A note from Kelly King: Liz Steckel does a great job today of reminding us of the importance of endurance and allowing God to work in us—even when His timing is not our own. I want to remember during this season that waiting isn’t a punishment but a part of my spiritual growth.
December has long been an open invitation for eager hearts to get a wee bit nostalgic. Barren mantles become dressed, ornaments are hung, and wreaths are placed in just the right position. Our homes become beacons of hope for weary souls to rest and soft places for childlike laughter to flourish.
After my husband and I welcomed our first child, I felt the need to establish new family traditions to share for years to come. The idea of filling our home with the scent of vanilla and cinnamon was all too enticing for my eager yet untested hands. You see, I was the queen of picking the perfect dessert for a company Christmas party and removing the lid and price tag before anyone knew the difference. In my own home, however, an expensive cherry red mixer adorned the kitchen counter without the power button ever being pressed. I decided this year was the perfect time for a change.
I jumped in my car, bought the needed ingredients for immaculate cinnamon cranberry scones, and began the baking process. I combined ingredients, prepared the baking sheet, warmed the oven, and set the timer. The smell of cranberries saturated in vanilla and cinnamon was more than my heart could handle. I must have cracked the oven door every three minutes to see if they were near completion. I was the epitome of a 6-year-old asking the question “are we there yet?”
For me, the act of waiting became almost painful. I knew time was an essential ingredient for the baking process to reach fruition, but I refused to allow it to do its work. I interrupted so much that my scones resulted in flattened triangles that, while tasting good, never achieved their full potential.
James 1 is quick to remind us that the process of waiting isn’t for our harm, but for our holiness.
“Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.”
Did you hear that second sentence? Read it again slowly.
“And let (allow) endurance/steadfastness/perseverance have its full effect...”
This is key. It commands us to allow, not fight against, endurance. To submit to it, not run through it. To allow the ongoing process of sanctification to be part of our story for a greater purpose. For a woman who thrives on being strategic with a quick turn-around, this hits right between the eyes. Scripture doesn’t call us to run through trials with the speed of a track star or pretend like they don’t affect us. It invites us to allow God to lead us in them for the purpose of faith development. The verse continues to refocus our vision as it reminds us of the goal; “…so that we may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” God is in it for our holiness and His glory. If we run too fast, we miss the beauty of the process. If we numb our awareness, we forfeit the worship that derives from trusting. It took me years to learn this wisdom-filled nugget, and yet only minutes in a simple kitchen to be reminded that I still had learning to do.
As we gather around Christmas trees and in worship centers to celebrate the birth of Jesus, I invite you to remain beautifully transparent in the place the Lord has you. Resist the urge to become so lost in the glimmer of twinkle lights and wrapped gifts that you run from the situation or the trial He has invited you to trust Him with. It’s often through those refining moments that some of our most beautiful worship springs forth. God is with you, for you, and ever after His glory.
A former graphic designer, teacher, missionary, and Young Adult Women’s Director, Liz’s heart is closely tied to the local church. She loves ministering alongside women of all generations while also engaging in her local community. Liz thrives on equipping leaders, teaching, and cultivating disciple making relationships. You will find her on any given day drinking multiple cups of coffee while assisting in leading a Digital Marketing team. She and her husband, Josh, live in Plano, Texas where they have a sweet 7 month old and a second on the way.