Monday, May 14, 2007

Waiting isn't easy

Waiting. It is a hard thing isn't it? I like to think I have patience. And in some things I do. I can "wait" on my turn to eat in a restaurant........IF I'm not too hungry. I can "wait" in line at the supermarket or at my favorite shopping place.........IF I'm not in a real big hurry.
I have days when I am good at waiting on my children ..being patient and remembering that they ARE still small and reminding them one more time to pick up that toy really IS a good idea. I suppose I am good at waiting........ when it is on my terms.
But what if it isn't on my own terms. What about God's terms.
Waiting on the Lord can be a great big fat STRUGGLE. There are many occasions in life where I have been called to wait on HIS timing and not my own. One such example is when I was "waiting" on the man I was supposed to marry.
I come from a very SMALL place in Georgia and most people there marry young. When I was about 21 my grandfather actually asked me if I was going to be an old maid........I was devastated.
I chose not to go away to college so I still lived at home and to me I felt like I was the only person around who wasn't married. It seemed like all of my friends were getting married. I was in a ton of weddings and have a nice rainbow set of bridesmaids dresses to prove it. =) I can remember praying over and over that God would send the man I was supposed to marry. I SO wanted to be married and be a mommy.
Back then I worked at a Methodist Church camp called Camp Lookout. I absolutely loved my job but I didn't like waiting on HIM to send the person I was to marry. If you know anything about life as a camp counselor, you know that you tend to get close to people pretty fast considering you are together with them 24/7 for about 10 - 12 weeks. It is relationships in fast forward. A guy came to camp one summer and don't you know I thought he was the coolest. And I was just SURE that this was the guy. I mean, I was working at a Christian camp for heaven's sake -- how much clearer could it be? Turned out that this fast forwarded relationship really did nothing but hurt me. It made my self esteem issues, that were already prevalent in my life, take a front row seat in my life. After summer camp was over, so I got a job at the mall and decided to take a walk on the "wild side". I made friends who liked to go out to clubs on a regular basis. I became part of that crowd. Clubbing each weekend til all hours of the night and even some during the week. The people I was dating at the time were not Christian to say the least.
I went back to work at the camp that next summer and in the fall, camp was looking for a new part time office assistant. I applied for and got the job. Well, by this time I was without a boyfriend at all. The undesirables had all used me and left be quite honest and I was just baffled with why at 23 - I wasn't married and didn't even have a prospect.
Well, one day I went to camp to work in the office as I always did and a friend who worked there said "Go back home and put on old clothes, you have to help us take these people caving." So, I went back home, changed clothes and came back and promptly met 3 guys. I thought they were the silliest bunch of men I had ever met. They were all in ministry. One was a pastor, one was a music leader at his church and one was a youth pastor. The music and youth pastors were married and since I had already emphatically stated I would NEVER marry a preacher (to my own preacher's wife) I wasn't interested.Plus, this guy was from NC and, as I saw it, long distance relationships never worked out. This guy went back home and started calling me and we had some things in common -- but more that we didn't. I can honestly say I don't know what (besides the fact that he WAS cute) brought us together. We are - to be blunt - complete opposites. I began to think maybe I was wrong about not marrying a preacher and maybe this was God's plan although it wasn't looking as I had planned. After we dated for about a year. he broke up with me.
I think I went into a tail spin. I couldn't understand. I thought this was IT. I was upset for quite a while after that and didn't know where to go from there. This man hurt me like I had never been hurt before. He told me that he didn't love me the way I loved him......I was devastated.
A little over a year later, this same guy called me on the phone......on my birthday. I was shocked to say the least but I was nice and thanked him for calling and went on to church (my birthday is Christmas eve so I am always at church on that evening). He continued to call and asked me to come visit.
I finally agreed -- thinking that I needed closure from it all. God, he had other plans.
The preacher professed his love and said he was sorry for hurting me. ........I didn't want to forgive him but something in me already had. God has provided the healing that I needed and I found myself dating this guy again. I had friends who couldn't understand it and to be frank, neither could I. They wanted to know how I could go back to someone who had hurt me so badly......I didn't have a logical explanation. God had just given me love for this man.
Pretty soon after that, we were engaged and almost a year later we were married.
I know that was a big long story. But looking back now, I can see God's hand in this whole story. There were other details that I didn't include that could be nothing else other than the hand of God.

Waiting on God was and is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. But, I do believe that in waiting on HIM we are blessed. I can look at my life now and see the gifts. I'd like to believe that even if I hadn't of married a preacher, that I'd still be a growing Christian woman but who knows really. I have 3 beautiful daughters who are living gifts of waiting on HIM for the person I was to marry.
Even now waiting on God to reveal his plans in my life is hard. But in those hard time I try to cling to what I know is true. This story - the story of my husband and I -- reminds me that waiting on God is the best. Also, there are many scriptures that back this up. Two that I am very fond of pondering on and thinking on often are these:

Isaiah 40: 31 - "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

Jeremiah 29: 11 -"I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for."

And then today, I was spending some time reading in Numbers and I came across this. God has told Moses to have the Israelites celebrate the Passover. Some people come to Moses because they are unclean at the time of the Passover and want to know why they cannot go ahead and present the Passover offering with the rest of the Israelites. And here is the part I love --
Moses answered them " Wait until I find out what the Lord commands concerning you."( Num. 9: 8)
WOW! Why don't I do that? Why don't I wait on the Lord more often? Why don't I go to God and ASK for His guidance and what HE wants instead of plowing forward head long into the unknown. God sees the future and KNOWS what is next for me. Why don't I take the time to stop and ask? About my own life but also before I start handing out advice to others!
Just as waiting on God to provide the man he wanted me to marry in HIS time was best -- waiting on HIM is best ALL OF THE TIME!!!
This has been a great reminder to me. Waiting might not be easy -- but it is best.
What about you?
How is your time of waiting going?


Ginger said...

We are waiting now -- waiting to find out about Tim's job, waiting to find out about my interview -- its VERY hard but we continue to remind each other that GOD DOES HAVE A PLAN FOR ME AND FOR MY HUSBAND! This was a big part of the study I participated in at church on The Pentateuch -- great study if you haven't completed it! I'm encouraged to keep waiting on God each time I think about this study. Love you!

Alisha said...

Thanks for the reminder, Mindy. We're waiting too - waiting for God to show us where our little girl is and how we're ever going to be able to afford her adoption. Our little Eli has more faith than we do sometimes - just this weekend he brought me some "Cars" pajamas he has outgrown and asked if we could save them for "Tessa" (the name we've chosen) because He was sure they would look good on her!
Lots of love,
Alisha (from Oaks)

Alisha said...

PS - Your new desing is WONDERFUL!

The Preacher's Wife said...

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt!

Want to know what God showed me about waiting? We can wait our lives away, but the real living is happening between where we've come from and where we think it is we need to be. When we come to a place where we are no longer disappointed if our expectations are not matching up with our reality we can consider ourselves content.

Hang in there girl!

redeemed diva said...

I like your blog. I like what you have to say.

RealEstateGirl said...

What a sweet post.

My mom has always told me, "there's only one thing harder than waiting on God and that is wishing you had!"

Christine said...

I think most women have the problem of impatience. I know I do! This was a wonderful story you shared, Mindy! And my hubby and I are a second-time-around couple too. We both needed some growing up time and ended up marrying at 26. We first dated when we were 18 and I wasn't yet a Christian. A good story for another time!!