Waiting, Hoping, Seeking

The kitchen is covered in flour and the kids are snitching bites every time they think I’m not looking. We are rolling out Auntie Karen’s sugar cookie dough and cutting out Christmas trees and teddy bears, because it’s 2020 and tonight we do not have a party or a concert or even church to prepare for tomorrow. Sometimes, in the middle of the garbage, we find a gift. 

It is my personality to look for the good in things, to generally have an optimistic view of the world. I work very hard to see what God must be doing when everything feels dark, because I truly believe He is at work, and because I need to be able to hope. As I write these blog posts every day I sometimes worry that they are not touching the depth of sorrow, frustration, and anger many of us are experiencing in this hard year. I worry that readers will think I’m tying too neat and pretty a bow on everything, like some kind of blogging Pollyanna. 

I have walked through dark valleys and deep shadows in my life. There have been seasons when I truly have not been able to see any spark of light, when I have doubted God’s love for me, when I have felt every day like just looking up was too much. God has faithfully brought me through every one of those times– not because I’m special, not in my timing, and never by any means I would have expected, because His ways are not our ways. But He has brought me through, up and out, and those experiences have shown me that there is always hope. 

This is what I want you to know– the words I post here aren’t just words. I am not perfect, but God has done good things in my life. When I say that you can trust Him through times of sorrow and waiting, when I say that He brings joy and strength as we wait, it is because He has done this for me. I believe we are waiting for good things, and that God gives good things to us even in the waiting. 

I believe that giggles and misshapen star cookies and Christmas music on a Saturday night in December are a gift that we would not have received without cancellations and changed plans and frustrations. I believe that God never fails to give us good gifts, if we will have the courage to wait for them, to look for them, and to keep giving thanks for them. 

The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
    to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.

It is good that we wait. It is good that we welcome and recognize the blessings that come as we wait. 

It is good to clean flour off every surface in the kitchen and off your hands, too. 

It is good to wait for the timer to beep, for the cookies to cool, for that first taste of sugar cookie sweetness. 

It is good to keep on waiting and to keep on seeking Him morning by morning. 

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”

Father God, give us the faith we need to keep looking up toward you, even in darkness. Give us the strength we need to get up in the morning seeking your mercies, for You are a faithful God, and you do good to those who wait for you. Help our unbelief, and lift us up when we are too weak to stand

Don’t give up. God is with us.

Joy in the Waiting

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Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous!
    Praise befits the upright.
Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre;
    make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!
Sing to him a new song;
    play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

Joy is a word we associate with Christmas. We sing “Joy to the World” and we buy pillows and wall hangings and doodads that say “Joy” on them. We know that the angels brought “Good tidings of great joy” for all people. And so, when December rolls around, we crave joy, maybe more than at any other time of year. 

We just want it to be happy. We want to have fun, to bake cookies and sing carols and wrap presents and for everything to have that glow around it that shows up in Hallmark movies and Folgers commercials. We feel like if we’re not happy at Christmas, we must be doing something wrong, and so we work harder and harder to make everything merry and jolly. 

But let’s be honest here. Even in the best years it’s not all comfort and joy. And in 2020, it can feel even less comfortable and joyful. It feels like joy might be a pipe dream, like the best we can hope for is “Christmas wasn’t as bad as I expected.”

Psalm 33 starts out with the words I shared above– a call to joyful praise, for new songs and thanksgiving and loud beautiful music to God. We look at that and think that these were happy people in happy times singing happy songs, and I think our natural first response is well, that’s fine for them, but they weren’t living through this dumpster fire of a year. But the Psalmist isn’t calling us to praise God for our circumstances. He is calling us to joyful praise because of the character and acts of God. And you know what? That never changes. Look at the next several verses: 

For the word of the Lord is upright,
    and all his work is done in faithfulness.
He loves righteousness and justice;
    the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
    and by the breath of his mouth all their host . . . 

Let all the earth fear the Lord;
    let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
For he spoke, and it came to be;
    he commanded, and it stood firm.

The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
    he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
    the plans of his heart to all generations . . .

The Lord looks down from heaven;
    he sees all the children of man;
from where he sits enthroned he looks out
    on all the inhabitants of the earth,
he who fashions the hearts of them all
    and observes all their deeds . . . 

Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
    on those who hope in his steadfast love,
that he may deliver their soul from death
    and keep them alive in famine.

The Psalmist invites us to praise God with joy because of who God is and how He cares for His people. He reminds us how much our Maker loves us, and what He is able to do for those who fear Him, trust Him, and hope in Him. 

I know this, and you know this. But sometimes we need the reminder. God does not change. His care for us is everlasting, holy, faithful, and miraculous. It is joy-inducing. God gives us reasons to hope, reasons to wait, and He pours out His steadfast love in our lives even in the times of waiting that seem to never end. 

Our soul waits for the Lord;
    he is our help and our shield.
For our heart is glad in him,
    because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
    even as we hope in you.

Look up today with joy, my friend. Your God’s steadfast love is upon you even in the times of waiting and hoping. None who wait for Him will be put to shame. 

Lord God, the problems and heartaches of this world are very real, but your steadfast love is a source of joy for me in every season. Help me today to wait for You with joy because of who You are and what You have done. You are life, O God, and in You I find hope and joy and the wonder of Christmas. 

Today, turn up some joyful music and sing and worship God loudly (even if you’re a little off-key). Refuse to wait for things to be okay. Praise Him because He is God, even when things are not okay.

Turning Dread into Joyful Waiting

As I’ve been reading through different passages about waiting, I’ve noticed some themes that keep popping up again and again. I guess that makes sense. Times of waiting tend to have some things in common, things like fear, uncertainty, doubt, and change. The Psalms that talk about waiting talk about enemies and attacks, about the injustice of the world, about challenges that made the Psalmists feel broken, defeated, and afraid. All of this feels pretty familiar. 

I talked the other day about how waiting for a good thing can actually add to the joy of that experience. I’m sure that all of us know from experience that waiting for something bad can add to the negativity of that thing, often making it far worse than it would have been otherwise. Joyful expectation is a lovely kind of waiting, but dread is another, less fun kind of waiting. And I think that dread is what a lot of us have been feeling this year.

Back in March, when we first went into lockdown, I started having what I call stress dreams. You know the kind– you can’t find your pants, you’re naked at the bus stop, whatever. For me stress dreams generally involve a very important task that I really need to do but that, no matter what I try, I can’t accomplish. Before 2020 stress dreams only happened for me occasionally, but this year I’ve been having them pretty regularly. The weirdest thing is that I have them even when I’m not feeling particularly stressed, even when I think I’m dealing with all the change and uncertainty and challenges with equanimity. Whatever part of my brain makes dreams is like, nope, you’re not really as okay as you think you are, and to prove it, here’s a dream where you can’t figure out how to make the disinfectant cleaner you need to wipe up the blowout your child just had in public. 

This low-level anxiety, this dread that I’ve been dealing with most of the year, is one of the things that led me to start writing here about waiting. Because while the deep recesses of my mind seem to be waiting for something terrible to happen, the part of my brain that is under my conscious control needs to wait for something good. And that’s exactly what Advent offers– a chance to sit with the waiting, knowing that what is coming– who is coming– is good. 

For God alone my soul waits in silence, 
for my hope is from him.

He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken. 

On God rests my salvation and my glory; 
my mighty rock, my refuge is God. 

I can’t seem to control what my brain does while I sleep, but I can definitely control what I choose to set my mind on when I’m awake. I am waiting for my faithful God who has proven Himself again and again in my life. I am waiting for the God who brings together virgins and carpenters, shepherds and angels, glory and humility, heaven’s throne and a small town manger and creates the most beautiful, holy story. I am waiting for the God who lit up nothingness with light, who lit up Bethlehem with angel glory, who is light in the darkness of a sinful world, the darkness of a year that leaves us full of dread.  

I have someone good to wait for, someone to turn my eyes to when the temptation is to just grit my teeth and wait for whatever bad thing is going to come next. My hope is in Him, and on Him rests my salvation. 

Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him; 
God is a refuge for us. 

If you find yourself constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop, I encourage you today to pour out your heart before God and determine to wait for Him instead. He is a refuge for His people. 

Lord God, You are able to do so much more than we even think to ask. Take all our dread and anxiety and turn it into hopeful expectation as we wait for You. You are everything we need, and You are God With Us. 

What can you do today to turn your thoughts away from your fears and onto the One worth waiting for?

Waiting as Creation Groans

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2020 has been, for me, a year of fresh reminders that my body is affected by sin and death. In January I had foot surgery to correct a bunion, and when I went in for my final checkup in June the x-ray revealed that the bone hadn’t healed properly. On July 1 I went in for a second surgery. I spent the entire month of July and bits and pieces of August in a boot as my foot healed. And in October I started experiencing knee pain. I also realized that my post-surgical right foot and leg were really weak and unbalanced. I had an MRI on the knee and scheduled physical therapy, only to come down with covid in November and have to reschedule everything. 

The point is this– I am now enjoying physical therapy on my right foot, ankle, and calf, to correct the muscle issues that were caused by wearing a boot for so long, and soon I get to start physical therapy for my knee to make sure I’m treating it well and not doing anything to further damage it. Y’all, I’m falling apart. On my best days I have an incurable, chronic disease that is under good control. On my worst days I limp, cough, and have trouble gripping a pen. This is just how it is. I am part of a creation that groans for redemption. 

I thought today we’d jump to the New Testament, because as I was looking over my list of verses that have to do with waiting, Romans 8 stuck out to me. Romans 8 is quite possibly my favorite chapter in the New Testament, partly because it includes the verse that inspired the title of this blog, and partly because it overflows with good truth. 

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 

There is so much here, but just stop and look at that first sentence. Whatever suffering we’re experiencing right now, it is nothing compared to what waits for us. This is the beautiful truth of the advent season. All the years of silence Israel endured were nothing compared to the glory brought forth in that humble stable in Bethlehem. And all the fear, sorrow, loss, and pain of this year and this life are truly nothing in the light of the glory we will one day see when we look at our Savior’s face. 

Creation groans. The earth quakes, fires rage, hurricanes blow, and viruses become pandemic. Weeds proliferate in our gardens, droughts parch the fields, floods wash away whole towns. Scripture promises that all this groaning– like the pains of childbirth– will not be in vain. We wait eagerly for the promises God has given us– our adoption and the redemption of our bodies. This is our hope, and if we truly believe that God is going to make all things right, we discover that we can wait patiently for it. That’s what verses 24-25 say:

For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

We can wait with patience, because we hope for something promised by a faithful God. We hope together, longing with all creation, for the wonders God has for us. And someday, when we see Him face to face, all of this will seem like nothing, because we will finally learn that He is everything. 

Truly, truly, He is worth waiting for. 

Lord God, all creation groans as we wait for redemption, and I groan right along with it. We are so burdened by sin and the brokenness of the world around us. It is hard to hold onto hope that we cannot see. Help our unbelief and help us to wait patiently for the blessed hope of glory we have in Christ. Amen.

What is making you groan today? You are not alone in your longing for all things to be made right. Hope in the Lord, my friend, and wait patiently, for He never fails. 

Courage in Waiting

My sister Laura and I on Christmas morning. My parents would make us wait while they tormented us by taking a thousand years to take out the dog, make coffee, turn on the Christmas lights, and probably smooch before they let us come downstairs to see the Christmas tree. That look on our faces is because on this particular year, a surprise gift had made our Christmas much bigger than we had expected it to be, and the presents were overflowing from the tree. As much as the wait was torture, apparently my parents were pretty smart, because the waiting is one of the sweetest, most vivid memories of my childhood.

Today is my birthday. Today I turn forty-two, which means that, according to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, for the next 365 days I will be the answer to life, the universe, and everything. If you ask my kids, they’ll probably tell you that if that’s the case then the answer is probably “no.” 

I remember waiting for my birthday when I was a kid. Somewhere there is a picture of me, circa 1988, complete with red sweater vest and mullet, sitting on the couch in our living room, waiting for my birthday party to begin. I would get so excited about cake! and ice cream! and PRESENTS! It always felt like the world should stop for my birthday; I shouldn’t have to go to school or make my bed or do any of that normal stuff. Unfortunately, the world is not like that, and the older I get, the less it’s like that. This year, in celebration of my birthday, I get to have a shot in my knee and go to work for the first time in three weeks. I might wear a birthday hat to work though. 

I was reading in Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project that studies show that anticipating something exciting actually adds a great deal to our happiness when we remember that event. And I think it might be right, because honestly, so many of my joyful memories center around that feeling of joyful anticipation and jump-out-of-your-skin excitement I had before Christmas and my birthday when I was a kid. For many of those times, I remember the waiting more than I remember the actual event. And I think there’s a lesson we can learn from this. 

We make a mistake when we view waiting as a long blank stretch between one event and another. God wants to use these times of waiting in our lives. We might feel like we’re in a holding pattern, but God is never not at work. 

In Psalm 27, David writes about his experience during a difficult time when it felt like his enemies were going to destroy him. He reminds himself of the truth– that God is his light, his salvation, his refuge, and his reason for confidence. Like yesterday’s Psalm, this chapter is full of beautiful words and I highly recommend you take the time to read the whole thing, but for today we’ll zoom in on the last two verses:

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living!

Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord!

David was waiting for more than just a far-off heavenly experience of God’s goodness. He believed he would see God’s goodness in his daily life, in the land of the living. Sometimes we seem to think that the only thing we have in our faith is a dream of heaven someday. But Jesus didn’t just come to give us eternal life; He came to give us abundant life. Good things, overflowing our lives, even when everything seems to be falling apart, even when we’re weary, even in times of waiting. 

Even in 2020.

David looked to God with joyful hope and expectation that God was going to do something good. And friends, we can do that too. We have hope of heaven, but we also have hope for today. We have hope that as we wait God is orchestrating goodness for us. We have hope that the one thing our hearts most deeply need– to dwell in the presence of God and gaze upon His beauty (see verse 4) has been granted to us by Jesus, who is our Way. 

Today, let’s wait with strength and courage, because the God we’re waiting for is a good God who plans what is good for His beloved people. Let’s wait with strength and courage because God makes these times of expectation into times of growth and good things. He is the God of streams in the desert, the God who brings beauty from ashes and life from death. 

Always, always, He is worth waiting for. Be strong. 

Our Father, we are so impatient. We forget that you weave these times of waiting into our lives as a beautiful and important part of our story. Help us to wait with expectation of your goodness today, in the land of the living, and to wait with courage and strength. You are our light and our salvation, so that we never need to be afraid

Has fear become a regular part of your life this year? How could focusing on the goodness of God in your life help you to wait with courage?

Waiting for the One Who Leads Us

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What should we do now? 

Should we let the kids go to in-person school or should we do online classes?

Should we cancel that event? 

How can we reach out to people who are hurting? 

Should we travel? 

How can I help my children through all these ups and downs?

How can I glorify God with my vote?

How can I be content in the difficulties and pain of this year?

It can’t just be me, daily crying out to God for wisdom, for light on my path, trying to see my way forward when everything seems dark and foggy and scary. Many days this year I have felt like I am walking on a tightrope in the dark after drinking Nyquil and being spun around several times. How can I possibly press on when I can’t even walk in a straight line? 

In the midst of this, we come to Psalm 25, which I came across once again in my daily reading of the Psalms. I’m always amazed how different portions of different chapters stick out to me as I read God’s Word in different seasons, and this time I feel like the whole Psalm is just so very precious. Look at verses four through ten:

Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
    teach me your paths.

Lead me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are the God of my salvation;
    for you I wait all the day long.

Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love,
    for they have been from of old.

Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
    according to your steadfast love remember me,
    for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!

Good and upright is the Lord;
    therefore he instructs sinners in the way.

He leads the humble in what is right,
    and teaches the humble his way.

All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
    for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

David was determined to wait on God, and because he faithfully waited he knew God would rescue him and lead him. Friends, God has not changed. David walked through difficult times, and so do we. David waited on God and experienced His goodness, steadfast love, mercy, and forgiveness; we can expect these same things as we wait on the God who will never put us to shame. Because of His goodness He leads us and teaches us His way. Oh friends, what comfort it is to know that all the paths of our God are steadfast love and faithfulness.

Even the path that seems like a tightrope. 

Even the path that leads through the valley of the shadow of death. 

Even the path that heads straight up a sheer cliff face, or right across the waters of a stormy sea. 

We are not walking this path alone, even if we are stuck in isolation. We are not waiting for someone who does not know how to lead us with love, to meet our needs, to teach us exactly what we need to know right when we need to know it. 

Today, as we press into the discomfort and even fear that can come from waiting, let’s take delight in the truth that the God we’re waiting for is more than able to guide us, to lead us, and to meet every need, for every moment of every day. 

He is the God of our salvation who promises that we will not be put to shame. He is God With Us even as we wait on Him. Take your next step forward, trusting that He will lead you in His faithful path. 

Lord God, the world seems really dark and confusing. We long for the Light of the World to lead us. Teach us to wait, to trust, and to walk in obedience as you teach us your good way. 

What step of obedience is God leading you to take today? Whether it is a tiny tiptoe forward or a giant leap of faith, do not be afraid, for all God’s ways are steadfast love and faithfulness.

What We’re Waiting For

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A bride left at the altar. A child who just opened a package of underwear for Christmas. Thanksgiving dinner ruined when the turkey catches on fire. Sometimes we wait for something and are let down. We wait with such expectation, only to find that what we were waiting for does not happen at all . . . or is not as wonderful as we had anticipated. 

If there was ever a year that failed to meet our joyful expectations, it’s been this year. Remember all those optimistic resolutions on January 1st? Remember how this was going to be our year?

I remember telling my husband back in the spring that we should plan a special Easter service at church once quarantine was over. And now it’s Christmastime and we’re debating if there’s anything special we can do for Christmas without putting lives in danger. Reality has not been anything like my expectations, and the thing I was waiting for in March I still am waiting for in November. 

I think all of us are guilty sometimes of putting our hope in the wrong thing, of waiting with great expectation for the thing we think will bring us joy. And when reality strikes, when life or people or circumstances let us down, our natural response is generally negative– anger, sadness, embarrassment, even shame. And so that’s why I want to encourage you today with the truth that we find in Psalm 25.

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

O my God, in you I trust;

    let me not be put to shame;

    let not my enemies exult over me.

Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame.

As we begin our advent journey together, as we look back at a terrible year and forward to Christmas and new beginnings, I want to remind you what we’re waiting for. We are not waiting for a new calendar with a new date written at the top. We are not waiting for a new President to be sworn in. We are not waiting for a vaccine or for the numbers in our area to go back down. We are not waiting for that far-off dream called “normal life.” 

We’re not waiting for graduation, vacation, immunization, or the end of isolation. 

We are waiting for God. 

We are waiting for the hope that has been promised because God Is With Us. 

We are waiting for the day when He makes all things right. 

And because He is a good God, faithful to keep every promise, trustworthy and unchanging, He is worth waiting for. He will not let us be put to shame in our waiting, and He will meet us even as we wait.

I’m not one who thinks that someday I’ll get to heaven and understand everything. I don’t really think God owes me any explanations for the hard things that have happened in my life, and honestly, I don’t think that when I see His face I’m going to be too worried about these light and momentary afflictions anyway. I’m not waiting for explanations. I’m waiting to see Jesus, to stand in the presence of my God who loves me and gave Himself for me. 

And in this waiting, I will never be put to shame. 

Dear Lord, in our time of waiting we lift up our souls to You. In You alone we trust; help us to wait for You alone, to place all our expectations in You. Let this season of waiting bring us to a place of deeper trust and quiet, enduring hope, for You will never let us be put to shame. Amen.

What are you waiting for today? What if you determined to place all that hope of waiting on your faithful God instead?

An Invitation to Wait

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Once upon a time in 2019, before I had the slightest inkling that 2020 would be 2020 and before the phrase “dumpster fire” had entered my vocabulary, God pressed a word for the year on my heart. I have had words of the year for several years in a row now, some that have been extremely meaningful and some that were forgotten by February. At the end of 2019, as I was thinking through what God was teaching me and what I was hoping for the new year, the word endure was the word that would not leave me alone. 

I remember sharing this word with some friends at Bible study and my dear friend telling me that she was hoping for more than endurance for me, that she was hoping I would thrive. And so was I. But as I looked at what had passed in the year behind me and what I thought was ahead in the year before me, endure really seemed to be what God wanted me to focus on. I determined to keep the word at the front of my mind all year long, and so I looked up some Scriptural references about enduring and ordered some books about spiritual endurance and went into my year with a plan to keep on keeping on. 

My plans– my plans. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about my plans. But one thing I do know– God also had a plan for me in 2020, and that plan included endurance. 

One of the gifts God has given me in the middle of this difficult year has been a growing understanding of what it is to endure and a broadening of my idea of what God wants me to know as a result of living through 2020. I started by highlighting the word endure in my Bible, but soon I had added patience and steadfastness to the concepts I was marking, followed by pressing on and . . . waiting

Waiting. Hasn’t 2020 been a year of waiting for all of us? Waiting to see what comes next, waiting to get out of quarantine, waiting for election results, waiting for test results. Waiting with fear or waiting with hope. Waiting with anger and frustration, with optimism and excitement, with resignation. So much waiting– often capped off by yet more waiting. 

God’s Word talks about waiting as well, about continuing to do the thing that must be done while we wait for something new, something better. But God doesn’t have us waiting for some magic fairy that will make everything better when the ball drops and 2021 begins. God doesn’t have us waiting for a vaccine or a politician or the end of a fourteen day quarantine. 

God wants us to wait for Him. 

And at the end of the calendar year, when we all feel as though our hearts and minds can’t take even another moment of the darkness and fear, God gives us a season of waiting before we celebrate the birth of His Son and the promise of God With Us

Advent was not something my family celebrated when I was a little girl, Baptists not being well-known for our love of the liturgical calendar, but when my daughter was a baby and everything was really hard one year God brought the concept of Advent into my life in a beautiful way. He taught me the gift of waiting, of longing, of desiring Him above all else. He allowed many things to be stripped away that I might learn that He truly is enough. And since then, although we don’t always make a huge deal out of it, I have tried to remember Advent, tried to sit in the waiting and let God prepare me for the joy of Christmas. 

This year many things have been stripped away again. Not the same kinds of things, but I still feel myself floundering as the year comes to a close. One of the dangers of being a pastor’s wife is that your whole identity can become caught up in the ministries of your church. And that has been me– ladies’ ministries, Bible studies, children’s outreach, camp counseling, Christmas programs. But in 2020 none of those things have looked like I expected them to, and many of them have had to be canceled entirely. And that has left me wondering . . . what am I supposed to be doing? 

Yesterday morning God whispered to me that He wants me to wait. He wants this last month of 2020 to be less about pressing through all the busyness that December usually brings and more about sitting with the sorrow and loss, the frustration and confusion, the deep need I have for Him and Him alone. And then He whispered that He wanted me to invite you along for the journey. 

Friends, I know two things. I know that this path begins here, today, at the beginning of the Advent season, and I know that it ends at the manger, with the beautiful hope that God Is With Us. I don’t know the way the path will take. My plan is to daily look at a verse about waiting and to encourage all of us to wait on Him, but of course we all know how my plans tend to work out. So in the end this is just going to be me and you, day by day, taking a step closer to the joy of Christmas– joy that is all the more precious when we must wait for it. 

Will you wait with me? Will you wait like Mary did, daily pressing on through the discomfort and embarrassment of her situation? Will you wait like Joseph did, patiently obeying all God had given him to do? Will you remain steadfast, knowing that God is faithful and His promises are well worth waiting for? 

He is worth waiting for. 
None who wait for You shall be ashamed . . . “

Twenty Years


Twenty Years

by Erin Kilmer

CEREMTwenty years ago today,
It was white lace and pearls,
A black tuxedo and so many flowers,
Two kids promising forever.

Twenty years ago today,
The whole future was at our feet,
And we stepped out hand in hand
With no idea what to expect.

Twenty years ago today,
We promised for better or worse
Without really believing we’d ever face
Anything that was less than best.

Twenty years ago today,
We laughed and cried and sang
And said words that were so much more than words
In front of God and loved ones.

Twenty years ago,
We did.


schnookiesTwenty years later,
It’s stretchy pants and homemade face masks,
Eye doctor appointments and working from home,
Stolen kisses in the kitchen.

Twenty years later,
We have decades behind us,
But we still face the unexpectable future
Hand in hand.

Twenty years later,
We’ve known better and worse–
Gray hair and laugh lines,
Joy and grief, full arms and empty ones.

Twenty years later,
It’s still you and I and the Keeper of the stars–
All my love shared with you, my friend,
Because great is God’s faithfulness.

Twenty years later,
I still do.

Ode to a Teacher


Ode to a Teacher
by Erin Kilmer

(artwork by Gracie)

This ode’s to the teacher who stayed up last night
Worried about a student’s sad plight;
To the teacher who’s tired but giving her best–
Teaching so much more than the test.

This ode’s to the teacher who refuses to quit,
Who faces each moment with courage and grit;
To the teacher who’s learning and doing new things
In the midst of the chaos that each new day brings.

This ode’s to the teacher who loves every child–
The dirty, the brilliant, the quiet, the wild,
The overachiever, the one who flips chairs,
Each child who’s craving somebody who cares.

This ode’s to the teacher, the hero we need,
Whose life has been given to serve and to lead;
For daily your influence is felt in my home,
And so it’s a privilege to write you a poem.