Waiting and Watching

We keep looking to the Lord our God for his mercy,
    just as servants keep their eyes on their master,
    as a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal.
Psalm 123:2 NLT

I’m so excited to share this blog post with you, dear friends. Let me tell you why…

The Lord has been teaching me afresh to slow down and to watch & wait for His movement and direction, His “signal,” so to speak, before forging on ahead. He has been doing this through Psalm 123:2 and my word of the year, Wait on God.

In the process, I have shared my thoughts in my blog post (New Year, New Word) and in conversations. One such conversation took place recently with my sweet, young friend Rebekah VanBuskirk via Facebook Messenger. What Rebekah shared with me was so amazingly illustrative of the heart of the whole issue of watching and waiting, I knew it was too good to keep to myself. So I asked Rebekah to share here at A Branch in the Vine. But before she does, let me tell you a bit about Rebekah:

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I first met Rebekah when she was in elementary school, and I was her family’s homeschool coordinator through Dayton Christian Homeschool Satellite School. In those days I met with her mom Suzanne McNeil every month to track how homeschool was progressing. Little did I anticipate the godly young woman I would “meet” again years later in several of my Bible study groups. Such delight!

Rebekah talks about her life right now —

I am a wife of 8 years and mother of 3 kids ages 5 years and under. As if raising kids and trying to homeschool them doesn’t keep me busy enough, I also breed 2 of my 3 dogs and raise puppies...we had a high of 16 dogs living in our house this past summer. It always seems to be busy around the house, but I love my job...at least most days! With raising puppies, I have unintentionally become a dog trainer. I believe God gifted me with a love of animals and intuition when working with them, so I raise and train puppies and dogs for the glory of God! And he uses them to teach me and grow me in my relationship with Him.

So now, I’m honored to introduce Rebekah VanBuskirk in her own words [emphasis/underlining is mine]. Thank you, dear sister, for sharing your profound insights!


We keep looking to the Lord our God for his mercy,
    just as servants keep their eyes on their master,
    as a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal.
Psalm 123:2 NLT

…that Psalm really hit me. I know it feels awkward for us thinking of slaves and servants, but I’ve really been getting into training dogs this past year because of my puppies, and the biggest thing I’ve learned is that before you can train a dog to do something, you have to get them to look at and focus on you. You can’t teach a dog anything if they aren’t even paying you any attention.  

One of the biggest behavioral problems I was having with my dogs is that they go nuts barking at people when they first show up to the house or if they walk by in the street. Once they take off or start “sounding off” it’s hard to rein them back in. So the first thing I started teaching them is to make eye contact and focus on me. Now my dogs sit around me and watch me like a hawk waiting for any physical or verbal cues. Once I give them one, even if it’s just the flick of a finger or pointing at something with my toes, they take off to obey. 

So now when someone shows up or walks by the house, they’re learning to run to me and “wait on me” to give them the signal to relax or the signal to “attack” which really means just bark. But now they can relax because they know what to do. They find me and wait for me to signal if it’s under control or not. They’re watching me instead of the problem. And that actually gives them the freedom to relax because they don’t always have to be on alert. 

But it starts with building up the muscle memory of focusing on me in the calm every day situations. If I started out trying to get them to focus on me with dogs and people running around, it’d never work. I had to start in my kitchen where it was quiet and familiar. Then start adding in little distractions and disturbances. The more distractions I added the more they built up a muscle memory of staying focused on me no matter what. Now it’s almost to the point where I can trust them outside, unleashed and unfenced, to remain completely under my verbal control. We’re still working on it, but what a difference it made to start with focusing on me

And now I need to focus on my Master. I need to watch him with the same intensity that my dogs watch me. I need to build up that muscle memory of turning to him when the little distractions and disturbances come, so when the big ones hit, the muscle memory takes over and I run to him and watch him, waiting for his cue. 

And maybe one of these days I’ll find I’ve wasted so much time going nuts barking over things that were never really threats or issues to me and my family because He had it under control. 

I’m not exactly sure yet what my word for the year would be. But in retrospect, I started off first thing this year when I woke up running to my Savior with my problems. And I want that to be a foreshadowing of how the rest of my year will be.

Amen, dear sister. Amen!

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