Stuck in the Ditch of “Coming Soon . . .”? How to Enjoy Waiting for the Tow Truck

Ever feel stuck in a ditch of "Coming Soon?" Here's how to enjoy your time waiting to get out. Plus "Dwell", an encouraging song by Vineyard Worship. via www.JeanWilund.com

Coming Soon . . .

Sometimes I feel like my plans are stuck in a ditch.

I’m stuck in “Coming soon . . . ”

I’m trying to get my projects to the finish line but stuff keeps coming up and knocking me off the road.

I’m busier than a squirrel trying to decide which side of the road it wants to be on.

I’d hoped to have many projects completed by now, but life happens and plans get changed.

As they say, the only constant is change.

Or is it?

Actually, a truer statement makes that statement ironic:

The one true constant is God, and He never changes.

Finally, something–Someone–we can count on.

Four Tips For When You’re In A Ditch and Waiting for the Tow Truck


1. Be content.

Imprisonment wasn’t on the Apostle Paul’s To Do list, and yet, there he sat.

And while he sat, he chose to be content.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want

[Or in a ditch–my translation].

(Philippians 4:12, NIV)

God had a reason for Paul to be in prison. He was reaching people who couldn’t be reached any other way.

Because Paul was willing to embrace his ditch time, he got to be a part of an amazing story involving earthquakes, prisoners, and guards coming to salvation through faith in Christ. (Acts 16)

If he’d simply grumbled and complained about the injustice of his being imprisoned, I don’t think God would’ve used him in such a dramatic, incredible way.

He would’ve dwelled in the ditch, just the same, but he would’ve been miserable rather than singing hymns of praise.

We don’t always get to know why God has us in a ditch, but we can choose to be content there by trusting in the Faithful One.

2. Be humble and teachable.

Ask God if there’s anything you need to learn in order to be released from your ditch.

And then listen.

Sometimes God lets us get stuck in a ditch because we’re not as ready for the next step as we think. He slows us down because He’s not done preparing us.

When we learn to drive, we don’t get thrown straight onto the highway. Our instructors wait until they know we’re ready to handle it.

After Paul got saved, he spent three years in the wilderness being trained by God before God sent him out in ministry (Galatians 1:15-18).

Paul had been a model religious leader, a Pharisee. How could he possibly need three more years of training?

But all his fancy education wasn’t enough. God knew what Paul needed, and He knew how to train him properly.

Paul could’ve felt stuck in a ditch those three years, but his heart was humble and teachable.

He listened and learned.

Arrogance will leave us stranded in a ditch alone. Eventually, even our friends won’t want to help pull us out.

Be humble and teachable.

I’m going to repeat that. Be humble and teachable!

3. Be Patient.

Maybe we are in fact ready, but God hasn’t gotten the other players in place yet.

Our projects and plans aren’t really ours. God is the one at work. He’s inviting us to join Him.

It’s no good our setting off on our own to develop our own rogue projects.

I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing (John 15:5 NASB.)

Going rogue is a sure path to eventual failure.

From first to last, it’s all about Christ. Everything we do is about and for His glory.

Whenever we ride in a caravan, the lead car has to wait to make sure the other cars are in place and ready to follow.

Perhaps you’re leading the caravan and you’re ready to take of, but you’ll leave valuable players behind.

Paul and Silas wanted to go preach the Word in Asia and then in Bithynia, but God stopped them.

He didn’t tell them why they couldn’t go to Asia. He simply said no.

They could’ve fought God on it. Instead, they complied, and God sent them to Macedonia where they got thrown into a ditch, otherwise known as prison. (Acts 16:6-40)

Hmmm.  

They may have wondered why God thought Macedonia was a better choice than Asia. But it’s in this Macedonian prison that the jailer and his family got saved.

And years later, in God’s perfect timing, He sent the gospel to Asia and Bithynia as well.

 

4. Fill Your Heart With Worship

When you’re weary of waiting, try worshipping.

In fact, here’s a great worship song to learn: Dwell by Vineyard Worship.

If you’re stuck in a ditch, let this song fill your heart with the beauty and power of dwelling in God’s presence as you wait for God to send you a tow truck.

Then afterward, I have two questions I’d love for you to answer about a “Coming Soon . . .” project of my own. Thanks!

Remember: Our plans may change, but God never does, and He’s in the ditch with us.

In fact, as we’ve seen, He may have put us in that ditch.

Wherever #God has you, #Dwell there with Him in contentment, humility, patience & worship. Click To Tweet

One of the projects is a makeover for my blog.

These changes will better reflect the heart of my message that from first to last, it’s all about Christ–and He loves you.

I’ll unveil the blog makeover as soon as it’s done–Duh— along with a new series of blog posts I’ve been developing.

Would you please respond in the comments or email me at jwilund@me.com your answers to these two questions:

  1. What struggles and challenges are you currently facing?

  2. What questions do you have about God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, or Christianity in general?

This blog isn’t a place for me to just babble.

Not that I don’t enjoy babbling. I love it. But I’m too busy for that, and so are you.

I want this blog to offer answers to your questions as well as give you hope and solutions for your struggles and challenges.

You can help me with this goal by sharing your questions and challenges with me.

And pray.

If the Lord brings me to your mind, pray that His plans and purposes for this blog will be accomplished as I make the changes.

Thanks for taking the time to read and support my blog with your prayers and encouragement.

Blessings!
Jean

Feel stuck in a ditch? Here's help while waiting for a tow truck. #Unstuck #Christ Click To Tweet




Free “Cry Out!” 40 Day Prayer Guide by Revive Our Hearts Ministries

Cry Out 40 Day Prayer Guide

Cry Out!

Let this not be just a moment, but a movement of prayer.
~Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth


Did you miss it?

Friday, September 23, 2016, Revive Our Hearts Ministries  sponsored the Cry Out! Simulcast Prayer Event. 

“Throughout history, when things looked the most bleak, God’s people would pray with a desperate cry.

A cry for Him to revive the church.

A cry for Him to awaken non-believers to new life.

A cry for Him to transform communities—not through political means or education or programs—but by changing hearts.

We believe in that for our day.” (Quoted from www.cryout16.com)

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, one of my favorite Bible teachers on the planet, helped lead the event. An incredible array of Christian leaders joined her.

As women around the world prayed, several of my friends and I met and prayed with them.

It was a powerful evening. We affected history.

For God does nothing but in answer to prayer.
(John Wesley)

Don’t miss this

Starting Monday, Revive our Hearts is sponsoring a 40 Day Pray for your Nation event.

Each week, they’ll send out a new email across the world from which we can each pray for our nation.

Please join us and pray

To get the most out of this time of united prayer:

  1. Sign up to receive the free 40 Day Prayer Guide. (See the link below)
  2. Gather a group of women–a Prayer Huddle–who’ll commit to pray through the guide as well.
  3. Meet with your Prayer Huddle each week for the next six weeks and pray for your families, community, nation, and the world.

Only God can move mountains, but faith and prayer move God.
~ E.M. Bounds

Click on this link to visit Cry Out! & Sign Up for your free 40 Day Prayer Guide. 

Free 40 Day #Prayer Guide #CryOut16. Let this not be a moment but a movement of prayer. @NancyDeMoss Click To Tweet




Hail to the Chief! Oh My! (How Not to Dread This Political Season)

Psalm 52:6 - But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.

 

I always dread this season.

Not the fall season or football season. I love those.

I dread the political season.

We get to see the worst in people and then elect one of them to become our nation’s leader.

Hail to the Chief! Whoopee!

But it’s not all bad news.

When all is said and done, God is the one who chooses our president, because He’s the real Chief. And we can trust Him completely.

Even as this 2016 election season gets more insane, we can trust in the steadfast love of God forever.

We can be like a green olive tree.

I realize being compared to an olive tree isn’t necessarily the clearest of comforts if you’re like me and have lived with oak trees and Bradford pears, but never with olive trees.

Let me explain:

I am like a green olive tree in the house of God.

Olive trees live a long time. Some over 2,000 years.

They withstand drought and storms well, unlike the sensitive, fragile Bradford pear trees.

Bradford pears can’t handle much. They crack and fall under pressure. 

America needs to stop acting like a Bradford pear and get back to being an olive tree. 

But it’ll only happen when we get back to following Christ as a nation.

I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.

Infinitely stronger than any olive tree, God’s love lasts forever.

No matter how crazy our world gets, or if America ever turns back to Christ or not, God never changes.

Remember that during this changing, bizarro political season.

~ Psalm 52:8

 

God doesn’t always choose a president who follows Him, but He always chooses the one that fits His purposes.

Sometimes God determines we need a president who inspires us to become a greater nation.

Other times we need a president who shakes us up and makes us realize how far we’ve fallen from pursuing and loving God.

This season we apparently need more than just a regular shake up. Oh my!

I know America needs to turn back to God, but I don’t have a clue how to make that happen.

But God does. And He can, and He will, if that’s His plan.

Unfortunately, we don’t know if that’s His plan. He left it out of the Bible.

No matter. God’s made it clear we simply need to pray, trust, and follow Him–the One who knows it all.

He’s not worried or scrambling. He’s calmly working for our good and His glory.

We might need a microscope to see it in our country right now, but when He’s got all the players and pieces in place, the world will see and know that there’s a God in heaven, and He loves us with an everlasting love.

The political season will never be my favorite season, but we don’t have to dread it when we remember who really runs our country and our world.

Hail to the real Chief–our Almighty, All-knowing, and All-loving God!

AMEN!


Daniel said, “Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever,
For wisdom and power belong to Him.
It is He who changes the times and the epochs;
He removes kings and establishes kings; [and presidents] . . .”
~ Daniel 2:20-21 NASB

Hail to the Chief! Oh My! (How Not to Dread This Political Season) #Elections #GodIsSovereign Click To Tweet


How have you been encouraged this political season? Share in the comments. Thanks!




When Pain Is Like a Flower, Truth Makes Hope Bloom

When Pain is Like a Flower, Truth Makes Hope Bloom by Mekeishakay via www.JeanWilund.comEver met someone you’d like to have follow you around and talk for you?

All you’d have to say was, “Yeah. What she said!”

Blogger–and my new friend–Mekeisha has a way of explaining truth that leaves me staring at her dumbly.

When people stare at me like that, they’re trying to figure out what I’m babbling about.

People stare at Mekeisha because they’re mesmerized.

I want to grow up to be just like her.

I asked Mekeisha if I could rip a post off her blog and share it with you. She said, Sure – go for it!

I chose When Pain is Like a Flower because when she read it to my roommate Bethany and I at a recent speakers conference (Christian Communicators Conference–shameless plug), Bethany and I just stared, stunned.

I wish you could’ve been there. It would’ve been crowded in our hotel room, but you would’ve loved listening to her.

After you read Mekeisha’s post, go onto her blog (the link is at the bottom of this post) and leave her a comment, requesting she start streaming live readings.

Thanks! and Enjoy . . . 

When pain is like a flower

(by Mekeisha as appeared on her blog, Mekeishakay)

This afternoon, J (my 8 yo) slipped into my room for a visit. I was settled on my bed checking e-mails and reading articles, when she began twisting wool into a ring, and the words began to flow. I knew it was going to be more than a casual conversation when she opened with

Mom, do you know what really makes me sad? 

As she began to share, I was surprised to realize that my fun loving, rambunctious little girl had such deep thoughts brewing below the surface.

I’m happy on the outside, but I’m not happy on the inside. I feel mean on the inside. And angry. And hurt a lot… as she braided and re-braided the string in her hands, she looked away with the saddest face and said It can never change…

Oh, Babe, that makes my heart sad. God doesn’t want you to feel that way!

As I sat across from her, an illustration began to form in my mind:

Imagine your baby sister with a backpack full of rocks, so full she couldn’t even walk- she could only crawl, because it was too heavy to walk with. Then someone added even more rocks until she finally rolled over from the weight. She would be lying on a lumpy backpack full of heavy rocks!! Now wouldn’t that be terrible!? What would you do?

With tears in her eyes, she ardently proclaimed, I would walk over, scoop her up in my arms, kiss her and tell her that she was going to be okay, and then I would put her rocks in MY backpack, and I would walk over to the person who did it, and I would tell them

You may not touch her any more. You can only Touch Me.

I started crying as I put my arms on her shoulders and asked, “Now J, if you would do that for your sister, don’t you think God would do that for you? That’s exactly what Jesus did when He went to the cross! He saw how heavy our backpacks were, and He took our rocks of sin, shame, and pain and He told the Devil: You can only touch me.”

You can only touch me – so they beat Him with a whip.

You can only touch me –  and they spit in His face.

You can only touch me – and they placed a crown of thorns on His head.

You can only touch me – and they plucked his beard from his face.

You can only touch me and He was nailed to a cross.

You can only touch me and He went to Hell for us.

“Do you believe Jesus did that for you?”

She looked away and whispered… No.

How will I get through to her?

“Now… remember when you said that you could never change the way you feel inside? I have a question: What if R, your sister (who is only four) had a backpack full of rocks and you walked over to help her and she said ‘NO! I like my rocks! I want to keep my rocks! You can’t have my rocks!’

“What if she couldn’t even walk because the rocks were so heavy? What would you do then?”

She thought a moment, smiled wide and replied, “I would tell her, I know something that you like better than rocks, and I would take her rocks and give her a humongous Lollipop!”

“J, God wants to trade with you too! God wants you to give him the heavy stuff in your backpack so He can fill it up with something better… like love, joy, peace, patience- all these things are fruit of His Spirit working in you!

“Well, don’t you want to get rid of those rocks in your backpack?”

Mom, do you know how many rocks are in my backpack?

No, how many?

One. Just one big, really heavy rock.

What makes it so heavy?

Meanness, grumpiness, anger … the opposite of gentleness, hurt, and… tons of pain.

Why so much pain?

Because sometimes I feel lonely, or sad, and then I feel pain. My pain is like a flower that grows up from the rocks, and it doesn’t die even when it gets too much water, or too much sun… 


Do you think God can take your pain, that He can make it go away?

Yes, but sometimes it’s like someone sneaks in and plants another one.

Well, if that happens, we know what it looks like, right? It’s like a weed growing in your garden, and we know how to get rid of it! God can take care of that one too!

Let’s imagine there’s a table in front of us and you are unloading your backpack onto the table. You know, whenever we see something in our heart that shouldn’t be there, and we say it out loud, that’s called confessing, or admitting something is wrong. When we do that, God loves to forgive us! And it’s okay if you feel angry sometimes… I do too. The Bible says Be Angry–and sin not. It’s what we do with our big feelings that can get us into trouble!

It’s also okay to ask for help, because sometimes we can’t make ourselves do what we should. That’s why God gave us His Spirit. He said He would send us His Spirit so that we would have the power to do what is right. You’re not supposed to try harder to stop doing bad things, we’re supposed to ask God and let Him help more.

As she began to name the things that were in her heart–the anger, the hurt, the mean feelings towards others–her countenance completely shifted from being sad and heavy to being joyful and light.

When we finally emerged from the bedroom to share a snack with the rest of the family, she smiled and proclaimed, “I emptied my backpack!”


You know, I think explaining what we believe in simple words – for little ears – helps us to understand things better. I love the way she grappled with words to share what was on her heart.

I think I understand, though. Sometimes pain does seem to thrive, even when I try to kill it with forgiveness, or when I hope it will scorch under the heat of neglect, pretending I’m fine when I’m really Not… but I think God wants us to be honest enough to admit I hurt… and I need to be healed.

I forgave… but I still feel raw.

I want to do what is right, but I’m sad at the times I’ve failed…

Maybe confession is like opening a door to God. If so, we swung it wide open today.


Meet My Friend Mekeisha

Hailing from the frozen North of Alaska,
I am a wife, mother of four, poet, musician, artist and Grandmother wanna-be.

I read voraciously and love to teach others
about how amazing God is.

He’s a genius, you know.

Love God. Love people.

That’s as simple and complicated as it gets,
my friends.

I write a blog, Mekeishakay, that is my attempt to
share the beauty of our broken places, and the things I am learning in this journey.

Stop by and visit me: Visit Mekeishakay and find beauty, truth, and hope.

When Pain is like a Flower, #Truth makes #Hope Bloom #ChristCarriedYourPain @MekeishaS Click To Tweet

 

 




What Would I Write To A Younger Me? (Dear Younger Me – MercyMe)

Watch MercyMe's music video "Dear Younger Me." It made me wonder. What would I write to a younger me? I made myself laugh and think. Enjoy! (www.JeanWilund.com)

Dear Younger Me,

Don’t open that upper cabinet door in the camper!!! 

Big black ants will have built a colony of thousands in it.

If you open the door, they’ll pour out onto your head like a bad horror film.

It will sound like a rain storm and give you nightmares for years.

Don’t open that cabinet door!!! 

Love, 
Older Me

I should probably add to the letter not to let my sister tie me onto the back of the tricycle before we careen down our steep driveway.

Oh, and I’d better warn myself to watch out for the corner of the laundry chute door when playing hide-n-seek with the glow-in-the-dark ball.

If you don’t, Younger Me, Dad will sew up your eyebrow without anesthesia!

Oh, and I shouldn’t forget to mention that day I skipped class in high school. If I hadn’t been skipping, I wouldn’t have hit my best friend’s VW bug with my dad’s car.

Younger Me, Stay in school!

Maybe I should just warn myself about every awful decision I’d make in the future — especially those I don’t want to think about ever again. They created scars. Some of them deep.

But they also brought me to the end of myself and to the grace of Christ. 

Some scars still hurt, though.

But they’ve helped rub off my harsher edges.

Needing grace and receiving it, softened me. I wouldn’t want to lose that.

My family wouldn’t want me to lose that. I’m hard enough to live with.

Should I Mess with the Past?

I’ve seen the movie Back to the Future enough to know it’s risky to mess with the past.

What if I changed it and never met my husband?

And then we wouldn’t have our three incredible children or wonderful daughter-in-law.

There’s no freedom from pain or regret that would be worth missing out on any of them.

Would I Even Listen?

Growing up, I didn’t have a letter from Older Me, but I did have a letter from the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:13), and I didn’t always believe Him.

If I wouldn’t listen to the One who sees the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), how likely is it I’d listen to my short-sighted self?

Nevertheless, if I could, I’d write a letter to Younger Me. It would just be shorter than I first imagined when I first imagined what I’d write to a younger me.

Dear Younger Me,

Memorize, believe, and live John 14:1.

Let not your heart be troubled.

Believe God. Believe Christ.

Then live what you say you believe. 

You’ll never regret it because God will never fail you.

Love,

Older You

PS — And don’t open the cabinet door in the camper. Get your sister to do it.

What would you write to a Younger You?

Now enjoy this music video Dear Younger Me by MercyMe.

Then share in the comments what you’d write to Younger You. I’d love to hear. Thanks!

What would I write to a Younger Me? #DearYoungerMe #MondayMusic #Christ Click To Tweet