Proceed and Wait
About the Guest
Sometimes we need to wait on God. Other times we need to step out in faith. Author Lisa Whittle and her mom, Kathie Reimer, recall a time in Lisa’s life when all her best plans failed. But God had something better, as they would find out when Lisa took a step of faith in a new direction.
Sometimes we need to wait on God.
Proceed and Wait
Bob: Are there some hardpeople in your life? You know what I mean? Hard to deal with? Hard to relate to? Here’s Kathie Reimer.
Kathie: I feel like God customizes His will for us. So as a result Corrie Ten Boom has a quote: “God places people in our lives for the future that only He can see.” This is the advantage of being older. You have the opportunity to look back and see people that we’ve met that look like they were a part of normal life, but they were divinely placed there. We’ve got to wait on Him to let the timing all work out.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, May 6th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’ll talk about some of the hard things God asks women to do.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. Do you ever find it’s difficult to know in a given circumstance? Do you step out in faith? Do you wait on the Lord?
Bob: Those are both Biblical admonitions, right?
Bob: So what are you supposed to do here?
Dennis: There are a lot of folks that subscribe to hammock theology. You know what a hammock is? You know what you do in a hammock?
Bob: I do! I like doing it too.
Dennis: You just nap.
Bob: I like that!
Dennis: You don’t take responsibility for anything. You just go to sleep. And that theology is “let go and let God.’ It’s kind of like “I don’t have any responsibility.” And that’s not true.
Bob: But at the same time there are a lot of folks who charge on ahead, like “I’m in control. I’ve got this.”
Dennis: Well, that’s the other one.
Bob: …and they’re not waiting on the Lord. They’re just kind of just moving forward. So how do you know which is right?
Dennis: You listen. You listen to the Holy Spirit. A lot of people really don’t understand that God in the person of Jesus Christ came to the planet, He finished His life’s work here, went to the cross, died, then was buried, then was resurrected, and forty days later ascended into heaven. But as He left He sent the Holy Spirit. He sent the Holy Spirit to guide us into truth, to teach us, to comfort us, and in situations like this, Bob, I know this sounds a bit mysterious, and it is, but He relates to us as a person guiding us, when to step out and when to wait, when to just pause. Not necessarily run ahead of God but wait for Him to act.
It’s not an equation. This life is not a two plus two equals four. It’s about us as His creatures and his Creation, relating to Him, get to know His heart, get to know His Word. His will is always revealed in Scripture. To put all of that in balance and live that out in a dynamic relationship with God, where we’re going to fail numerous times, but the promise is He will never leave us nor forsake us.
Bob: We’ve got some guests who are with us today who are going to help us understand that paradox of stepping out and waiting on the Lord and how to understand when and how and all of that, right?
Dennis: We do. A mother/daughter combo. We get two for the price of one here. Kathie Reimer and Lisa Whittle join us on FamilyLife Today. Kathy, Lisa, welcome back.
Kathie: Thank you.
Lisa: It’s great to be here. Yes it is.
Dennis: Lisa is an author, speaker, wife, mother of three, and as I mentioned, Kathie’s daughter. Where do you fit in, Lisa? There are two others. Are you the oldest, youngest, or middle?
Lisa: I’m the middle but I was the baby for twelve years.
Dennis: So you milked it, in other words.
Lisa: I am all confused in the birth order but I actually operate more as a first born. So what in the world?
Dennis: Do you have anything to add to that, Kathie?
Kathie: No. I think she’s right! Well, and she was the only girl. I feel like all our children are only children. And I think that’s the way God looks at us.
Dennis: How about that! Well, Kathie is an author and educator. Together they’ve written a book called The Seven Hardest Things God Asks a Woman to Do. Lisa, there’s a story you tell in the book that’s a great illustration of one of these hard things that God calls a women to do.
Bob: It’s this “do I wait on the Lord or do I step out in faith” issue that we’re talking about, right?
Lisa: I loved the way that Dennis said that and set me up perfectly for this chapter four. It really is this dependency on the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we don’t like to hear that because we are better at proceeding, I think, than waiting. But both of them are difficult sometimes. To step out and do things when we’re timid particularly when life doesn’t work out the way we want it to.
Bob: Which is where you found yourself in, what was it, 1993?
Lisa: Yes, that’s exactly where I found myself. I was a college student. I had been engaged. I had a long relationship with someone that I loved and cared deeply for. As many relationships do, it didn’t work out. We broke up. I was at a point in my life where I went home to be with my parents and to kind of recover, to just be alone and spend time with God.
That was at a point where I felt that God was drawing me to then proceed and to do something else. I was afraid. I didn’t know anyone in this particular place I was going. I was going to go to graduate school. I didn’t have a lot of information and that’s one of the things that’s hard for us. When we don’t have the information in front of us and yet we feel drawn by the Holy Spirit to do something that we know is something that He wants us to do.
I went to graduate school about two months after the breakup and had no idea what was in store for me. But that is the place where I met my very best girlfriend who is really more like a sister to me to this day. We’ve journeyed through many difficult things together and it is where I met my future husband.
So I know I was prompted to God to make that choice and to step out and do that. I was afraid but I knew that was something He wanted me to do. And that’s an example of proceeding without all the information.
Bob: You were at a hard spot because I don’t know how long, in college, you had been pointed in one direction.
Lisa: That’s right.
Bob: When did you get engaged?
Lisa: I got engaged in the middle of my college experience and I had been engaged for about a year when we broke up.
Bob: So you’d been dating for three years, you’d been engaged for a year, you’re aiming right at “I know where the future is and I’m going there.” And then all of a sudden it blows up.
Lisa: That’s right.
Bob: You pull back and go, “Now what?”
Lisa: That’s right. I think a lot of us find ourselves in those positions where we map out the way that we think life is going to go. Or even life is kind of leading us in a certain direction so we go with it. I think when those moments happen where life is altered in some way, maybe by a choice we make, maybe by a choice we didn’t have a voice in at all, we find ourselves in this place where we really do have to make decisions based on the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
Bob: Kathie, do you remember the phone call you got from your daughter from college?
Kathie: I do, like yesterday. Yes. I do remember. I remember the hurt and the difficulty in waiting and taking a step based on the best knowledge she had at the time, trusting in God, that He was going to lead her.
Bob: Do you remember how you counseled her when she says, “Mom, I’ve been planning on this and now we’re not going in that direction. It’s not going to happen.” Do you remember what you said to her?
Kathie: Yes. I said, “Come home! Come home and we’ll take care of you.” And she came home and for several days she just recovered. She slept. She didn’t have to present herself to anybody but her family. I believe that the Lord allowed us to be a family to her and help her in the initial healing.
Dennis: I suspect we’re talking to two groups of people. Generally, whether male or female, they fall into a category of rushing ahead, taking action, let’s fix it, let’s address the problem, let’s move. That’s me. I’m guilty of that.
Waiting is much more difficult for me. I’m learning to wait and the problem with waiting is ambiguity. It’s just not clear and so you’re sitting there, waiting. As you said, Lisa, you don’t have all the facts. You don’t know what’s going to happen. So you’re faced with another situation like you were a few months later when you were thinking the young man that you had now met, that filled up the gaps in your heart and you’re now freshly in love with, was going to ask you to marry him. You went over to his apartment and you know what you did. You did some snooping! Because it was back to the same issue, right Lisa?
Lisa: Oh, I love that you brought up this story.
Yes, I did. Guilty, definitely. I was anticipating becoming engaged. This was some time later, after the incident we just talked about it.
Dennis: Different guy.
Lisa: Different guy. I was totally in love with this guy and a lot of time had passed there. We felt like this was what we were supposed to do. So we had talked about getting married. I knew it was coming eventually but I am impatient.
I wanted to find my engagement ring. I knew it was somewhere in his apartment but I had not yet seen it. He had picked it out himself. He bought it himself. That was a tough one for me as it was because, as a woman, we want to be able to control things like that.
Dennis: But you especially.
Lisa: But me especially…
Dennis: It’s one of the hardest things God has ever asked you to. You like to control things.
Lisa: I’m admitting it, full disclosure, absolutely. So it was tough. I wanted to find this ring and I was on my way to work. I worked as a make-up artist at the time. I had on this uniform that was kind of like a dress. I had on high heels but I wanted to find this ring. There was a box that really intriguing to me, on top of a shelf, over the washer and dryer.
Dennis: You thought you’d found the ring!
Lisa: I thought I’d found it. So I kind of hoisted myself up there.
Bob: Wait! Is this breaking and entering? Did you break into his apartment?
Dennis: He was away. He was in class!
Lisa: He was. He was taking a class at the time and I was at his apartment. He knew I was there. That was okay.
Dennis: Can you believe she did this?
Bob: I’m not believing this!
Dennis: I mean, think about this. The guy saved his hard-earned cash to surprise her…
Bob: And you think you’ve found it up above the dryer.
Lisa: I think I’ve found it. So I went to reach for the box that I was sure it was in and there was a large, like an oversized, cup that I remembered at the moment my to-be fiancé, told me that there were…
Dennis: Or hope to be fiancé!
Lisa: My hope to be. That’s right. …That there was a cupful of his saved pennies in there. So I reach for the box and when I did my hand caught that cup and knocked those pennies over and they went spilling out absolutely everywhere. So of course then I’m scrambling, trying to pick up the pennies and there were so many, it was impossible.
Dennis: Remove the evidence, really. That’s what you were trying to do.
Lisa: That’s right. And the way he discovered I had done this was he found a cluster of pennies behind one of those machines or beside one of those machines when he was doing some housecleaning.
Dennis: So you didn’t go and confess.
Lisa: I didn’t.
Bob: And it wasn’t the ring up on top.
Lisa: And the ring was not there. But I reminded me, when I was writing the book, it made me think about how often we try to “facilitate” things in our life that we are impatient to wait for.
Bob: Facilitate! That’s a nice word. How we try to facilitate! How we try to control is what you’re saying!
Lisa: That’s right!
Dennis: I want to go to the moment when he confronted you with the pennies. What did he say to you?
Lisa: Yeah, that was funny. He discovered the pennies and he knew that the way they had come to be in that place would have had to be because I had tried to find the ring. He knew I was snooping! This was not any surprise to him.
Bob: He knew what he was getting when he married you!
Lisa: He did. He will laugh when he hears this because I’m very much the same now. It reminded me of how much we do scramble to try to facilitate, hurrying up God with the things in our life. So when we do that we tend to make a mess many times. That’s where the story is really applicable because of that thing we try to do to hurry up God.
Bob: Let me go back to this principle we’re talking about, when to step out in faith versus when to wait on the Lord, and knowing the difference.
Kathie, Lisa and Dennis both talked about the ministry of the Holy Spirit and how we rely on the Holy Spirit’s leadership and guidance in that situation. But I think a lot of our listeners would go, “But I’m still not sure. I mean, I pray and I ask the Lord to direct my steps and I’m still don’t know whether I’m being timid or whether I’m being too aggressive.
Is there a way you’ve learned over a lifetime to, I hate to put it this way, but to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em.? Right?
Kathie: I’m still learning for sure. I do feel, what has already been said, that God’s timing is a key in His will. That’s one thing I have learned over the years. His timing is a really big factor.
I think that we need to hold on to verses and there are so many verses like this. But the verse that He will guide us, He will guide us with His eye. He will guide us. So we need to believe first that He’s going to guide us. That He may give us broad parameters to make the choice, or they may be more narrow but He will guide so. So when we have nailed that down I think then, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, we need to watch for indicators because they will be there.
Dennis: You’re hitting on a key point here. Let’s just say for the sake of an illustration, that a women came to me, not my wife, but a women came to me for advice about what to do in a relational situation that really needed to be fixed. I knew something that she didn’t know about the other person. She’s wanting to press the issue. She’s wanting to get it fixed now.
Yet I know what’s going on in the other woman’s life. It would simply not be the right time in any regard to have a confrontation or a meeting or a discussion or putting things on top of the table.
God does know and that’s why, for that person who wants to rush ahead, they have to seek the heart and mind of God. I know, because both Bob and I have confessed. I guess we’re all admitting that we’re run ahead type of people her. That type of personality really needs to step back, double pray, take a few moments to seek God’s mind, and wait.
If you tend to be a “waiter,” one who just waits and waits and never takes action, what would you say to that person?
Lisa: Well, that’s the person that need to proceed sometimes in the things that life brings to them. Yes, absolutely. Those people need to step out in faith a little more often. It does depend on personality a lot. So that’s why those two things within this chapter really go together because we all have to proceed sometimes. We all have to wait sometimes.
But for the person who it’s a little bit easier for them to wait, proceeding is a hard one for them. So they need to know that there are times they’ve got to step forward, step out, press on, proceed on. That’s very, very important because you can spend your whole life waiting out of fear and that’s not the kind of waiting that God requires of us.
Bob: Kathie, so often when somebody is waiting, fear is what’s at the core of that, isn’t it?
Kathie: Oh yes, absolutely. It’s not a good feeling, especially for a woman. We like security. To not have obvious security that we can touch and know about and know where the money’s coming from and all those particulars in a practical sense is frightening. especially if somebody has some baggage from their past where they’re more insecure because their needs were not met. Then that’s a special need that they have.
But I feel like God customizes His will for us. And so, as a result, Corrie ten Boom has a quote that goes this way that God places people in our lives for the future that He can only see. This is the advantage of being older.
With longevity you have the opportunity to look back and see people we’ve met, that looked like they were just a part of normal life, but they were divinely paced there. Later on, they resurface or we meet somebody. It all weaves together and that’s because He customizes His plan for our lives. We’ve got to wait on Him to let the timing all work out.
Dennis: I know this. Whether you struggle with waiting or you struggle with moving ahead too quickly, I think it’s going to always involve two or three things. Let me just share these quickly.
Number one, I think it’s always going to involve faith. Whether you are a person who struggles with waiting, it involves faith to know when to step out. Or whether you’re’ somebody who rushes ahead, it’s faith to be able to wait. Without faith it is impossible to please God, Hebrews chapter 11.
Secondly, it will demand courage. It takes courage to wait sometimes and it takes courage for someone who likes to wait or finds comfort in the waiting, to be able to step out. Courage means, as we’ve talked about here, facing your fear and stepping out and perhaps confronting a situation or taking that step of faith that really flies in the face of your circumstances.
Then third, it will never be contrary to scripture. God calls us to obey the Bible and He always calls us to live our lives in concert with the written Word of God that guides us and directs us.
I know a lot of people who are in marriage relationships who find a lot of discomfort that things aren’t going the way they want it to go. So they can rationalize that God wants me to be happy. God wants me out of this relationship. He wants me out of this unhappiness. I want out and I’m tired of waiting. I’ve been waiting for years.
Yet the Scripture really calls us, I believe, back to our covenant, back to what we promised God. In many of those situations I think people rush too quickly for a solution that is not a solution at all. It is an exchange of problems.
Whether you tend to be one who waits too long or rushes ahead too fast, maybe it’s time to take a deep breath and just cry out to God. Say, “God would you by your Holy Spirit, lead me, direct me, and show me the way I should go and when I should go.”
I want to thank both of your ladies for your work on this book. I think The Seven Hardest Things God Asks a Woman to Do is really insightful to really peel away the heart of a woman and to show a women where her struggles can be and, in most cases, are and then to give them godly advice about how to handle it. Thanks for being on the broadcast.
Lisa and Kathie: Thank you.
Bob: I can see this book being used by a lot of ladies in study groups, whether it’s a small group that meets in your home or something you do, maybe a ladies study in the church. I can see this provoking a lot of conversation because I think, like you said Dennis, this taps into where ladies are today. The Seven Hardest Things God Asks a Woman to Do. We’ve got copies of the book in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center.
If you want to go online at FamilyLifeToday. Com to find out how you can order a copy of the book or order multiple copies so that you’ve got them for your study group, go to FamilyLifeToday.com and find out how you can order The Seven Hardest Things God Asks a Woman to Do. Or call 1-800-358-6329, I 800- “F” as in Family, “L” as in life, and then the word TODAY and we’ll let you know how you can get a copy of this book sent to you.
By the way, on our website you’ll also find a link to the FamilyLife MomLifeToday blog. That s a great way to keep up with other moms who are sharing their stories or some of the challenges that come along with being a woman, a wife and a mom who is seeking to honor God in her marriage and her family. Look for the MomLifeToday blog link when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com.
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Now on Monday we want to encourage you to be here. We’re going to talk about memorizing Scripture and using music to help you do that. We’re going to have Jason Houser from the Seeds Family Worship Team here with us and Tom Dodds, who is a member up at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis and who is part of a team who puts their weekly fighter verses to music to help families memorize those Scriptures. They’re going to be here and we’re going to talk about music and Scripture memory and I hope you can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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