my favorites I’ve ever hosted! We ate dinner first at The Hall’s Pizza Kitchen, and then walked next door to do an escape room. One of my favorite things about that night was giving Robyn a temporary tattoo of Travis’s face!

After the escape room, we retreated to an Airbnb and enjoyed Princess Diaries-themed snacks. The next morning, after brunch at a place called Hatch, we went to an aerial yoga class, and it was a BLAST!

A few weeks before the wedding, my parents’ church hosted a wedding shower for them, and I got to spend some sweet time with my mom and grandmas.

Her rehearsal was lovely too, and we got to eat at The Pizza Factory for the rehearsal dinner, where the ranch dressing is so good you seriously contemplate drinking it. (Also, can you tell we like pizza…?)

Her wedding day was the absolute dreamiest – gorgeous venue, chill bride, sweet vendors, all kinds of family and friends…ahh!! It was the best day!

I’m convinced that one of the best things about going to weddings as an adult is getting to see people you haven’t seen in years. Robyn’s wedding was basically just a huge reunion, and I loved it. ♥

Image may contain: 2 people, including Robyn Haynes, people smiling, wedding and outdoor

Image may contain: Robyn Haynes and Travis Haynes, people smiling, wedding and outdoor

I love you five-ever, Robyn and Travis! So happy we’re family!

Amanda’s Wedding Festivities

amanda

Remember when I shared that BOTH of my sisters got engaged in the same weekend?? Their weddings were both this year, one in March and one in June! I’m definitely playing catch-up here, but I am so excited to finally share some photos with you all.

The first wedding of the year was for my sister-in-law, Amanda, and her guy, Ryan, and I hosted a travel-themed wedding shower for them through our church.

I also had the honor of throwing her bridal shower based off of “The Office” at my house, and it was such a riot!! I’ve never had so much fun blowing balloons up halfway, haha!

764152D6-D977-4B63-98FF-6E0F98131DE6

Amanda’s maid of honor, Alesha, did a fabulous job planning her bachelorette party too! We went to dinner at this super cute (and delicious) place in Dallas called Ida Claire, did an escape room, spent the night at an Airbnb, and went to Six Flags for opening weekend!

Her wedding day was pure craziness, especially when the cold front rolled in as the girls were taking pictures. But the ceremony was the sweetest, the reception was a blast, and she looked SO beautiful!!

Image may contain: 2 people, including Amanda Snell, people smiling, people standing, tree, wedding and outdoor

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing, wedding and outdoor

Congratulations again, Ryan and Amanda! Love you guys so much! ♥

Small Biz Spotlight: The Dear Fox

This post is the latest in a new segment I introduced on the blog: Small Biz Spotlight! As an aspiring small business owner myself, I know a few of the struggles associated with running your own shenanigans, especially when it comes to marketing and building rapport. I want to do whatever I can to be an advocate for other people like me. Thanks for reading, and thanks for supporting small businesses!

I’m not lying when I say that Jimi Hightower is easily one of the coolest people I know. She’s the kind of person you become friends with pretty much instantly, and she makes you feel like the most important person around whenever you’re together. We met years ago through our husbands, who were in a big homegroup bible study together, and even though she and her husband Stephen moved to Seattle not long after Daniel and I got married, we’ve stayed in touch off and on. We even got to spend a fun day with them on the tail end of our Alaska trip a few years ago!

Jimi is insanely creative and talented, and she was one of the first people I thought of when I had the idea for the Small Biz Spotlight. In 2016, she and her friend Sarah started an Etsy business called The Dear Fox, and I can’t wait to show you all the cute stuff they make!


Embracing The Chaos: When did you start The Dear Fox? Was it on Etsy first, then Instagram? Where does the majority of your business come from now?
The DEAR/DEER Fox (Sarah): Jimi and I decided to start the Dear Fox one rainy morning at her apartment in Seattle. We love to craft together, especially in a town like Seattle where the majority of the time it is cold, raining, and grey. Jimi taught me to embroider in 2016 and I’ve been doing it since. That morning, we brainstormed names and came up with the animals we most closely identify with and played around with our options, and The Dear Fox was born! The majority of our business I believe is trafficked from Instagram to our Etsy. We have been vendors at a few events, which cultivated more followers via Instagram, who were then sent over to our Etsy for our full collection.
The Dear FOX (Jimi): Back in grad school, we picked out spirit animals for our girl gang and they just kinda stuck. Sarah’s a deer (Reindeer) and I’m a fox. When it came around to the arduous challenge of naming our business, we thought incorporating our spirit animals would be a cute way to make our mark. The Deer Fox was taken, so after playing around with spellings and word arrangements, we finally settled on The Dear Fox, which ended up being cute in its own way. We started on Etsy and then utilized Instagram as a way to market our business. Originally, the majority of our business came through Etsy, but Sarah has been takin’ our wares to craft shows in Tennessee, and so now most of our business is coming from those sales. Etsy can be really challenging because there’s SO much and it’s hard to make it to those first few pages. It’s really important to market what you’re selling in such a way that people will search for it.

ETC: So what made you want to start a small business, and a crafting business in particular?
Sarah: After six months of daily embroidering, I had accumulated so many pieces that I didn’t know what to do next. This has become such a passion project, and a hobby I turn to when I’m feeling anxious, bored, sad, happy, excited. It takes my mind off of everything and just becomes very therapeutic. Turning our craft into a money-making endeavor is only because it is so fun, I enjoy it so much, and I create often. I wanted to share the final product with anyone who is interested.
Jimi: I’ve always been quite the crafter, so when I started making things that I was wearing often, people started asking me where they could get one. I started doing commission pieces, and then realized that I could actually make some money from my hobby and share my creations with other folks. Sarah was in the same boat, so we decided to give pursuing a legitimate online business a shot!

ETC: What training/resources/etc. did you use to get started?
Sarah: Jimi is a constant resource and support for me. Professionally, personally, and as a hobbyist. She and I have a true friendship and connection, and we always bounce ideas off of each other and our group of like-minded best friends. Jimi really got us started from the beginning. From teaching me the craft to begin with, to maintaining our social media, to hearing out ideas and responding to criticism. We make a great team and resource for each other in a lot of facets of our lives.
Jimi: When we first started out, and especially when we were working on getting our business license, I spent a lot of time researching “how to start a business.” Every state is different and Washington is pretty strict, but it was encouraging that a lot of folks were asking the same questions, and I found the licensing websites to be really helpful. Etsy also has a lot of informative blogs that helped point me in the right direction, but they’re very clear that you’re on the hook for everything so it’s important to have your ducks in a row.

ETC: Work-wise, do you consider your business a full-time or part-time gig?
Sarah: Definitely part-time, if even that. We do this for fun. We do this because we like it, it is something that keeps us busy, creating, and working together – which we really like to do!
Jimi: Definitely part-time, and it ebbs and flows. When we’re preppin’ for a show, I’ll spend every spare minute sewing; but then there are times when I won’t sew for months. It just kind of depends on what we have lined up and how much inventory we have on hand.

ETC: Where does your inspiration for your pieces come from, and what do you enjoy most about creating/being an artist?
Sarah: My inspiration seems to come with the current pulse of the nation. In 2016-2017, my work leaned toward the political left for obvious reasons. Since the aftermath, I’ve done lighter themes like fun rap lyrics that can be considered a little risque but in feminine colors and styles. Lots of organic colors and shapes found in nature. And because I work in a zoo, I love to do animals – an animal pun is even better. What I enjoy most about being an artist/creator/maker is working on something that brings me joy and then sharing it and seeing joy on someone else’s face. I love the Weeknd, and I did a fun sexy quote with him but in very traditional stitch style. A woman likely in her 70’s bought it and absolutely loved it, and this was one of my highlights of this whole project with The Dear Fox.
Jimi: I like to create things that enhance and showcase pieces that you love. I sew all of our shawls, and I LOVE picking out the fabric. I have a clear aesthetic (florals, earth tones, and busy patterns), so it can be hard for me to get outside my patterned comfort zone. I like picking fabric that flows and accentuates the patterns and makes what you’re wearing pop. I also make our jewelry displays, which are typically made to order because the supplies are hard to get a hold of, which makes them a little pricier. I LOVE jewelry and was tired of having it all stashed away most of the time (Lord knows I can’t wear it all!), so when I came across an old type drawer at a flea market, I thought a modified version would be a unique way to showcase my jewels. When I make something, I want it to make a statement – sometimes it’s a shawl with a busy pattern that flits around behind you when you’re struttin’ down the sidewalk on a nice summer day; other times it’s a piece of junk that got a new life displaying your memories contained in that necklace you got when you were on vacation, the ring from your grandma, the bracelet your friend gave you, or those earrings you never wear but can’t bring yourself to give away.

ETC: Where do you envision your business going?
Sarah: I envision Jimi and I constantly being open to change and flexible on the direction we take this endeavor. We love growing and learning, and we welcome change, which, in my opinion, can only bring good things.
Jimi: I don’t really know. I know it’s good to have vision and goals and all that, but Sarah and I have always been flexible in our business plan and mostly do it as a way to share our craft and make a little side dough. So, I’m excited to see where things go and am looking forward to opportunities that may pop up.

ETC: What are the top 3 things you’d tell an aspiring small business owner?
Sarah: 1. Be patient, don’t expect to sell sell sell immediately (or ever) in a saturated platform like Etsy or in a creative environment like Seattle. 2. Think outside the box and be malleable. 3. Work with someone you trust, know well, have worked with before, and, most importantly, love endlessly and through thick and thin.
Jimi: 1. Taxes are confusing, especially when you’re dealing with inter-state. However, I’ve found the city/state business and tax reps to be incredibly helpful. I’ve called and emailed them with various questions and they’ve always been helpful and responsive. Odds are, you’re not the only one with that question. 2. Come up with a formula for pricing. There are tons of resources out there to help you come up with your own. Whatever you use, make sure you’re payin’ yourself for the work you’re putting in. For me, it was helpful to have some structure to how I was pricing items because it also made me feel validated if someone pushed back on prices (people can be real rude sometimes). 3. Own it. You made it, you built it, be proud of it.

ETC: And finally, most importantly…french fries, or potato chips?
Sarah: Gotta get that potato chip crunch.
Jimi: DEFINITELY French fries.


And now that you’ve heard a little about them, here’s a look at their work!

463271510

Thanks so much, Jimi and Sarah, for sharing your crafty world with us! To see more of The Dear Fox’s pieces for sale, check them out on Instagram or Etsy.

Are You Willing to Hike?

Hiking

I had a moment with the Lord today, on Pinterest of all places.

I was looking through my friend Jordan King’s boards, and since I was in a particularly wanderlust-y mood, I went to her ‘Adventure’ board. As I scrolled, something about the photo above caught my eye, so I stopped and clicked on it. As I looked at it more closely, a quiet, whispered thought filled my head:

“Some of the most beautiful places in the world can’t be seen unless you hike to them.”

Whoa. What?

Let’s just clarify now that I know absolutely nothing about hiking. And up to this point, I really haven’t had any desire to learn anything about hiking. I’ve heard enough stories (including the one about Daniel’s four-day, rain-soaked, 40-pound-pack nightmare on Eagle Rock Loop) to know that trekking uphill for hours on end doesn’t sound quite like my cup of tea.

But for some reason, I couldn’t take my eyes away from this picture.

Who knows when that photo was taken? It could have been right as he reached his destination, or it could have been before he even started his journey. But regardless, it’s obvious that he is ready to work. He’s got the boots, the pack, the poles – he knows this is going to be more than a leisurely stroll. He’s prepared. And he’s willing to put in the time and effort because he knows what’s coming at the end.

“Some of the most beautiful places in the world can’t be seen unless you hike to them.”

It has always amazed me that God has the ability to speak with a still, small, quiet voice, and yet it has the impact of a strong, powerful, roaring voice that you can’t ignore. I stared at the mountains, the river, the rocks – dumbfounded. How many beautiful places have I never seen because I haven’t WANTED to hike to them? A simple thought, but a dagger to the heart.

How many times had I given up on something because it just felt too hard to do?

How many times had I not even attempted something because it sounded like too much work?

How many times had I been unwilling to put in the effort for something I knew would be beneficial in the long run?

It’s no secret that I struggle with self-discipline, especially when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but this truth bomb really hurt. Genuinely mature adults are willing to not only work, but work HARD, and they don’t make excuses like ‘I just don’t want to’ and ‘That’s just how I am’. 1 Corinthians 13:11 really drives this point home: “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” Did you catch it? That action verb, gave. Maturity didn’t simply happen naturally. A decision was made to give up childish ways. We aren’t doomed to stay exactly the way we are for the rest of our lives, but we can’t just sit around and wait for magic lightning to strike us and make us grow up. True adults recognize that their actions affect people they love, and they take responsibility for figuring out what parts of their character are ugly, lazy, or immature, and then learn how to fix them.

But isn’t that exactly how life is supposed to be? Why are we so surprised when something requires work from us? After all, pretty much everything good in life comes as a result of a lot of time and effort:

A thriving family.
Publishing a book.
Building a house.
A healthy marriage.
Good eating habits.
Exercising consistently.
Starting a business.
A flourishing church.
Lasting friendships.

None of these things happen without a lot of perseverance and commitment, and they will always require a sacrifice of self – your time, money, energy, emotion, and preferences. All truly good things will cost you something. Maturity means deciding that those ‘good things’ are worth the hike.

Pinterest and Jesus never cease to inspire me. ♥

Note to Self: Do More of This

do more

I have a confession to make. I have a huge girl crush on Caroline Joy Rector of Unfancy. Her approach to personal style, a minimalist wardrobe, and shopping smart is #GOALS, and I spent probably a week straight binge-ing on her blog posts and Pinterest boards. In particular, the aesthetic and concept of her Pinterest board called “LIFE / do more of this” really inspired me, and I decided to come up with my own list of things to do more of.

A few days ago, I read a really interesting post about JOMO vs. FOMO – the JOY of missing out, rather than the FEAR of missing out. I have been feeling especially addicted to technology lately, and I’m about two steps away from getting rid of social media for awhile. I don’t want to spend my life posting and scrolling and judging and comparing. When I thought about creating this list, I made a point of picking things that get me away from a screen and into really enjoying my life instead. I encourage you to do the same!

friends.

Backyard dinner parties.

Social media breaks.

The Prettiest Road Trip in the Pacific Northwest | Seattle Met

Road trips.

Simplify my home.

fall farmers market

Farmer’s Markets.

♥︎→  #fashionphotographer #fashionphotography #trendy #womensfashion #fashiondesigner #couture #trends #fashionindustry #mua #makeupforever

Laugh with friends.

You don't have to match to take a good picture.

Downtown dates.

18 Embroidery Instagram Feeds to Follow – Design*Sponge

Make something.

Dream about the future.


What would you add to the list?

Community and Why You Need It

052F107C-0FB2-4AE8-89EA-89D48513CB1B

WHY YOU NEED COMMUNITY:

You need people to have fun with and to laugh with.

You need people who love you enough to speak the truth to you and challenge you.

You need people to encourage and support you.

You need people to remind you of God’s fierce love and grace when you forget it.

You need people to hold you accountable.

You need people smarter than you who can offer wisdom and advice.

You need people to lean on when you’re struggling.

You need people to celebrate with you AND cry with you.

You need people who are good at the things you’re bad at so you can learn from them.

You need people to serve alongside because there’s way too much work for just one person to try to do alone.

And guess what else? Other people need you, too! God created every single person with talents, abilities, insights, and gifts, and His intent is that we would use them to build up others. The church has so much to gain from you investing in your community and blessing others through your strengths.

E585CFA0-ACA6-4126-BF2F-C52BA8AFA9E6

From the very beginning, God designed humans for connection. In the book of Genesis, Adam was tasked with naming and caring for every animal in the garden, and it probably didn’t take long before he realized something was missing.

“Boy elephant, girl elephant. Boy lion…girl lion. Boy giraffe…………girl giraffe……………….hang on a second……..”

Every creature in the garden had a mate, except for him. But God already had a plan for that, because He knew that it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone. Adam needed a partner, a family, a community. And just like him, we were never meant to do life alone either. You might try really hard to push everyone away and survive as a lone wolf, but the deep-down truth is that you need people. We all need a group of someones to be OUR PEOPLE.

I sincerely hope you have people like mine. ♥♥

F3158E0F-2ADE-4D6F-9685-EFE608283488

The best is yet to come.

542F0DF9-D03D-4E2B-B1E9-674894A243138A3BA3C5-C4CD-4397-A458-23CF9A65C87464076A7F-46D0-4E08-A20E-57DC49E709FEBCBF2D29-21AF-44A0-B7B7-D91902DCA4FB1CD79EDF-B11C-4260-8F8A-9A22A8474D3356693E5D-F9B5-46D9-9748-729E6B669261

On my sister’s phone.

Walking through Target.

Listening to a radio show.

Scrolling on Pinterest.

In the mail.

Think God might be trying to tell me something? ♥


“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 1:6b

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” — Isaiah 43:19

“[The righteous man] is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid.” — Psalm 112:7-8a

“And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.” — Isaiah 32:17-18

When God Answers Everyone’s Prayer But Yours

Laura&Daniel-59

Have you ever spent much time in a doctor’s office waiting room? It’s a simple enough place, but it’s full of expectation. You walk in, fill out paperwork, take a strategically-chosen seat that’s a safe distance away from the guy with the hacking cough and the woman with the cranky kids climbing up and down her legs, pull out your phone to pass the time, and wait. You’re there with a purpose, and so is everyone else. Every single person in that room has the same hope: that when the door opens, they’ll hear their name.

When the door opens, everyone looks up with anticipation.

The nurse calls a name.

It’s not yours.

“It’s okay,” you tell yourself. “I haven’t been here for that long. They’ll call me back soon.” 

And you continue to wait semi-patiently as two, three, four more people go in for their appointments. All of them were here before you, and you assume you’ll be next.

But then the door opens again and the nose-blower’s name gets called. Not yours. You’re confused. Haven’t you been waiting longer than him? More names are called. None of them are yours. The waiting room grows emptier, and you’re still waiting.

Now you’re frustrated. “This wasn’t supposed to take this long. When is it going to be my turn??” you wonder. But you’re not really the type to make a scene, and although you are starting to feel forgotten, you know that your name is on the list. So you sit and wait, because that’s all you can do.


Our life is full of metaphorical waiting rooms. Every season presents a new set of crossroads and questions that need answers, like… What do you want to be when you grow up? Where are you going to college? What are you going to major in? What if you realize you hate your major and you want to start over but you have no clue where to start? Where do you want to work? Who are you going to marry? Are you going to have kids? When? How many? What if you can’t have them? What town should you live in? How do you know what your ‘dream job’ is? How much money should you save for retirement?? Is anyone else overwhelmed???

If you’re a Christian, you’ve probably taken at least one of those questions to the Lord in prayer and waited for Him to answer. I have asked all of those questions myself, and it never fails – as soon as I find myself in a season of not-knowing-the-answers and not-moving-forward, I am suddenly surrounded by people who DO seem to know their answers and who ARE moving forward. It’s hard to feel like the only person standing still in a sea of people who are going and doing and knowing.

When we ask God things like “When?” or “How long?”, we hope that His answer will be “Now!” But a lot of times, it isn’t. God operates outside of time, and every single thing He does is done at exactly the right moment. Trying to force God to follow our schedule and demanding an answer from Him by a certain time only leads to our own frustration, because we’re expecting God to behave like a human when He isn’t one. He can’t be manipulated into doing what we want. Waiting on God to answer forces us to slow down, and it’s one of the ways God draws us closer to Him. Choosing to trust Him even though we aren’t sure what’s going to happen next is hard, but that’s the whole point – it’s about putting your faith in God, not in whatever it is you’re waiting for. Waiting is more about experiencing God than simply enduring a delay (paraphrased, written by Wendy Pope in Wait and See).

Here are some practical ways to keep trusting in the Lord when you want to give up:

  1. Nurture an attitude of gratitude. You may have a lot of unanswered questions, but there are a few things we can always be sure of. First of all, you are seen, understood, and loved by God. Second, there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for. Make the intentional choice to focus on those things, rather than spending all of your time thinking about that *one thing* that God hasn’t given you (yet).
  2. Start praying for the other people in your life who are waitingDo you know someone else who is waiting for the same thing you’re waiting for? Take your eyes off of yourself and focus your energy on your friend. Start lifting her up to God in prayer daily, and ask that she would receive her miracle/answer/breakthrough while you’re waiting for yours.
  3. Reframe your situation. Try to stop thinking of yourself as waiting, and just think of yourself as living. Do you really want to spend your entire life on standby? In a constant state of waiting for the next thing to come along? If you have a growing relationship with the Lord, you are already as fulfilled and complete as you’ll ever be on earth, RIGHT NOW. You are not lacking anything, friend. In every season, in every life situation, you can be wholly satisfied in Him. God doesn’t withhold things from us to be cruel. He cares for us and only gives us good things. As we speak, He is working all things together for our benefit, and when we have Him, we already have everything.

You know what else is important? The end of the story. Never, ever, ever forget the end of your story. As believers in Christ, we win! WE WIN! It is guaranteed that we will get our happy ending someday, because the ultimate happy ending isn’t a new job or a spouse or a baby or more money or a cured disease or world peace. The happy ending is spending eternity with Jesus.

Are you waiting for something right now? Do you feel overlooked? Are you starting to lose patience and endurance, wondering just how long you’ll have to keep waiting? I understand, my friend. And you are so incredibly normal. The most important thing for you to remember is this: We are held steady by a God who knows what He is doing. He has not forgotten about you, and He doesn’t run out of blessings. He may be giving that other person a spouse, a new house, or their dream job right now, but that doesn’t mean you accidentally got left off of His list and He won’t have anything left by the time He gets to you.

God loves you, and so do I! ♥

This post was inspired by Kaylie Ragsdale.