It was a week of unbelievable crazy ups and downs.  
I heard the exciting news of something I once proposed to be a divinely inspired idea and the not so exciting announcement to me was that it was finally coming to fruition based off someone else's hand - and they took credit. Backhanded high five.  Awesome feeling.
A car accident not based off my lack of attention, but it simply was black ice I could not get my car to stop.  A deductible later. Whats another $500 right?
The announcement of their wedding. Its clear he moved on. But why would it be on the date of her birthday?  
He still isnt allowed home to see his family and has had such a good long stride of behavior.  His wife is devastated. 
How to be a good friend in the midst of other struggles, job issues, things I couldnt control, and not to mention sleep I hadn't gotten... I had no idea!  While the devil may have thought he was winning certain battles, and at times during this week it surely felt like it, my God showed up once again.
He came in the form of a phone call with an unbelievable opportunity at perfect timing.  I remember crying out to God asking him if he even cared.  It's not like I needed everything perfect all at once, but I was looking for a nugget, just a glimpse of hope!  The enemy may have thought he was gaining ground, whats crazy was the way it actually worked out to see and understand a bit more of the endurance our faith takes, and makes our journey all the more exciting. Yet its still a roller-coaster of ups and downs.  I was thankful to get through this week and look to the future beyond this "season"

Ever feel like you're in a season of just needing to be still?  You dont necessarily hear from God one direction or another but you know you're supposed to stop where you are, and either wait till you hear a "YES" a "NO" or a "Go this way"  Pretty sure that's been theme in my life this year...   Thankfully though, theres an indescribable peace that God, being greater than I, has an indescribable plan at work that he will eventually unfold and I have hope.  .   .  BUT being still in the process waiting to see what he's going to do has been a challenge.  

In the midst of being "still" while I wait in great expectations of what's to unfold, I find myself very aware of the thorn I walk forward with.  

It was one of those days of "being still" but holding onto my hopes and my dreams for a better tomorrow today, when I came across a talk by Annie F Downs with Q:Women in Nashville.  
She too was talking about hope and while her talk was more about the dreams we long for not just the hope for a better tomorrow, I thought it was perfect enough to share.   

Annie was telling us about her life and how great the adventures have been throughout her journey, but took it a little deeper.  She talks through the question we so often find oursevles asking, and perhaps God's response to the way we're embracing hoping, waiting, and longing for a better outcome and it was brilliant!   In Annie's journey she talked about the fact that she had (since she was young) always wanted to be a wife and a mom, and yet had other dreams she wanted to achieve and experience.  BUT she lived so long putting off those other 'dreams' to wait for her ultimate dream of being a wife, and when she woke up 10years into her adulthood she was devastated that she was still single and had turned down other opportunities to seek out her other dreams for fear shed be turning in her ultimate dream.  (or screw it up somehow)    

What's funny is Annie profoundly articulated the struggle of my heart.  The longing I have for dreams to pass and yet not wanting to seek after certain dreams for fear one dream might not come true.

Thankfully most of my life I've gotten to live grand adventures and if anything I HAVENT said no to dreams of travel or work experiences, etc. But what I have often wondered is by doing these other things, if I actually gave up and somehow passed by my desire to be married too, and if that dream will ever come to pass. . .

Thankfully Annie's talk concluded well. . . She actually gave us the permission to seek out other dreams and greive the current dreams that remain unfulfilled but know that while they may not come as we expect them, they still might come.  Its just learning to live IN THE WAIT, in the stillness of not knowing where God is moving, in the "saturday" of the crucifixion weekend until we see HIS face and an answer....

"The thing exists, and it makes your heart beat, but God is bigger, and his dreams for YOU are BIGGER. . . I just dont want to live in this passive state of waiting. I want to live in a chronic state of THIS IS THE GOOD LIFE!  right?!  THIS IS THE GOOD LIFE... 
The word says over and over that God has given you EVERYTHING you need - Be JOYFUL in HOPE... this is the good life.  The problem comes when I put all the things and focus on the things I want, instead of what I already have.  And instead of what I can go after, Im more focused on the things I dont have.  IN Our faith - we believe in stories like Abraham and Sarah - where they're 90 years old and they wait their whole life to have a baby and its been their lifelong dream - and the bible tells us "Believe GOD!" ... "Believe him for what you want!  Hope!  Faith!"  and the other side we have dreams that buzz by us and never happen - and WHAT do we do where those meet??"
So, what DO we do where our faith is challenged with believing God for something when we live so long without it?  That dream you've held onto your entire life?  What if it doesnt happen?
OR What do we do when we've seen and endured such trials and tragedy that we cannot even grasp the middle ground that it might still come to pass?  I know several friends living in this question - "My life has been SO HARD and such a struggle, I cannot imagine God would actually bring my dreams to pass"  I can certainly relate in some aspects.  How do you hope for something God doesnt promise to actually bring to pass?
Annie continues "I think God's there though. I think he meets us in that spot where we believe him SO HARD and yet we trust him with what he gives!  .....  So the question is; How do you CRAFT a live that brings God Glory and brings you JOY, EVEN if He never answers your deepest prayers?!?
Annie is great about drawing us in to challenge our daily walks with these questions...
Even IF He never answers your deepest longings and prayers, does that mean he is not good?  The struggle I face today is living IN THIS reality that some of those longings and dreams might never happen.  The week from hell I talked about above sure enough worked out ok, but my life wasn't solved.  The only resolution I got through the week was the assurance that God saw me and He didn't forget me!  He sent me that phone call for an incredible opportunity to assure me "Wendy, if I wanted to do this for you, I could!  I still see you. I still hear you. And I have great plans... just hang on"
But what about now?  Where do I bring my hope and how do I live a life to reflect his goodness on a daily basis even if all my dreams dont come to pass?  I would imagine you might ask the same question...
Annie concludes in her talk: When this dream passes, there will be something else... A dream, a prayer, something new, something better... it never goes away... we have to keep processing - if God Never answers my deepest prayers, what do I do? What are you waiting for? Whats the thing you are waiting for?  and what are you begging God for?  And what are you going to do - if it never comes?  

And so, THIS is where we learn to live in the between...

I cannot recount the amount of stuff I've trekked through time and time again in this journey we call life, but when I pause to look back, theres been a lot of struggle, and some great victories, but in the midst of it all I am continually reminded of the hope I continue to cling to: its my anchor! And if I never get to see certain dreams come to pass, It is my longing and my desire to say it is well because I know the essense of God and who he is doesnt change. He is STILL good, and I will choose to praise him. Beyond financial struggles, car issues I cannot control, or even the curiousity and questions of unsanswered questions, hopes and dreams I long to see answered; when we put our Faith and trust in him that he is still good.... The peace he gives and the hope we somehow wake up with sweeps away fear. HIS word never fails and even His promises that remamin unshakeable.

As we just celebrated the risen Jesus on Easter Sunday, we were reminded that a lot of life is spent in the "Saturday" of the crucifixion and ressurection. "God we know you promised you are coming again, but is it true?" We ask just like the disciples. "Can I trust you to be good to your word you are going to conquer death and give us access to that too?"  Easter and Advent are seasons where we get to lean into expectations and longing and waiting. They are times to remember the faithfulness of God in times past and present and consider the promises yet to be fulfilled. The people of God have always waited. Always hoped. Always yearned. We do so today. Bodies are still broken and fragile. Lives shattered by the destruction of sin. Relationships fractured. But from the darkness, we see a faint flicker of light. 

We hear a gentle whisper growing ever louder.  “Behold, I make all things new.”

 This is the hope. This is the promise. 
This is the ultimate fulfillment of our longing. It is this promise that allows us to rest in the darkness. It is this hope that enables us to linger in foreign lands. It is this that reminds us that we are not forsaken.  And sometimes this is just greater than the longings we hope to be fullfilled, because we know nothing will compare to being in his presence and we will be made new and it will be all the better... 

But for now,  the hope, the anchor of the soul will be greater than any battle we face, our fear will be swept away, and the hope he brings in the cross we can rest assured; He gave everything to save the world he loves.  HE stands unshakeable! He has a plan. He is unchanging. All Loving. All kowing. He is higher. He is greater.  His word is unfailing, his promises unchanging, He never fails. He is the anchor through the flood and He is fighting on your behalf.  Let him be your Anchor! 


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