Wednesday, October 31, 2012

a benediction (day 31)

May we recognize the light that is given us each day, even in the times that it is just enough to light the next step.

May each stumble that we take cause us to reach our hand up to the One who always offers to help and to guide.

May we walk in the confidence that He who has begun a good work in us will carry it on to completion as we trust in Him.

May the answers we are given cause us to say, "Thank You," to the Giver of good gifts.

May our eyes and hearts be open to those around us who experience the hard waiting. May we comfort them as we have been comforted.

May we see the joy in the unexpected places as we count our blessings, even the blessing of hearing, "not yet."

May we never forget the tears, the sleepless nights, the questions, and the doubts so that our story can remain authentic. 

May we also never forget the peace, the triumph, the goodness, the community, and the strength we would have never known if we hadn't had to wait.

May we keep learning, keep trusting, keep hoping, keep walking, keep loving as we wait.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Five Things I Learned About Waiting (day 30)

This month hasn't gone exactly as planned. In my ideal blog world I would have written more stories of past waiting and shared a lot of wisdom and some how-to's. And if I had succeeded I probably would have been a little smug at how smart I was. 

However, things didn't go quite as planned, and that is not always a bad thing. I end this month with not as many answers as I had hoped for. I'm lacking in the advice department, too. Therefore the smugness was kept at bay.

Have I learned how to wait? Kind of, sort of. Forcing myself to write on this topic every day helped me to realize that I am learning how to wait, just not in the ways I wanted. You know, the easy ways. Here are five things (I think) I learned this month:

  • Be authentic about the waiting - the good, the bad, the ugly. Lisa Jo Baker wrote this on her blog today, "I believe because of the altars left by the storytellers who came before me. ... I type and I tell because how can I not?" It resonated with me this morning, and it is still speaking to me tonight.
  • Don't wait alone. Community makes the waiting bearable. Even when they might not even realize that they're helping you with the waiting.
  • Your present waiting is not always a result of something you did in the past.  Sometimes it is just life.  But the waiting can be used for God's glory if you are open to that.
  •  Enjoy the gift of the day, even when it is hard, especially when it is hard. Remember that there is more to life than just this (sometimes all-consuming) aspect of it.
  • Pray. It might not be lengthy or flowery or even as consistent as you think it should be. Keep praying anyway.

Monday, October 29, 2012

when you aren't sure where the waiting is leading (day 29)

The phone rang right when I was in the middle of getting dinner ready. University of Missouri Hospital.  The results we were waiting for ... normal.  No Prater-Willi Syndrome, no extra chromosomes, no missing chromosomes.  This is good.

And yet it's not great. We still lack answers.

There will be another test, which means another blood draw for my sweet boy.  They are now going to look for congenital disorders to explain his delays. Even with the therapies, even with the preemie factor - he is almost two and is a year behind developmentally. He gets a milestone, but the catching up is slow. The gap widens, and as a mommy and an educator that terrifies me.

We ate dinner. I showered. I made pumpkin pie dip, and then I put the boys in the tub. Then the three of us went to a social gathering for small group leaders. I did not take time to process.  Our pastor asked how Bugaboo was doing, and I replied honestly (but without crying), "He's doing fine, but I'm not doing so great." And then he (the pastor) talked about how sometimes geniuses start off like this. It made me want to hope and to cry at the same time.  But I did neither.

The group passed around my littlest in his footie pajamas, which some people called a onesie, and a friend of mine went and read stories to my oldest at some point. The whole evening made me want to weep, but not for reasons I expected. Instead it was because of this incredible sense of friendship and love of that group - even those I don't really know well yet - of just eating and laughing and playing an ice breaker. It felt so normal.

We left and my three year old commented, "That was a GOOD day!"  Just like his mama, an introvert he really likes being around people.

We got in the van, and I cried the whole way home, saying, "Thank You, Jesus. Thank You, Jesus." Because really what else is there to say? We are here waiting, and we don't know why or where the waiting is leading. But we are here with people near and far who love and pray for us. We are here in a community of people who just let me sit for an evening. We are here with the two cutest boys on the planet, and when I think about how much I love them both I think my head and my heart will explode. We are here, and in spite of it all, it is a very good place to be.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

(day 27 & 28)

We interrupt this series on waiting for absolutely nothing other than a weekend of sickness that ruined all of our fun plans. But we stayed in our jammies, napped, watched kid-DVDs, and ate soup and the muffins that were intended for the Sunday school that I missed today. We made the best of it, and being off social media most of the weekend made me realize how much of a love-hate relationship I have with it.

In other news, we should be getting a call from genetics this week.  It is week three.  I can see online that one of the two tests is in, but I don't have access to the results. To say it is nerve-wracking is an understatement.  Here's hoping that all of these tests and all of the waiting it out for so many months finally results in some answers.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dr. Seuss wisdom (day 26)

A dear friend sent this to me in an email today.

"Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting. Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting." ~ Dr. Seuss (Oh, The Places You'll Go)

She reminded me that everyone is waiting for something, whether you are starting a new adventure or in the same place, you can't escape it.  I don't know if it is the teacher in me, or the mommy-reader-of-all-things-Dr.Seuss in me, but this rhyming reminder was very encouraging.

So what are you waiting for today? Feel free to share.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I got nothin' (day 25)

Today, I got nothin'.

I have half of a post about Bubby pooping during small group instead of in the potty. (Help me if you have potty training ideas - we have tried everything.)  But I thought people wouldn't want to read the word poop. (And now I've used it twice.)

I had a migraine so bad last night at about 10:30 (which is when I typically blog) that I thought I might die.  For real.  I have given birth to two children (yes, I know they were three pounds and five pounds and I had an epidural - but I still had contractions with Bugaboo). I needed an epidural for my head last night. I cried.  I didn't cry in childbirth. That tells you all the pain level. Today it is gone, and we have had a busy morning and afternoon. Therapy, playing in the park, a walk with a friend, and now chores. And I honestly have nothing worth writing on the waiting topic - or maybe on any topic.

One more random fact about life right now. Bugaboo has developed a very obnoxious laugh. If you went to college with me there was a girl who had an obnoxious loud laugh often heard in the cafeteria.  It is like that sound, alumni friends. Luckily he still has his normal adorable laugh too, so I am just waiting for him to rid himself of the sound that is akin to nails on a chalkboard or forks scraping plates.

See, I tied in the waiting word there.

Also, I am waiting for Bubby to choose to regularly poop on the potty instead of waiting for a pull-up.  There you go - another tally for waiting and another tally for poop. Blogger of the year right here, I tell ya.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

a break from researching (day 24)

He's still taking his wobbly, timid steps with much coaxing. When he's in the right mood he can take several at a time, and then he claps for himself.  The clapping is so adorable my heart could burst from happiness.  When he's in an uncooperative mood, the walking and all of the other skills we are working on are more of a challenge.

There are moments when he belly laughs with his brother. For instance, tonight he grabbed Bubby's sheet while I was tucking him in.  Bubby let out a holler to protest, and what did Bugaboo do?  He laughed and laughed.  It felt so incredibly "normal." 

But there are moments when I watch him, and the tears start to flow. The work, the unanswered questions, the appointments - some days I am overwhelmed by the situation we are in. So I redirect my fears and emotions into research. I sit at the computer, trying to figure out what is causing the delays, trying to find new strategies to implement, and trying to keep in mind how good we have it in our country, community, and home. It doesn't always work. Sometimes the fears and emotions remain.

At some point today I realized I had taken a break from researching what might be causing his delays.  It's been over a week since the blood work, and waiting for results has given me a vacation from this. I am hopeful that in another week or two we will have some answers. And I suppose the searching and researching will begin again then.

But for now I'll use this waiting time to spend working with my son and praying instead of pouring my worries out to countless Google searches of labels and symptoms.  And I hope that when the answers arrive, I remember what I've learned this week about the best use of my time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

usher me down (day 23)

Is it cheating to post song lyrics for this 31 days series? I hope not because these lyrics have been going through my head for several days now. In college I listened to two artists more than any other. Sara Groves and Jennifer Knapp.  These ladies' songs have been a soundtrack to my life.  The song Usher Me Down was never one I considered a favorite, but when it came up on Pandora last week, it stopped me in my tracks. It may be a new favorite even though it's not a new song.

alone, alone is where I'll be
waiting, waiting so patiently
escape this little war raging
one still small voice
come rescue me

why wait, why wait
why wait for You to usher me down
many oh, many oh Lord my God
the wonders that I have found
when You usher me down

sacrifice and offering
You do not desire of me
I say here I am, You come
as if I ever have to call

why wait, why wait
why wait for You to usher me down
many oh, many oh Lord my God
the wonders that I have found
when You usher me down

who could replace You
none I know of
the throne is Yours alone
can't be taken back, can't be taken back

why wait, why wait
why wait for You to usher me down
many oh, many oh Lord my God
the wonders that I have found
when You usher me down

Monday, October 22, 2012

of whirlwinds and waiting (day 22)

We met online in June 2004. He was in stationed in England with the U.S. Air Force, and I was teaching in Yuma, Arizona.  His profile said he lived in California (which is where he was from), so I tell people our relationship started on a lie. It's the only "lie" he has ever told me.

Each day that June I would wait for an email. We would respond to questions, ask more, and share our stories.  Soon we were collecting inside jokes and telling about the ups and downs of our journeys. The anticipation of waiting for those emails added to the uniqueness of our relationship. I later learned that what took me twenty minutes to write to him took him an hour or two to write back to me. I've always been a word person, a writer, so it never dawned on me that I was consuming so much of his time. Somehow this still makes me smile just thinking about it.

Our relationship was a whirlwind. Within a few weeks our emails turned to phone calls. Long phone calls back in the day before Skype meant a lot of money on phone cards. We lost sleep due to the work schedule he had as a firefighter and the eight hour time difference. It didn't take long at all before the "love" word was used. When you know, you know. The wait until I could see him in person seemed long at the time, but in actuality it was just a few months.

It was the middle of parent-teacher conference week the day of his arrival. His flight was delayed, and the drive to Phoenix seemed to take forever.  I will never forget how I felt standing in Sky Harbor Airport, trying to see around the security area, trying to see the love of my life at the first moment possible. There is much in real life, especially in the romantic sense, that is nothing like the movies. That first kiss I had been waiting for all those month was the exception. It was perfect.

A few days later he proposed, and a couple of weeks later he went back to England to finish up his Air Force commitment.  We were supposed to get married in July, but when he arrived back in California in January, we knew we didn't want to do any more of the long-distance thing. I suggested that instead of waiting six more months to get married that we go ahead and elope. So we did. (Don't try this at home, kids!)

I don't think we had a clue how much waiting was in store for us in the days ahead. Actually, I know we didn't. We had a plan. But over these eight years since our engagement, the details of our plans have changed. It gets exhausting and depressing sometimes, but this weekend was good. It was filled with playing with the kids, and studying and housework, and conversations with our heads on the pillow. Our waiting hasn't ceased, but I was reminded that there is no one else with whom I'd rather be waiting.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

(An interuption from the waiting series for...) What Bubby Wore

Inspired by previous twitter pictures of "What Shel Wore" by JoAnn of Ostriches Look Funny and a facebook conversation with Danavee of This Vintage Grove (not groove), I present to you - What Bubby Wore:
Picture Day at Pre-school with his "spikey hair"

The new fall fashion of underwear as a hat/helmet/ski mask:

 Church clothes, baseball cap, red rainboots:

And a not-quite-so-recent picture of my favorite shark after bathtime:

Sad sidenote: I wore my gray dress and brown boots and fully intended to take a picture of myself for a change. However, prechurch pictures are out of the question due to the time factor, and postchurch I too quickly changed into yoga pants and a sweatshirt.

Other sidenote: I need to learn how to easily upload Instagram pictures to the blog. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

today and tomorrow (days 20 & 21)

Let us not get so occupied waiting and hoping for all that tomorrow will bring



 that we miss out on the blessings of today.

I will choose to keep in mind that while the waiting feels slow,
every other aspect of my life speeds by much too quickly.


Friday, October 19, 2012

look (day 19)

Joining with five minute Friday on the topic of look and incorporating it into my topic of waiting, Find out all about FMF here.


I waited for each of them to sleep through the night. (One took longer than the other.) I waited for crawling and "mama" and first steps. And on some weary days I find myself waiting for more independence, for diaper freedom, for meals where they will be able to cut their own food. 

And in all of this waiting I sometimes forget to look.  I forget to look at the Duplo towers and houses made from leftover boxes.  I forget to look at the way they giggle with delight at the simplest things - a wrestling match on the floor.  I forget to look at the messes that I clean up every hour and the endless piles of books I read to them  as a gift of creative kids who don't require endless tv - they just want endless me.

Each phase of childhood - and as a result mommyhood - has it's trials and it's blessings.  I hope that I don't get so busy waiting to be out of this phase's trials that I miss looking at the blessings.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

waiting, not camping (day 18)

“I do not know why there is this difference, but I am sure that God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait. When you do enter your room, you will find that the long wait has done you some kind of good which you would not have had otherwise. But you must regard it as waiting, not as camping. You must keep on praying for light: and of course, even in the hall, you must begin trying to obey the rules which are common to the whole house. And above all you must be asking which door is the true one; not which pleases you best by its paint and paneling.”
 ~ C. S. Lewis

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

a not so elegant quote (day 17)

In one of the Grumpy Old Men movies, there is a line that goes, "You can wish in one hand and crap in the other and see which gets filled first."

I find myself still holding out hope that somehow people in my life will change. Somehow they will see the truth. Somehow they will value me and my children. And honestly, I am beginning to think that hope is a bunch of crap.

There are generational sins. Sins that stem from lies and selfishness. I don't even know what generation started it. I only know that I have been affected, deeply affected. Others have been affected, even if they do not acknowledge it for reasons only they understand.

I just want to yell, "I'm tired of waiting for this curse to be over!" I am tired of people living in fear of some of my family members. Stand up! Stand up!

I am angry, but mostly I am sad and I am weary.  If only people knew the whole story. I am willing to share it if they were willing to listen. But fear keeps them away.

So I wait for changes that may never happen. And I'm not quite sure how to handle that any more.

But I am ending the evening knowing that God sees me, and He waits with me.  He can handle all of this. He can handle all of me.

when waiting hurts (day 16)

At one o'clock this afternoon I sat in a small hospital outpatient room. For fifty-five minutes I waited, while doing my best to entertain my preschooler and my toddler. Finally, the person in charge was ready to do what we came for. Three vials of blood were going to be collected for my youngest's genetic testing.  A familiar nurse, from our NICU days, who happened to be on the fourth floor today, was called in to assist with holding my sweet boy still.

I stood off to the side, and the minutes it took for the procedure seemed so much longer than the waiting we had experienced all afternoon. He cried and cried and cried. And I had to just stand there, doing nothing but waiting for it to be over. Unfortunately we cannot help our son without this pain being part of the process.

I will not forget the sound of his cries. I will not forget fighting back my own tears, the queasy feeling in my stomach, as I had to wait for the nurses to finish.  I know I will not forget because three and a half years ago, one floor up in the same hospital, my firstborn cried similar, gut-wrenching tears. For our oldest, it was when his feedings were taken away for a few days while doctors tried to determine what was causing the concern in his premature belly. A mother doesn't forget this type of waiting, these kinds of tears.

I don't know of anything worse as a mother than hearing my babies cry and not being able to do anything about it. Especially when deep down I know it is for their own good. Knowing that doesn't take away the pain of having to wait it out. Just because something is for the best does not make it easy.

Today, in my little bit of waiting, God showed me a little bit more of His heart. I know we always refer to God as Father, but I think William P. Young got it right in The Shack. God has a mama's heart, too. I can't help to wonder if I got just a tiny glimpse of the pain God Almighty felt on Good Friday, allowing His Son to shed His blood for our benefit. The waiting He chose to endure instead of stepping in. All because of the depth of His love for us.

Monday, October 15, 2012

to wait or to act? (day 15)

"When I graduate..."
"When I meet someone..."
"When I get married..."
"When I have kids..."
"When the kids are older..."

I think life is moving at a pretty fair pace until I see other people changing.  That little girl I used to baby-sit started college this year.  The kids I met in Venezuela on mission trips in my college summers - they are getting married, having babies, succeeding in ministry.  The nephews and niece I have on The Hubs' side - the ones that were adorable when I met them are now teens/pre-teens. (And they wouldn't probably like me calling them adorable any more!) My friends' have careers, ministries, families, and responsibilities. And I won't even start on my own babies or I will just sit here and cry.

Things can get busy if we don't intentionally slow down. Part of the blessing of waiting for something (or many somethings) is the need to focus on the here and now.  What we want isn't happening yet, so what will I do in the mean time? Twiddle my thumbs? Complain? Or find out what else God wants me to do in the waiting time?

There is wisdom in waiting, but there is also wisdom in acting in obedience.  And sometimes the obedience in the waiting is to act upon something else God is calling us too. Am I putting off obeying because I am so busy waiting for something that has consumed all of my attention? The key in knowing what to do happens through discernment. Am I exercising patience or am I making excuses?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

you'll have to wait (days 13 & 14)

Due to the wonderful gift of having out of town visitors this weekend, posts on "learning to wait" will have to wait until Monday. :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

a friend's wisdom (day 12)

My dear friend, Lindy wrote this. She is a wise, deep, and talented person. I asked if I could share her recent words on my blog.  (I took some liberty with just the formatting since it was in her facebook status.)

When truth masquerades as trial and light covers itself beneath wings of darkness; 
when hope presents itself as suffering and grace hides itself in pain:
when expectations turn to profound mystery,
when purpose is masked in confusion...

these moments turn life into an offering of our spirit,
a lifting of our souls to that which is so far wiser,
who understands more deeply,
who constructs the heavens and governs the earth,
who gives breath and life...

and in that offering says "I am yours, do as you will."

~Lindy Tilus

Thursday, October 11, 2012

a prayer (day 11)

Thank You, God, for this waiting time.  I sincerely mean it. I'm sure You are surprised... or maybe not because You are God, after all, and nothing surprises You.

Thank You for old friends who keep in touch, even when I stink at it these days. Thank You for their grace.

Thank You for new-ish friends, who wait with me through their prayers and their visits and their texts. I would not have met them, connected with them, if some of my circumstances had been different. Thank You, that You work all things together for my good, even the waiting.

Thank You for the long worked for, long prayed for milestones for Bugaboo. That which we have waited for so long is much sweeter than those things that come so easily.

Thank You that though the delays are hard and sometimes make me cry, I also know that currently I have been given the gift of extended baby-hood with my youngest. Thank You for this extra season of sweet innocence.

Thank You for the way the paychecks and GI money arrived just in time. I have never been more cheerful in Aldi and Wal-mart as I was this week.

Thank You for what you are teaching me as we await doctors appointments and bloodwork. Thank You for giving me the strength to be an advocate for my children, for the persistence to keep going when I'd rather give up. Thank You for the people I can be real with, who can handle my tears. Thank You that You will not waste my waiting, God.

And thank You for reminding me that Jesus waits, too. He is waiting to return, to wipe every tear from our eyes, to take away sickness and pain and death.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

waiting in the NICU (day 10)

Each time we go to a doctor appointment, the smell of the soap in the Mercy offices takes me back.
We'd pick up the phone in the hallway, say our names, and ask to be allowed in to see our son. Seven weeks, several times a day, scrubbing hands and arms with a brush and that soap for several minutes. A year and a half later, we did it again with son #2, only for two weeks that time.

There's no waiting quite like NICU waiting. We waited for ounces to be gained, milliliters to be digested, temperatures to regulate, heart and breathing rates to remain stable.  There were days we waited for our baby to be allowed to eat again. We waited for answers to loops in the belly and blood in the stool.  The early morning phone calls were hard. The not knowing was harder.

The hospital was filled with other women given the option of having their full-term babies room-in.  I had to plan my visits to the incubator based around the feeding schedule for "touch time."  Other mothers got to pass their newborns to visiting friends and family, but for awhile we were barely allowed to touch our firstborn because too much stimulation is not good for a baby who was only 29 weeks gestation. The days were long, and the nights were longer.  Most evenings I left the hospital crying. Leaving a brand new baby at the hospital while you go home is not at all a normal nor a maternal feeling.  Somehow, we survived those weeks of waiting, and in a way it seems like a blur now.

Our second round in the NICU was eerily like coming home. We knew the routine. The nurses remembered us. We knew our youngest was in good hands.The waiting was hard that time as well, but for different reasons.  Initially we were told he'd only be there a day or two. But when the eating issues kept up, I couldn't help but think how unfair it was. We'd already done this waiting game before. Plus I had the mama-guilt of having to divide my time between a toddler at home and a baby in the hospital ... and the pump every three hours.

There is no such thing as a typical NICU experience.  In those weeks I learned how to pray like never before, and I learned how to ask for help. We saw our oldest with wires and tubes hooked up to machines, but we never had to experience a baby having surgery or not bringing our baby home at all. The experts don't know why I have babies early,and I don't know why we had to become NICU parents. I still don't understand why some things come so easily for some people, and the rest of us have to wait.

The smell of soap at the doctors' offices transports me back each time to our NICU days. It might sound strange, but along with the pit-in-the-stomach memories it conjures up, the scent also reminds me of where we've been and what God has faithfully brought us through. And if He's been faithful before, He will be faithful again. He is with us in the waiting.

(This post was somewhat inspired by a recent post on my friend Kristi's blog. She wrote a couple of weeks ago about her NICU memories and the coffee that is hard to drink now.  She is the mommy of two incredible miracle babies.)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

discipline (day 9)

"Waiting is a spiritual discipline
where we elevate Creator above creation."
- alicia chole

Monday, October 8, 2012

look around (day 8)

As we wait it is so easy to be self-focused. When are my prayers going to be answered? Why am I having to wait? How long will I be in this situation?

Whether you are in a season of waiting or a season of fulfilled dreams, look around. Be observant.  Life is not all about you. Someone you know is waiting for a job. Someone else is waiting for a baby. Someone is waiting to have someone special enter their lives. Someone is waiting for the pieces of their heart to be mended. Someone is waiting for medical results. Someone next to you is too reserved to say that they need prayer and is waiting for you to just go ahead and intercede on their behalf. 

Open your eyes.

I'm saying all of this to myself. Every word I'm writing here I need to hear and do each day.

Your times of waiting can make you attuned to the needs of others if you let it. Their journey, their needs, their dreams may be different, but the trial of waiting is very similar no matter the specific details.  How will you use this season? Will it be self-focused or others-focused?  Don't waste your pain. Don't waste your waiting.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

notes on Sarah (day 7)

I almost missed last week's service because of sick kids.  Thankfully we now have a third worship gathering in the evenings. The notes I took Pastor Jordan's sermon on Sarah have stayed in my head all week, and they may have been part of the catalyst for this month's topic.

God doesn't need a helping hand for His miraculous provision.
The details of your waiting will only give more glory to God.
Am I trying to help God in areas in ways He has not asked me to?
Are the details of my life, especially in my waiting times, giving glory to God?
Will I trust Him with the big picture, the one in which He will receive so much glory if only I will wait?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

the Lord waits (day 6)

"Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
   blessed are all those who wait for him." Isaiah 30:18 (ESV)

"But God’s not finished. He’s waiting around to be gracious to you.
He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you.
God takes the time to do everything right—everything.
Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones." (The Message)

"Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
How blessed are all those who long for Him." (NASB)

Friday, October 5, 2012

waiting room (a poem for day 5)

this is what we have been called to
for this season


for an answer, direction, a door, a window

and we sit in this room
in uncomfortable chairs
watching others go through the doors and down a hall
or come out and exit with a note in hand
while we sit
and continue to wait

for our name to be called

we get up and check the progress
inquiring how much longer
but no concrete answer is dispensed

so we wait

and do our best to encourage one another to stay strong
when we feel like leaving
giving up

we offer our waiting, our trusting, our keeping of faith
as a sacrifice
an offering of all we have to give right now
not demanding anything in return
but hoping this gift is acceptable
while believing the outcome of waiting will someday

be revealed

(I wrote this poem two years ago. At the time I was pregnant with Bugaboo and wondering where life was taking us--- or rather, where life was not taking us.)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

clinging to a little spark of hope (day 4)

I have a very loose plan for my Learning To Wait topic. There's the general theme, some specific ideas, and a few half-written posts. Something else was on the docket for today's blog, HOWEVER ...
Bugaboo took three wobbly-yet-independent steps in a row today!!!


 He is twenty-two months old, and the causes of his developmental delays are still unknown. We are still waiting for answers and milestones. But today some of our waiting (and praying and working) is paying off. My heart overflows with joy and thankfulness for this event.

Then this afternoon, just following the celebrating,  we received a discouraging piece of mail. The Hubs and I sat and wondered aloud, "What should we do, God?"

But there was no reply.

We have choices, neither of which are ideal. We can give up or we can stay the course and wait. Honestly, there are days when we are weary of persevering. We feel like we have already waited for so many things.

This evening I saw my toddler and thought about how hard he works. He recently got funky-looking devices put on his feet, but he didn't complain. He adjusted to his new footwear.  He falls down, but he allows us to pick him. Then we make him try his skills again. Most of the other kids his age are passing him by, but he doesn't let that deter him. With help from his family and his therapists, he perseveres. From the outside it seems like a long wait for each milestone. But deep down I believe there is some divine purpose just waiting to be unveiled through my youngest son. I just haven't been shown what it is yet..

In this hard season of waiting, I will remind myself that I can't see the big picture - for my kids, for our careers, for this journey we are on. I want to give up praying, trying, waiting, but my youngest son reminded me today that this is not the time to give up.

There is always hope. Just when I needed it most, I was given another spark of hope. I will cling to that as I wait. Because the waiting is hard, and without hope, all would be lost.


side note: This post was written Wednesday evening. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

fearing that this was as good as it was going to get (day 3)

There I was, single and away from everyone I knew and loved. I had started a brand new life in  Arizona, and I wasn't quite sure about it.  My days were spent in a classroom teaching thirty-three fourth graders. With my free-time, I plugged into a local church and taught Jr. High Sunday School, a Wednesday night girls' group, and helped with Awana Cubbies on Sunday nights. I was in a Marine-base town, but there were no single guys around in the places I hung out. Bars weren't my thing. From the suggestion of a friend, I went online.

Then I started dating the wrong person.

Oh, on paper he seemed like he would be the right person. Youth pastor. Just a couple of towns away from my new home. From the Midwest like me. Played guitar. All of the things every Christian young woman has put on that list. The list we are told to pray over as we wait for him to show up. The future husband list. Sadly, I trusted that misguided list more than I trusted God's timing.

Pretty early on there were red flags. Not only was this not the right guy for me, this probably wasn't the right guy for anybody.  But because I was afraid that this might be as good as it would get I ignored the voice inside me that said break-up with him and wait for someone who would treat me right.  Once again I feared missing out. I figured God was holding out on me. I ignored the few people in my life that knew the circumstances and were telling me the relationship was not healthy. Instead of walking away and waiting for something better, I plunged ahead with a whirlwind relationship. In the end I was left alone, with only broken promises and the shattered pieces of my heart.

Fast-forward several years. I don't often think about that relationship. By the grace of God, it rarely haunts me.  Yet here in the present I still easily I forget that often times I have a choice. I can wait and trust, or I can do my own thing.  Each choice has consequences. Waiting has benefits that I don't always see when I am wrapped up in my own wants, needs, and discontment. 

If only I could remember the times in my life that I didn't wait and the heartache that followed. I don't want to remember in order to beat myself up over past decisions. Rather I want to be encouraged to not lose heart. I need a frequent reminder that there is a purpose for every season of what seems like a delay in plans. I need to keep in mind that waiting is sometimes the best thing a person can do.