Surrendering Timelines During COVID-19

“This is a lemon. It will take too much work. This is not your home.”

It was crushing to hear those words from a good friend as we were standing in another home I came so close to purchasing to be The Faith House. Months earlier, God had impressed upon my heart to open a women’s home in Waco, Texas, where I was currently on the staff of a Christian ministry. But things were unraveling, not moving forward and time was running out. We were days away from school starting with a commitment from eight ladies to live with me that year. And still, there was no place for us to lay our heads.

Was I totally delusional? Had I not really felt God had placed that dream in my heart? I had told people God had called me to believe for this. I had hired a realtor to help me find a home after raising $60,000 in pledges to help either build or update a home. But nothing was working out.

The desire to open this home for mentoring women was heavy on my heart. However, I made the decision to secure housing for the women in other locations while I moved into a tiny garage apartment. I was emotionally exhausted, drained and bewildered. There was no choice but to start ministry for the year without The Faith House. I finally stopped striving to MAKE the dream of the home happen and surrendered to His timing completely.

Scripture says, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’”

Ten months later, I opened my inbox to read an email to all campus ministries. It read, “My wife and I have just finished remodeling a five-bedroom, five-bathroom home within walking distance from campus. We would like for it to be used as a ministry home.”

I was FLOORED. This was my home.

I called and met them that very day. Each item lined up with the dream God had placed in my heart. I moved eight ladies in that fall and we began our Faith House journey.

I learned a valuable lesson that day. His ways, His thoughts are not my own. When I was striving to get the house in my own strength on my timeline, He had impressed upon this couple to not only purchase, but update a home for ministry purposes!

Are you striving? Straining?

Do you have a hope or a dream that is not working out perhaps due to COVID-19? A job you have applied for, a company you want to start, a book you want to write, a non-profit you want to begin? But things seem to be rolling backward with the current pandemic. What choice do we have but to surrender to His timeline and do the best with what we have?

Perhaps, like me, you need to surrender to His timing, His ways, His thoughts. And best of all, His plans are much better than ours, His timing works best.

If you are hitting dead ends and overwhelming discouragement, surrender your timetable. God is at work in ways you cannot even imagine. He has a plan that is infinitely better than yours. My current prayer has been, “Lord, thank you that you are lining up and arranging my schedule for my future fruitfulness for your Kingdom.” Looking back on the Faith House journey gives me hope when I am hopeless, knowing in the past, He has come through in amazing ways, and He can and will do it this time as well.

Lori Joiner
Lori Joiner

Lori Joiner is an author, speaker and discipleship coach in Katy, Texas. When not writing, you can find her teaching group fitness classes at the YMCA, walking their miniature dachshund with her husband Alan or playing board games with her two sons. You can reach out to her at LoriJoinerMinistries.org.