It has been quite a while since I last posted on here. Holy guacamole. In the last post, I was only 20 years old and trying to just figure out life and college. Now, I am 24 years old and have lived through an international pandemic, graduating and entering the real world in May of 2020 while the world was on fire, my first real full-time adult job, and moving to a new city to pursue my second real full-time adult job.
If you look back on this blog, I posted super sporadically because I only wanted to write when it was something I knew God put heavy on my heart. Well, today, April 20th, 2022, is one of those days. God has been teaching me so much about the seasons of waiting in our lives, and I want to encourage you if you are also in one right now.
SO BUCKLE UP BUTTERCUP.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like as soon as I am on the other side of a season of waiting, in the blink of an eye, I find myself in the middle of another one with the same faithless, knee-jerk response: “God, what the heck are you doing?!!”
The older I get, the more I relate to the Israelites in the desert. I used to think to myself: how in the world did they doubt God?! He rained bread out of the sky when they were hungry! When that wasn’t good enough for them any longer, he sent a bagillion quail! Oh, and then he led them exactly where they needed to go with a giant cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Oh, and let’s not forget that HE PARTED A FREAKING SEA FOR THEM TO ESCAPE 430 YEARS OF SLAVERY.
Ha, but that is me.
God has consistently proven Himself over and over again, and yet, when I am faced with a new set of circumstances, I immediately forget everything trying to figure it all out on my own in my ideal timing.
I could sit down with you right now and tell you about the crazy things God has done in my life. It would probably take me a solid hour… maybe an hour and a half. You get my point. That is a long-a$$ time for one person to be talking. Forget a monologue. That is a full feature film.
With all of that being said, do you know what I did yesterday? I very dramatically wrote in my journal how confused I was by what God was doing in an area of my life and asking Him why this, why that, why… and ~ real talk ~ those “why’s” were tinged with anger.
However, there is nothing like pouring out all of your honest thoughts and feelings to God, praying, going to sleep, getting up, praying some more, getting in the word, eating (no one is ever themselves with low blood sugar), reflecting on the past, and finding some fresh perspective.
What continues to surprise me every day is how God orchestrates everything in this life. For example, what you are about to read is a draft of a post I had written over two years ago at probably one of my lowest points in one of the hardest waiting seasons of my life that I never posted because it didn’t feel right at the time. I completely forgot about it and just found it today when I was sitting down to write about… waiting.
As you read this, I want you to reflect on where you were two years ago when the world shut down. All we could do was wait because we had no other choice – we couldn’t plan, control, or force our way out of our circumstances. There was no end in sight because everything about it was unprecedented. All we could do was take each moment as it came.
I think humans are so resilient because we just suppress the hard times from our memory and push forward.
However, it is the faith that is grown and stretched in the hard times of the past that sustains us with hope in the future because if God was faithful then, why would he stop being faithful now? But, you must remember the past in order to utilize this faith – to remember where God has brought you from:
It is currently 1:59AM, August 10th, 2020, and I am writing this in the dark of my bedroom after I could not fall asleep. I could blame it on the mint chocolate chip ice cream I ate before bed, or I could be honest with myself. The past six months have been some of the hardest months of my life.
The only reason I am writing this post is because I know for a fact that I am not alone in this struggle. Every person I know is fighting battles the magnitude of which they have never had to deal with before. If you are reading this right now and you feel alone in your struggles, call me. Text me. Seriously, do it. I am always here to listen. The only way we are going to get through this period is with God and each other.
2020 began with so much hope.
It was the start of a new decade. Everyone was taking time to reflect on their lives, course correct, and take steps to create the future of which they have always dreamed. 2020 even came with its own slogan – 2020 vision, baby! I am not sure who is in charge of branding our years, but this year was a marketer’s version of a *chef’s kiss*.
I attended Passion Conference and rang in January 1st, 2020, praising God alongside 70,000 other college students in the Georgia Dome. I am not sure there could ever be a way to inject more hope into a New Years’ celebration than that moment.
Little did I know that in two short months, my life, all of my plans, your life, and all of your plans would be obliterated by something we could not even see – so much for 20/20 vision.
I went from living in an apartment with my two best friends in the entire world (I’m pretty sure they are literal angels, but that’s for another post) in a city with hundreds of buds all living within a mile, beginning my final semester of college in preparation for graduation day (which is supposed to be the pinnacle of busting one’s butt for 18 long years), and beginning my first big girl job ~ to ~ being ripped from my life without getting to say goodbye to anyone (many college homies I may never see again. I appreciate you all so much. Thank you for being a part of my journey), moving back home to rural NC, finishing some of the hardest classes for both of my majors online, not having a graduation (which was quite jarring for someone who unknowingly built all of their self worth for 18 long years on what they achieved trying to please everyone – please call me if this is you right now. I can help), and the job I had lined up not working out – oh yeah, and, you know, the overall stress that comes from being alive in an international pandemic.
It was jarring to say the least.
Take the uncertainty that comes from graduating college and entering the real world and combine it with the uncertainty of an international pandemic and an economic recession.
Positivity is my go-to strategy for dealing with anything. I tried so hard not to be disappointed, not to focus on everything that was lost, and to keep charging ahead. Well, here’s the thing about being ripped suddenly from all that you know and love, you have lost something, and you have to grieve. If you had told me that a few months prior, I would not have believed you because I had only associated grieving with losing a loved one. It turns out that it is a part of drastic life changes as well. Who knew?! So, if you were like me and had two good days and then that third day would come, and you couldn’t figure out why you were suddenly crying while you were scrambling eggs ~ you were grieving. I hope that makes you feel better. You haven’t lost all of your marbles… yet.
That was a pretty consistent cycle for me, and I have received confirmation from many of my friends that it was the same cycle for them as well. However, I used a lot of my newfound time to reflect on my life, what God has done in my life, and what I feel like He’s calling me to. I definitely received a lot of clarity and began some much needed life course correction. However, I did not figure out what my next steps are or how to get out of this hole I am in.
Then, within the span of seven days:
- Hurricane Isaias ripped through my community
- a record-breaking earthquake struck my state
- my mom who teaches 200 elementary school kids began in-person school again for the first time even though public schools are still online (#stressful for one of the people you love most in the world to be surrounded by people during an international health crisis and no one knows transmission rates, longterm effects, etc.)
- My grandma passed away.
- We had to plan a funeral, and very few people could come because of COVID.
Now, wrap all of the above in financial stress and severe lack of direction or plan of what to do with one’s life.
I feel like 2020 is beating the crap, hope, and dreams out of me.
The only reason I am writing this is to let you know that you are not alone. I am right there with you.
You know who else is? God.
Not that I have any right to, but I am kind of questioning His current tactics for getting our attention. I would have 1000% read any postcard/email/text/messenger pigeon He sent me. But, I guess shutting down the world works too.
I’m getting a little misty-eyed reading that draft. I wish I could go back and tell myself that everything was going to be ok – that the overwhelming fear, anxiety, and overall feeling of being lost and adrift were temporary and actually making you stronger and more rooted in who you are and who God is to prepare you for some amazing things to come.
So, what does any of this have to do with anything?
Life is an endless loop of hard lows that grow us as people, waiting seasons that grow our faith as we work to get out of the lows, and highs that fill us with hope – our faith coming to fruition, so we can survive the loop again.
I have found that the enemy’s #1 weapon is NOT blowing up your house with a natural gas leak and a match. It is slowly weakening you over time with carbon monoxide – something you do not notice at all but will ruin you all the same. He works day in and day out to slowly chip away at your confidence in God until nothing is left.
How do we grow our confidence in God and restore our hope in times of waiting?
1. Know your enemy and how to protect yourself. The enemy is coming after you every second of every day, and you have to defend yourself. God’s instructions are not to put on your super cute pastel Easter dress to defend yourself (I got mine from TJMaxx). No, he tells you to prepare for battle each day – to equip yourself with the full armor of God:
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.Ephesians 6:10-17
What is sticking with me the most this time around is the shield of faith. Picture the dramatic flaming arrow onslaught scene in any of your favorite series (GOT, Vikings, Lord of the Rings, etc.) where seemingly innumerable flaming arrows launch into the sky from the side of the opposition and cross the valley to rain down on the defenses of the allied troop – to not just inflict damage but set fire to anything they touch. This could look like toxic thought patterns playing on a loop in your head, conflict with those you love, doubt, insecurity, fear… you name it, the enemy will use it relentlessly to sow chaos in your life.
What could possibly protect you from an attack of this scale? According to Ephesians 6:16, the shield of faith will not just protect you but extinguish the flames of the attack before they spread to other parts of your life.
oh snap. so deepening my faith is a big deal to keep surviving the loop of life. roger that.
2. Faith is built on confidence in God. Confidence in God is built on trusting Him. To trust someone, you have to know them well and know that what they say is true. How do we do this? Get in the word.
See what God has promised people in the past and how he fulfilled it every time. Heck, the biggest promise ever was the coming of Jesus and there are 400 YEARS between the Old Testament and the New Testament. 400 years of silence from God, YET He was working all the while to prepare the coming of Jesus – to fulfill his promise, and He. Did. It.
Read what He promises to be and do for you. (Here are a few to get you started: Isaiah 41:10 , Deuteronomy 31:8 , Exodus 14:14 , Romans 8:28 , Isaiah 43:2 , Proverbs 3:5-6 , Isaiah 26:3)
Ask people what God has done for them in their lives.
Remember what God has done for you in your life:
3. Reflect on what God has done in your life in the past. I don’t write all of the time, but I do when life feels really overwhelming because it helps me take the CAT 4 Hurricane happening in my head and work through everything I am feeling and give it up to God. It also leaves an honest record of how I was feeling through whatever situation, so years later when I go back and read it, I do not minimize that time and instead realize the magnitude of the way that God answered that prayer. I just read through my earliest entry, and apparently, 14-year-old Catherine was utterly terrified of Driver’s Ed and the responsibility of driving and praying to God for courage – well chick, we have put close to 60k miles on our car and who knows how many on mom’s Volvo wagon (seriously, who knows? The odometer stopped working.) Also, you end up flying to Russia and solo trekking Argentina. Love ya. Mean it. – That is a super small example, but today, I don’t even remember a time when I couldn’t drive or even being afraid of it at all. But, apparently, it was a huge deal to me back then, and God was faithful even in the relatively small worries of a 14-year-old… and in every major step of life we have lived since then. I have a record to prove it.
4. Understand that if God says “No” or “Not yet” – if He is telling you to wait – it is not a punishment but protection. Shoooooweeee! This one is a doozy.
9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.2 Peter 3:9
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.Isaiah 55:8-11
I love my dad so much. Growing up, his wisdom and discipline, although not what I have wanted many times, have protected me more than I will ever know because I relied on him with the trust of a child even if I didn’t know all of the details of why he said what he said. His wisdom and discipline come from a place of having lived, seen, and experienced more of life than I have and loving me so much that he didn’t want me to live, see, or experience unnecessary hardships if he could prevent them.
If my dad has 41 years on me, and God, my heavenly father, has millions of years on me and knows what’s going to happen in the next million, why do I still doubt God?
I am looking at my future through a crack in the door. God has a bird’s-eye view from horizon to horizon.
If God has brought you this far, why would he leave you now?
23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.Hebrews 10:23
If you made it this far through my rambling thoughts, I pray you found something encouraging.
Group prayer time:
God, I thank you for today and for the person reading this. I pray that you equip them with the encouragement, strength, and faith they need to keep going through this time. Nothing ever seems to be simple, but you hold us and the world in the palm of your hand. Renew our trust in you. Please fulfill your promises when the timing is right and not a moment sooner. Help us to wait with complete trust, hope, and confidence in you for you are a good God with plans that work together for the good of those who love you. Thank you for our one, wild, and precious life. Thank you for the highs and lows of life for therein lies its splendor. Amen.
If you know me, you know that music is my soul food. Here are a few of my current fav praise songs on loop: