Public Service Announcement
Just in case you’re new to me or this blog, everything written here is done through the lens of Christianity. Not because God is a part of my life, but because God permeates every part of my life, so the things I talk about here are inevitably going to come back to Him.
Also, I do not in any way pretend to have any of this stuff completely figured out or even handled. The things I write about are things I’m still struggling with at times, but sometimes writing about them helps me to solidify those principles. And hey… we can all figure this stuff out together.
Lastly! If there’s anything you’d like to hear my two cents on, please let me know in the comments. I may not be able to follow up on everything, but I can try! Okay… PSA over.
I am an exceptionally patient person.
Unless I’m running late.
Or I’m hungry.
Or someone is driving 10 miles under the speed limit in the passing lane (seriously, folks… this is a problem).
Or someone hasn’t texted me back within five minutes.
Or one minute if I know they got that message.
Or I know something I’m looking forward to is on the horizon.
Yeah, okay… maybe that should have read “I am not an exceptionally patient person.”
I truly stink at it. I’ve joked before that some people can be told by God what’s coming, and they’re completely cool with saying “Awesome. Can’t wait to get there” and then just let it happen as God intends. But if you tell me that stuff? HA! My reaction is the total opposite.
Go look up “Chester and Spike” on YouTube. The Looney Tunes cartoon. Yeah… I’m Chester. “You wanna go do that thing NOW, God? Huh? We gonna go do the thing you told me about that looks awesome? Yeah? Now? How about now, God?”
So, in the past, God has generally not done the “let’s tell J what’s coming” thing. He’s always taken more of the “hold my hand and walk with me” approach. Wise. (which… ya know… is to be expected since He’s God and all…)
Except… He’s started changing that approach. He’s started giving me glimpses. He’s started making me wait. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with helping me grow up… and I’m equally sure it sucks.
We all have to face this at some point. Something we know God wants us to do or has promised… and that (for reasons unbeknownst to us) we are having to wait on.
Patience. Uuuuuuuuuuuuuugh…. (That’s a very technical literary term. Or it is in my book now.)
RSC (Random Subject Change): You know, it’s funny that we can easily recognize blessings in our lives when we’re experiencing them or when things are rolling along well. We can even look back and see how God protected us or provided for us in the bad times. But then we get some distance… and things get rough again… and suddenly all of that provision, that protection, and that unending faithfulness? We forget about it completely.
We’re far from the first to experience faithfulness amnesia. The book of Exodus is pretty much a study on the subject! There’s just something about our human nature that throws away everything we know about who God is the second things get rough.
I am ridiculous about this. I know I am. I can recognize it easily right now because I’m not currently feeling like everything is falling apart! But less than a week ago, I had a tearful conversation with a close friend that returned back to a lingering doubt that always tries to resurface when I’m feeling low.
Does God really care about me?
This friend is one of those good friends who will tell me straight up how things are and when I’m being ridiculous. If you don’t have one of those people that can hold you accountable, by the way, I highly recommend it. It’s awful and annoying at times but very necessary to grow.
So this friend began listing all the ways God has provided for me and blessed me, basically reminding me of all the reasons for me to have hope. All the reasons for me to trust.
Because, you see, my little meltdown was because I’m having to wait on a few things… and my argument was “If God cares, why am I having to wait?” My little meltdown (aka tantrum, if we’re honest) was because of patience. And my lack of patience all ties back to a failing of my trust. And that failing comes from my faithfulness amnesia.
If I’m in the middle of a stressful time of waiting (because let’s be honest… hardly anyone actually enjoys waiting), I can walk through it with confidence if I remember Who is walking with me. I can move forward with hope because my hope isn’t in the end result, it’s in the God who gave me the glimpse in the first place.
I have always wanted to be a mother.
I kid you not… my mom kept one of those “School Days” books. Those lovely little things that have a spot for your school pictures, places to record fun little facts and answer questions about what you want to do in the future, who your friends are… all that. (Side note… fourth grade was a very unfortunate hair year for me. Never perm just your bangs…. Ever.)
Anyways, from the very beginning, in the spot that says “What I Want to Be When I Grow Up” I always said “Mother”. There was usually something else with it like actress, teacher, etc. but being a mom was always a constant.
Fast forward to my twenties. I was married, and that desire was stronger than ever. I had always gotten along well with babies and little kids. I just couldn’t wait to have one of my own. Then we got a lovely surprise… I was pregnant!
There were announcements made, doctor appointments scheduled, and preliminary discussions on baby names. I was on cloud nine. At last! What I had waited for!
Then the second doctor’s appointment came… and the baby had stopped growing. No heartbeat. They tried to give some sliver of hope, but I knew. It was over… we had lost the baby.
Devastated. That’s a pretty accurate word. I never expected something like that to happen to me. We recovered. We tried to heal. Several months later, we were much more tentatively excited to find out that we were pregnant again.
Then several weeks later, the same devastation happened again.
The year that followed was one of confusion and pain for me. It began to look like a child of my own was just not something that would be able to happen. And I did not understand.
God had given me what a friend once described as “an overactive maternal instinct”. He had given me the deep desire to love and raise a child of my own. Why? Why had He given it to me if He was never going to let that desire come to fruition?
I questioned everything. Questioned whether I had done something wrong. Questioned what was wrong with me. I even questioned if God really cared at all. The waiting stretched out from months to over a year. And there was no hope in my waiting… just a growing sense of disappointment and despair.
I am incredibly blessed to have parents who are not just my mentors, but they are also now my friends. My mom saw me walking through this time, and she saw my heart breaking more and more every day. At last, she gave me a verse that her mom had once given to her… one I had never heard before.
“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord. Be strong and let your heart take courage. Yes, wait for the Lord.” – Psalm 27:13-14
Sometimes someone gives you a verse like that… and it’s exactly what you needed in that moment. It’s a way that God speaks to us, and this was absolutely one of those times. It bolstered me, and even though I was still confused and sad… despair could not keep its hold on me while I was standing in the light of waiting on the Lord.
It was only a few months later that I was pregnant with The Kiddo.
He is perfect, and motherhood is hard as anything… but definitely worth it. As I look back, I can see the hand of God during those years and those hard times. I can see the support and love He placed around me. I can see how He’s used my own experiences to help others.
And then I forgot all of it less than a week ago.
I think there’s a reason that Psalm says “Let your heart take courage”. Just be honest. There are some days when we want to be sad. We don’t want to hope, because hope takes work. We just want to feel bad and wallow in our feeling-badness, dadgumit. We refuse to let our hearts take courage.
Because when I take the time to really remember what God has done in my past… my heart has no choice but to either reject the truth or take courage.
Courage breeds hope.
Hope gives us patient endurance.
Patience gives us joy in the midst of waiting.
A joyful heart in Him is a powerful testimony.
And isn’t that the whole point?
So, be strong, friends. And let your heart take courage as we wait on the Lord.