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
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?
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