Grace in the Waiting

Grace in the Waiting | Grace to Grow Blog

Dear girl who’s struggling..

I know you’re not where you thought you would be at this point in your life. Maybe you’re living at home when you thought you’d be on your own by now; single when you thought you’d be dating or married; childless when you thought you’d have a houseful of babies; working part-time or for low pay when you thought you’d be on your way to establishing a career. Whatever it is that you think you should have accomplished or achieved or attained by now, I know it haunts you sometimes late at night as you’re trying to sleep, or as you’re scrolling through social media and seeing how perfect your friends’ lives seem to be. I don’t know what’s kept you from those goals and dreams, and maybe you don’t either. Maybe you took some wrong turns that brought you to this place, or maybe there’s nothing you could have done and this is just a season of waiting and learning. Either way, there are a few things I hope you know.

Life is not a race. You are not falling behind. Just because your friends are all getting married, landing their dream jobs, or whatever the case may be, it doesn’t mean you’re somehow losing to them. In fact, if you can take the setbacks and struggles of life and try to see them as blessings, as opportunities to trust God and learn from the situations you’re in, I think that means you’re actually winning at life.

Nothing goes to waste in God’s economy. Maybe your life doesn’t look like you thought it would…but maybe that’s okay. You never know how God is working behind the scenes, how the situations you’re in might turn into something or lead to something better than you could have imagined. You never know how all the puzzle pieces that don’t make sense now might end up fitting together. Years from now, when you look back on this time in your life, maybe you’ll finally see the beauty that grew out of the pain and the longing, even if it wasn’t the result you thought you wanted. God makes everything work together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28), even if it doesn’t match our definition of what we think would be good for our lives. He knows better than we do, and we can rest in that truth.

“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout…so will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.'” Isaiah 55:8-11

You are not a failure. To the world, it may look like you are, if you don’t have that house or that job or that ring on your finger. You may feel that way sometimes too, but it’s not true. The only way you can fail at life is to give up, to stop learning and growing and trusting that God has a plan bigger than you can see. You don’t have to keep up with the world’s timetable and definition of success. All you have to do is follow God’s leading and trust that He is working to accomplish His purpose for your life, even when you can’t see it. Never doubt His promise that He “who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Phillipians 1:6)

So whatever you’re trying to do…if you’re still trying to find that job, build that savings account, pass that test, or find your true love…don’t give up. Whatever your dream is, don’t give up. If there’s something you can do to accomplish it, put your best effort into it, but don’t worry about what the world thinks of you. Don’t forget that God loves you fiercely and wants what’s best for you, in His perfect way and time, and rest in that truth when you feel worried or discouraged in the waiting.

Dear girl…don’t give up. There is grace in the waiting and hope up ahead.

Via Pinterest

Priceless the Movie

One of my favorite music groups for the last few years has been for King & Country, a Christian group led by two brothers, Joel and Luke Smallbone. Last year, they had a concert less than an hour away from where I live, and it happened to be on my birthday, so of course my family and I had to go! 🙂 At the concert, they talked about their movie Priceless that came out in theaters in October, and is now out on DVD and streaming. Joel Smallbone is the lead actor, and some of the other Smallbone brothers helped with the writing, producing, and directing of the movie. Here’s the description of the movie from their website:

“Inspired by true events, PRICELESS is a powerful drama/thriller about James Stevens who was, at one time, a good man with a great life — but that was then and this is now. After the tragic death of his wife and losing custody of his little girl, James is at the darkest crossroad of his life. Angry, desperate, and unable to hold down a steady job, he agrees to drive a box truck on a shady, one-time trip cross country for cash — no questions asked. But when he discovers what he is delivering is actually who, he is compelled to save two beautiful and frightened sisters who are unaware of the danger that awaits them.

Can love, strength, and faith redefine his past and change the course of his future? This unlikely hero risks it all to save these women, confront the forces that oppose him and ultimately discover the life he was meant to live.”

We rented the movie on iTunes while my sister was home for spring break, and my whole family watched it together. It was really powerful and eye-opening, showing how real human trafficking is and how easy it can be for girls to get caught up in it. In the case of this movie, the two sisters thought they were coming to America to work as waitresses or maids to help support their family. The movie does a good job of showing the internal conflict of James, the main character. At first, he didn’t want to acknowledge what was happening; he just wanted to keep his head down and take care of his own daughter, even if it meant doing something a little shady to make the money he needed to support her. As the movie goes on, he realized that he needed to do something to help the girls he had befriended, but he didn’t know what he could do. Luckily, with the help of a new friend, James found the courage to take a stand and try to rescue the girls he unwittingly delivered to their captors, even when it put his own life in danger. This struggle that he faced put his life on a new path and showed him his purpose: rescuing more girls like the ones who changed his life.

This is a really good movie: the story, music, and acting are all very well done. It wouldn’t be appropriate for young children, but is definitely good for young adults or for parents to watch with their teenagers. If you want more information before you watch the movie, you can read Focus on the Family’s review here. This isn’t a fun topic, but I think it’s an important movie to watch. If you want more information about how you can help, go to

What I Read in February

At the beginning of February, I was really excited for the books I had on my to-read list! Two of my favorite authors released new books on January 31st, so those two are the first ones I listed below. I didn’t read as much as I did in January, but so far I’m still on track to finish 100 books this year!

  1. Happily Ever Ashten by Erynn Mangum (book 3 in the Carrington Springs series) — I’ve loved all of Erynn Mangum’s books that I’ve read, and this one was no exception! They’re all funny, sweet, and clean, and the way she writes about the heroine growing in her relationship with God always feels authentic, not preachy. This book was the third one in a series about three friends, so it was fun to catch up with the girls from the last two books and to finally see what happened with their third friend, Ashten. She’s in the middle of a busy summer working at her family’s restaurant and helping her two friends plan their weddings, wondering about her purpose in the middle of it all, and learning to trust God when her life isn’t turning out the way she imagined and when love doesn’t look like she thought it would. I think this was my favorite book in the series!
  2. Rescue Me by Susan May Warren (book 2 in the Montana Rescue series) — This is the second book in the newest series by one of my all-time favorite authors. Deputy Sam Brooks’ life is orderly and structured; his girlfriend’s sister, Willow’s, life has been anything but. Her adventurous spirit and love for the kids in her youth group led to her take the group on a hike, and Sam went along to help chaperone. Neither of them imagined that the situation would take a dangerous turn, forcing them to learn to rely on God and each other to make it through. Through it all, they learned that no matter how many mistakes we make and how many times we fail, God has proven that He will stop at nothing to rescue us, and He will always be there for us when we need Him the most.
  3. The Inn at Ocean’s Edge and Twilight at Blueberry Barrens by Colleen Coble (books 2 and 3 in the Sunset Cove series) — I found these books on sale, one in paperback and the other on Kindle, and since they take place in my home state of Maine of course I had to read them! 😉 These are books 2 and 3 in the series; I didn’t notice anything that made me wish I had read the first book first, but you should definitely read the second before the third. They’re classified as suspense, and they both have very unique plots and twists you would never see coming! I thought the characters were very well-developed, and both books included important spiritual lessons about our identity in Christ and finding our worth in Him. It can be kind of funny sometimes to read books about Maine written by someone “from away,” but Colleen Coble did a great job representing our state!
  4. From the Start by Melissa Tagg (book 1 in the Walker Family series) — This was a fun read I found on Kindle Unlimited! Kate and Colton are both struggling in their careers, with Kate wanting to do something more meaningful than writing TV movie scripts, and with Colton recently injured and no longer able to play in the NFL. They both find themselves in Kate’s small hometown when a tornado brings her back and her brother, Colton’s friend, talks him in to visiting while he figures out what to do next. It just so happens that Kate and her family need someone to help rebuild her dad’s museum, and Colton needs someone to write his book…but their relationship ended up meaning more to both of them than just business, and taught them about God’s purpose for them in the struggles they’d faced. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and I’m going to look for more books by this author!
  5. Buried Secrets by Irene Hannon (book 1 in the Men of Valor series) — I’ve always enjoyed Irene Hannon’s suspense books, and this was as good as I expected! In this story, a small-town police chief and county detective work together to solve the mystery of remains found buried out in the country. It was written in a unique way; you as the reader know who the killer is the whole time, but it’s still really interesting to watch the main characters figure it out. It’s a fast-paced mystery without being gory or graphic, with likeable characters who are facing challenges in their personal lives as well. This is a great book if you like Christian suspense!
  6. Courage to Soar by Simone Biles — I loved watching Simone Biles compete in gymnastics at the Rio Olympics last summer, so I was excited to read her book! It was fun to read her story and find out what led her to gymnastics and ultimately the Olympics. She had a rough couple of years at the beginning of her childhood, until her grandparents adopted her when she was a toddler. Becoming an elite gymnast takes an enormous amount of hard work and dedication, and having a supportive family was so important to her success, encouraging her in her setbacks and celebrating with her in her victories. Being able to read about the “behind the scenes” of her life helps you to see that even though she was born with a lot of God-given talent, it took a lot of work to become one of the greatest gymnasts of all time. She faced a lot of struggles and setbacks, even a few short years before her historic Olympic performance, but her faith and her family got her through and brought her to where she is today. This book is geared more towards younger readers, but anyone can read it and be inspired!

I have some fun new fiction books I’m looking forward to reading in March, including a new release from one of my favorite authors (When Tides Turn by Sarah Sundin), but I’m also working on reading more non-fiction. A couple of the books I’ve started on are Fervent by Priscilla Shirer and To Live is Christ to Die is Gain by Matt Chandler. Hopefully I’ll finish those this month and can tell you about them in next month’s post! 🙂

What have you been reading lately?