Waiting… Quickly

There are several perks to being a teacher: influencing kids’ lives, watching the lightbulb go off when a student finally gets something, and of course SNOW DAYS!

Snow days are never really guaranteed, but always something to anxiously anticipate especially when the local (or national) weatherman has predicted 2-4 inches of snow overnight.

It was a normal day of school, but with this known prediction floating around in the air and according to the radar it looked like there was no way for that snow to pass us; the kids were beyond excited. It was definitely the subject of conversation in the teacher’s lounge as well. We were up for a back-to-back snow storm, so teachers were all trying to figure out if we would be out the rest of the week. It was this big anticipated event. Everyone wasn’t sure exactly when it would arrive, but again, it looked like there was no possibility to miss us.

As it got closer to the end of the school day, more weather predictions were coming out and the snow was supposed to start later that night and continue snowing long into the next morning. With all these predictions, our administration and teachers were very much encouraging the students to take their books home to continue reading over what could be a “snow break.” We were all unsure what the weather was really going to do and how long we would be out of school, and we wanted the students to be prepared to read at home.

Just like usual, school was dismissed. The sun went down. It was very much cold outside. My typical evening continued on with different activities that kept me out pretty late that night; but when I started to wrap the evening up, there still wasn’t snow and it was pretty late into the night.

And just like that…

After anxiously anticipating….

THERE WAS SNOW.

In a matter of minutes, there was a slight dusting of snow that covered the ground.

By the time I drove home, the roads were completely covered. The grass was covered. Everything was white. I always love how snow at night makes everything look brighter. It’s just a beautiful thing to me and it all happened quickly!

The snow that was anxiously anticipated, finally showed up!

When I got home, I was pretty certain school was going to be cancelled; so I decided to make a cup of decaf coffee, go outside on my balcony, and watch it snow. I was challenged in a book I had been reading to go outside for 10 minutes (no matter the season) just to appreciate God’s work. With it snowing, it seemed like the perfect time–I figured I could bare 10 minutes in the cold.

Little did I know that God was going to speak so clearly and so loudly even though the night was so quiet.

It started by God reminding me of the day I had just had. He reminded me of the anticipation of the snow that was coming. Then He started to remind me of the things I had been reading in my quiet time.

Prior to the snow, I had just finished studying the life of Joseph in Genesis. I don’t know if you know much about Joseph, but he was the “favorite” child of his dad according to his 11 brothers. Joseph also received a dream from God that he would rule over his brothers (Genesis 37:6-7) and of course Joseph could not keep this to himself. He told his brothers, and needless to say, they were not a fan. Later, Joseph was sold to Ishmaelites by his brothers (Genesis 37:25-28), the Ishmaelites sold him to Potiphar (Genesis 39:1), and Potiphar’s wife lied, which put Joseph in prison (Genesis 39:19-20). While in prison, the Lord was with Joseph, just like He had always been with Joseph. This allowed Joseph to accurately interpret dreams for some of Pharaoh’s workers (Genesis 40). After interpreting their dreams, Joseph asked that they remember him in hopes that one day he would be out of prison. Needless to say, Joseph was anxiously awaiting his freedom.
But, when would Joseph be remembered? When would he be released? When would these promises that came from the Lord be fulfilled in his own life?

In essence, Joseph was anxiously awaiting the SNOW! He knew it was coming; he was given all the signs. But he wasn’t sure of the exact moment. All Joseph had to go off was the word he had been given from God.

BUT “after two whole years” Joseph was remembered (Genesis 41:1). I love that! Joseph waited a long time to be remembered.

AND “then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they quickly brought him out of the pit. And when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came in before Pharaoh” (Genesis 41:14, emphasis mine).

Did yah catch that part? After waiting for so long, it happened quickly!

Just like Joseph was anxiously awaiting to be remembered, my students (and myself) were anxiously anticipating the snow. But in life, we (really me) anxiously wait on something we don’t have yet. However when God says it’s time, things happen quickly.

Once Joseph was remembered, things happened quick! Once that snow started to fall, the ground was covered quick!

When God puts things into motion, literally nothing can get in the way.

It was God’s simple way of telling me, “I still remember you. I know what I have told you. Do you see that snow? I told it to fall. Do you see how fast the snow covered the ground? I, the Lord your God, did that. Yes, you may be anxiously awaiting for my promises to be delivered, but at the appointed time, it will happen quickly. Rachel… I am with you just like I was with Joseph.

That was incredible powerful! I needed that reminder. Standing on my balcony, just wanting to enjoy the snow fall, and God had bigger plans.

God speaks in the everyday. He uses anything and everything to garb our attention. He wants us to firmly believe that what He says He will do, will WITHOUT A DOUBT be done.

There is no one as reliable as our Heavenly Father!

We may not understand why we are waiting, but God sure knows how our our time spent waiting will mold us and shape us–hopefully to become more like Him. Most often, God uses this waiting time as an opportunity to shape us into who we need to become. We just have to be willing to become the person He is making us become.

So in the midst of your waiting, remember Joseph’s story. Remember the snow. Because at the right time, God will move quickly!

Puzzle Peace

Earlier this year, the Lord was teaching me about relationships, specifically family and what it looks like. God taught me He is Lord over my family–blood and church. He is the creator of family and His family includes everyone that belongs to Him even when it’s not an earthly blood line. Sometimes He calls people to give up different things for His name sake or for the gospel. This can be challenging because we want support when following after the Lord. BUT Christ gives us a promise in the last portion of these verses:

Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sister or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time”   Mark 10:29-30

I know the Lord has, is, and will always fulfill what He says, but to see this verse become so apparent over the Christmas season was a beautiful picture in my life.

I spent some time staying with a family in Bowling Green. We laughed. We ate. We enjoyed each other’s company. We played a really long game of Monopoly (I lost to a 4th grader and every body else). We had gospel-centered conversations. We drank coffee. We went shopping. We did my hair. We encouraged. We did puzzles. It was is a family. It was is my “hundredfold now in this time” family.

When Christ says to leave your family in these scriptures, He’s also saying, “I will give you more than you already have if you just follow me with an open heart–clinging to nothing but ME.” Isn’t it beautiful? Christ is promising right now, in this life, a hundredfold of what you already have.

It gets better.

I went to Bowling Green with the intention of rejuvenating my heart for the Lord. It’s all throughout scripture to go to the place you encountered God, so I did. I had just finished the fall semester of teaching to some pretty amazing 8th graders, but I was tired. I was spiritually dry with confusion about what God was doing in desperate need of the Living Water. I went with seeking eyes, looking for answers to my confusion.

I didn’t get answers. I did get a puzzle.

All week at my family’s house, we worked on puzzles. We completed a 550-piece puzzle and we started (they finished later after I left) a 1000-piece puzzle. I had never really sat down to do puzzles, but I found it really relaxing. I remember talking to Amie one night looking for guidance and help trying to find these answers in my life, but what I didn’t know is she gave me the puzzle. God was using this puzzle to give me the answers to my confusion–in other words, the piece I was looking for was actually PEACE.

Earlier in the week, we started with the edges, separated out different colors in the center to work on, and completed large chunks of the puzzle. There was a very blue sky with a lot of trees and branches, a beautiful chapel, some animals, and other things to cause so much confusion when looking for the one piece you needed.

I remember getting so frustrated because I had the majority of the sky completed and was looking for literally the last couple of blue pieces there were in the box. I would find a piece, get really excited that it was the perfect fit, and then I tried it. It didn’t fit. They rarely fit. So I started looking again and the process repeated. Over and over again. Occasionally, I would get lucky and find the piece I was looking for and felt so accomplished because I had finished the one little section of this big picture. I could see it all coming together–slowly. I knew it wasn’t going to be done before I left.

I laid in bed my last night, and couldn’t stop thinking about the puzzle and my confusion. It was almost time for me to go,  and I had great fellowship and worship with the Lord, but still no answers–but I had this puzzle. That’s when the Lord started whispering into my heart, during the stillness of the night, just me and God.

So sweetly he spoke, “Look at the picture on the puzzle box. Do you see it? It’s beautiful. No cracks. No confusion. Just the way I created the world. But sin got in the way. Sin took that picture on the box and made into a jigsaw–made your life into a jigsaw. Made your life have confusion. That puzzle you’ve been working on all week, desperately trying to get the piece to fit, I created the picture. I created YOU. I know where all the pieces fit together. I am restoring you to your original picture. Stop trying to find the piece because I am PEACE. I am what you are looking for. I can see the whole picture. I need you to trust me.”

It was right after that, I felt this wave of peace come over me. Here I am a puzzle. This broken, jigsaw puzzle trying to put the pieces back to together (or looking for answers). BUT God reminded me that He created the picture. My sin is what made my picture a puzzle. But because of His Son’s death and resurrection, I don’t have to put the pieces of my puzzle together on my own. I don’t even know where the pieces go, but God knows the picture I was created to be. Right now He is at work on my puzzle-picture. He is working to restore my heart for what it was created to be. He is working on making me complete. Finishing a puzzle takes time. Making my heart what God wants it to be, ALSO takes time.

He is my PEACE. He sees the picture. He knows where the pieces go. He knows. God is my answer to my confusion. He knows what the final picture will look like, I don’t need to worry about anything else because He painted the picture.

“All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord”   Isaiah 66:2