The Gift of Waiting...

She may be waiting- but she's not waiting to live!
I haven't written here in many months.  I've often wondered if I'd ever think of anything else to say, because life seems so "regular" I'm not sure anyone would want to read about it!  It would be fair to say that I have been too busy to write.  I have been!  But the truth is that I have been at a loss to find anything valuable to say about waiting and that is exactly where I have been.... WAITING!

Today, as I brought my waiting to God, I had a brief moment of absolute clarity.  It was as if I could practically hear him whisper to my weary, waiting soul... "Waiting is a gift, Lori!"  Call me slow, but in the midst of the three longest years I have ever spent waiting, this thought has never occurred to me!   I like it when God answers with a "Yes".  And while I admit that I don't like to hear a "No" from Him, at least I can shut the door on my denied requests and move on.  But it seems these days that God's answers are stuck on repeat...  "WAIT!  WAIT!  WAIT!"  and to be quite honest- that waiting feels far from any gift I've ever desired before!  But if I heard correctly today and waiting is indeed a gift, then my proverbial Christmas tree is stacked high with gifts all chosen specifically for me!  

Turning 50 years old!  31 spent with the love of my life!
This year was the year we had waited for as a married couple.  Doug and I would finally celebrate 30 years of marital bliss (or something like it! ;-) with a trip to Israel.  We've been dreaming about it since before our 20th, but for one reason or another, we were forced to wait.  This time our tickets had been purchased well in advance and the tour booked for the two of us.  Surely our lives would calm down enough by November to allow us to go.  We planned the timing of Rebekah's adoption around the trip perfectly, and were certain Rachel's new heart would come long before and her recovery would be well behind us before it was time to go.  But as the dates for our trip drew nearer and nearer, the wait for Rachel's heart grew longer and longer.  There was simply no way I could leave the country for a long awaited get away with hubby and risk something... anything... happening while I was away!  Because Doug will actually be leading next year's trip to Israel, I felt it was important that he go, even if it meant he would go without me.  He did.  To say that I cried buckets of tears the day he left for "our" anniversary trip without me would be the understatement of the century!  But even amidst my deep disappointment I could hear God's voice whispering the word I had become very acquainted with in recent years...  "WAIT!"  Would I trust that His deep love determined something better for me than a trip to Israel?

On March 8th, Rachel's wait for a new heart will reach 3 very long years!  The days have turned into months, and now those months into years.  I honestly can't believe that we are still right where we began.  People constantly ask how she is, and I've run out of ways to tell them that she is as OK as a little girl can be while still tottering between life and death with heart failure.  She is "living"- because she refuses to do anything but live!  But the truth is that she is dying too.  She desperately needs a new heart, and everyday without one is another miracle.  Last spring she was upgraded on the transplant list to a 1A- a spot reserved for the kids most desperate for a transplant.  She had been waiting for so long that a 1A status put her at the very top of the list in our area and in many parts of the country.  Still- nothing.  Hearts were offered, but didn't "work" for Rachel and were passed on to children far below her on the waiting list.  Only my deep trust in the sovereignty of God quieted my anxious heart.  His perfect will called me to more waiting...  She was downgraded on the list in October and our faith was tested again.  Is God able despite Rachel's status?  Now she has been upgraded again and hopes that our wait will finally come to an end are high!  I'm ready to tear into this so called "gift of waiting" and find the prize inside, because if there is a gift beneath all this packaging... it must be a pretty special one!  Can I trust that if that gift does not come in the form I hope it does- He is still good?
I found that Rebekah's adoption served as a sweet distraction from all the waiting... and I was most happy about that!  Happy, that is, until the wait for our approval from China passed it's expected due date in late October or early November!  In a few days February will arrive and STILL the approval we have been waiting for has NOT!  This same approval came on day 28 for Abby's adoption.  As I write, we have been waiting for 170 days and the approval is nowhere in sight with no earthly explanation beyond an "uploading error"; a "misspelled name"; or a "maybe you should just concentrate on the children you have.." from the people in charge of getting it done on the other side of the world!  On a spiritual level, this wait seems harder to explain than all the others...  I am struggling to understand what could possibly be "good" about a little girl turning six years old, waiting in an orphanage on the other side of the world for her family to come.  I am forced to cling to God's promises when I don't understand.  Today He tenderly reminded me as my daily Bible reading led me to Psalm 84- "No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.  Oh Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!"  
Rebekah turned SIX on January 24!

This angel was definately worth the wait!
I don't have to dig too deep in God's Word to find what He has to say to me about "waiting".  There I find that waiting is always intended as a time to grow!  And as with everything, the seeds of life are planted... and then we must wait for them to grow.  Harvest time will come, but the waiting forces us to trust God for the fruit. In a culture over-saturated with instant gratification, this is hard!  But the saying that "the best things in life are worth waiting for" was certainly penned by a seasoned "waiter" who discovered some precious gifts disguised in patience.

I have found, too, that often waiting can be a time for healing.  Life is put on "hold" in many ways and I must push aside things that once seemed important to make room for God's perfect timing.  I'm not used to thinking this way at all and I honestly don't like it!  The lessons of waiting have been forced upon me or I might not have ever chosen them at all.  Plans?  Who has plans?  You can't make plans when you're waiting!  I might be in China... or in Gainesville for Rachel's new heart... or at home while she recovers... or maybe recovering myself from inconceivable loss.  I have no plans, because everything depends on the outcome of my waiting!  I am forced to forego many things in order to be ready when God moves.  This time gives me an opportunity to grow deeper and stronger for what lies ahead.  I would rarely do so if not forced upon me!

Saying "Goodnight" and "Goodbye" as only Abby can!
Most difficult for me is that God doesn't often give any explanation for our waiting.  My Daddy died on January 4th- right when I expected to be in China adopting Rebekah.  I was glad that my unexpected waiting allowed me to be here to say goodbye and to celebrate his life when my entire family gathered.  The wait suddenly had purpose and I liked that.  But I am discovering that unexplained waiting is the soil in which trust grows...

To the degree that waiting causes me to turn to the Lord and deepens my dependance on Him- that wait becomes a beautiful gift!

In the past I believed that waiting equalled inactivity. "Wait upon the Lord" meant to stay in one place until He said otherwise. Certainly it didn't call me to "do" anything!  But God's purposes for my waiting are far greater!  There is actually much to do in my waiting!  I've decided that the greatest tragedy of all would be to waste this opportunity and then never find delight in the long awaited gifts He has prepared for me when this season is finally through!

Still, there are days when I think I just can't do this waiting thing anymore.  I want to cry and often do!  I want the ability to control my world somehow.  I want to pick waiting up by the shoulders and shake it!  Enough already!!!!  My tendency is to rush in and seize the prize... "Hurry!  Hurry!  Hurry!"... Push my way to the front of the line!  But when I do that, I stunt the growth that can happen in the waiting that will likely not happen anywhere else!  If I take matters into my own hands and force God to move in my time, I will miss it!!!!

Instead, God invites me to come away; to spend my time with Him; to discover His heart and the treasure of knowing Him above everything else!  When I do- I DISCOVER THAT THE GIFT IS IN THE WAITING~ NOT IN WHAT I AM WAITING FOR!!!!!     

(Now that we have that settled... excuse me while I go have myself a really good cry!  I don't think I can wait another second to get this precious baby in my arms!)

1 comment:

  1. I was so thrilled to read your post! Just told my husband last night that one of my favorite bloggers hadn't written in so long! Praying for you and your sweet Rachel and Rebekah and the wait for both won't be much longer! Thank you for allowing God to speak to many hearts through your writings! God bless you and yours with all of His best for each of you!!


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