As we continue our series on Perseverance for the next four weeks, we want to share our stories of overcoming and also ones of looking forward to remind ourselves how God walks alongside us through it all. My friends, Holly Barrett, Debbie Kitterman and Patricia Krank and I want to leave you with hope as you persevere in your everyday lives. Today I am looking at persevering in purpose. A journey that has been ongoing my whole life, but one in which the horizon finally looks clearer. A journey of wishing, waiting and pursuing has brought me to where I am today.
Two years ago, my story of purpose, in the second part of my life, began when I walked through a set of glass, double doors for the last time. I left confident, full of hope and with dreams that seemed in my reach. Two years later, I see the fruits of those dreams and the gift of pursuing God each step of the way.
God leads us on a journey that does not look like the details we worked out in our heads. The last two years resemble that kind of journey for me.
When I retired from teaching, I allowed myself to dream of digging in deeper in my journey with God. He granted me this gift of time and I wanted to honor Him in my next steps. I imagined as I walked out of the school building for the last time that I would be living out my story of wishing, waiting and pursuing almost immediately. God is the Author of our stories and His plan looked different than my June imaginings.
Looking back, the last few years flew by. When caught in the middle of the process, the beginning and end seemed miles apart. Taking the next step forward many times turned into three steps backward. But through it all, God prompted me to continue wishing, waiting and pursuing.
I began dreaming even before I retired. God’s voice, while not audible, clearly assured me that He had big plans for me. Impatience to get to my “what’s next” entered the mix almost immediately. What looked like impossible dreams turned into probabilities when I kept my focus on God. He took me off road to care for my dad, change churches, deal with loss and still believe in my purpose. My job was to hang on for the ride.
Hope pulled me through because somewhere in the back of my mind my dreams lived on. God showed me His faithfulness again and again. He promised so much more and revealed the plan in His perfect timing.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
As we dream and wish for God’s plan to unfold in our timing, God takes the imaginings of our hearts and holds them close. As He is ready, He reveals the pieces one by one. In my case, the time from retiring to now involved waiting on God’s timing, not mine.
A huge part of persevering in times of waiting is the courage it takes to hold onto hope through it all. God continues to teach me how when I think nothing is happening, everything is happening. In the waiting, God works behind the scenes without fail. Our job is to allow God to do the work while being patient with the process. God promises:
…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
[Tweet “When pursuing purpose, I can walk bravely through the door knowing God is on the other side. “]
This journey taught me that when pursuing purpose, I can walk through the door with courage knowing God is on the other side. My dreams become reality when I release them to God and let Him develop them into the beautiful plan He wrote for me. My purpose remained throughout the last two years. God just needed the time to work on it and perfect it a little more.
So as I prepare to move to invest in community and encourage women, God continues to lead the way. He opened the door when I said “yes” initially and chose to pursue Him. I pray you all open your hearts and minds to dreaming. God brings waiting along for the ride when persevering in purpose, but His timing is always perfect.
Do you allow yourself to dream knowing that God’s plan leads you toward your purpose? How do you persevere toward purpose when you are in a season of waiting?
[Tweet “Join my friends, @HollySBarrett, @oldthingsnew and @Dare2Hear for Part 5 of our Perseverance series.”]
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Loved this: “A huge part of persevering in times of waiting is the courage it takes to hold onto hope through it all.” Visiting from Barbie’s #glimpses linkup, enjoyed reading, Mary 🙂
I am a courage girl. Meaning God is teaching me what it means to be brave for Him. He has provided many lessons on this journey to brave faith too. It is hope in God that always sees me through even when I don’t believe I am brave. Thank you for visiting.
All my life God has been teaching me about expectations and dreams. It’s been a painful process at times! But I’ve learned that when we walk through this life with open hands, He fills them. He blesses us abundantly and gives us JOY and peace even in the trials. Love this post, my friend! Wise words. Have a blessed weekend!
It is in the opening of our hands that God sees we are ready for what’s next. I love that you now live with a Dreamer. I imagine that has opened your eyes in many new ways. Thank you for encouraging me and spending time here. Blessings!
I call this waiting with purpose: “A huge part of persevering in times of waiting is the courage it takes to hold onto hope through it all. God continues to teach me how when I think nothing is happening, everything is happening. In the waiting, God works behind the scenes without fail. Our job is to allow God to do the work while being patient with the process.” I love how often you used the word HOPE – it was my One Word for 2016 and I clung to it daily.
Hope is a powerful word that evokes such great truth. I love that hope was your word last year. Clinging to hope in God will always get you through. And I am blessed that God showed me that my time of waiting was still moving me to my purpose. It has been a huge learning curve for me. Thank you for being here.
“Our job is to allow God to do the work while being patient with the process.” I need to re-learn this every two years. GREAT post, Mary. Excited to hear about your new adventure.
Aww! The patience part. I’m not always good at that but God somehow keeps me in line with Him through it all. I’m cries why you need to relearn this every two years?? Hope you had a great week!
This is so good, Mary: “My dreams become reality when I release them to God and let Him develop them into the beautiful plan He wrote for me.” In the coming years, I’m looking at possible career/life plan changes, so you’re encouraging me!
I imagine writing will be part of the beautiful plan in your life. You do a wonderful job. I know God has outlined something amazing for you because you continue to keep yourself open to His possibilities. I can’t wait to see what that looks like. Blessings!
This is great, Mary. A perfect three-step process!
What do I do to persevere? Well…
1) I do the next necessary thing, without looking too far down the road.
2) I set small tasks in areas in which I know I excel, to build a backlog of successful ‘feeling’
3) I don’t watch the news, and frequent only uplifting media (music, TV, movies). No need to tie weights to my feet.
4) I only speak positively, and forswear the use of bad language. I can’t control every thought, but what we say is important, and I CAN control that.
5) I pray. A lot.
Thank you for sharing your steps to persevering. You are a beautiful example to all of us of what perseverance looks like while facing your illness. I hope I embrace #5 at all times in my own life. Prayer will see us through.
Thank you for sharing these good thoughts. I’ve been through many different times of waiting throughout my life. And it’s so good to look back and see God’s Faithfulness through each one–especially when a new time of waiting comes up. This reminder is so good: “In the waiting, God works behind the scenes without fail.” Thanks for these encouraging words! Blessings to you!
The looking back is amazing if you open your eyes to seeing how far you have come. God is faithful and I love that you share that today. I pray you see how God is working in your life whether it is in a season of waiting or moving forward. Thank you or being here Bettie!
Yes, we wait and it feels like nothing is happening, but because of God, everything is happening! I can’t wait to see what that will look like for you, Mary! It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been two years since you retired! Wow! Time flies! But you’ve been so busy doing what God has laid on your heart during those years. The best is yet to come!
Two years in hindsight has gone very quickly. As I was going through it I felt it went very slowly. God gave me ideas as to what my purpose would look like when I retired but it is just now starting to become clearer. The best is yet to come because I continue to hope and know that God has something better. Thank you for hanging with me these last two years through all my ups and downs.
It’s interesting that I would read your post today because I have been in a holding pattern for about three years, one that I didn’t realize I was in until I read your insights and reflected upon an experience I had just this evening, which seemed to confirm that a recent change in course I made was indeed God’s will and may be the change that ultimately leads me back to a ministry that I believe God has gifted me in.
Thank you so much for the reminder to persevere in the midst of waiting.
Thank you for sharing your own story. I learn from others all the time and know that God speaks to me and teaches me through other people. I pray as you feel this change coming that God continues to lead you exactly where you need to be. May you continue to hold onto God as His plans unfold.
Mary, This was very encouraging to me and goes right along with another article I was reading. Thank you so much for helping us hang on while we are waiting for God to reveal His plans!
I love that God brought this to your attention in several ways today. I know when he does that to me it is a message I really need to hear and embrace. I pray that whenever you are in a season of waiting you know God is still present and working hard. Blessings as we approach the weekend.
You offer so much hope here, Mary. I am grateful God has led you to minister to women. I appreciate you so much. Thank you for reminding me that God is the Author of our stories, and when the waiting is hard, He is still there working behind the scenes. He is faithful, and His timing is perfect. Love and hugs to you!
Hope is what has seen me through these last few years. I am grateful that God has never been far in this process. I just needed to continue to remember to reach out to Him. God works hard for each of us even when it seems like nothing is happening. I love that I am starting to see some of the fruits of the tine of waiting. Thank you Trudy for being here and leaving some encouragement.
“When I think nothing is happening…everything is happening.” Amen! Isn’t that the truth that when WE can’t see anything happening we think God is idle, but that’s usually when He is hugely at work on something that will blow us away at some point in the future. Learning to trust that God is moving even when I can’t see it has been one of my biggest challenges. I have loved journeying along with you – seeing what new truths he’s teaching you, has certainly helped me!
God is always on the move and working behind the scenes. There are times I have a hard time holding onto this truth but God shows me over and over His faithfulness. I continue to learn from you too Bev. I feel like we are kindred spirits. We share similar experiences and life lessons. Thank you for journeying along Bev.
Great post Mary and so encouraging! Following God regardless of knowing all the details is faith in essence. God is slowly unveiling His purpose for me so I just need to trust all of it!
Blessings to you Mary!
Trusting God’s purpose for us is scary and requires brave faith. God is good to cover us with all we need as we say “yes” and wait for Him to do the rest. I am excited for you as you let God lead you. I am praying for you.
Mary, an encouraging post on knowing that God has plans for us in this phase of life as we lay our hopes and dreams in His hands and wait. As I’m inbetween purposes right now, again, it’s hard to grasp the hope in the waiting. Not sure where He’s leading, I need to lean into Him more~and rest in the waiting.
Thank you for your post on wishing, waiting, and pursuing.
First, I love seeing you here Janis! We pass each other on social media but this means so much that you took the time to stop and leave a comment. I pray as you wait in the in between for God to reveal His purpose and that you allow yourself to dream what that might look like. May you walk bravely with God knowing that He never leads us astray.
Mary, what a truth-packed post. Dreams are funny things. We have a vision of what they will look like, but God’s vision is pretty much always different. Like you, I’ve been learning (and re-learning) how to trust God’s timing, because this too is almost always different than I pictured. 🙂
But, when we persevere in the waiting, when we keep our hope and our eyes fixed on Him, we will see His vision for the dream brought to life in our lives. My biggest way of persevering in the waiting is to hold my dreams with an open hand, and to keep my relationship with Jesus as my top priority. 🙂
Thank you or sharing the image of holding our dreams with an open hand. I love how it gives them full access to God which is where that brave faith comes in. When I started dreaming before I retired God continued to show me that in different ways that this was the path He wanted me to take. The waiting and wondering about my purpose has been difficult at times but now that I am on the other side in some ways I see where God’s plan and timing is perfect. I am praying for you Jeanne as you continue to open your heart to Jesus for all that He has for you.
I’m glad you’ve created a new path with God on this side of life, Mary. It can be quite an adventure! After my last child graduated from our homeschool, I wasn’t sure where God would take me next, but it’s been one new thing after another. Sometimes it’s overwhelming, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Thanks for your encouragement to keep pressing in.
I love that I am allowing myself to dream knowing that God will honor my dream with His plan for me. I am blessed to have this time to devote to Him and feel for so many years that I was overwhelmed by work, raising kids and being a wife. I pray we all embrace brave faith to press in to all that God has for us and walk forward trusting Him to lead the way.
Love the the truth and hope you shared…need…A huge part of persevering in times of waiting is the courage it takes to hold onto hope through it all. God continues to teach me how when I think nothing is happening, everything is happening. In the waiting, God works behind the scenes without fail. Our job is to allow God to do the work while being patient with the process. God promises:… 🙂
We forget that courage is part of our daily lives. We just don’t call it that. When God started teaching me about brave faith he showed me how ordinary it really was. Trusting him and knowing that when we hope in Him we will follow His path in his timing. Waiting is not for the faint of heart but God does make it easier. Thank you for affirming words. I appreciate you Jennie!
Such hope in this post for all who are embarking on something new and/or waiting as their dreams and visions grow more vivid, yet God’s got the timing set up just a bit differently! It is about the small steps, for me. And to focus on the small successes along the way, including the one’s of redirection.
I’m glad the hope shines through. We are nothing without the hope of God to carry us forward in all parts of life. I also am learning that baby steps are the best way to journey forward. God doesn’t ask us to go from A to Z because His path may take many detours. He asks us to trust Him and know that He will guide us. Love when you stop by Lynn! Blessings on your week!
Dear Mary … this sure is a faith-journey we’re on, sometime taking steps sideways or even backwards as we venture ahead. I’ve been a bit surprised at the detours and silent stretches along the way.
Yet He keeps beckoning us to follow Him into the yet unknown. Our trust gets strengthen even as it’s stretched, doesn’t it …
Oh the twists and turns that we find on the path. God has this way of leading us into the unknown that requires us to walk bravely and hang on tight. God teaches us so much when we say “yes” to His promptings. I love how He has been leading me toward my purpose. The reality is that it is God’s propose becoming clearer. Here’s to new beginnings for both of us.
Mary, there is so much wisdom in this post. It is amazing the many turns our lives can take as God continues to gently guide us to the place He has prepared for us. It is there we reach our full potential and fulfillment in Him, as His purposes are always for our good and for His glory. Grateful you have shared your journey with us all!
I appreciate your kind words. There is so much for us to glean in our ordinary lives. God continues to teach us if we allow Him to. I pray we all seek our purpose knowing God will lead us on a beautiful journey closer to Him.
Mary, I hear the need for courage in every step you have described. Allowing ourselves to wish is a risk, waiting is the hardest discipline I can think of, and grabbing hold of a brave faith and pursuing our dreams makes us vulnerable. I’m continually thankful for the presence of God in our lives as we exercise Brave Faith and prove His strength through us!
Thank you for this sweet encouragement and affirmation. We are in similar life stages and as much as I love it, there are new challenges that continue to come our way. I continue to learn how brave faith is needed in this life journey and it is through God that we find the courage. I pray we all feel the strength to dream and let God give us the wings to fly with Him.
Happy Mother’s Day to you, Mary.
Thanks for always being an inspiration.
I appreciate you stopping by! What a treat to know that God blesses our words when we call upon Him.
Happy weekend, my friend.