In Response

Dear Hubie and D-Jay,

I wanted to thank you both for your comments on a recent post “Divine Delay”.

Hubie…I hope to offer you encouragement. You mentioned that it was your desire to one day be married, but thus far it hasn’t happened. I pray that Chris and my story gives you hope. I encourage you to never give up…keep praying and waiting on the Lord. Many people presumed that because I was single for 49 years, that I would never marry.

But God never took that desire from me. I went through seasons where the desire to be married lessened…but it was always there. While people have good intentions…and want you to be content in your circumstances…they don’t know what God’s plans are for you.

Keep praying, keep asking trusted family and friends to join with you in prayer. Pray that at God’s appoint time, He will bring a godly Christian woman to be your wife. But also be willing to be content in God alone if indeed God’s plans are for you to live a life of singleness. Continue to the love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. Even when you don’t understand why…remain fully committed to God and His plan for your life.

While you are content in your current circumstance…continue to lift up your desire to the Lord. I pray that one day God will grant you that desire.

D-Jay…how exciting that you are beginning your faith walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that you will grow and have a deep and abiding faith in our Lord. That as you yield to Him, as you come to know and trust Him that you will grow by leaps and bounds. What a great time to accept Christ.

Drink from the well of Living Water. Study the Word of God faithfully. Hear God’s Word…read it with your own eyes. Pray that that Holy Spirit will help you understand difficult passages. Listen to God and pray to God. Don’t be shy. The more you pray, the more comfortable you will feel.

Keep your focus on God…think of His attributes and His characteristics. Hide His Word in your heart…so that you might not sin against Him. Saturate your mind with God’s Word…so you can effectively wield the Sword of the Spirit. Memorize scripture. Praise God on the good days and bad days. When you have God…when your sins have been cleansed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ…when you have the Holy Spirit within you…nothing is so bad that you can’t overcome it.

Live a life that will glorify God. Live a life that is a sweet fragrance…one in which God can use to make others hunger and thirst for Him.

Below are some great resources that can help you grow in your Christian walk. Many have free sermon downloads, articles, devotionals or ways for you to get involved and study God’s Word.

John MacArthur – Grace to You

John Piper – Desiring God

CJ Mahaney Sovereign Grace Ministries

Bible Gateway

Stand to Reason

Bible Study Fellowship

Resolved Conference

Live a life that is radically committed to Jesus Christ…you won’t regret it.

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A Divine Delay

Oh there was no mistaking it. It had the handprints of God all over it; a divine delay planned just for me.

“I guess God is speaking to me and I had better listen up. Perhaps this is an answer to all my prayers throughout the day.”

Here I was, stopped at the light. Before I knew it the rails were coming down and the signal lights were flashing and a train would soon be passing by. Sometimes it’s the commuter train and I’m quickly on my way. But not today; instead there was not just one, but two freight trains passing by.

But it was okay because God had a special message for me…at just the right time.

The night before had not been pretty. We had an argument, during which some regretful things were said. I don’t think either of us knew what had really happened or why. But it did and it left us feeling raw and hurt.

Things were better the next morning…but still a little tense. We both knew that we’d have to sit down and talk about it. Learn from it, with the hope of not repeating anytime soon. When we talked earlier in the day…Chris said, “Let’s do the hard thing and talk about it”. I reluctantly said okay…even though I wanted to run for the hills. A case of denial sounded really good right about then. With a little pretending that nothing was wrong thrown in for good measure. But we both knew we needed to talk.

Throughout the day…I thought about what I wanted to say. Thankfully my emotions had calmed down a bit…and my words would have been measured. But I knew there was still some hurt underneath them. So I continued to pray.

God kept reminding me that He requires that both Chris and I forgive one another. As Christians…we know that Christ has forgiven us all of our sins. How then can we hold against each other…what Christ has already forgiven us?

As I was driving home I was listening to the radio. When the commercials came on I changed channels in time to hear David Jeremiah’s message on Psalm 23. He was talking about forgiveness and prayer. I knew that it was no accident that I had turned to that program.

Pastor Jeremiah started to tell a story about Hudson Taylor to illustrate the importance of taking everything to God in prayer. To not approach hurts, offences and bad circumstances in our own wisdom.

As he was telling the story, the trains came and I was stuck at a red light. God had both my attention and my heart.

In the story Hudson Taylor had experienced frustration, lazy workers and thieves who had taken advantage of him. He encountered delays. At each turn, he responded in his own wisdom. When he finally got to his destination, God revealed the providence in those delays and His provision for the losses. Hudson Taylor was reminded that if he had first gone to God in prayer when he started his arduous journey, that while he would have still encountered the circumstances, he would have had the peace of God and the assurance of His presence. He would have had certainty that His mighty God was working all things together for good for His servant who loved the Lord.

As the light turned green and the path before me was clear…I prayed again. This time a little differently. “God, you are asking me to do the impossible. You are asking me to forgive when my sinful human nature wants to hold on to a hurt. I know that forgiveness is Your will…but You are going to have to do that in me. Give Chris and me the words to say to one another. May we be mindful that Your presence is with us. May what we do and what we say be pleasing and glorifying to You.”

When Chris arrived home…we sat down to talk. We read a scripture and prayed. When I lifted my head up I knew that there was nothing that I needed to say. God had worked out that forgiveness in me. Likewise Chris’ words were humble and gracious. God was in our midst. By His grace what could have been a very painful encounter was okay. Maybe even more than okay…it was good.

Thank you Lord…for Your divine delays and giving me what I need, just when I need it.

Finally, all [of you] should be of one and the same mind (united in spirit), sympathizing [with one another], loving [each other] as brethren [of one household], compassionate and courteous (tenderhearted and humble). Never return evil for evil or insult for insult (scolding, tongue-lashing, berating), but on the contrary blessing [praying for their welfare, happiness, and protection, and truly pitying and loving them]. For know that to this you have been called, that you may yourselves inherit a blessing [from God–that you may obtain a blessing as heirs, bringing welfare and happiness and protection]. – I Peter 3:8-9 Amplified Bible

Least you are thinking, “good golly I hope Susan’s husband knows what she’s written”, let me assure you that he does. In fact he’s given his blessing to post this. It is our prayer that God may use something in our lives to help others. To encourage you to turn to God and seek His help, grace, mercy, strength and wisdom. That you will remember your greatest weapons are prayer and the Word of God.

This is dedicated to our dearest friends and prayer warriors…Ruth, Jeff, Pattie and Robyn. We love you and are grateful to call you our friends.

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A Love Story Never Told

Theirs was a love story never to be told
A tale of deliverance
An outrageous work of God

Even some of God’s saints
Might turn away if the truth were known
Reviling their sinful past

Most would never believe it
Some would say it couldn’t be done
They could never imagine what God would do

Redeeming two very broken souls
Taking bits and pieces and knitting them together into one flesh
Accomplishing what man said is impossible

Some do not believe in miracles today
Certain they are a thing of the past
But these two could tell a different story

Proclaiming the wonders of God’s redemption
Testifying of His marvelous grace
Their lives bearing witness to God’s outrageous love

Susan Bunts Wachtel
July 21, 2009

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One Enemy

There is but one enemy
You are not it

It is the one with stealth
Working behind the scenes

He seeks to cause division
Using anger, jealously and pride

He plants seeds of doubt
Watered by human failure

He preys on our humanity and weakness
Manipulating our emotions

His arrows are well timed
In conjunction with anger, hunger and fatigue

He magnifies a hurt
Makes us believe it was done with intent

He cajoles us
Forgiveness and grace are undeserved

He pumps up our pride
Feeds our self inflated ego

He bring us low
With remembrances of a multitude of sins

Unless we take every thought captive
We are so easily led astray

May we always remember
Never forget

There is but one enemy
You are not it

Susan Bunts Wachtel
July 17, 2009

Dedicated to my precious friend Ruth…thank you for your wise counsel that always brings me back to God.

Letter to My Niece…The Adventure Begins

Dear one…now that the good news of your engagement has gotten out I’m sure that at times you feel overwhelmed. Well hold on to your hat…it’s just beginning. But never fear…these waters you will soon learn to navigate with skill.

Who would have thought that after you decide to marry you’d have so decisions make? As many decisions as you and your fiancé will be making in the coming months…it doesn’t hold a candle to the all the advice you will receive from well meaning family, friends and even a few strangers. Even this you will learn to handle with grace and ease.

There is so much joy when the wonderful news of an engagement is announced. Before long…decisions and planning will start.

For my husband Chris and me…those decisions started right away with shopping for an engagement ring. Because we had only known each other 3 months, Chris decided that it would be best for us to go ring shopping together. That experience was a mixture of comedy and frustration. In the end…it turned out to be good practice for the other elements of our wedding that we would have to plan.

We started engagement ring shopping at Robbins Brothers. It was kind of funny. We still felt the magic of being newly engaged. But we dealt with a clerk who was used to selling to young people who didn’t really know what they wanted. But I was 49 years old…and had an opinion on just about everything…and wasn’t too keen on explaining myself every time I said no. While I couldn’t tell you exactly what I wanted in a ring…I knew it when I saw it. After repeatedly being quizzed if I like this ring or that one…and why…we decided that perhaps we should look at some other stores.

That turned out to be wise and providential decision. God led us to a jewelry store…where with no pressure browsing we found an engagement ring and our wedding rings. I also learned…that I don’t have to worry that I’m hurting the sales person’s feeling when I say “No, that’s not what I want.”

Some of the first decisions you and your fiancé will need to make will include when you are getting married and what’s your budget. Both answers will drive the other decisions you need to make while planning your wedding.

Because we decided to get married relatively soon…we had a lot of decisions to make in a short period of time. That necessitated…making decisions quickly. Because we were paying for the wedding ourselves…and not our parents our budget wasn’t extravagant. While we wanted to have a nice wedding…we didn’t want to break the bank on that one day.

We wanted a ceremony that would honor and glorify God. One where we could praise and thank God for bringing us together. One that we could invite family and friends to and have the gospel message shared…even in our wedding ceremony.

We both knew where we wanted the ceremony to be held…Kindred Community Church. Kindred had been my church home since we became a church. It was the place where Chris and I first met. But we had a decision to make. Should we hold the ceremony in the church sanctuary…or in one of the lovely garden areas? The garden areas were less expensive and would have easily accommodated the number of guests we wanted to invite. But my heart and soul were in the sanctuary because I have so many fond memories in there. It was just right for us.

Once those important, driving decisions were made…when, how much and where…we had to get busy. We had a wedding fast approaching in four months and counting.

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Darkness of the Soul

There is a certain darkness to your soul
A place where no one can come in

Your thoughts remain private
I’m at a loss on what to say or do

A frown so deep, so low
Sadness, loneliness or is it anger I see

I cry out to God
For His presence to go before you

My words so ineffective
Intercede Holy Spirit
Translate when I don’t know what to pray

Susan Bunts Wachtel
July 15, 2009

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A Differnt Pace

This summer I’m finding that my life is going at a different pace in many respects. Make no mistake, following our recent move to our first home, Chris and I are finding out we could be busy every moment of the day and still have things left undone. But thankfully we are a little less busy during the summer months than during the school year.

We are both involved in an in depth Bible studies during the year. Chris attends Community Bible Study and I go to a Bible Study Fellowship class in Santa Ana. The studies go from September through May. Both studies are in depth and require an investment of time.

I’m so grateful for Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). I’ve learned so much over the years. BSF tends to spoil me for other Bible studies, because in comparison they are not as disciplined.

Each summer I find it hard to stay focused when left to my own devises. Sometimes I’ll start a study and before you know it…it’s September and I realize I didn’t complete what I started. There is something about the group dynamic and sharing with other students that holds me accountable and energizes me to study and share what I’ve learned. When studying on my own…I find I greatly miss studying God’s word with a group of women who love the Lord and desire to know Him more.

This summer I felt God leading me to study the Psalms of Ascent through Beth Moore’s study, “Stepping Up”. I already had the audio CD’s but decided to download the video sessions through Lifeway Christian Stores. I thought perhaps if I watch the video…it will fill in the gap that’s missing when I’m studying on my own. So far, so good.

Beth’s studies are much different than BSF. BSF requires me to dig deep and answer more questions about the text we are studying. However though Beth’s studies…I find it helps me to see God in a more personal way. To see the people of the Bible as real people, just like you and me and apply the lessons from their lives to my own.

At church this summer, the normal Wednesday night Bible study has taken a break. As a result…my husband Chris and I are going to hear Bible study teacher David Hocking as he goes through the book of Numbers. Being that I just finished studying it in BSF I’m familiar with the passages…but find that David plumbs the depths of the passage because he can go at a slower pace…going verse by verse, chapter by chapter. He’s not up against the schedule of the school year. Going through the study again helps reinforce the lessons from God’s word.

At the beginning of summer I was perturbed that BSF had concluded for the school year and that our church Bible study was taking a break. I thought…Satan doesn’t take a break and neither should we since we are in the middle of a spiritual battle. But then God convicted my heart. He helped me to see that I wanted something handed to me. I wanted to take the easy and familiar road. But instead…it’s important that I take the time to pursue God and continue to study His word…even when my regular studies break. It gives me a chance to see God and His word through different teachers.

So while Beth’s study is different than BSF…I’m learning to look closer at God and how He cares about each of us and is involved in our circumstances. It’s a different pace…but a good one. One that allows me to sit on the glider in our backyard and study while the sun goes down. I do believe that it’s a setting even Beth would enjoy and feel at home while studying God’s word.

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Letter to My Niece…Betrothed

When I received the good news today that my niece is engaged to be married…I started thinking about all the things I’ve learned over the past year. The lessons are many from falling in love, to being engaged, planning a wedding, going on a honeymoon, starting a life together, packing, moving and buying a home to name a few.

So that I might pass along some of the things I’ve learned, remember where I came from and how far the Lord has brought me…I thought I’d write to my precious niece as she begins a new adventure in her life.

Our circumstances are much different in many ways. My niece is young and will soon be starting college. I on the other hand was 49 years old when I got engaged after many years of being single. But there are challenges both of us will face and nuggets of gold that we will find along the way. I don’t want to waste what I’ve learned through hard lessons or forget God’s faithfulness.

There is so much to tell…I hardly know where to begin. But I think I’ll start at the most important and critical element to brave any marriage. That is to make sure that as a Christian you are equally yoked with a fellow Christian. It makes all the difference in the world. At this point…I can’t even imagine what it would be like to marry an unbeliever.

I can’t tell you how often I thank God for the prayers He said no to. Those times when my heart went pitter patter and I prayed that this one might be the one I would marry, but God said “No”. Thank You Lord…for Your “No’s!

Marriage…as good as it is…is a whole lot of work. More than you can ever imagine. On occasion…I’ll have people ask me if it’s been hard being married after being single for 49 years. My answer and my husband’s answer is a loud resounding “Yes”!

Marriage is wonderful…and I thank God daily for my husband. But I’ve got to tell you…I’m glad I didn’t know just how much work it was going to be…otherwise I might have gotten cold feet. But I’m glad I was relatively ignorant because if I had waited too long I would have missed seeing God at work in our marriage and in changing and conforming both of us in to the man and woman He desires. Marriage is just one of the tools God may use to change us.

Because marriage is a lot hard work, that never ends, in the middle of deep, heartfelt emotions…you need to make sure that you are marrying a man of godly character. That godliness and character, needs to come from a man who loves the Lord, knows and seeks God. One who knows he gives an account to God for how he acts, what he says and even what he thinks in the inward part of his soul.

You need a man with whom you can pray…both together and individually. Someone who will be faithful to lift you up in prayer. Someone who has a tender heart for God and who yields to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit.

I don’t care if you are marrying one of the kindest, nicest men that you know. At the end of the day…you are marrying a human being. One, who just like you, is sinful and carries the baggage, pain and hurts that life throws at us. Those scars come out when we are tired, hungry, angry, hurt, lonely, insecure and prideful to name a few.

As husband and wife we see each other at our best and worst…and everything in between. We see each other without our game face on. It’s not long before you start to see the inward person that the world really doesn’t see.

I married a man who is one of the kindest, most humble and gentle men that I know. Yet I didn’t marry Jesus. But thankfully I did married a man who loves Jesus Christ and is growing in his relationship with the Lord. Likewise…my husband didn’t get a guarantee when he ask me to be his bride…that everyday would be a breeze. There are day I’m sure it feels more like he married a category 5 hurricane named Susan.

But the one thing that we do have is Jesus Christ at the center of our marriage. That means that we both have Jesus Christ within us. That God is at work in each of us conforming us into the likeness of His Son. We have the Holy Spirit who convicts us of sin, guides and directs our steps as we yield to Him.

We both know God’s word and what He says about marriage. We hunger and thirst for the word of God which He uses to cleanse us and grow us as individuals and as a couple.

That only holds true if you are both believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Even then…you are going to have your bad times. The times when you are exhausted beyond measure and so tired that you don’t even want to try anymore. That’s where prayer comes in.

God is so amazing and so faithful to answer our prayers. It’s amazing to see God at work in our relationship…as He works in both of us, helping us to yield to His will and plan.

As Christians…we have the firm foundation of God’s word. It’s unchanging and the Bible is the ultimate source of authority in our lives. We have our church and fellow believers who hold us accountable, who pray for us and encourage us in our marriage. We receive godly council from friends and family and from various ministries who share what God says in His word about marriage, family and relationships.

Marriage…I wouldn’t want to begin it or keep it without Jesus Christ at the center of our marriage. I wouldn’t want to be in a marriage with someone with whom I can’t share the most important thing in my life…my God and my relationship with Him.

Dear one…I pray that you too will have a marriage build on the solid, firm foundation of Jesus Christ. May He keep you and uphold you all your days. May your marriage be a reflection of Jesus Christ and His glory and love for and His bride, the church.

Love…Aunt Susan

July 7, 2009

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