An Imperfect Journey towards Faith

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I sat in church, amidst a sea of faces, some who knew me well, others who wouldn’t be able to pick me out in a lineup. I loved my church, I still do, though I’ve moved on. I loved the people, the leadership, the diversity, the energy. I love the constant run towards God, even if not always close to perfect. Our goal was finding God and helping others find what we already knew.

Except that I didn’t know what I believed any longer. Circumstances had hit me hard and I was dealing with rejection from a number of sources very close to me. Cloaked in confusion I couldn’t see beyond myself. I wore pain like rose covered glasses.

I wish that I could say it was the first time something like this happened. Only 4 years earlier I sat in the Royal Albert Hall, longing for answers. Screaming out to God, giving Him ultimatums.

As the service ended, like the weeks before and for weeks following, when given the chance, I, along with the countless others loudly and boldly prayed what we call the “Salvation prayer”. I didn’t even believe it at first, I didn’t know if I wanted to keep going on this path. I cried out, speaking those words, longing for a tangible feeling.

I prayed myself into belief again.

And like back into 2008, God showed up.

There were no grand overtures, miraculous signs or wonders. As I lay down my humanity, God took over.

It took my unbelief, my desire for answers to connect again.

And it continues today.

It’s super awesome being a believer in Christ. Until you wake up. Literally, each night you fall asleep and then you wake up and you’re just like anyone else in the entire world.

Until you call out.

Again and again.

God is like a gentleman caller, eagerly awaiting his beloved to allow Him into her presence. Stood across the room, he steals glances at her, longing to bring her close, but polite enough to understand that forced affection grows weary, but true love, tried, tested and endured will stand the test of time.

 
“The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, the Lord appeared to him[a] from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”

C. S. Lewis so eloquently stated: “Merely to override a human will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless. He cannot ravish. He can only woo.”

He is always there, but until we call to Him, seek Him, He is simply there loving us.

I don’t think my journey is over. I still have days where I wonder and question though those have changed all those years ago.

Instead of wondering if I believe, instead of questioning God, I ask myself why I question His love, what I am doing that makes me feel further away or left in silence. Instead of running away, I run towards.

Towards His Love.

Towards His Grace.

Towards His promises.

Dare to Dream Again

 

 

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She stood in the storm and when the winds did not blow her away, she adjusted her sails.

Almost 6 years ago”A” bought me a ring with that quote inscribed inside. What neither of us realised then was how much those words would carry me through not only that season, but also again five years later.

July Twenty Sixteen my life changed once again, a storm would force me to make a choice, to once again adjust my sails. Admittedly life wasn’t bad nor was I particularly dreaming about a next step. I was happy. Apparently, God has other plans.

“God told me that he is asking you to step out of the boat. He says you need to trust him 110%. He is about to fulfill the desires of your heart. You weren’t doing what you loved–and he wants you to do what you love.”

(there’s more, but that’s all you get to hear).

It’s funny when God speaks through your friends. Over the next three months, God repeatedly told different people the same thing. One by one delivering the same message to me.

Adjust your sails. 

Step out of the boat. 

DREAM AGAIN. 

I wish I could have told you that God immediately showed me the next step. How to get out of the boat, the right way to step, the path to take. I wish I could tell you that the last nine months has been simple and straightforward.

It hasn’t.

It’s caused me to question my faith. It’s caused me to question my sanity. I even think it’s lost me a few relationships along the way. I’ve given up a lot, but at the same time, I have gained so much.

I’m 33 and I’m not starting over.

I’m dreaming again.

When a ship sails into a storm it doesn’t rebuild the ship. The captain doesn’t say to the crew “oh em gee you have failed and up until now forget everything you did and start over.” The captain orders the crew to change course, to adjust the sales.

In life, when a storm comes, we don’t forget what we know, what we have done, what we have accomplished. We take what we have learned in the past, the skills we have acquired and adjust our sails. We handle it.

So, here I am, adjusting my sales, changing course. Dreaming again.

It’s not easy. There are days I cry. There are days I want to throw some stuff or yell at God. There are days when I want to give in. Where I don’t feel understood, heard or even seen.

But mainly there are days where I am thankful. There are days of rest. There are days of small victories (yay!!) There are days where I write pages and pages in my journal, dreaming, looking forward, planning.

Looking forward to that day when those dreams that line the pages of my journal, the whispers of my heart come to full fruition.

“For what it’s worth, it is never too late to be who you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find you’re not, I hope you find the strength to start over”

 

 

 

Why I Will Always Be a Romantic

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picture from pinterest

The dictionary defines romantic as this: marked by the imaginative or emotional appeal of what is heroic, adventurous, remote, mysterious, or idealized.

Heroic.

Adventurous.

Remote.

Mysterious.

Idealized.

All these words in some way, I can ascribe to my life. Six days into what I have labelled #mybiggrandadventure I can only be sure that I will never, ever, ever stop being a romantic.

I simply do not have it in my blood. In my heart.

I won’t accept average. I simply won’t accept the idea of settling. I won’t accept that “that’s just the way life is”.

In the last six days, and actually, even in the days prior to me leaving Stockholm, I experienced love that was more than I could imagine. I cry, I know that, but I cried so often, simply out of gratitude for what had been and what was coming. The moments spent with friends, whether making pancakes or sitting “working” together in a cafe, touched me so much. I was often overheard saying I was overwhelmed by the displays of friendship that I was privileged to receive. Little did I know that from the moment I got off the plane I would not feel sadness, maybe a LOT of jetlag, but no sadness. Aside from a bad cold and a back injury, I have had the most incredible few days. No, I haven’t been discovered and now starring in a new film, nothing so grandiose. Instead, I have spent days with beautiful people, doing the simple things in life. Taking drives, having lunch, taking selfies, sitting a top Hollywood and dreaming of what may be one day, sitting on benches in the DTLA, catching up over the last years. Those are the moments I am most thankful for. Those are the moments that show me that I should never stop being a romantic.

Why?

Because these simple moments are the evidence of the greatest romance we can have in our lives, that of a relationship with God.

Romance isn’t romance if it happens every day, every moment. What makes life special if every day you receive a rose? It is in the ups and downs of life, where God gives you those simple moments, that makes life as romantic as I can ever imagine.

My relationship with God is real. We laugh, we cry, we yell (well, I do), we have our ups and downs, but if it is all I ever have in life, it is worth it. It is the greatest romance.

When Calling Surpasses Comfort

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As of Wednesday, November 30th I will no longer have a permanent residence (for now).

This is the girl who has planned every step of her life as long as she can remember. It may not seem like it to some, but my steps are generally well thought out, prayerfully considered and concrete. While most people move to a new country and then look for housing, I get an apartment even before I am there. So, when the opportunity for change seemed to appear I was headed in one direction, quickly! However, that took a turn and now things are changing and I am headed back to North America…not my plan.

Planning is in my blood. It is what balances my creative, erratic and romantic side. I will always remember a former boss telling me “Michelle, sometimes you let the artist overtake the entrepreneur.” Although he didn’t say it quite as eloquently, or even as nicely, I understood this to be what he meant. My logical brain never leads me too far where my creative nature wants to fling me.

However, as I sit in a cafe in Söder, I am taking time away from my client to write this. I am not going to tell you what to do or how to live your life. I am only going to share how God has worked on my heart and allowed me to be taken on what I am so confidently branding #mybiggrandadventure.

It started years ago already. Admittedly Sweden was never in my plans. I thought I would set up residence in London and there I would stay. Of course, knowing the playful relationship I have with God anytime I say “never or always” my life is sideswiped. So, in 2012 I packed my life up, left the first place I really felt completely me and moved to the land of simple beauty. Sweden has been amazing and very difficult at once. I understand now the journey God has taken me on and I am sure I will talk more about that in subsequent blogs and articles. For now I only want to focus on how He has taught me of his grace, mercy and undying love for me (and for you). How He has taken my broken heart, mended it, only to break it over and over again, only this time for His purposes. How, through the blessings and triumphs, low moments and pain, He has, like a potter, sculpted me. Oh boy, I am so far from perfect and my journey nowhere close to finished, but I am so thankful for His fatherly love and gentle discipline.

The foundation laid for me in London was strong and while I didn’t always understand then what He was teaching me through greater leadership, friendship and serving, those experiences have now allowed me to take the next step. And so, with that I am learning…

  1. The freedom of resting in His plans. When I have, in the past, tried to make things work for myself I have only landed in what can be said is a mess. It may not always be a big mess, but it definitely wasn’t where I was intended. This time, as I step out, leaving my home and starting anew, although I am filled with sadness for all the good I am leaving behind, I can only be excited for what is to come. For, as many have said, the safest place to be is in the will of God. No longer do I worry about how anything will plan out because, dang what He has already shown me is far greater than I could have ever planned.
  2. That it’s okay to be sad and happy all at once. I have the greatest mix of emotions right now. Literally holding back tears as I write this. I am so utterly, insanely thankful for the people I have in my life. I can’t even begin to explain how grateful I am for my life up until now and the people are a huge part of it. I can only be excited about those I am about to meet and what God will do with the friendships we build. How freaking exciting is that!!? And knowing that distance, as I have more than once stated, is only a physical thing. As I experienced this week back in LDN, those who God places in your heart will never go away. It doesn’t matter really if we are next door or across the world, love really never dies. So, while I am sad I am leaving the day to day lives of some, while others who were only a quick plane ride away are (for now) separated by an ocean, there are many more new hugs to be had, coffees to drink and plans to conquer.
  3. That grief is a very real thing and does not come only with losing someone. Only about 8 weeks ago I was walking to a team night with my friend Marie when something struck me. I turned to her and said “I don’t know if living in Europe is still a God thing or if it has turned into a me-thing.” You guys, let’s be honest. I am so much more European than North American. I cried yesterday, panic attack, when I had to talk about mobile phone plans across the Atlantic. Darn, they’re not even called mobiles there. I have such a strong heart for what God is doing over here in Europe and that has not changed. So, in the midst of transporting myself across the world, all that I had felt called to, is changing and I am grieving that. I haven’t lost that heart for Europe, it’s simply a new season and one that I know is of God. (side note: I know this because of many prayerful conversations, God moments and just the simplicity of how this is all working out).  And so, I have to grieve what has been, for a new season of what will be. I also have to grieve my safety net. As I said, I am used to having my ducks in a row (at least when it comes to structure). I am going to a lot of unknowns and that is okay. But, for those of you who haven’t lived closely to me over the last 12 years, this is HUGE FOR ME and SO SCARY. I may seem like I flint and fly all over, but in fact calculated risk is my thing. So, here I am learning to grieve really my old self and truly die to what God has in store.
  4. And finally, not everyone is going to understand and that is okay. Truth be told I am pretty confident some people, many people will be a bit confused as I move into this next season. It’s okay. I am too. But, that’s okay because I don’t always understand your choices, their choices. What I do know is that although in the past I really cared about what others thought of my choices, that has since changed. I understand now that if you care that much about my choices and are in a close relationship with me, you can just ask. I am happy to talk about my reasoning and why I am doing something, but if someone is not going to ask, then I let them assume all they want. It’s not worth worrying about me if you don’t care to ask. Please know that this is the most freeing revelation you can have, if, like me, you tend to be a bit of a people pleaser. The only person I am accountable to, other than myself, and more importantly is God. He called us to love Him and to love others. So, in all I do, I prayerfully consider my actions in light of that. Is this God and will it harm or hurt others? Of course I assume that most of the time if it’s God then it won’t harm others!

So…as I step into this next (super exciting and scary season) I am only seeking the steps God has for me. I am moving and taking decisions in rest, not in striving. Although it is not always comfortable (thank you to my mom and my circle of trust for putting up with a lot of crying), it is what I feel is my next step. I am grateful for you all who read my blog and follow along with me on this journey we call life.

In less somber  news I have a few exciting projects coming up so please follow me on Snapchat: meegsx, on Insta: michelletiffanycandice for updates. I will also have my Swedish number on whatsapp and a new number otherwise. You can message me anywhere for that 🙂

Until then, I hope that my revelations will help you a bit.

with love (and until California)

Michelle

Dear Future Hubster.

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Dear Future hubster

Here’s the thing. I’m pretty sure you’re out there. Somewhere. Hiding behind a rock? Busy saving the world’s children in a feat of selflessness and honour? No? Yes? Maybe you’re just learning a lot about yourself and haven’t quite figured out that I’m the girl for you.

It’s okay.

I’m cool over here. I’m waiting. Not always patiently, but most of the time. True, I probably hop onto a dating app or two, but not for long, ask R, I’m off within 20 minutes because it’s just not you. And yeah, maybe I’ve dated a couple of guys, and they’ve been great, but all they’ve done so far is point me to the man that I really want. They’ve each done the honour of showing me the kind of man you will be. Piece by piece. And I’m grateful for that.

And truth be told, I’m grateful for the women in your life. Maybe you’re with someone right now. I pray for her, that she holds your heart with honour and prays for her future husband like I pray for you. I hope she teaches you things about yourself that bring you closer to me. I hope that you treat her like the woman of God she is. Who knows, we may have daughters one day and we both know they’re likely not going to marry the first man they date so let’s show them how to honour their future spouses.

So, you’re sitting there right now, maybe you’re having coffee. Maybe you just got off work or home from an evening with friends. But I hope that once in awhile you think of me. I wonder about you. Will you like adventure? Because I do. Discovering new cities and towns and forests are all exciting to me. Sometimes  I like camping and other times a nice 5 star hotel will be awesome too. Will you go on long walks through our city and near forests? Will you daydream with me as you walk beside me along life’s paths?

And then, will we go dancing? Okay so we don’t have to dance all the time, but your future wife loves to dress up in beautiful clothes and run around the town. She may have dreamed of romantic evenings on the Eiffel Tower (don’t worry, you can ask her friends for all those details because they’ve planned every minute). Will you stand next to me and tell me I’m beautiful even when it’s been a long week and we’re both exhausted but off on date night because, well those will always be important?

Sometimes I wonder what you’re like in church. Do you hold your hands up high in surrender or quietly connect to our Saviour? Are you the kind of strong silent type who will gently nudge me when my thoughts need adjusting? Will you get up early with me to work out and find my peace before our days start or will I have to spend mornings tiptoeing around because you need just five minutes more? I wonder what song you listen to when you need encouragement or find peace? Do you pray out loud or stare into the sky and silently chat?

So I sit here and wonder. Excited about that moment I know you’re mine. Pensive as I wonder how we will fight, how we will handle those tough moments. I hope that I am doing the things that are preparing me to be your wife. Sometimes, when I wake up in the night I pray that He shows me how to be best for you.

And I hope we can be silly. I hope we dance in the kitchen to 80s rock and sneak kisses in public (because i’m not so much about overt displays of affection). I hope we find ways of surprising each other. Ways that only we know about because we have taken the time to get to know each other, our contradictions, our faults, our weird habits and the best parts of each of us.

But for now. I will keep wondering and hoping and praying. And looking forward to the day that you go, “hey babe, it’s me”.

Chasing the Dream

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She handed me a notebook and a modern feathered pen and said “never stop writing”.

I cried.

I cried because I knew she was right.

I cried because I knew what I had to do.

And yet, I still stalled.

I am a risk taker. But what others may not see, is that I take calculated risks.

Being a writer is not a calculated risk.

So I stalled. I’ve stalled all summer. I’ve looked for jobs, I have been part of extensive interview processes. I have laughed. I have cried. I have talked. I have prayed.

Oh I have prayed.

And yet the whisper came again. And again.

Many plans are in a man’s mind,
But it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand (be carried out). prov 19:21

 

 

And so…with that in mind…I decided to jump and suddenly everything began to fall into place.

And that’s where I end this post…

Watch this Space.

Of Sliding Doors and The In-Betweens

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I only watched the film once, but I still remember that look on Gwyneth Paltrow’s face when the tube doors closed on herself and she watched as she went into the tunnel.

It would be kind of cool if we could have a “sliding doors” moment. One of those moments where we could go back to a time that seemed pivotal in our lives and look what would happen if we had made another decision.

I bumped my head recently, actually, I grabbed a pole that had a sign on it and the sign hit my head. Who freakin’ knew poles MOVED? I didn’t.

My friend text me and said “if this were a movie you would have woken up 12 years ago, having missed your plane to London and never left”. I don’t think he realised how insightful that was.

Dear friends, I have loved my life living abroad. Not only have I experienced the most incredible moments, but the way I have chosen to live has made me the woman I am. In fact, had I not left, some of the pain I dealt with would have, in fact, been much more difficult. God has used these last almost 12 years to show me my dreams, to build my faith, to heal me, to guide me into this next season.

A season that I am still keeping between me and God.

Nonetheless, I have moments where I wonder what life would have been like if I stayed. Where would I be in my faith journey? What path would I have followed? More, I question some of my decisions along the way and think “if only I had gone this way…”.

“If only” moments are genuinely the worst ever. They only ever fill you with regret. So, in the moments when I want to head that direction I try to stop myself and ask, “so what now?” Well, that question, can only be answered when we are at a place of rest or peace…otherwise it is the MUDDIEST OF MOMENTS.

An amazing Swedish friend once told me that he believed this next season of mine was a season of rest. Yeah, so….I didn’t and in the end it has taken probably a year longer than I needed to finally really be able to ask “so what now” from a rested, peaceful and totally trusting place.

The journey has been one of self-discovery, vulnerability and faith than I have truly ever taken before. When I moved to London, I had a purpose. When I moved to Sweden, I had a purpose…and now…now I have a new purpose, one that isn’t as cemented, one that isn’t as guaranteed and how that journey will play out is not as clear.

AND OH EM GEE it is scary. It’s so much easier to step out when there is security.

But aren’t the greatest moments, the most incredible bits are when we jump, leap, take a risk and most importantly…listen to that still small voice inside (you know the one that we hear over and over again and try to ignore).

It is when we follow that voice, the dreams it is whispering into your spirit, it’s then where the leap becomes a small step.

Surrender: one dash vulnerability, take away the pride

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Sometimes I hate social media.

Funny, as my work, my audience, my connections around the world, very much rely on this form of media to connect, maintain and grow all sorts of relationships.

This isn’t a post on the dangers of social media, or SoMe, but only as a catalyst to illustrate my recent lessons.

But we’ll get back to that.

Some of you may remember a book written a few years ago called “If you want to walk on Water, you got to get out of the boat“. Well, boy have I stepped out of the boat recently.

Last week I gave up my apartment here in Stockholm. (This will come as a surprise to some of my local readers)…sorry I haven’t had the chance to tell you.

I gave up my apartment, I’m putting most of my belongings in the storage and moving in with my bestie (in a tiny, studio apartment).

Why?

Because when you want to walk on water, you need to get out of the boat.

AND DANG, that boat is really, really, really hard to get out of. Like, people, I am pretty sure I had put up military-style fencing around the edge. I liked my safe life, my beautiful life, with my pretty apartment and my gym membership and my monthly mail order make up. Except that it wasn’t moving forward. I wasn’t really living my purpose. Too often over the last couple of years things were going off kilter and a line had to be drawn.

So, I tore that fence down and jumped in.

The truth is, aside from a freelance writing contract and a few bits and pieces, the future is a beautiful blank canvas. God has given me tools to impact people around me, make a difference while I am here and a shift needed to happen.

I have to admit, and this is hard, that it’s so easy to look back and go “oh, okay, so I was on purpose here and then…oops I stepped off”. Except, that’s not actually the case. We spend, oh, maybe I just spend too often looking at what we see as missteps, what in actual fact, God has used, planned or not, to refine me.

In order for me to really get out of the boat I had to get to this point. Stubbornly, it may have taken me longer than He wanted, or perhaps, it’s exactly the right time. I don’t believe it’s my concern. I believe only that God has me here, now, in a place I can be completely moulded by Him.

Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8

If you look up how to make a clay pot you will see that the potter has to have a strong hold on the clay, gently, but slowly applying pressure so that He or She can shape and refine the clay into the desired shape.

The clay, like us, in order to be moulded must surrender it’s natural shape in order to become the master’s design.

We too, have to completely surrender, allowing God to apply pressure and constraints in our lives, in order to become who He desires us to be, in order to best live our lives for His purpose, our purpose.

So what’s the formula? Well, I reckon this is where it comes down to two main areas.

Remove the pride and add a dash of vulnerability (a very big dash).

This is my experience, and feel free to argue. Let’s go back to the SoMe example. We are inundated with images on Instagram and Facebook, and texts about everyone else’s lives. We see the new boyfriend, the new fiancee, the big house, the better job etc…ALL THE INTERNET and our pride swells up. Why doesn’t my life look like that?

Well, first of all because that’s not your life. And secondly, it probably does, to someone else. But that’s a whole other blog…

Pride takes us on a path that is often not ours to take. I have this great sweatshirt that says “Thou Shalt Run Your own race”. When pride takes over, we end up running towards someone else’s goal, we run in their lane and run against where we are supposed to go.

But when we keep our eyes focused on the main thing and ask for, listen to the Holy Spirit things change. Our course changes.

Seriously though, this is hard. Especially when maybe our track was always meant to go this way and then that, but we are still running the way we were meant to last year. Pride sees only what WE as humans see…what we can accomplish. It takes us off track or keeps us on the path when we should have taken a left.

So, now that we are working on pride…let’s make it a bit more difficult and really get in there.

Vulnerability.

Dang that word hurts. Vulnerability, we think, means putting our trust in someone else. In fact, I am realising that it’s so not about other people. It’s about being vulnerable enough to really hear the Holy Spirit whisper and then act on it. If God opens doors that no one can close and closes doors no one can open, then it doesn’t really matter if we are vulnerable with the humans in our lives. Of course they’re the vehicle, but listening to the Holy Spirit allows us to understand where, when and with whom we should be vulnerable with.

So, truthfully this is a blog that has no real ending. These are daily and even hourly lessons I am currently learning. The good old “lay it down” and surrender it all is a constant journey and one that isn’t a chore, but a path to glorious freedom.

To be continued…

 

A Question of Comparison

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I once sent a friend a text with a message that went something like this:

I wish you could see yourself the way that I see you. 

She was having a really bad day and was frustrated with her dating life, or something that may have felt trivial to me, but was breaking her. I, equally as frustrated with the fact that she couldn’t see what she had to offer, sent her that little reminder.

Fast forward to last Saturday night. Having given into hormones, succumbed to the effects of what a detox of sugar can do to you, and in the midst of a rather stressful time in my life, I broke down.

I hate admitting that I am not strong all the time. I truly wish the Super Woman keychain I have was identification. But alas it is not and since I had done everything on my list to get myself back to normal and I wasn’t succeeding, I called a friend.

Because sometimes we need a reminder of who we are and only someone else can tell you that.

You see, caught up in circumstance, it’s easy to look at the now and believe that we have somehow failed, that we are somehow not enough. We validate our worth by our current circumstance instead of by who created us.

This is something, I have personally lived with all my life. Call it what you will, diagnose me what you want, how I am made, can often influence the degree to which and the speed by which I forget my value and spiral into what I like to call “my little alternative universe”.

And sadly, as we live in an age where more information is available. Where we can easily find evidence of others doing better in life than us and, I believe most unfortunately, while we are a very blessed generation in many ways, we are also finding it more difficult to find stability. Therefore, with all these pieces together, the comparison, the frustrations, the would haves and should haves and why aren’t I there yet, can easily become too much.

 We do not have the audacity to put ourselves in the same class or compare ourselves with some who [supply testimonials to] commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they lack wisdom and behave like fools. 2 Cor 10:12 (AMP)

I know I can’t be the only one. I know I am not. Obviously people living in biblical times had issues with comparison!

And the funny thing is, comparison isn’t always so obvious. It’s not as if I sit and look at Instagram and go “oh my gosh, I can’t believe I am not there yet”. ok. I do sometimes. But I notice it and then tell myself I am stupid.

So instead of comparing ourselves to what we see on social media or hear at the lunch table. We need to start looking at our own lives and what we have accomplished. We need to look at our now and compare it to our before and realise the beautiful journey God has each of us on, the great achievements he has given me talents for, the path I have walked, the race I have run.

Look at the hurdles you have jumped over. The shyness you overcame. The fitness goals you have achieved. The differences you made in someone else’s life. The impact you have already had on this earth.

Somedays we need a reminder of where we have been and a smack in the head (with a chair) of how far we have come and what we have accomplished.

Give yourself a little credit.

See yourself like others see you.

And then keep moving forward.

 

6 things I Have Learned about living in the “In Between”

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5 November 2005. I had been living in London all of 70 something days and I was at a “Hillsong Women” event or as we know it now, The Sisterhood. It would be the first time I met Christine Caine and the first of many times God used her to punch me straight in the face.

She spoke on “and you will”…those moments between Asking and Receiving.

“Ask, and it shall be given you…” Matthew 7:7

I remember distinctly how she spoke about being prepared and ready for what God was going to give you, the direction he was sending you. She eloquently illustrated it by comparing these in between seasons with having a child. If the baby arrives too early then there are often problems because the child isn’t developed enough to leave the protection of the mama. Similarly, if you are baking a cake, if you take it out too early it’s not baked and you could get sick from the raw egg. When things come too early we aren’t ready.

There have been more than one of these in between seasons for me in recent years. Looking back, it’s perhaps my rush of the in-between that has led to needing to redo those seasons more than once. Either way, I learned six fundamental lessons that haven’t only helped me through this season, but grew my faith and made me better.

  1. You need to shut up and listen: if you’re anything like me you try and figure out what is going on. You talk to a million people, read, talk some more, try to sort it out in your head. When I stopped, and in this particular season, took a literal break from reality and went to Greece on 22 hours notice, it allowed God to be able to speak to me. I stopped talking and God began to pour out His love and encouragement over my life. When we quiet ourselves God can speak directly to us, or through others to show us what He is doing.
  2. Rest: I am not good at this one and sometimes I feel like God forces me into it. Probably a bit like a parent who makes their slightly fevered child stay in bed all day, even when the child feels “okay”, our Father knows our health levels. When we are in the between, don’t always try and rush it, rest because He knows how “well” we need to be for our next step.
  3. Keep on, keeping on: It’s easy in the in between to forget the rest. For example, when waiting for a new job, we may get so caught up in it that we forget our other goals, like working out regularly. Or perhaps you’re waiting for the love of your life to come along, but in the meantime you’re not cultivating other relationships or using your single status to serve others. We are, whatever the next step is, the most attractive when we are busy being us, fabulously. So, keep on, keeping on, you’ll attract the next best thing.
  4. Ask, ask and ask some more: No, I am not saying beg God for that job, that boyfriend, that raise. I am saying ask God what He is trying to teach you in this season. A few months ago I was in a similar situation and God came through fast. This time, when I am again, deciding on my next steps I asked God why the other didn’t work out. Expecting something different I only heard this “Michelle, you kept asking for a job when I wanted to give you a life.” Right, schooled by the big guy upstairs. God has taught me so much in the last few weeks, but only because I sucked it up and asked for a performance review 😉
  5. Silence the Voices: These are not the voices in your head. We have already addressed this. These are the voices of EVERYONE ELSE. Seriously, I always want to ask everyone else what they’re thinking about my life decisions. It’s this utterly ridiculous need for affirmation I am working on…but really, don’t we all do it? It’s like “hey guys, when you text a girl you’re not just texting her…you’re texting at least 3 of her friends too”. We love getting opinions of others. I wrote about this a while ago, but when we are on our journey, and God is working on us in the process, we can so easily get off the path or be distracted by what others believe we are going through. Be wise, stop and like some great fashion editors say “before you go out of the house, take off one accessory”. Before we go getting everyone’s advice, step back and ask if it’s just too much.
  6. Find Your Faith: Okay, so I just said get rid of all the voices…except when it comes to building faith. Wherever you are in your “in between” times can get tough and we can lose our faith. I was so encouraged this past summer, when my Swedish mom said one small thing to me “when you don’t have faith, I will have faith for you.”It was like a weight, lifted off my shoulders. Sometimes we need some people around us who will have faith for us, sometimes we will be that for others. This isn’t about advice or opinions. This is about allowing others, who love and truly care for us, to be our faith, to point us in the right direction, to be our fuel.

I like to reflect on the Amplified version of the verse as I think about my current season: Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives, and he who keeps on seeking finds, and to him who keeps on knocking, it will be opened.

Keep going…He always takes you through.