Grateful in the Wait

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Does it seem like everyone is being blessed except you? You’ve been faithful, obedient to what God asks, yet some of your requests presented to Him appear delayed with no Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA). Living in a “microwave generation,” we want everything NOW.

Like you, I am waiting on God for some answers also. As I wait, I have asked, “Lord, where are you at on this? When are you going to release me from this situation?” Silence.

I write this message to minister to you and me. How can we remain grateful and joyful in the wait and not become depressed about requests God hasn’t yet answered? Here are five tips:

    1. Time is a Trainer. For those of us who’ve journeyed with the Lord for a while, we’ve come to learn that time is a trainer. Time develops our faith and trust in God and His holy Word. We’ve learned that He is not bound by time and therefore, can’t be rushed by our anxiousness. Time trains us to shed attitudes and behaviors that are not of Him so we can be more in alignment with His will. Time trains us to develop our muscle and weight in character, integrity, credibility, competency, perseverance, love, patience, and other traits that can’t be acquired overnight. Time trains us to victoriously run the race, equipped to address life’s opportunities and challenges. I’ve experienced this development in my journey and review it with joy!

Grateful in waiting 1

2. God Prepares a Place for Prepared People. As stated in tip #1, time is a great agent to develop character traits and skills necessary for us to move into and occupy that next level. Would you want to enter that role without the necessary preparation and refinement? Not if you want to operate in a spirit of excellence. As God prepares you to occupy that new level, He is also lining up the people, provision and resources to sustain you in your new role. God is excellent and will not do things half-baked. Allow Him to properly prepare you to step into your prepared position.

3. Remain Faithful and Avoid the Shortcuts. As we wait, we’re subject to complaining and may consider other options. Satan will present you with shortcuts that promise to deliver quicker answers and rewards rather than waiting on God. Don’t take the bait. The enemy’s counterfeit offers have convinced many to accept and adapt to less than fulfilling plans and outcomes. Remain faithful in what God has asked you to do. Remain grateful for how He is preparing you in the process. You won’t be disappointed when the promotion comes.

4. Suffering: God’s Instrument to Mature and Propel Us into Our Destiny. From challenging employers, to dwindling resources, illness or persecution, our perfection will not begin until we undergo affliction. God will use suffering and trials as instruments to spiritually mature us to become more like Christ and to propel us into our destiny. Suffering produces qualities within us that would otherwise remain dormant. We must expect it, go through it and not consider it strange. “Great spirituality came out of the suffering of Paul, Stephen and others. So it will be with God’s People today. These are the authentic outcomes of the Christian faith,” says Hakim Hazim, author and co-founder of Christian think tank Freedom Squared.

5. No Good Thing Will He Withhold. Satan will try to convince you that “God has forgotten about you.” This is a lie. Psalm 31:19 says, “How abundant are the good things you have stored up for those who fear you that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.” God delights in blessing you! “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” (Psalm 84:11)

God’s ETA is always on time, never late. He is not limited by our circumstances or rushed by our anxiousness. Remain grateful and joyful in the wait. He will exceed your expectations and greatest imaginations (Ephesians 3:20).

God bless you,

Nicole

(Article originally published on November 21, 2014 on GospelToday.com. Site no longer exists.)

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No, I’m Not Dating and I’m Doing Great!

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

I hesitate to give this topic any more oxygen than it requires. I write in hopes to squash fears and encourage the hopeless. I’m an attractive, intelligent, single godly woman, successful, free to do as I please. I live in a city brewing with activity any day of the week with myriad opportunities to engage with highly cultured, educated and successful people. The aforementioned ingredients seem a prime cure to the perceived problem: my singleness. Several people have asked me the dreaded question: “Who are you dating?” My reply: “No one.” Their next question in rapid response, “WHY AREN’T YOU DATING??!”

From family, to colleagues and some friends who haven’t yet caught on, I realize they ask the question in love, and not to criticize me. They desire to see me fulfilled, perceiving that this area of my life is dead, denied or failed. Society has us under the gun to fill that slot with nearly anyone if we’re still single after 30. But rest assured: my singleness is a GIFT and I am doing great! I am living my singleness to the max; operating to the “nth” degree in service to the Lord and His Kingdom! My mind is straight focused on doing His will daily, hourly! It’s an absolute joy! Desires I have asked for in serving Him and His People, He is bringing to pass. There are married people who would happily trade places with me, realizing the freedom in which I live.

Yes, we all desire love and companionship. I have fallen in love with Jesus Christ, the lover of my soul. Anything beyond that is icing on the cake. Yes, I desire and sometimes yearn for the helpmate, husband and partner that God has for me. But I am worth the wait and so is he. In my wait and being prepared, the Lord has done a great work in me and I am encouraged by what He has shown me. Areas where I wasn’t previously patient, God has developed my patience. Areas where I offered less understanding or compassion, God has enabled me to extend greater levels of understanding and compassion toward others.

Another encouragement rests in a dream the Lord gave me a year ago conveying some of the character and physical traits this person will embody. Having advance knowledge of these particular traits enables me to pursue God’s work without the distractions of dating aimlessly and the potential drama that invites. I won’t be dating just any man as I know the particular traits to expect. I also won’t feel the need to “fix” my situation to where I may be operating precariously outside of God’s timing and will.

Ecclesiastes 3-11 he has made everything beautiful in its timeThose who are waiting on marriage or other desires placed before the Lord, Ecclesiastes 3:11 encourages us that “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Additionally, Habakkuk 2:3 assures us of the Lord’s faithfulness: “Though it lingers, wait for it: it will certainly come and will not delay.”

Read encouraging “Single and Content” themed articles from Whole Magazine.

-Nicole

Nicole D. Hayes is the founder of Voices Against the Grain, a bold teaching ministry launched in May 2013. Nicole’s purpose in creating Voices Against the Grain is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amid confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.

Learn more about Nicole D. Hayes here. 

Chasing God Together

Good Day, People!  The following post by our guest blogger, Herbert Bowen, Jr., is 100% needed when it comes to relationships and marriage. In a world that is driven by “need it, want it now” it seems contradictory to wait on the spouse God desires to bring into your life when you could easily seek who you want. I can attest, waiting on God means sometimes He can really take his time to answer the desires of our heart. Sometimes we wonder if He will ever answer, but we must trust He is working things out for our good.  He will answer you! Herbert’s piece is confirmation that when God brings two people together for His purposes, the success is exponential.  Thank you Herbert for sharing today’s message as you congratulate your friends Justin and Brooke Lehmann for living this example.  -Nicole

Ecclesiastes 4:9- “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” (New Living Translation)

Herbert G. Bowen, VATG Guest Blogger

Herbert G. Bowen, VATG Guest Blogger

Here is a phrase from Justin that has never left my memory banks: “A relationship will only grow if you are chasing God together.” Wow, I was a boy who believed that love was for no one other than God, my family, and my spiritual family, until God brought Irina into my life. It was there I began to see two people chasing God together. It was there that success finally began to knock at the door. It was there where love was found and the warmth of reading God’s word kindled a fire between two kindred spirits that no one could extinguish. Chasing God requires patience and courage to wait and let God deliver the right companion, to avoid needless heartache. So, may we all be encouraged by Justin’s words, for they are sound and proven through his marriage to his beautiful wife and childhood sweetheart Mrs. Brooke Lehmann.  Amen

About Herbert G. Bowen, Jr.

Born in King of Prussia, Pa., Herbert G. Bowen Jr., accepted the Lord Jesus Christ at the tender age of 5. An active member of the Central Church of God in Charlotte, N.C. where he resides, Herbert serves as a youth/discussion group leader, where he has preached and taught Sunday school, as well  as Wednesday night service. In addition, he has preached at Second Baptist Church in Pottstown, Pa., Destiny City Church in Salisbury, N.C.  At his current age of 23, Herbert is the youngest board member on the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Leadership Council, where he serves to lessen the costs of tuition for African American students. Moreover, Herbert serves on the PureHope advisory board, where his commitment to “wait until marriage” fits perfectly with PureHope’s mission to bring a Christian solution to an immoral culture.

Finally, Herbert through the will of God writes weekly devotionals to combat the decreasing morality in the 18-30 age group a.k.a., “the transition gap.” This is an effort to re-introduce Jesus Christ to this spiritually starved generation. His devotionals go out to 2,000+ people and continues to grow under the Lord’s watchful eye.  He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He provides business expertise to help others start their businesses.

Overcoming Discontent in a Purpose-Filled Life

Herbert G. Bowen, VATG Guest Blogger

Herbert G. Bowen, VATG Guest Blogger

Hi Dear Friends. It’s no secret that life has its ups and downs. Some people seem to endure storm after storm. The challenges can range from a need for healing in our bodies, troubles with our children or relationship, navigating through an unexpected financial crisis to desiring a dream fulfilled that God seems to have placed on hold.  We’d rather God immediately remove the discomfort we feel in such situations, so we can get on to enjoying life. But sometimes it seems He’s taking His sweet time at our expense.  😦  What happens when life’s struggles, our expressed discontent as we wait on God to answer our prayers meets a purpose-filled life? Read the two scenarios juxtaposed below to know how God has “got you” as you wait for Him to work it out. Thank you Herbert for today’s post on “Voices Against the Grain.”

Job 9:25

My life passes more swiftly than a runner. It flees away without a glimpse of happiness.

We live in a realm of discontent. We live in a realm of pure joy. We suffer through the night and find comfort in the morning. The period of unrest steals our sleep and burdens our minds. We find no shelter in the storm and have fallen victim to the strength of the mighty winds. We are shackled and chained with the weight of finances, the future, etc. We are on the verge of giving up. Where is our rescue? Where is our aid, for this life has yielded some good, but the constant bombardment of evil and uncertainty snatches the little peace we have. Will there be a solution? Will all this work be for naught? Please listen, stop, quiet down, and wipe your tears. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, for the Lord knows all your needs” (Matthew 6:32) for if we “seek God in all we do, he will show us which path to take” (Proverbs 3:6). Thus, focus and flee from anxiety because God has you.

1 John 3:21-22

And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.

After reading this verse for many years, it now makes sense. “Whatever we ask, we shall receive.” This doesn’t mean if we ask for instant riches, or a new car, or a man/woman to fulfill our lives that God will grant it. For it is those assumptions that have led us to look up toward the sky saying, “Do you hear me Lord?”

However, there is more, “because we must obey and do things that please him.” In other words, what we ask for shall be granted if it is aligned with God’s will and purpose for our lives. Riches have not come because we are still learning and have work to do. That car is in a garage waiting to be driven when God deems us ready. That man/woman is out there, but like a bee to a flower, you must let God bring them to you, (like Irina was brought to me). Therefore, make your petitions known to God and through confidence and discernment He will grant your desires. Amen

About Herbert G. Bowen, Jr.

Born in King of Prussia, Pa., Herbert G. Bowen Jr., accepted the Lord Jesus Christ at the tender age of 5. An active member of the Central Church of God in Charlotte, N.C. where he resides, Herbert serves as a youth/discussion group leader, where he has preached and taught Sunday school, as well  as Wednesday night service. In addition, he has preached at Second Baptist Church in Pottstown, Pa., Destiny City Church in Salisbury, N.C.  At his current age of 23, Herbert is the youngest board member on the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Leadership Council, where he serves to lessen the costs of tuition for African American students. Moreover, Herbert serves on the PureHope advisory board, where his commitment to “wait until marriage” fits perfectly with PureHope’s mission to bring a Christian solution to an immoral culture.

Finally, Herbert through the will of God writes weekly devotionals to combat the decreasing morality in the 18-30 age group a.k.a., “the transition gap.” This is an effort to re-introduce Jesus Christ to this spiritually starved generation. His devotionals go out to 2,000+ people and continues to grow under the Lord’s watchful eye.  He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He provides business expertise to help others start their businesses.