In The Waiting

February 18, 2021

I’ve Missed You….

Psalm 42:1 – 4
As the deer longs for streams of water,
    so I long for you, O God.
I thirst for God, the living God.
    When can I go and stand before him?
Day and night I have only tears for food,
    while my enemies continually taunt me, saying,
    “Where is this God of yours?”
My heart is breaking
    as I remember how it used to be:
I walked among the crowds of worshipers,
    leading a great procession to the house of God,
singing for joy and giving thanks
    amid the sound of a great celebration!

My favorite Psalm taunts me… Oh, how I’ve longed for God. I can remember pondering how sweet it was to be in His presence. How I couldn’t imagine a single day without knowing He was with me. Then, over a six-year period I lost my sister, my son, my husband, my mother and my father.

I went from being the person leading a procession to the house of God to one who couldn’t look Him in the face. I felt like God had asked too much of me, I couldn’t “stand before Him” so I turned away. This moment of turning came in July 2017 when my husband Todd passed away. Sort of the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back for me. I sat by him when he drew his last breath, though it was not a cognizant thought, I turned away from God. What more would He ask me for? Perhaps He wouldn’t ask for more if I was hiding from Him?
I do need to add here, I’m not afraid of losing God’s love, I’m not afraid He’ll smite me for my intemperance, I’m not worried He’ll leave me for being a bad girl. We’ve settled all that in our long relationship. But I was confused because this wasn’t the way I thought my life would go. I didn’t know how to be in this season of grief and still “stand before Him.”

So for two+ years I’ve was a bit “standoffish” with God. Of course, I gave the usual lip service that Christians give in the midst of pain.
God has a plan. NOT!
I’m a fighter. NOT!
God will get me through! NOT!
I saw other people go through their own NOT experiences! And felt a heart of derision as they said the same things I was saying, knowing in the dark of the night I felt nothing. I felt nothing! I felt nothing!

Then I did feel something… I was lonely… I found myself missing God. I invited Him to speak and there He was. He’s a gentleman like that. He understands when we don’t understand. He will wait. And then I had this moment where in my heart of hearts I said, “I’ve missed You!”

And then I received an invitation out of the blue to participate in a cohort of women who were seekers. To learn about spiritual direction and soul care. I felt timid about doing this but felt a nudge to go ahead and join. I had invited God to speak and here He was answering the prayer through an opportunity to open my heart to other women. The sessions were all and more that I hoped they would be. Each time we met I learned something about myself but I learned it in the context of grace and hope. I have so much growing to do, but I saw that as being an ok and expected part of the journey. I began to learn how to “hold” not only my own struggles and challenges, but the struggles and challenges of others. The WOW team modeled spiritual excellence and I drank deep from the well of grace at the table they set.

God and I still have work to do, but like all relationships, we’ll do the work and then I hope I can someday “sing for joy and give thanks amid the sound of a great celebration.” I don’t get to determine when that moment will be, but in the meantime, “Yes, God, I’ve missed You!” and thank you for the team at WOW who ushered me back into Your gracious presence and love!

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Lisa Mathews

Lisa serves with Movement.org as the USA City Movement Catalyst. She most recently served as the Executive Director of Love In the Name of Christ SE Ottawa County in Hudsonville, Michigan. Lisa has served as the Groups Pastor of Ridge Point Community Church from 2008–2014. Before joining the ministry, Lisa worked in the corporate arena at Herman Miller and Jayco, Inc. where she worked in Market Information and e-business Management. She has a passion for leadership development, strategic planning, team building and seeing those around her empowered to utilize their God given gifts to their fullest potential. She has a BS in Organizational Development from Bethel University in Mishawaka, IN. Lisa is also a mother of two grown children, a son, Dustin, who is in heaven and a daughter, Emily. She is a grandmother of two adorable little boys, Beckett and Greyson, and mother in law to a wonderful son, Stephen. Lisa’s husband Todd passed away in 2017, she lives in Holland, MI.