Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. Psalms 27:14

12 years in waiting.

Right out of high school and in my first year of college, I began to hear God speaking a clear message that I was "called to the ministry."

I knew deep in my heart that nothing in this world made me come alive more than teaching others about Jesus love. I completed 2 years of college and then jumped right into a ministry apprenticeship at our church, and began my studies and serving... it was truly where I knew I was meant to be.

After I completed my training, I was hired on staff for what seemed like a dream position- a ministry position of teaching the Bible and training young believers. That was the same year Taka and I were married. Also in the same year we had the biggest SURPRISE of our lives... 3 months after getting married, I became pregnant! Becoming a mother was one of the scariest, but simultaneously the most beautiful calling I had received yet.

Two years in to my dream job, I knew that I needed to step out temporarily to be a mom to my babies. I decided to take a hiatus for family before I would jump back in.

What I didn't account for was that once I stepped out, I might never be able to step back in to the same thing. For a long time. I mean... a really long time. 10 years long.

Over the years, I had gotten shuffled around to a million different positions in the church... working with seniors citizens, admin positions, first impressions, even finance (scary)! All the while serving and waiting patiently that I would get to step back into teaching and mentoring. Waiting for the moment that perfect position would open up. For 12 years that position... never opened back up. I all but gave up on it.

But God had a different agenda for me during that time... character cultivation. I knew that patience was an excellent virtue and somehow God would bring about what He spoke to me years before. But on the inside, I began to hate the term patience. That term evoked a serious anger inside of me!

The thing about patience is that implies waiting for a loooooonnnnnggg time. The reason I hated the word patience was... well, because clearly I wasn't patient, haha! But James just wasn't going to let me off the hook.

James 1:2-4T(VOICE)
2-4 Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line—mature, complete, and wanting nothing.

In all the waiting, I couldn't see that God was using my time of waiting to perfect my situation, and more importantly... me.

In those years, I began to grow new passions. Passions that would have not grown had I not had the chance to see from a different perspective. I couldn't have known them had I been handed the job I'd wanted. It handed me skills and proficiences that I would have never learned, yet I now need for the role I'm entering.

Above all, patience was handing me...bravery.

God was and IS building in me a kind of bravery I didn't know existed... patience. Patience is intensely brave. It's brave, maybe even foolish to believe that God would use the difficult seasons of my life to prepare me for what's to come. Patience prepared me for the fact that dreams don't just drop into your lap, they come along through perservering when no results come, working hard where no one else will, and doing what's right despite recieving no rewards. I call that being BRAVE.

Brave patience is constantly producing a maturity in me that no longer desires anything more that what God wants to give me- a trust that He knows me best, and will give me what's best for ME for that season of life. "...Mature, complete, & wanting nothing..."

It's brave to believe that JOY can come after disappointment. It's brave to believe that joy isn't based on your circumstances. It's brave to believe that God sees and hears and gives dreams, even when they don't happen right away. Just think about King David and how long he waited to become king even after he'd been annointed...15 years. FIFTEEN. YEARS. Friends, If David could do it with a good attitude while being chased and plotted against, so can you and I!!

By the way, I eventually DID get to move away, start a women's minsitry, and am now currently planting a church with my husband! God sees, God knows. But that's a story for another day.

If you find yourself in the waiting today, maybe feeling like your life's purpose will never find you, know that God is with you. He hasn't forgotten you, He's preparing you for what's next... the big and small moments of your everyday and your someday.

May we commit to live each day relying not just on accomplishing dreams and goals, but rather growing in maturity, patience, love, and the character of Jesus. End the of our days, Success will be measured by one thing, and one thing alone- the measure to which I've relied upon God.

In all the waiting, the hoping,& the striving I've finally realized that success is much simpler than achievements, titles, and money. It's simply, bravely, and patiently relying upon God to shape you into the person He wants you to be.

XOXO,
Natalie