While We Wait: Trusting God’s Timing

My family didn’t have a dishwasher. Growing up, I was the dishwasher. While that might sound miserable to some, it was my normal. And I loved it (most of the time). I have the best memories standing on the kitchen chair and scrubbing, while my dad rinsed right beside me. We’d stack the dishes methodically- cups first and bowls next, to create a stable wall for the plates to lean against, and I would smile in amazement when he would run his finger along the edge of a glass to make a magical ringing sound. There was an excitement about it- knowing my mom would feel loved after coming home from work to a surprise of an empty sink. Doing the dishes wasn’t much of a chore when my dad and I did it together.

To this day, my parents still do not have a dishwashing machine and they are as happy as ever. However, last year in our first apartment, my husband and I were spoiled with a brand new, never before been used dishwasher. It was pretty amazing, I have to say. It was also a learning experience for me. A ruined cutting board and spoon later, I had to learn the hard way that wood doesn’t go in the dishwasher. I got used to it though, and loved how much time this saved me.

We recently moved to a new apartment and you’ll never guess what we’ve been having trouble with…that’s right…the dishwasher. The items on bottom aren’t getting clean and the items on top aren’t even getting wet. To leave that perfect dishwashing machine and find one that doesn’t work has been a bit of a downer. Hand washing dishes was fun when I was 10 and had all the time in the world, but 23 year old me wants that specific frying pan clean NOW. I want the sink cleared up NOW. I want to start dinner NOW. The dishwashing machine was supposed to aid me in my innate desire for instant gratification. As I stated previously…I’ve been spoiled.

Earlier this week while I was furiously scrubbing some plates (with a little more force than necessary) it hit me: sometimes I have instant expectations of God too. Like an appliance, I want Him to make my dreams come true NOW. Answer my prayer NOW. Fix my sin NOW. Cure the cancer NOW. Relieve the brokenness NOW. But He doesn’t always work that way.

I have a tendency to reduce my loving God into a dishwashing machine. Cycle 1: load Him up with all that I want. Cycle 2: expect results when I return. Cycle 3: Feel disappointed when he doesn’t work as quickly as I’d like. Repeat.

I’m guessing that you do it too.

You look at your friend’s seemingly spotless life and pray at night that God would give you a life wrapped neatly with a bow on top- expecting him to act by morning. You see your successful sister and ask the Lord to help you make your parents just as proud by Christmas. You compare your life to the happy neighbors and plea, God, this season of struggle has gone on long enough. I’ve learned whatever lesson you’re trying to teach me now. Let’s. Move. On.

We want His care for us to be quick and painless, so we can move on and keep keeping up with our girlfriends. We want him to work at the speed of light when He may have a better, more sanctifying plan in mind. While the dishwasher uses jet-powered water to scrub off the muck, God may use more of a soaking method. 

It’s easy to be frustrated at God’s slow-ness. We think our ways are better. We see His speed as a kind of injustice.

Why take your time, God, when we all know you can snap your fingers and fix this in an instant? I don’t understand. 

That’s it….I don’t understand

His thoughts are so lofty. His vantage point is far higher. His vision is much clearer. His love is much deeper. His intentions are more pure. His will is better.

He see’s what is ahead of us. He see’s what this wait will produce. God is more concerned with the growth of our hearts than the stretch of our instant, yet fading smiles. He’d rather us wrestle and fight to trust in Him, rely on Him, and beg of Him- worshipping and loving Him more when he finally answers our prayer, than for us to get what we want, shout a brief hallelujah and forget about Him the next day. You and I both know if He worked like a dishwashing machine, we’d only use Him for our needs; we wouldn’t actually know Him, let alone love Him.

If you know me, you know I’m terrible at math. I failed and retook a math class 6 times in college. You better believe I prayed every year, sometimes every night, that God would let me pass and take this trial away from me. But He never did. Instead, I endured 4 years of this math class, embarrassment, frustration, and at times very little hope that I’d ever graduate. But God in His mercy was growing something inside of me. He was growing my work ethic, my determination, my faith in Him, and believe it or not- my confidence. God used those 6 painful semesters to sharpen me- to make me shine in spots where I was once dull. The day I passed finite mathematics was a day full of the Lord’s glory. He could have made me miraculously pass the first semester, but I would have missed the opportunity to fervently trust and draw near to Him, while experiencing deep growth- two things that just don’t happen overnight. 

I’m not sure what you’re waiting for…the sickness to fade, the career to fall in place, the wedding date to arrive, the pregnancy test to finally be positive, the dark clouds over your head to finally part…

We’re all longing for something, and we each get to decide: Am I willing to trust in the timing and worship in the wait?

The dishwashing machine may be quick and convenient, but you have the opportunity to pull up a chair, grab a sponge, pump up some elbow grease, and go to work alongside the Father. I can guarantee you that His company (even amidst pain, doubt, and confusion) is far better than any instant gift you could ever receive.

With Love & Freedom,

Kelsee

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Taste and See

It’s 9 am. I pour the boiling water over my tea ball infuser, filled with my favorite loose-leaf blend. I stare into the cup as the water begins to fade from crystal clear to a golden brown- slowly at first. I wait. I remove the tea ball and add in clover honey. I move to the patio, sit down with a blanket still in my pajamas, hair damp from the French braids I just unraveled, and take in the cool calm of the morning. At risk of burning my tongue, I wait just a few minutes longer, and in the waiting I think of you.

I think of all the potential you have, like the clear boiling water. And how, like me, you’re waiting. Slowly becoming you. You’re taking it all in- the flavors and colors and scents of life. One by one, drip by drip, they’re shaping you into a rich cup of tea. And I wonder…what are you soaking in? Is it a bitter or a sweet blend?

Anger over an absent parent?

Frustration from yet another heartbreak?

Loneliness– wondering when you’ll finally be the chosen one?

Pride– believing you can and must do it all?

Jealousy– that somehow she has the life you’ve been hoping for?

Regret– wishing for a fresh start?

Sadness– mourning the realities of this broken world?

Apathy– just going with the ebbs and flows of this ever changing life that you have little control of?

Anxiety, Fear, Doubt, Pain?

What is seeping, bleeding, and staining your cup?

For a long time, my cup looked like a foggy blend of disappointment and desperation. The hurt of rejection from someone who was supposed to love me. Desperate striving to please and impress everyone, and earn love from anyone who’d give me a chance. Exhaustion from trying to do it all, and do it all perfectly. I’d compare my cup to those around me…and the verdict? Still half-full.

It’s easy to allow our disappointments to dictate the flavor of our life. I know because I’ve been there. But that’s a bitterness not even two lumps of sugar and a tablespoon of honey can fix, with an after-taste that lingers a little too long.

I want you to know that we weren’t made for this bitterness. We weren’t designed to feel that stab in our stomach, the swelling of our throat, and the burning of our cheeks as we hold back tears of resentment.

No. We were made for milk and honey. You know that smooth, sweet, warm juice at the bottom of your oatmeal? We were made for that. But that sweetness is only provided by the One who died that we might taste His goodness.

Are you letting His goodness seep into your life- flavoring every thought and word with his glorious Truth? Or are you consumed by the messages of this world, believing you’ll never be enough, at least not with those sized jeans?

Are you stirring in worship- intentionally spending time to praise Him? Or are you basking in your own glory, trying to earn your keep and prove your value, living the lie that you’re only as important as the height of the rung you’re standing on?

Are you soaking in the company of sisters who will uplift you, sharpen and sweeten you? Or are you sharing it with other bitter women, letting gossip and shame fill your cup, while you wonder what they say when you’re not at the table?

Do you start your morning kneeling in awe of our Father saying “holy is your name; Bring your kingdom here; Forgive me; Give me your bread of life, Father; Yours alone is the glory”? Or does your morning routine consist of Snapchat, then Instagram, Facebook, then Twitter, just waiting to compare yourself to the next girl before you’ve even put pants on? Repeated twice before breakfast.

Dear sister, your life is like a cup of boiling hot water. And while you might not get to choose everything that goes in- you do get to choose how long you let it seep there. You can let the disappointments and jealously and comparison grow dark and bitter, or you can let the Lord flavor your life with love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control, while you wait for the finishing touches of milk and honey that will never fade, never spoil, and will always satisfy.

An overflowing cup is poured and waiting for you; and the choice of tea is yours.

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8

With Sweet Love & Freedom,

Kelsee

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The Core Of Jealousy: A Thirst For More

In The Keitel home, we love onions. They’re in nearly every meal we make. But here’s my confession: Even though it costs extra, I buy the plastic containers of pre-cut onions from the grocery store. It’s worth the extra dollar or two every time because I’m a miserable onion crier. I’ve got some secret angst that there’s no solution to this in the book of Proverbs, but I guess it wasn’t import enough.

ANYWAYS. A few days ago I was actually cutting an onion because they were out of the pre-cut boxes at the store. And I started thinking- jealousy is a lot like an onion. Beyond the obvious- tears and frustration- an onion has so many layers, and I’m convinced that peeling back the layers is what causes the real sting. Like an onion, if we peel back the layers of jealousy, going deeper and deeper to find the core of the issue, it’s going to be painful. But we know all too well that no true healing ever occurs without the sting of pain and at least a few tears.

LAYER ONE:  Jealousy & Behaviors Motivated By Jealousy. Although you can smell the yucky stench, its pretty painless to look at and is usually dismissed in apathy.

LAYER TWO: The Desires Driving Jealousy.  There’s this humanly innate need for love and affection, a thirst for approval, a desire to be accepted. And when it seems these needs aren’t being met the way we want them to be, they surface themselves as jealousy, which we saw in layer one.

LAYER THREE: The Core Of It All. I believe jealousy, at its root, comes from not believing that God is enough. If we truly believed God was enough, there would be no more layers. Our need for love and acceptance would be fulfilled and we’d be content.

We like to stand with our arms held high, and sing songs about Christ being all we need on Sunday morning, yet hours after leaving the sanctuary our hearts sing a different song, because at the core, this is how we really feel:

God, your love is not enough for me. I want a love that comes with flowers and diamonds and goodnight kisses and snuggly profile photos. I know you stepped down from your throne and the glories of heaven to die a criminal’s death for me, performing the greatest act of love in all of history, but your love is not enough for me.

 God, your approval is not enough for me. I know that you are the righteous judge, who calls me blameless and pure. But I need more. I need the approval of my parents and my friends. I need likes and re-tweets, follows, compliments, and invitations. I need the approval of man to declare my value. Your approval is not enough for me.

God, your plans are not enough for me. I need to make my own path. I know that you see more than I see. I know that you’re omniscient and sovereign and good. I know that you go ahead, behind, and beside me, but I want to establish my own steps. Your plans are not enough for me.

God, your grace is not enough for me. I’ve got to accomplish more, do more, succeed more, and serve more. THEN I will have a track record that deems me worthy. I need to do more good to outweigh the damage I’ve done. I need to measure up to my perfect Christian friends. Your grace is not enough for me.

Whew. I don’t know about you, but it kind of knocks the wind out of me to read the insides of our hearts. We don’t say things like this aloud but internally we’re grabbing ahold of anything and everything to fill our thirst.

Ironically, the love and approval of man that we try to top off our glasses with leave our hearts dry, longing for more- jealous for more. We’re deceived; believing if we had more our thirst would be satisfied.

But the Word of God tells us otherwise, through one woman’s encounter with Jesus in John 4.

“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14

To this uneducated woman, it seems that Jesus is comparing the water from the well to some kind of special water he has. He is actually teaching that the things of this world will not satisfy us- we will be thirsty again; however he provides for us in a way that is eternally satisfying.

The woman in this passage is significant. Historically this woman would need a husband in order to have any kind of life worth living. But as Jesus points out, this woman has had 5 husbands. The text doesn’t tell us exactly why, but its possible for this time period that men continually divorced her because she was unable to conceive a child- a crucial economic factor in this time period. After her fifth husband, it appears that her only option was to become a prostitute to make ends meet. Although she comes from a different time, I’m positive that we can relate to her.

She wanted her basic physical and emotional needs met; she tried finding that in relationships and keeping up with the expectations of society, and when that didn’t work out, she took matters into her own hands. She did what she could to quench her deep thirst.

Like the woman at the well, until we realize that the only satisfying water comes from Christ, we’ll be thirsty forever- caught in the cycle of discontentment and jealousy.

When His love is enough, we’ll stop searching for it in the wrong places.

When His approval is enough, we’ll stop letting others define our worth.

When His plans are enough, we’ll stop letting anxiety make all our choices for us.

When His grace is enough, we’ll stop trying to save ourselves.

When we live in a place that truly believes Christ is enough, we won’t have anything to be jealous for, because we’ll have all we could ever want or need.

So its time for me to ask you…when looking deep down at your layers, do you believe Christ is enough?

With Love & Freedom,

Kelsee

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