Are you stuck in a waiting period, just hoping God has heard your prayer? You’ve prayed, but you haven’t heard God’s answer. You’ve sought him, but you haven’t seen him working. What do you do in this space between asking and receiving? What do you do when you’re trying your best to believe God is working, but you see absolutely no proof of anything changing yet?

I’m in that space too. Sister, you’re not alone. I call it a gap. A gap between when I think would be the right time for this to change, and when God says it’s the right time for it to change. One thing I’ve figured out in my adventurous journey with God is, his timeline is often very different than mine. The time zones are different in Heaven y’all. Don’t you know time moves differently there, and I guess when you’ve seen the end from the very beginning, you just aren’t stressed about the gap between.

So, I want to talk to my sisters who are in this gap with me. Those who are in the space of praying but not getting their answer. Seeking but not seeing him work. Asking for things to change, but still waiting for that change. I’m going to share a personal conversation between me and God, and I hope it brings peace to your gap.

My youngest daughter is the most beautiful little thing you’ve ever seen. She will light up any room with her infectious joy and radiant smile. Since the moment we met her at an orphanage in Mexico, we knew she was absolutely overflowing with potential to do big things with her life. 4 years ago this week, at 17 years old, this gorgeous soul we’ve had the blessed opportunity to raise, walked out of our home and just never came back.

The path she’s been on since has been a hard one, one we would have never wished for her. One that doesn’t seem to align with her dreams and her potential. So, I did what any mom would do, I put God on a timeline. What? You don’t put God on a timeline? Is that just me? It looks like this: “Lord, guide her back home safely today.” Today would come and today would go. No change. So, eventually, I stopped my continual request for today’s, and I started giving timelines of holidays. Lord, fix this by Christmas. Christmas would come, and I would be so disappointed over that empty seat at our table. Some days I would be hurt, some days I would be angry, some days I would be confused, some days I would doubt, but most days I would just extend the timeline for God. “Okay God, so you didn’t make Christmas happen, but Easter … I’ll give you until Easter to fix this mess and fix our family.”

4 years of me putting God on a timeline which he hasn’t seemed to care about. 4 years of me battling the questions of does he not hear? Does he not care? Does he not plan to do anything at all?

A few months ago I was writing a devotional on the story of the crippled man laying at the pool of Bathesda awaiting healing in the bubbling waters. The devotional was about the power of Jesus to change anything and everything in our lives. Things that were too far gone. Things that were absolutely hopeless. Things we had given up on. Jesus walks up to this man and tells him to get up, and guess what happens … the man miraculously and instantly gets up!

In an instant everything in this man’s world changed. I had been waiting on our family’s “instant”. Lord, make it happen. There’s a timeline on this and I’ve been extending it every time, just waiting. Maybe you feel the same way. And maybe your timeline is like mine … blown!

Again, Heaven is in a different time zone than here on Earth y’all. We must understand that!

While writing that devotional and once again putting God on my new extended timeline, God had a personal conversation with me. It came in the beginning of this miraculous story of healing. We all know how the story ends, the crippled man walks, but it’s how it begins that God showed me. Here it is, Mark 5: 1-6 “Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

And right there within that scripture is what God wanted to show me about my timeline. This is where God had a “coming to Jesus” talk with me. This is where things got real. It wasn’t the “Do you want to get well” part. I had focused on that. It was the “thrity-eight year” part. Right then and there, God asked me, will you trust me for 30?”

Oh, finally, I thought, God is agreeing to my timeline. 30 more days and we will have our girl back! Yes, God, yes 30! Then he revealed to me he was asking me for 30 years. Will I trust him for 30 years with my girl? Will I wait for 30? And, My. Heart. Sank.

30 Christmases without her? 30 Easters with that empty seat? 30 birthdays where I just hope she receives my text. But yes, God, I will trust you for 30. If 30 years is what it takes, then I will pray every day for those 30 and believe you will do what only you can do.

And in that moment, I felt what I hadn’t felt all along. I felt unspeakable peace in the gap. I’ve found peace happens when I still believe God is going to do it, but I remove the condition of a timeline.

I was waiting for this healing within our family, but while I was waiting with my timeline of expectation, I realized I was putting life on hold. Are you putting life on hold waiting for your answered prayer? I believe God is saying to you what he said to me, “TRUST ME NO MATTER HOW LONG IT TAKES AND KEEP LIVING WHILE YOU WAIT!”

You have a life to live, a mission to fulfill, an assignment to show up for, love to give, work to do, and joy to find, Sis! You can’t wait until this problem is resolved to move on with living. You can’t wait until it’s all fixed for you to ever be happy again. You can’t wait until you’ve seen the end of this to decide you can take your next step.

After 38 years of this man laying on a mat, waiting for healing, Jesus shows up and radically heals him. 38 years is a long time. And guess what, it’s going to pass whether you’re choosing joy or not. It’s going to pass whether you’re fully living or not. So, what God has been showing me is to release my timeline and trust his.

My timeline of expected change was keeping me stuck in a perpetual loop of high hopes and disappointments. A heart can only take that for so long until it just breaks. Y’all, I’m telling you, as the days come and go and more holidays pass without seeing change, I can honestly tell you my heart isn’t breaking anymore because the timeline has been lifted. I’m trusting God for 30. Do I believe he could show up and do some radical healing in this situation today … absolutely. However, my trust, my joy, and my next step does not depend on it. I pray today as I do every day, and I continue the journey of knowing God is doing what only God can do, and he will do it when it’s best.

I encourage you to keep praying. Don’t you give up on what you’re seeking God for. But lift the timeline of expectation. You’re making yourself miserable trying to get our great big, infinite God into your time zone. Time is different in God’s hands. He’s seen what you have not yet seen. He knows what your mind cannot even imagine. And he has this all worked out in the gap between you asking and him showing you the answer.

Find peace in this gap. Don’t stop living in this gap. Don’t put your life on hold waiting until you get your answer, your healing, or your change. 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 says, “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”

And this is God’s will for us in this gap between praying and seeing, asking and receiving, seeking and finding. Be joyful in this gap. Never stop praying in this gap. Be thankful even in this gap.

God asked me to trust him for 30. What is he asking of you today?

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