They that wait…

The ladies of Full Circle Women’s Fellowship are spending this week meditating on the importance of waiting on God.  Check out the note below, and I pray that this week you receive renewed strength to wait for God’s best in every area of your life.

Scripture Reference: Philippians 4:6 NKJV – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

So, we make our request known.  We receive His peace.  Then what? What do we do next?  We wait!!  It’s no secret that in our culture, the word “wait” is often treated as a dirty 4 letter word.  Not many of us enjoy waiting, and if we’re honest, not many of us do it well.

We aren’t alone.  Apparently waiting on God has always been challenging.  Just take a look at the bible’s account (Genesis 16) of Abraham and Sarah waiting for the son God promised them.  They certainly tried to skirt God’s timing and make their own provisions, did they not?

So we all agree, waiting on God can get pretty tricky sometimes.  I’ve certainly noticed that in my own life, here recently.

This week’s study topic is “Waiting on God”.   Before you get started, take just a moment and fasten your thoughts on one thing you are waiting for in this season – a new home, a dependable car, a better job or a job in general, a spouse, a child, an answer about relocating, salvation and/or deliverance for a loved one, an apology from a friend, etc.

This week, we’re going to take that “thing” and learn how to intentionally and patiently wait for God’s answer, His pre-ordained circumstances, and His best for our lives in this situation!

Click here for some study notes from a teaching delivered by Dr. Charles Stanley on the subject.  The title of the teaching is God Acts on Our Behalf.  Isn’t that wonderful to know?!  That means all you and I have to do now…is just wait.  Leave a comment with that thing you’re waiting for and your thoughts, challenges, AND testimonies regarding waiting on the Lord.  I’ll be sure to pray with for you as you wait!

Waiting on the Lord,

Monica

P.S.  Don’t forget your study guide.  You can click here for a short and sweet (2 page) study tool on waiting on God (God Acts on Our Behalf by Dr. Charles Stanley).  Also, if you’re on Facebook, check out Full Circle Women’s Fellowship – an authentic community of women whose lives are being restored and transformed to God’s original design through committed time of study, prayer, service, relationship and fellowship with one another.

She Speaks Scholarship Contest – Round II

Hi, ladies!  Well, just as I was attempting to get comfy with the idea that I’ll miss the She Speaks Conference YET AGAIN, another opportunity to win a scholarship has presented itself.  This time the scholarship is specifically for Speakers or Aspiring speakers (the latter applying to me) who have not previously attended the conference (also applies to moi).  Sounds like a match, wouldn’t you agree?

Anyway, I thought I’d share with you all the comment I posted as my entry to the contest.  WRITE so that I might get a chance to SPEAK! lol…Yep!  All I had to do to enter was post a comment….well post a comment on about TWENTY-SIX different blogs.  Praise God, the contest does allow you to post the same comment to each blog. Since the winner will be a random selection obviously the more blogs I post on the better my chances of winning.  Logically this makes sense, but I know that God has already decided whether or not I’ll attend the conference this year – contest scholarship or no contest scholarship.  Anyway, check out my “comment” below, and we’ll chat again soon.

As I type this comment, I’m full of pain and sadness for a myriad of reasons.  It appears the Lord is testing me or training me in the areas of loss and long suffering. Testing or training…. Right now I don’t know that one is any better than the other.

I know what the words of Galatians 6:9 read, and I also know, without a doubt, that I’m so close to fainting.

I’m the last person who would ever voluntarily want to speak, but I felt the call to speak to women many years ago. My story, my path toward speaking has been much like yours, Renee. I wrote my first Bible study and led a small group of women through it back in 2008/2009. Looking back, I’ve never been happier than I was during the time I did this.

Just days ago I sat with a friend who was preparing to bury her father. She was a member of that small group in 08. She told me I have no idea how much she talks about and references our nine months together. Listening to her speak of how God used me (a flawed leader and wannabe speaker) and the lessons I penned out of the depths of my own life to impact her life even during this time of loss and pain somehow refueled my desire to speak, teach, and lead women. Somehow…in the midst of my own pain the ministry of my heart took on a face. It became real.

I’ve entered a previous scholarship contest for this conference. When I didn’t make the winners circle I chalked it up as another loss and God moving me away from my quest for validation. I’ve wanted to attend the conference for at least the past 6 or 7 years. At the end of the day, I believe I’m just thirsty to be around other women who share my passion for pouring into the lives of our sisters. I saw the announcement for the scholarship for writers, and although writing is a large part of my calling, today out of the abundance of my heart my mouth wants to speak.

I realize the winner will be randomly chosen, but I know God already knows the outcome. Maybe it truly isn’t for me to attend this year, but I won’t stop until the conference doors open and I do or do not walk through. Then and only then will I know God’s perfect will. In the meantime, I’ll continue striving to speak.

Did You Hear That?

There’s a scent in my nostrils.  No, it’s not the lingering aroma of the infamous shrimp and wild rice dish my father prepared earlier.  Actually, I believe it’s more of a stench, and the stench appears to be coming from me.  Uh oh…

Recently, I’ve learned that sometimes I can be quite imbalanced – carrying a bit too much of “me” and not quite enough of “you”.  Girlfriends, that’s a cute way of saying that I can just be downright selfish.  There!  I said it!  Sadly, my sisters, I am often a bit rusty when it comes to hearing the needs of others, especially the unspoken needs.

A good servant has ears that are tuned to the spoken as well as the unspoken needs of those around her.  She’s not a mind reader, but she is a discerner.  How on earth do I think I can live, lead, or love like Jesus if I’m not a good servant?  On a more practical level, how on earth do I expect to be fruitful in everyday relationship if I’m not a good servant?

Lately, I’ve been learning some very valuable lessons about discerning the needs of those closest to me.

I’m learning that I have often found it easier to serve my church than to serve those under my own roof or in my inner circle.  For me the difference is simple.  Organized service is usually directed service.  The organization expresses its need(s).  I fill the need(s) according to my gifts.  All is well.  However, those closest to me aren’t always as good at this level of articulation.

This year, my friends went far above and beyond the call of duty to make my birthday (earlier this month) the most special birthday I can remember.  Seriously ladies, I’m a HUGE birthday girl, and trust me, 38 was “exceeding, abundantly above all” (Ephesians 3:20) that I could have asked for or dreamt of!  The events of the day made it obvious that someone listened closely to my spoken words over time and remarkably discerned my unspoken needs for this birthday, as well.

Sadly, somehow in the midst of the “all about me” birthday festivities I missed a few (yes I said a “few”) valuable opportunities to discern the unspoken needs of a friend during a critical time of transition.  The revelation weighs heavy on my heart today, and this is already serving as a growth opportunity I won’t soon forget.

It’s confession time again.  As an unmarried woman with no children, countless years of self-dedication have made my servant ears become a bit rusty when it comes to discerning the unspoken needs of those around me, and I have missed valuable opportunities to meet those needs.  I learned that pretty quickly recently, and I must say the stench of my misstep could send a skunk to shield his nostrils.

As always we look to Christ as our example.  Because of who He was, it could have been all about Him all the time, but it never was, was it?  He was always in tune with the needs of others.  Since we are not the picture of perfection that He was, we will continue to miss some opportunities to serve the unspoken needs of those around us.  However, today we can ask the Lord to transform our hearts and tune our ears to hear the spoken AND to discern the unspoken needs of others.  And then, let’s promise to act.  Will you join me in making this request?

UPDATE: She Speaks Scholarship Contest

The “ballots” have been cast and the votes have been tallied.  The winners were announced on my birthday.  Sadly, this time the winners circle for the She Speaks Scholarship Contest does not include a seat with my name on it.  Say it with me now:  “Awwwww…”  LOL!  If you’d like to see who did make it into the winners circle, click here.

Just to bring everyone up to speed, a few weeks ago I posted an update to this blog regarding the She Speaks Conference for Speakers, Writers and Women’s Ministry Leaders, sponsored by Proverbs 31 Ministries.  The post was an entry to a scholarship contest, vying for a chance to win a full ride (minus the actual ride – transportation to get there) to the conference.  If you’re interested in reading that post, just click here.

For the past 6 or 7 years, I’ve been trying to make my way to North Carolina to attend this annual conference.  However, either I haven’t been trying hard enough or God seems to have a different opinion on my “need” to attend.

Am I disappointed?  Wellllll…..to be honest I am not.  Sure, on the day the winners were announced, I tore open my email hoping to see my name on the list.  However, this obviously was not God’s will for me.  The word of God promises that He will not withhold anything good from us (Psalm 84:11).  So why does attending this great event continue to seemingly elude me?

SEE CONFESSION BELOW

Confession:  Ok,so I can sometimes act as if I’m a little obsessed with training.  I have a history of believing I must be trained by some expert, mentor, conference, class, school, online course, OR SOMETHING in order to effectively do what I KNOW God has assigned me to do.  Now don’t get me wrong.  All of these people/things are PHENOMENAL!  (If they weren’t, I wouldn’t always be trying to find one, register for one, get to one, etc. LOL!)  But the lesson I’ve learned is that if God said for you to do it, just do it!  Step out.  Put one foot in front of the other, and just start walking.

The Full Circle Women’s Fellowship Facebook page was “up” for MONTHS before the women there (or here, depending on where you’re reading this) were EVER invited to join.  Seriously….  Each and every day, without fail, I’d go to the page and just look at it, dreaming of the day when women would fill the circle and fellowship would begin to take place.  I kept waiting for training, waiting for someone to tell me what to do or how to do it, even waiting for someone to tell me it was the right way to go or a great place to start.  Well guess what my friends, it never happened.  In the meantime, as I was waiting, I was ignoring a very special friend of mine.

You see, as a believer in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I have a very special mentor.  He is ALWAYS with me.  His calendar is never full, so He ALWAYS has time for me.  His conferences are one on one, and the fee??  Forget about it!!  They’re paid in full each and every time.  All I have to do is call Him.  I’ll admit, sometimes I get His direction a bit twisted.  Sometimes I don’t follow directions at all!! Shhhh….LOL!  Yet, He remains so patient.  He’s faithful to guide me to the right path, as a good mentor would, by any means necessary it often seems!  And He’s pretty darn smart, too!  LOL…  Oh He’s just so beautiful to me!

I absolutely adore the Holy Spirit!

I didn’t win this time, but I’m going to keep it moving.  So that means I won’t get to go to the conference YET AGAIN, but I’m sure I’ll be ok.  Sure I’d LOVE to meet Lysa TerKeurst (Her blog posts are just CRAZY funny! I love her writing style!).  I’d love to be mentored by someone like her, but maybe now isn’t the time.  Sometimes, when you’re like me, I believe the Lord will withhold the very thing you think you need so you will realize you already have everything you need with the Spirit of the Lord within you.

So, I’m going to keep telling myself the same thing I just sent in a text message to a dear friend of mine who’s, also, trying to walk out God’s assignment for her life.  “You can do it girl.  Left, right, left – one foot in front of the other.” 🙂  For now it’s just me and the Holy Spirit.  If I stay in line, I think we’ll probably manage pretty o.k.

P.S.  One Monday morning while glaring at an unpublished Facebook page, it was my Friend, the Holy Spirit, who encouraged me to “just click publish”!  Isn’t that cool!  One foot in front of the other…

To learn more about Him check out John 14 and 1 Corinthians 2

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