Disappointment and Hope

What do you do with unanswered prayer?

I have been praying for one specific thing for a long time, but in 2011 I ramped it up and prayed for it every day. Literally. Each morning I woke up, brought my request to the foot of the throne of God, and waited with faith and hope for Him to answer. 365 days. The caveat was that I was asking for Him to answer positively by the end of the year.

All during the year I was hopefully expectant – knowing that in His sovereignty He could make it happen anytime…even on December 31st.

But He didn’t. As the night drew to a close, I realized that once again, His answer was “no”. And my response at first was disappointment. I know He loves to show up at the very last minute, just when you think He’s not going to. And so I was hoping that was His plan. I was excited to see how He was going to answer, how He was going to provide, and I was waiting expectantly on the 30th and 31st, and then, nothing. Again. Just like 2010, and 2009, and 2008, and so on.

And I began to wonder…when do I give up? When do I stop waking up, coming before His throne and laying down what is on my heart?

Our main speaker last week at IndyCC was Mike Erre (excellent, excellent speaker/teacher, by the way), and one of His talks spoke directly to my heart. He talked about the “gap” that we are living in, between how life was meant to be, and how it is now that sin entered the world. He explained how our imperfect lives are a result of God’s mercy on us. If we had everything we asked for, if life went just like we wanted it to, then we would have no need for Him. And we do need Him, desperately. So God allows brokenness, and unanswered prayer, and delayed hopes, and lost dreams, because we need the reminder that this world is broken, and He is the only remedy.

Which means that I don’t give up hope that one day He will provide. Ever. Even if I pray every day for 10 years, and His answer is still no. He has proven Himself faithful over and over, and He has called me to trust Him. A “no” doesn’t mean that He doesn’t love me. On the contrary, it means that He knows what I need and what is best for me so much better than I ever could, because He is the very One who created me. His “no” is because He knows that at this time that is the exact response I need.

O, Praise Him.

And so, disappointment turns to hope. And then trust.

This summer I was journaling after the loss of a relative who didn’t love Jesus, and I wrote this about hope:

Hope is a verb. We “hope” that something will happen. That some unseen or unspoken desire will in time come true. Regardless of the evidence, we hope. When things are at their worst, we hope. We the impossible comes, we hope. In life, we hope. In death, we hope. We hope in the future. And when hope seems lost, we trust.

Trust that God knows. Trust that He is big enough, strong enough, alive enough, faithful enough, enough.

Trust when we can’t see, can’t understand, can’t control, can’t hope, can’t walk….we trust that He can.

And someday, He will.

Two Awesome Pictures

1. Each year the Ops team creates an ad for our winter conference program that parodies the office. See this year’s winning photo here. I am really excited to see the final result in a few weeks!! Ben was such a good sport at being tied up and tortured. Best boss ever!

2. At the ReJuvenate Marketplace Conference out in San Jose’, California a few weeks ago, the closing concert band was Jars of Clay. They have been my favorite band since I was 9 – I love their music and their down to earth genuine-ness. I have yet to find songs by any other group that match the depth and beauty of theirs, which is just fine by me. Well, while there I got to meet them and get a picture with them. Oh. My. Goodness. I was so happy! Loved meeting them in person, and then that night got front row seats to the concert! Joy abounds.

Picture taken by Chris, the conference photographer!

Thankful Thursday: December 1st

Thankful today for these 5 things….

1) My heating pad. I know that was on last weeks’ list too….I’m doubly thankful for it I suppose, especially at this time of year.

2) Christmas!! And having my mom in town this year to help me decorate!! 🙂

Me and mom trimming the tree!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) That in just 4 days I will be hugging my brother for the first time in almost 2 years

4) For a dad who takes care of all the apartment-y and car maintenance things for me when he comes to visit! Thankful for a winterized patio, outdoor Christmas lights and organized and protected patio furniture. Thanks dad!

5) Being able to laugh at work/my team/having an awesome job. Each year we create an “Office Ops Team” recruiting ad for the program at IndyCC, and the picture we took today for this year completely takes the cake. Epic, even. Just wait until the final product is revealed in the next few weeks.  Here is a glance at the remnants of when we were done and starting to clean up:

"Have fun at work...or else!"

First Session Highlights

Staff conference childcare kicked off tonight with a bang, literally. The toddlers attempted a mass breakout after about an hour of being in their room and broke the baby gate guarding the door in half. In HALF. Haha. I really wish I had been there with a camera, because that is awesome. Complete chaos for the workers, but hilarious nonetheless.

Another fun moment was during our pre-childcare meeting with all the workers. One of the 3 year old boys walked by, saw us, and exclaimed “CHILDCARE!!! I LOVE CHILDCARE!!!”, and then proceeded down the hall singing a little song about childcare. It makes it so fun when the kids love it and are excited.

The 11 & 12 year old group has had a rough history in childcare, as they are right on the cusp of being too old, and finding childcare booooorrrriiinngg. So, in an effort to spice things up, I created a scavenger hunt for them to go on around the hotel. The points system allowed for a wide range of points to earn, as one of the quests was to count every animal they could find in the hotel. Each animal was one point. The funny part is that we are in the Great Wolf Lodge, and there are animals literally everywhere. Literally. The carpet, wallpaper, light sconces, lobby, artwork, even occasionally parading along the ceiling. They did boys against girls, and the winning team gets 30 extra minutes at the water park tomorrow morning. The boys won, accumulating over 1,000 points! I think it was a hit! 🙂

Thankful Thursday: November 17th

Hello from Cincinnati, Ohio! I arrived last night for our annual Staff Conference, and find much to be thankful for….

*A New Environment – we’ve had staff conference at the same hotel in Indy for the past several years, and I am thankful this year that in our need for a new hotel, the Lord provided above and beyond anything we could have asked or imagined. The Great Wolf Lodge is beautiful, and I pray that it will be a restful, rejuvenating retreat for our staff, interns and kids this weekend.

*Peace that passes understanding – my computer decided that yesterday morning would be a good time to crash and burn, right before going to print about 300 pages worth of childcare data and information for this weekend. It is dead and gone for good, and in the moment when I realized that my beloved macbook had indeed crashed, I realized that the Sovereign Lord had allowed this to happen and chose to trust Him in it. Now, my natural inclination would be to completely freak out and make havoc out of trying to get everything done somehow, so this is all the work of the Holy Spirit. Yay for growth and sanctification!

*Mozy – In light of my computer crashing, one thing that helped me not freak out was knowing that every file on my computer is stored at mozy.com, so pretty much everything can be replaced when my new computer arrives next week (in case you are wondering, I’m using a spare work computer at the moment). I am thankful for making this investment two years ago, and am glad that it is paying off!

*Gabi – my next door neighbor, who has turned out to be one of the most amazing and hospitable people I have ever met. She is so fun, and is becoming a friend! On Tuesday she let me throw in a load of laundry in her machine, and then we hung out and watched NCIS together. It’s the little things!

*Only 17 days to go until December 5th! That is so crazy – this last month is flying by. It is hard to believe that Matt is almost home…what a wonderful day that is going to be!

*Family – I was in California last week for a conference, and got to stay a few extra days and see my Aunt and Uncle, Cousin and her family. It was such a blessing to spend some time with them, and to get to meet my cousin’s husband for the first time. They are all so fun, and I loved being together, even for a short time.