When the News Isn’t What You Hope

by | Oct 21, 2014 | 31 Days to London, Trust


Drawing a line next to my lashes while looking into the magnifying mirror in the bathroom, I move my mouth letting words out slowly and carefully so as not to inhibit preciseness. “You know,” I say to H, only moving the muscles at the bottom of my face, “we’re bouncing back much faster this time.”

“I know, you’re right,” H says after spitting toothpaste into the sink.

We got some disappointing news on the day that marks the halfway point in this 31 Day series. On October  15th I found out that I will not be ending this series in London but on the shores of the Atlantic in my hometown. I didn’t want to tell you until I wrestled with God about it.

Peace doesn’t come with more opinions.

Through the news coverage about Ebola, I’ve watched the ramifications when people respond too quickly. The way one person of influence can make a wrong decision and create a whole hurricane of fear, people hanging onto trees when the wind isn’t blowing yet.

Sometimes bad news doesn’t need shoulders to lean on or status updates but to settle quietly in your soul for a spell so you can hear the still small voice whispering direction.

Our emotions lead us astray, wandering down a dark path of imagination. We’re all storytellers. But some of us just aren’t attentive enough to know the difference between fiction and non-fiction when we’re  busy coming up with best case scenarios for our problems.


Today, we picked out colors from Pinterest boards for the walls of our new house in London. H asked me if I wanted to go collect paint chips but I told him I couldn’t. It all seems like too much somehow.  Like I’ll pick the perfect grey, allow my heart to swoon over the way the furniture looks up against it only to find it translates to some horrible shade of green  on the painter’s brush I’ll have to live with.

With every delay in the fulfillment of hope comes a new sturdiness to my faith after I’ve done the hard work of surrender. He is wiping away cobwebs of thinking I couldn’t see for looking at the rooms of my life through the same window.

And with that, a lack of tolerance for what is meaningless and trivial. An absence of vulnerability from others when it is appropriate is the death of every good intention.

I know, this could prove to be difficult in England. The British have a hard time expressing emotion if you didn’t already know that. Watch Downton Abbey.

We are now looking at the New Year for departure ( I know, I gave my Christmas tree and decorations to Habitat for Humanity) and it comes down to this. I have no other choice but to trust Jesus. I have surrendered my possessions, reputation, preferred future and all the pennies in my bank account.

I’ll keep drawing lines next to my lashes, looking at transformation staring back and wonder what my children see now when they look at me. On the inside I feel like a different human being.

Ira Glass says, “Great stories happen to those who can tell them.” I’ll let you be the judge of that.


I won’t be sharing my posts on social networking channels daily because who wants to see that much of me, really? If you want to follow our adventure to London subscribe to the blog in the side bar and posts will slide quietly into you inbox. Start from the beginning of the series here.


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  1. Kelly W

    Sometimes action is the easy out, while waiting is the greater wisdom… May this pause give you a deep refreshing.

    • Shelly Miller

      I think your words are very wise Kelly, thank you. I am feeling the gift of refreshment in the pause. Sometimes knowing something is better than not knowing at all. We can plan now which feels like a bit of breathing room.

  2. Lynn Morrissey

    This is truly a great story, because you are acknowledging the Author: God! I’m so sorry for yet another plot twist of this magnitude. And yet I can see that you are entrusting your chapters to the One who knows the finish, and knows how to keep the storyline in line! Shelly, God is orchestrating all the fine details. You will write the story as He dictates it, and you and we are all going to stand so amazed and know the why’s in time.
    Praying and page-turning with you–always.

    • Shelly Miller

      Yes, more twists and turns to the plot Lynn. Just when I think I know how its going to end, God jumps in the room and says, “Surprise!” It keeps life interesting.

  3. Janet from FL

    Sorry that there will be a delay in your move. The good news is you will be starting fresh in the New Year! That could be very exciting! I have been trying to comfort my daughter with delays in her house being finished. The frustration and disappointment I hear in her words I can feel behind your words too. Leaning on God is what I also hear in your words. That you are getting strength in that.
    Psalm 27:14 (ESV)
    Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord!

    • Shelly Miller

      I agree, a fresh start in the New Year is truly a gift. We are seeing it that way more every day as we make plans. Thank you for praying Janet.

  4. DeanneMoore

    I just want to give you props for talking while you put on your eyeliner! No, really I love that you are writing this story. I thought that it would be a different story but I don’t know that is not a story that we all have lived or should live—the story we would not choose but the one that produces greater fruit in a plan much bigger than we can understand. So thankful to trust God with you and for you…always in my heart my friend…

    • Shelly Miller

      So much of what we wouldn’t choose ends up changing us for the good. I’m thankful for what is taking place in each of us through this waiting period. A gift we didn’t expect or know we needed and it’s good.

  5. Natalie

    So much good here: truth, encouragement, authentically shared. Running to others seems so much easier than the work of wrestling it out with God, but the blessed transformation when we’re willing to cooperate. Thanks for encouraging me with your story.

    • Shelly Miller

      Thanks for always being a source of friendship and understanding Natalie, knowing you has been a gift.

  6. Caryn Jenkins Christensen

    “With every delay in the fulfillment of hope comes a new sturdiness to my faith after I’ve done the hard work of surrender.” There is such beauty in your words Shelly…and in your surrender. What a lovely vessel of God’s choosing you have become in this l-o-n-g process. Your story ~ God’s story through you, both humbles and encourages me. <3

    • Shelly Miller

      Can’t wait to see you Caryn. Your comment here and the video you shared on my FB wall were a blessing to wake up to. I’m just a little slow to respond but I’m appreciative of your encouragement.

  7. Jillie

    Not sure what to say here, Shelly. The disappointment you must be feeling. Yet, you are learning to give it up to Him as you wait on His perfect timing. I feel the same way, having just come through yet another disappointment in the long, drawn-out process involved in our granddaughter’s adoption. So many delays and red tape and uncertainties. Waiting on Him has got to be about the hardest thing we are called to do. Yet, with each delay, it’s become easier to just release it into His hands and trust Him for the outcome, whenever that pre-ordained moment is.

    • Shelly Miller

      It is so true that hindsight is 20/20. We will both look back and see the ways God rescued, protected, and paved the way that was right and good in His timing. It’s when we are in the midst of waiting for the fulfillment that the true test of our faithfulness to Him is tested.

  8. Mary Bonner

    These words. These thoughts. WOW. Shelly, your faith is a testimony all by itself. I’m praying for you. I don’t know what you are feeling or experiencing, but I pray daily. May you find peace in the waiting.

    • Shelly Miller

      My feelings are all over the place some days Mary and on others, quite steady. That’s why I know time to quiet and listen is my lifeline during this season. Peace comes with waiting on His presence, that’s where I want to live.Thank you for praying, can’t tell you how much that means to me.

  9. Nancy Ruegg

    Shelly, you are digging so deep into your soul during this wait time! No doubt the person who finally sets foot on British soil will look different than the woman-in- the-mirror you used to see just weeks ago. And I’m not talking about different eyeliner! I’m talking about a woman transformed in the school of wait time, prepared especially for the good works God has prepared in advance for you to do (Ephesians 2:10). Actually, those good works are being accomplished now, as you demonstrate vulnerability and complete surrender. Thank you, dear Shelly!

    • Shelly Miller

      Thank you Nancy. Your presence here in the comments always feels like a safe, deep well of kindness and compassion that is wise and prophetic. I appreciate all the ways you encourage and support me, thank you.

  10. Jean Wise

    It amazes me that God gave you this challenge of writing about this adventure these 31 days and then this happens. It is like you were meant to share this set back with all of us. I have to tell you I did gasp when I saw it wouldn’t be until the new year. Yet I see hope in your words. Know we are all beside you, praying and in God’s timing all will be set… love ya!

    • Shelly Miller

      Sorry for the delay in responding to you Jean, I’m just finally getting caught up. I just wanted to thank you for following along and commenting. Your prayers and love make all the difference, truly.

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