Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Blessed Are All Those Who Wait

It's amazing what the Lord can do in 3 months. When last I wrote a blog post, I believe I was at 18% of my needed budget. I am now at 29%! Praise the Lord! However, this past January, I was talking to my team in Chiba, and we discovered – through some confusion – that my original budget was set far too high. (It's always nice to hear that!) The team has been adjusting my budget since then, and I am waiting to hear the final number.

It has not been easy to wait through this process. I have felt discouragement, impatience, and anxiety. For a long while, I wouldn't admit to myself that I was feeling that way, and it really started to take an affect on me. The main reason that I have been antsy about this falls on going to Belgium. I have said this before, but as a reminder, I need to be at 50% of my budget by April 15th, or I will not be able to go to training in Belgium come July. This means that I would need to wait until January for the next training session. That would hold me back from going to Japan until after January, but the team is very much hoping to have me in Japan by September 1st. Based on conversations I have had with the team, it sounds as though I may already be at 50% (or more) with my adjusted budget. I still need to wait for it to be sent in and approved by MTW, though.

I am not by nature an anxious person, so when I start having foreign emotions, it really messes with me. I couldn't process how I was feeling, all the while not admitting that I was nervous in waiting to hear from the team. Earlier this week, I finally realized that something was wrong, and cried out to the Lord. I have been reading through Isaiah in my morning devotions, and yesterday I was reading through chapter 30. As I was about to read verse 18, there was something about it that seemed to stand out to me on the page. I felt like that Lord was saying, “This is for you, Melanie. Listen.” So I listened:

“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.” - Isaiah 30:18

I read this verse over and over, and felt God's peace pouring into me, quieting my emotions and making me be still in His presence. I realized that I am not okay, and that I have been trying to shoulder everything on my own. So I am casting all my anxieties on Him, because He cares for me.

You know when Jesus is trying to teach you something and that theme recurs throughout your daily life in strange ways? Well, another lesson He has put on my heart is the power and necessity of prayer. I am not a gifted prayer warrior, but I've been struggling a bit more than usual recently. I am so thankful that I have been reminded of the most important weapon in my arsenal. I was listening to a sermon on the theme of prayer by John Piper this morning. Here are a couple of quotes that stood out to me:

“Prayer moves God to change people's wills.... Do not neglect the world-shaping influence that you have through prayer.”

That is my prayer right now – that I would not neglect the influence I have through prayer. I would like to ask you to join me in crying out to the Lord. Please pray that my budget would be finalized quickly, and that I would be able to make it to Belgium this summer! Thank you, brothers and sisters. You are a constant blessing to me, and I am thanking the Lord for you!

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