When God’s Timing Doesn’t Feel Perfect

Two years ago, my life felt like it was crumbling all around me. I had experienced two major life-crises within a year of each other and now another one hit me. No, it didn’t just hit me. It bulldozed me. 

I woke up on this morning and wondered aloud, “what do I even do now?” Have you been there? Where life is so overwhelming that you don’t even know how to put a plan together to make it just a single day. 

From my time in therapy I remembered that being physically active is important to mental and emotional health. As both my mental and emotional health were in serious jeopardy I decided it’d be best to go for a walk in a park. It was a Monday morning so I was thankful that none of the parks would be too crowded at 1:38PM. I drove over to Radnor Lake in Nashville—its a beautiful park in the middle of such an urban city. But when I arrived it was PACKED and having no clue what was going on, I asked the Park Ranger why it was so busy. He said, “Its a holiday today, President’s Day.” 

“Greeeeeeeaaaat,” I mumbled to myself as I finally found an inconvenient parking space. I just wanted a space where I could walk and think and have a serious breakdown without anyone seeing me. “You can’t even give me THAT, God?” I asked as I looked up to the sky. I pulled on my sunglasses, grabbed my iPod and began walking on the trails, trying to sort out everything that had happened in the past three months.

In that moment, God’s timing did NOT feel perfect to me. Injustice upon injustice had occurred and it felt like I was receiving the blunt end of a battering ram from almost everyone around me. All of the things I knew to be true about God didn’t feel comforting, nor bring me peace because my circumstances seemed to reveal the exact opposite of what I knew. Where was God my protector when I was being beat down? Where was God my defender when lies were being thrown like confetti? Where was the God of perfect timing with His impeccable ability to “open doors” for me? Two years later, I can tell you He was with me. His timing didn’t feel perfect in that moment because it hadn’t been my plan. (When is it ever YOUR plan for your world to flip upside down?).

Two years later I can tell you that I’m so glad He changed my circumstances, my environment, my world. I read a quotation several months ago that said, “You can’t heal in the same environment that made you sick.” Before I was even aware that my environment had made me sick, God being God, removed me from the source of infection. Hindsight being 20/20, I can see now what He was doing and I am so thankful. (Full Disclosure: I might have ugly cried last night while thanking Him for pulling me out of a situation I didn’t even realize I was stuck in!). 

My friends, do you feel like God’s timing isn’t so perfect right now? Have your circumstances changed? Has your world been flipped upside down? I can guarantee you that though it doesn’t feel like you’ll make it, you’re wondering how you’ll survive if ___________________ happens, even taking a day at a time seems like too much, God’s timing will bring about His absolute best for you. Like a mountain climber that climbs to what she thinks is the summit, only to find another peak in front of her, your perspective isn’t always going to be clear in the midst of challenging times. Keep going. Keep moving forward. Keep leaning into the God that sees and knows all things—including you and what you need to be able to glorify Him.

12 Facts About Abraham Lincoln You Probably Don’t Know

When I was in third grade we were learning about the difference between auto-biographies and biographies. Our assignment was to pick a person and read either a biography or an auto-biography about them and write a report that would also serve as a presentation to the class. 

I couldn’t think of anybody interesting that I already knew about because everything that I read was fiction. So, in true form, the date came where we had to pick our person and I ran into the school library before class began to just pick someone already. I strolled to the other side of the library that no one ever seemed to go to and began perusing the shelves. I came across a book with a man on the cover. The book was a picture biography (score!) and the man on the front seemed interesting. It was Abraham Lincoln and I figured that reading about a President would only help me get a good grade. Thus began a life-long fascination with all things Abraham Lincoln. If you weren’t aware, today is his 210th birthday so I thought we could celebrate with learning a few fun facts about my historical hero.

  1. Three states (Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois) claim the title of “the land of Lincoln”. He was born in Kentucky, moved to Indiana as a boy, and lived his adult life in Illinois before being elected President.
  2. Abraham Lincoln is the tallest president to date at 6’4″.
  3. He is the only president to have a U.S. patent; Lincoln invented a device that would help free steamboats that had run aground.
  4. He was a big animal lover–there are stories of stray cats regularly following him home from his law office in Springfield, Illinois. He had a dog named Fido, multiple cats, horses, turkeys, rabbits and goats.
  5. Do you like Thanksgiving? You can thank President Lincoln—he established the day as a National Holiday and pardoned the first turkey at the behest of his youngest son, Tad.
  6. Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd had more formal education (attending school for 12 years) than he (less than 1 year total). However, her family was a source of many political connections for Lincoln, even initiating a face-to-face meeting with his hero, Henry Clay, a personal friend of the Todd family.
  7. He was the first president born outside of the 13 original colonies (Kentucky)
  8. Thomas Jefferson was President of the United States when Abraham Lincoln was born. (James Madison was sworn in as President a month later).
  9. Abraham and Mary Lincoln had four sons, Robert, Eddie, Willie, and Tad. Robert was the only son that lived into full adulthood. 
  10. There are no living descendants of Abraham Lincoln. 
  11. Abraham Lincoln was named after his grandfather. While working the land, grandfather Lincoln was shot and killed by a Native American. His oldest son, Mordecai ran inside the cabin to fetch a gun, his middle son Josiah ran to get help and the youngest, Thomas, stood in shock beside his father’s body. As the shooter came close, he appeared to reach out for Thomas (whether to kill him or to take him), however, Mordecai shot the assassin from inside the house.
  12. Edwin Booth, the brother of Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth, saved Lincoln’s son from an oncoming train in New Jersey just a few months prior to Lincoln’s assassination.

I hope you learned a tidbit that you didn’t know before. Do you have any historical heroes? Who are they? When did you first encounter them? Why do you consider them a hero?

Here I Am

I’m a sucker for learning something new.

A couple of weeks ago I was at the INCM Children’s Pastor Conference in Orlando, Florida and one of the General Session speakers brought an amazing message to us—actually ALL of the speakers were amazing—but this one in particular grabbed space and rooted itself in the soil of my heart.

There are two words in Hebrew for answering when your name is called. PO’ANI is literally, “I’m here.” It is used for communicating or announcing your physical presence—think of a classroom roll call. Andrews? (Po’ani) Davidson? (Po’ani) Smith? (Po’ani). You get the picture.

And then there’s HINENI (הנני). Which is translated in our English Bibles as “Here I Am”. However, there is a deeper meaning that isn’t captured by the simplicity of the translation. It means “Lord, whatever you are about to ask of me, I’m already in agreement of it.” It is used in this context only 8 times in the Old Testament. Abraham (x3), Jacob (x2), Moses, Samuel, and Isaiah.

WHOA! That’s completely different than just answering a roll call! There is so much that could be unpacked just off this tiny little word but I’ll save the exhausting amount of details that I could share for future posts.

Each time the persons respond with HINENI, they have yet to be given the details of their assignment—they’re simply responding to God’s call. Immediately after Abraham responds, God says, “I want you to take your son Isaac and sacrifice him.” When Moses responds, God tells him “Go tell Pharoah to let my people go.” When Samuel responds, God tells him, “Tell Eli (the priest who had been raising Samuel up in the temple) that he has dishonored Me by not disciplining his sons and so I’m going to remove him from his position.”

If He hasn’t already, one day you can be certain that God is going to call out to you–He’ll have something that only you can accomplish, that He has specifically chosen YOU for because if you will HINENI it will bring glory to Him in ways like never before. Can you imagine what might have transpired had Abraham said “Po’Ani!”? God’s plan was never for Isaac to be sacrificed by his father’s hand. But if Abraham had played it safe, if he had doubted in God’s goodness, if he had worried that God would ask too much of him, he wouldn’t have learned (and we wouldn’t have testimony) that God is Jehovah Jireh (The LORD is my Provider).

Life. Altering. Obedience. This is what is on the docket when we respond to God’s call with HINENI. No doubt it is big, crazy and scary sounding to be in agreement with God before you even fully know what He is about to ask. What would it look like for you to respond with HINENI the next time God calls out to you? What would change? How might you be transformed? How might God be glorified? What might He accomplish through you when you seek to be obedient first and fully-understand later?