Hi friends! Life has really caught up with me this summer – I can’t believe it’s almost September! I was asked a little while ago to speak at my youth group about why I follow Jesus, and what struggles I’ve faced while following Him. I felt a deep need to share the current season I’m in (or rather, stepping out of) with my youth.
One of the largest struggles I’ve faced recently is patience – every one’s nightmare. While I grew up, I was warned about praying for patience. People would say, “oh, you’re going to be tested real hard if you pray for patience” or “why would you ask for something that’s hard?” I followed in the fear of patience because really, why would you intentionally call something hard into your life? I didn’t want to be challenged or make my already hard life, harder. So I avoided praying for patience.
After I began learning more about my relationship with God, and truly living my life for Him, I took those fears, and challenged them. I used my stubbornness to propel me towards the unknown of waiting for God’s call on my life. I began praying for patience in grade 12, and well, God listened. And He delivered.
Events in my life unfolded more and more which tested my patience, and my faith. Friendships failing, relocating for school, job searching, and having a boyfriend all forced me to trust God more. And over and over He would provide for me, rarely in the way that I intended, but in the way I needed.
One of the largest trials I’ve been in throughout my life following Jesus, is patience while I prepared to and eventually moved here – to Oregon. While Zach and I have a unique story that clearly displays the Lord in His awesome character, God tested me in my patience, and more so in my faith.
To make a really long story short, we needed to have the American government involved in our relationship since our proposal, because we are from two different countries (to read more of our story, click here). And from then, I have had this endless waiting game with the government. As a very organized person, it is incredibly hard to surrender all your power and control to the government, let alone another government and wait to let them approve your wants, desires and life. This set me up for a better understanding of submission and faith to God.
It was in this time that I needed to remind myself that God is in control of the government, that the government is on His shoulders (Isaiah 6:9). I could not change the pace of the government nor could I increase my chances of getting approved for documents, I had to send off my papers and trust that this life I was walking down was what God wanted, and ultimately He would make a way for it.
Since I moved here last September, my life has not gotten any easier. Balancing marriage, finding and making a home, meeting friends, and waiting for government paperwork has not been an easy task. I’ve spent many days crying over the confusion, the boredom, the loneliness and the need for familiar food – like Tim Horton’s – and family. My life was flipped upside down when I chose to follow the Lord’s will for me. I didn’t know that accepting a friend request on Facebook to Zach would lead me to moving and standing still in a country for a year. I didn’t know that this is where my faith would ultimately lead me. This past year, I’ve learned a lot, my faith has been challenged in new ways, but most importantly, I witnessed more of God’s provision and character – truly the most rewarding thing.
Most of you don’t know, I was unable to really live independently here – I couldn’t have a driver’s license, have a bank account, have a job, or travel outside the country, without government approval, or government paperwork. I was literally stuck in the USA, unable to “have a life” except be a wife to Zach. This year, God tested me through my patience. He tested me on watching me as I stood still, unable to live a way that I had grown accustom to.
My prayer for patience opened to a year of silence. A year of God pressing the pause button on my life. He didn’t ignore me, but He did make it hard to hear Him. He made it hard for me to live the way I wanted. Which really I needed. I spent days praying and pleading for paperwork, friends, a job, or something to keep me busy. Even in the days while I was desperate for His words, He provided for me. My life didn’t look like how I wanted it to; I thought I could work here shortly after I moved, I thought I could have a best friend in a week and be settled in. But no. Because I prayed for patience, I had to use it. Which ultimately drew me closer to God.
Because of the pause He placed on my life, I could focus more on living a life for Him. Volunteering, serving and being there for my new friends and family. I saw God open doors that wouldn’t have been possible had I been working. Opportunities that needed my patience. I saw Him still moving even though I felt alone, and useless. I saw that God still cared for me, every day as I read my bible and prayed, even though I felt distant. In the patience of this season, I learned more about my need for God than my need to be comfortable. I learned to trust God with outrageous requests and pray without ceasing. I learned that in my patience, my faith grew.
This year, albeit had been one of the hardest, it’s just a season. And a season, I know is closing. It reminds me of the verses in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. Solomon wrote about a season for everything, and through my patience, I got to spend more time in this season of growing closer to God.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
I want to leave you with a few words of encouragement, wherever you find yourself, take courage and pray for patience. Even in the long waits and dry seasons of not hearing God’s voice or seeing a clear direction, He will continue to move you. Patience is hard, but it is a tool that shapes us to be more Christ-like. I think that patience is important to God, because it is in those times we learn more about Him and that He can refine us to become the women and men He designed.
And lastly, in our seasons that seem dry, God cares. In Psalm 23:1-3 it says,
“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, and leads me beside quite waters. He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name sake”
Though I was completely uprooted from my family, my wants, my culture and my nation, I found myself comfortable within the Father. God will keep you safe, and comfort you in the unknown seasons. He will not leave you, but protect you.