The Ugliness of Waiting

WAITING.

It seems that a lot of my friends have been doing a lot of this lately.  I have witnessed the waiting.  Experienced the waiting. Heard about it via Twitter, Facebook, Blogs.  Waiting seems to be on people's minds a lot lately.  Or maybe it's like when you buy a new car and then all of the sudden you see that kind of car every where on the road...maybe the topic of waiting sticks out to me so much right now because I'm doing a whole lot of it myself.  

My friend Jess has done a lot of waiting.  Her and I are besties and we used to work together too.  When we both left our jobs [around the same time] she felt as though she was thrown into an eternal abyss of jobless wandering.  She loved her job and didn't want to give her resignation but felt compelled to leave for multiple reasons.  When she followed her heart and did what she felt was right she walked smack-dab into a very dark and confusing season..."What now God?"  Silence.  She searched and searched for a job that would bring fulfillment and joy and satisfaction like the last one did...at the bottom of that barrel she ended up taking a job at Chipotle to pay her bills.  Swallowing her pride she put her head down, made burritos and all the while asked, "God, I did what I thought was right.  Why have you forgotten me?"  In her uncertainty she ended up forging a new path for her life.  She starts nursing school today.  A profession she never thought she would want but now sees she will be able to utilize in future ministry.  But while she still doesn't have answers for why her life took such a sudden and drastic turn down a new highway, she feels relief that the waiting is over...at least for now.

My friend April has done a lot of waiting.  This kind of waiting seems beyond my comprehension. She waited a long time in the dark tunnel of infertility.  Through tears, frustration, confusion and anger she pleaded with God to end her waiting for a baby.  Silence.  She also, felt compelled to forge a new path and she and her husband chose the long and arduous road to international adoption.  She waited.  She prayed.  Sher cried.  She ached for her babies who were perhaps waiting for her in Ethiopia.  Her mother-arms were empty and her mother-soul was parched.  She wrote about it often and shared her journey with poignancy, vulnerability and painstaking detail [http://planaethiopia.blogspot.com/].  Finally, last week she got the call and opened up an email that showed her the faces of her children whom she will diaper, burp, potty train, tutor, scold, hug, laugh with, dress for prom, drop off at college, stand on the front row of their wedding ceremony and eventually hold THEIR babies in her arms.  Her waiting to see their faces is over but mountains of paper work and international court dates are still to come and her babies are still not in her arms.  Hopefully, they will be by the years' end.  So one type of waiting is over and another one begins.  

My friend Kelly waits.  Will her marriage be restored or will she have to know the realities of a divorcee?  My friend  Jeanne waits.  She is "birthing" a new church in a big city and wonders if she has what it takes.  My husband waits.  For the first time in is his life he is living with out the label "pastor".  He asks the question, "Is this my new identity or a pause on the path I believed I would always walk?'.  

And I wait.

Years ago, I discovered [haphazardly] that I am a leader.  A visionary.  Some one who sees the big picture and yet instinctively knows the steps to take to get to the final outcome.  I discovered I love shepherding people, helping them discover who God made them to be.  Challenging and prodding them to pursue new pastures even if the journey was fraught with danger.  I love walking with people "through the valley".  I love stepping back and watching people discover their abilities and capabilities.  When I am leading and pastoring, teaching and mentoring, I feel satisfied, full, energized and ready for more.  

Well, I'm not doing much of that these days.  I also left my job 2 years ago.  The story is sordid.  Unfortunately, there was a battle, the lines were drawn and people scurried to their proverbial sides.  When the battle was over it seemed that all that was left was carnage.  As I licked my wounds I asked the same question a lot of my friends have asked, "God, where are you in this darkness?.  How long will I stumble here in this valley stubbing my toes on rocks of resentment,  bitterness, unfulfilled dreams, loneliness?" [Think Psalm 23...even though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death...] 

I am a feminist.  I believe Jesus was too.  And so I long to see women empowered to be everything they were created to be.  And yet, my own life does not seemingly reflect that freedom.  I long to be used by God in the local church. To lead men and women.  To have a daily opportunity to be a part of decision making, vision casting, leading and teaching.  And dare I say this...doing this for my children does not feel like enough.  I want more.  I do work very part time for an incredible organization and I do get small opportunities to lead and train church leaders.  But it is only a few times a month [at best] and I want more.  

So most days I sit in my home with my three incredible kids, trying to reconcile my two identities :: Leader, Pastor, Visionary vs. Diaper Changer, Dish Washer, Grocery Shopper.  I could choose to go get a job some where to fill my time but up until this point it has felt clear that God is having me wait for something else, something more.  

So I wait.  
I play peek-a-boo and scrub smashed grapes up off the floor and I wait.  
I wrestle with guilt for not liking my life more.  
I stare out the window in the afternoon.  
I discipline myself to meditate on "counting it all joy" so that whatever I do, I do it "for the glory of God".  
I sing songs and say out loud over a sink filled with day-old dishes, "Jesus, you are worth it.  If you ask me to wait forever, I will.  You are worth it."  
I read about other people's waiting.  Some call it the Land in Between, The Middle.  I like these titles because they make my waiting seem more significant, more worthy.  
I pacify myself with cooking great meals.  
I blog to get it all off my chest.   
But mostly I gaze upon the ugliness of waiting.  

I could end this blog with the positives that will make it all seems worth while, for in the end, I know that it will be.  But the knowing in my soul and the living day to day don't seem to match up right now.  So mostly, I wait.  

What are you waiting for in this season?  I dare you to write it out...every gory detail.  Put it out there.  I double-dog dare you.

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August 23, 2010 at 11:18 AM ×

Whew...tears poured out for you and because of this waiting journey we've been on. Reading your heart makes me miss you oh-so much.

Two of the books that helped me "go to the depths" and find Jesus there were "When the Heart Waits" [Sue Monk Kidd] and "The Healing Path [by our good friend, Dan Allender]. The journey's not over yet!!!

Balas
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August 23, 2010 at 1:53 PM ×

apes, I am in the middle of The Healing Path...so right and so hard [what else would we expect from D.All?!!!].

I do need to read "When the heart waits"...Jeanne has told me about it for a while too.

Missing you and the Mike's we used to share in my basement instead of going to NewC.
Love you!

Balas
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