Jaclyn Blackford works at Liberty University in the office of Online Student Life. She was born in Buffalo, NY but was raised in Orlando, FL. She now lives in Lynchburg, VA. Her passions are writing, photography, trying new restaurants, and hanging out with her husband of 2 years.
It is the very few who endure The Waiting of the Wilderness that get to the Promise Land.
Sometimes I struggle with embracing where I'm at, and living in the moment. I'm a dreamer; I like to think about what's next and how I can get there, but God doesn't always work that way. Everyone has some kind of talent, passion, or dream in their heart, whether it's a job or once in a life time opportunity. The reality of life is... dreams don't come immediately; there is a time of development, preparation, and waiting that builds faith and endurance.
About two years ago, I was on a plane flying home to Florida for the first time since I had moved to Virginia. As I was looking out the window, I had one of those "Where in the world do you have me, God?" moments. I had just left my family, my job, and my church to move to Virginia (and trust me, I choose beach over mountains any day). I remember the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit say, "Right now, you're in The Waiting... So many people lose focus in The Waiting." These words have brought a new perspective into my life. Even though it was only a voice in my heart that spoke, I knew The Waiting was capitalized. It was a noun--The Waiting is a place people find themselves in. The Waiting is one of Gods favorite places to have us because it allows immense growth, dependence, and lessons before He brings us to the dream--the calling. Staying focused during the waiting, however, is a choice. So many people choose doubt, lack faith, surrender to insecurities and failure during this time, but even when the dream seems so far away, we can still have faith and move forward with grit. It is the very few who endure the Waiting of the Wilderness that get to the Promise Land. I want to be that few.
I think of people like Billy Graham, one of the greatest evangelists of all time, and one of my favorite speakers and advocates, Christine Caine, who fights the injustice of human trafficking. It all started with a dream, a thought. They pushed through adversity, fear, doubt, and insecurities until they got to the dream. It may take years, but to God those years are all part of the journey. Every dream starts in one mind that must make the choice to pursue it as a reality.
My heart explodes for people in this season, because I am also in a season of Waiting. I have so many dreams--travel, work with a non-profit fighting the injustice of human trafficking, starting a business, the list goes on. God allowed me the opportunity to go to Uganda, Africa for two weeks and see the affects of rape and abuse first hand a few years ago, but then he brought me right back to Virginia working late shifts answering phones from frustrated people in a call center. I can have so many doubts and questions as to why I am not already working for the cause I cry for, but I am choosing to wait for his perfect timing and take advantage of the season I am in.
With all that being said, I have chosen to write for ONE. Even if you are the only person reading this right now, I am ecstatic because I pray you discover the dream and talents that make you feel alive and run after them in your heart. You will have days of discouragement, days where you feel like you can't even get up to go through the same motions with your job, school work, and daily responsibilities, but it is in this time that you must cling to hope that one day, He will deliver you to your next place of opportunity. What you are in will not last forever. The place you are in will not be forever! When you trust Jesus, there is always a way through the Wilderness!
Be encouraged fellow online students--you may be in a season of waiting. Your classes do not apply to your current work, or your dreams seem so far away. You are not alone--God has a plan, He always has. Let our prayer be, "Make it worth it, God. While you have me here, don't waste this season of development, use it for your glory and my future."
"God takes the time to do everything right--everything. Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones."