Happy Val-St-Fourth-Labor-Thanks Day! I mean, it’s 2020, so who knows what day it actually is. However, the crisp breeze, the changing leaves, and the onslaught of pumpkin spice everything tells me Thanksgiving is near. We are thinking about traditions past, and what we want to do in the future. Sometimes, the simple drawing on our memory can make our hearts jump for joy and equally burn with pain. We all have hopes and dreams both fulfilled and unfulfilled, and the holidays have a way of bringing sharp emotion to them all.
As we think about thankfulness, I’m not going to tell you to look around at all the things you have and make a list of the things you are thankful for - because let’s be honest, been there, done that. In as much as it can be a great gut check from time to time, it can also feel small and miss the mark. Instead, I’m going to ask you to make a list of the dreams and desires you have for the future. Why? Because Psalms 37:4 says:
“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Now to be clear, this verse is not saying that just because you want a boat, God is going to give you a boat. No, he is not a magic genie, and frankly, he owes us nothing. However, he is a super, fantastically amazingly good father and will always bring to completion what he starts. So, as we seek him out, and desire after him, our desires become what he wants for us, and therefore he gives us what we want. Follow me?
If you are pressing into his presence, reading his Word, and listening to his voice, and your heart has a burning desire to parent a child that has yet to be in your arms - sweet friend, that desire was put there by God and I can promise it will be fulfilled. The tricky part is we never know when or how it will be fulfilled. The worst thing we can do is put stipulations on God and hand him a timeline. I don’t know about you, but when I’ve done that in the past, it’s never worked out how I wanted it to. This has everything to do with God’s character and how well he knows me. He knows my heart - he created it. He knows my desires - he gave them to me. And he knows what’s best for me - even if I don’t understand it at the moment.
Listen to these examples - some more trivial than others:
Most recently, I had plans to take my family on a holiday trip, but due to pandemic and blended family drama, we had to put off my plans. I can be disappointed, or trust God has something different in mind this season.
Speaking of blended families, I would so love to be called by a family name by my step kids. I’ve raised our youngest since he was three, we have them 50% of their lives and, I daily do the same things their biological mom does for them. However, she has told them if they call me any family nickname, it is disrespectful to her. So for over 5 years now, my kids call me the same thing our mail lady calls me. It hurts me to be pushed aside and not included, especially when their mom’s boyfriend gets to be called dad. But God has a plan that is bigger than my title - bigger than my life for that matter. When I trust him, I find peace.
Peace. I learned how to have peace in the worst of times when my child died. It’s still hard to talk about it. She was sick and I prayed for her healing for years. And one summer day, just days before my birthday, God healed her by taking her home to Heaven. He answered my prayer, but not how I wanted him to. I was so confused and lost. I had dreams of her growing old and of being at her wedding… even now, I still cry to think of these dreams. Yet when I think of her life, I’m so thankful for all of the experiences she had. From going to prom (at the hospital) to a first kiss (from a sweet boy in her 1st grade class), to a graduation ceremony (from kindergarten). I’m so grateful God fit so much into our lives those 7 years we got to have her here with us.
I remember my high school graduation. I applied to UCLA and didn’t get in. I was rather angry as it was my dream to leave the state I lived in and start fresh all on my own. Not to mention I fit all the qualifications, had great references, and tons of extracurricular activities. So instead of getting away from the small-town life I had and heading back to a state I loved, I was going to college just a couple of hours from where I went to high school with many of my classmates. God had promised me I’d go to college and I’d love it so I continued to be angry because I did not love this college or my experiences there. However, as I waited on God’s timing and focused on God’s promises for my future, I learned of another college I had never heard of where I could major in a new interest of mine. I transferred and LOVED every minute I was there. I learned God has lots to do in my life, and checking off boxes of things I want when I want them, isn’t one of the things God focuses on.
These examples are specific and unique to me. But many of the lessons are for all of us.
Trust God has something good in mind for this season of your life.
Seek out His fulfillment
Trust God has a plan that is bigger than your life.
Discover His peace
Trust God is giving you experiences you didn’t know you needed today.
Experience His joy
Trust God’s timing is perfect, regardless of what you are waiting for.
Find His rest.
Keeping these lessons in mind, go back to your dreams and look at the list. Or if you haven’t made the list yet, do so now. Trust that as you seek after God he will either give you these desires in his own way and his own time because he is the one who gave them to you or he will shift them to line up with his best for you and give you peace and joy as he does this. Philippians 1:6 says:
“I pray with great faith for you, because I’m fully convinced that the One who began this glorious work in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you and will put his finishing touches to it until the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ!” (TPT)
Sweet friends, be bold in your dreams today, and be confident in your God who will bring perfect completion of the amazing plan he has for your life. This is definitely something to be thankful for! So join me this year, as we all look forward to the promises God has given us, and give thanks for his blessings yet to come.