These lovely little journals have been sitting, finished, wrapped, and waiting. In boxes in my tucked away corner of the finished-basement-playroom-office, since the beginning of March.
For more than six months.
Because I caught a glimpse of some vision from God. But then, I ran out ahead of Him. I began trusting in my own hands to get my work done. Pushing for my own timing. Reaching for a goal that was far beyond the season of life I’m in would allow. Comparing myself to the people around me. Expecting far more of myself than God was asking.
And God, in His grace and with His guiding love, reached right into my running. He brought my hustling feet to a halt and He said, “Wait. Not yet.”
My pastor, Drew Karschner, preached about that very thing just yesterday. About how sometimes, when God says, "No," He's actually saying, "Not yet."
For a while, when that ought to have steadied me, it actually threw me. Because I had thought I had been running with Him. I had thought this was all what He wanted from me. I thought He wanted my work and my striving. And I didn't know what it looked like just to lay that down in His capable hands.
God wanted me to know His grace far more than He wanted me to produce or perform or attempt perfection.
It’s by grace we are saved. And that salvation isn’t isolated in our lives. It overflows into everything. It’s the source of an entirely new heart that is inserted into us, that shapes everything about who we are and everything that we do. And it’s not from ourselves. It’s the gift of God. Not by works. So that no one may boast (Ephesians 2).
I had started to identify myself by the work I was doing instead of by the One for whom I was doing it.
My eyes had slipped away toward a picture of production and of presentation that simply wasn’t reachable. Because it’s not the job of mere mortals like you and me to strive for perfection. It isn’t our calling. It isn’t even possible. And it will only weigh us down or send us chasing after the wind and grasping for something invisible.
“Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways,” (Psalm 119:36-37).
So, I’ve waited. Looking at the time, the work, the investment, the heart behind it all. And I’ve held Hidden in my heart. Waiting. Praying. Asking God, “When?”
What are you waiting on? What might God be trying to teach you while you wait?
I’m learning. Oh, how I’m learning. God has spent these months stripping back layers. And with each layer, just like when skin is torn off, there has been pain and a helpless state of raw undone. God has been peeling back the layers I’ve built onto my identity with my own idea of what He wants from me. And what He has revealed underneath all those layers is messy, selfish, unseen sin.
It’s the stuff of broken lives in need of grace. Broken lives that are far from perfect and most certainly cannot mend themselves. Broken lives that grasp at images of other broken lives instead of at the image of a perfect Savior who can reach underneath all of our layers and cover us with His perfection--not with anything we could do.
These are the places where He enters in and forgives and heals and makes whole. It’s in the raw and broken places, where we realize that we are NOT God, that He molds us into His likeness. I long for His likeness.
“My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!” (Psalm 119:25).
In each broken place in my life, as each layer has been peeled back, in the emptying, seeds have remained. The seeds of God’s Word, buried deep in my soul. And in each broken place, He has spoken and breathed life through that Word..
“The unfolding of your word gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple,” (Psalm 119:130).
After a long season of waiting, I remembered my why. I remembered why I knew God was calling me to create the journal in the first place. Because when everything else is lifted away, His Word remains. I so love His Word and I want to pass on that love. My heart burns to know Him in it, to fill my heart with it, and to share His love through it.
When I remembered my why, I finally felt the release. The, “It’s time! Now, go!”
But, my friend, I’m offering this to you simply. Because I’ve realized that the season of life that God has called me into right now doesn’t allow for more than that. And when I’ve tried to do more than this season allows, I’ve come up empty and exhausted. So, I’m believing that if God knows where I am, because He has led me here, it’s enough. I don’t have to reach above and beyond the place He’s put me. I can just open my hands right here.
And I’ll say: It’s time. Let’s go. Together. Let’s hide His Word in our hearts. Because when everything else is lifted away, His Word remains. And it will lead us through.
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you,” (Psalm 119:11).
I’ll be here, walking beside you. Pouring out what I can from what He has poured into me. In the little bit of time I have to offer in this season. I’ll show you what He’s teaching me as I open my heart to His Word. And I’ll listen, on the edge of my seat, to the things He’s teaching you.
The Hidden: Scripture Memory Journal walks you through the method that God has shaped in me over many years. It has worked very well for me, and I use the same method to memorize a single verse as I do to memorize an entire book of the Bible. I especially love that this journal allows you to keep your Scripture memory progress all in one place. The techniques in the journal have allowed Scripture memory to become a natural part of my walk with Jesus. My prayer is that they’ll be able to offer the same thing to you.
Hidden is available in the shop at ToChooseJoy.com.