Look Up and Wait
by Jenny Wheeler
Strength in the waiting sounds like a paradox, doesn’t it?
Our first 6 months before launching REACH Church were challenging and exciting. We saw God faithfully meet all our needs. Then the routine of life settled in, and the next 6 months were AGONIZING!! Most days it felt like we were sitting in the airport with tickets having no clue when the flight would board!
The experience of planting reminds me a lot of an experience from when I was very young.
One day, I decided it would be fun to stand on the back of the glider swing. Thus began a repetition of holding on tight, pushing higher and higher with my feet, and leaning further and further back each time. After a few minutes, feeling pretty sure of myself, I closed my eyes and let out a “woooo” for the world to hear. I decided one handed would be even cooler. This was awesome! I was trying something brave and was dominating!! And then it happened.
In a moment of revelry, I lost my grip and began to fall. Within seconds I was flat on my back in the cold, black dirt, the glider careening above. The wind had literally been knocked out of me. I couldn’t scream, move, cry, or get up.
I was alone. In my young mind, it seemed like I was going to die.
I don’t know how long I lay there, looking up at the Carolina blue sky, clouds peacefully dancing in the sunlight, tears streaming down my face. I felt foolish and broken. While my lungs sat “empty,” seemingly incapable of doing what they were created to do, I did the only things I could-look up and wait.
In the planting ministry, that’s what it feels like waiting on the promise. This can cause worry, fear, and doubt. Questions often scream louder than everything else, and we can feel alone and without hope. However, there are lessons to be learned in the waiting:
God’s beauty can still be found over brokenness. Just like that gorgeous sky, His favor and goodness cover us, causing the hardest fall or the loneliest moment to feel less like dying and more like emerging. It does not matter what just happened or what might come: He overshadows it ALL.
Things in the natural may be chaotic or unsteady, but when we find ourselves flat on our backs, forced to look up, strength sweeps in and saves the day. “When we are weak, He is strong” has never meant more than in the waiting.
Once we’ve REALLY looked, a new understanding develops in our spirit that we are held- always. When we rest in the promise that His strength is made perfect in weakness, strength arises.
Waiting knocks the “me” out of me so that even when I feel foolish for daring something brave, God has full authority to come breathe life again. Suddenly, strength in the waiting looks a whole lot more like waiting in the strength- strength our loving Father gives- and finding that is worth the risk of it all.
Through poetry, blogging, songwriting and worship leading, Jenny Wheeler has spent nearly 40 years expressing God’s love using the power of words.
In 2010, she and husband, Chad, embarked on a journey after 15 years of youth and worship pastoring to start a new church in Charlotte, NC. REACH Church is a relational and discipleship based church where Jenny serves as Worship Director and speaks on occasion. In addition to serving at REACH, Jenny is a full time administrative assistant and continues to write and release music as well.
She is the proud mother of one son, Chase, two dogs, Zoe the Scottie and Kai the Blue Heeler, and two kitties, Taz and Callie, who all manage to keep her busy yet filled with so much joy.