Disclaimer: If you're reading this, welcome! Sometimes I use this space to "externally process" through writing. These thoughts may be a bit jumbled and scattered, mainly because I don't have the patience to do a second draft, haha. But also because these thoughts are more for myself than the public. However, I'm sharing them here just in case they'll be helpful or encouraging for anyone who stumbles upon them. 

One of the key things I learned about prayer growing up is that God always answers. It may just be that answer isn't the one you were hoping for. (The three options are no, wait, and yes. Just in case you wondered.) However, in all the Sunday School wisdom passed on to me, the one thing that never really stuck was that regardless of the answer, it is all God's grace for my life, and His absolute best answer for me. "No" isn't a secondhand, answer-for-the-sake-of-answering from God. A "wait" or "no" just may mean a better "yes".

Right now, I'm in a season of change. I guess we all are--one of the only things we can count on in life is that change is inevitable. It will come. But I'm in a period of deliberate transition. Of stepping into obedience (...so hard, so full of joy, and yet lined with fear!) and walking into new places. I'll be leaving a community of people I love with the largest part of my heart, to make new relationships with people that don't currently know I exist (or vice versa). There's a goodbye coming in the next half-year that will be really hard, and a slew of unknowns ahead. Things that I want for this next season that God has still said 'no' to. Like marriage. Overseas missions work. And raising kids overseas. A home to care for and manage. Even just running a full time business, or to certain clients that I hope will book me. 

Maybe someday He'll change the answer to a yes. But now, He has other things I'm called to. Things that are yes for this season.
Examples? To continue to cultivate my walk with Him. To dig deeper into the soil in which my soul is planted. He asks me to learn to love my neighbors--especially the ones who don't look like me, speak like me, live like me. In a new city, I'm commanded to seek its welfare. To pursue healing in my most deepest, messy places. (Aka... say yes to counseling, after putting it off for years.) And so many other wonderful, unknown things! This season will be one of continued development and growth, of living out of the giftings and strengths placed in my DNA, and strategic growing.

In all those "no" or "wait" pieces, my heart cries out. "God, you know my heart! My desires! You know the deepest parts of me--even more than I do." Tears often surface during these talks with the Lord, and sometimes it gets ugly. But God doesn't care about my ugly. He just cares about my heart. And so, I lean into Him, and the Word. I listen to the Spirit, who brings to mind the Words of Life. Soak up His presence.

"Let me surprise you, dear one," He whispers to my heart. "I know my plans for you, just trust me. Do you trust me? I'm asking you to walk in the faith I've planted in your heart. I knit you together--you were an answered prayer, and I'll use you to fulfill prayers still being prayed! In my time, I will do it swiftly. Just walk in humble obedience to me, dear heart. Trust me." 

Over and over again, the question of "Do you trust me?" rings deep in my heart. Like a song, He plays it through the stereo of my life vehicle, as I journey down this ever-changing road. Sometimes I travel through desert, sometimes mountains, and other days a valley. But my Father is always with me, and He always has one hand firmly on the wheel. The other hand, I know, is holding mine.

when God says no: thoughts on singleness, missions, discipleship, and seasons of life
I am like a green pine tree; your fruitfulness comes from me.
— Hosea 14:8