Last week I watched the fifth season of Doctor Who for probably the 30th time; besides ugly crying through the last 10 minutes of Vincent and The Doctor, I noticed a theme: waiting. If you're a Doctor Who fan, you may already know what I'm referring to. If you're not, don't worry. It really isn't significant to the ultimate point of this letter. Just know that the Doctor refers to his friend Amy as The Girl Who Waited, and I feel as though few statements have ever applied to me so well. I could create an entire series on waiting, but for now, we'll cover the high points: what is the purpose of our waiting season, trusting God's timing, and waiting well.
The Queen of Impatience:
Okay, I have to start by confessing that I'm not good at waiting. In fact, I'm so incredibly impatient it's almost laughable. Last year I had to wait two weeks before my pup Olive was ready to leave her litter, and the anticipation nearly killed me. I moped around the house daily, lamenting how much I missed her and couldn't wait until we would bring her home. Obviously, I'm extremely dramatic. I mean, it was only two weeks. But I'm not good at waiting.
Waiting is hard, especially in this modern age, where we aren't used to waiting for anything. I'm just old enough to remember ordering something online and having to *patiently* wait 7-10 business days for my package to arrive. Now, if we can't get free two-day shipping, it's the end of the world. So what do we do when we are waiting for something much more significant than that bookshop-scented soy candle to arrive in the mail? Or we're in a season of delay that has lasted longer than two weeks?
Winter Has Its Purpose:
We've all experienced seasons of waiting. You may be in the middle of one right now; please know you're not alone. Some days I feel that I've spent my entire life waiting. Waiting for my idea of success, the right guy, marriage, and a family of my own. Maybe you're waiting for a health issue to resolve, for God to bless you with children, or to see efforts in your community come to fruition. We are in good company! There are countless stories of long-suffering in the bible. Whatever you are waiting for, let me encourage you. This season has a purpose.
Let me speak from a part of my own story. For as long as I can remember, I've dreamed of a love like the ones in books. That Jane Austen love story where Mr. Darcy walks across a misty field at dawn to profess his love for me, where good characters get the happy ending they deserve. That's Elizabeth Bennet's story, not mine. I've waited and waited and waited, but I've never known an earthly love like that.
I believe that God has put me in seasons of long-suffering to teach me to abide in Him. In this time, I have fruitlessly searched for the love story my heart desires. All the while, the Father has gently (and sometimes not so gently) shown me that what I need is Him. An unfailing, unconditional love that goes beyond these earthly boundaries.
This week as snow and ice blanketed my town, I marveled at God's handy work. The soft light this time of year is like none other, and when it glistens on snow, it's breathtaking. Winter reveals the beauty that can be found in a waiting season. There are beauty and wonder in our season of delay also.
Through all of the waiting, we learn patience, rest, and trust. We come to know ourselves and Christ better. We seek truth, wisdom, and discernment in this season. For me, it's been a lesson in relying on God's love rather than the idealized version of a relationship I've imagined in my head. It's taught me that my relationship status and worldly success don't define me. Only Christ does that.
Winter is when we put our heads down and do the hard work that no one else sees. It prepares us for Spring; those first warm days and bright colors hit different after a long cold winter. We appreciate God's blessings so much more after we suffer for a time. That amount of time is for the Lord to decide. Remain faithful to His will.
"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation." Romans 5:
Trust The Author of Your Story:
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5
I graduated college with a BFA in Fashion Design, and that's all. I had no job prospects and not a clue how I was going to make it. I felt like I had failed. I searched for months before landing an internship, but I was unsettled. This wouldn't last, and then what would I do?
Five months into that internship, I was with a group of friends after a fashion show, talking about life and work and the things you chat about. One of these friends was a merchandiser for a footwear company and asked if she could give my resume to their VP of Design. They were acquiring a new brand and looking for an assistant designer. Long story short, I got the job just a few weeks from the end of my internship. The Lord came through perfectly on time, as He always does.
But, I was so convinced that my fate was in my own hands that I worried and stressed myself for months. I was leaning on my own limited view of my circumstances and not trusting that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him (Rom. 8:28). The Author wrote a story for me that I could not have dreamt up myself. That job took me to China, I built friendships that I still have today, and I grew as a person. He taught me patience that has aided me in later life.
We often get in a hurry, thinking we're running out of time. We get impatient and take matters into our own hands, sometimes to a disastrous end. Or, at the very least, we cause ourselves unnecessary stress that can be avoided if we have confidence that the Father is in control.
I love this quote by C.S. Lewis: “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.“
How accurate is this statement? We are so afraid that things won't turn out how we want them. The remedy to this is knowing God's character. Understanding that you are fearfully and wonderfully made by the creator of the universe. His love for you goes beyond comprehension, and He has planned a beautiful story for you.
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11
Worship While You Wait:
"Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him." Psalm 62:5
Psalm 62 is one of my favorite passages in scripture, and I absolutely love King David. This verse reminds us to wait patiently before God because He is our hope.
Avoid grumbling, worry, and fear in your waiting (unlike 23-year-old me on the job hunt). Instead, place your hope in the Father, who loves you and has the very best for you. Pray. Pour out your heart to Jesus. Are you feeling impatient? Ask the Father for endurance and strength to withstand. Feeling hopeless, like your dreams and desires will never be fulfilled? Get into God's word. Read what He says about waiting. Here are a few of my favorites...
"No, the Lord's delight is in those who fear him, those who put their hope in His unfailing love." Psalms 147:11
"The Lord is good to those who wait on Him, to those who search for Him" Lamentations 3:25
"But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31
"Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord." Psalms 27:14
Praise God in your wait. Thank Him for the molding and making that happens in this season. Just because you are waiting doesn't mean there isn't work happening in you.
Maybe you're like me, single and hoping for marriage or waiting for career success. Let me encourage you to find joy and be content exactly where you are. Be intentional with this time you've been given. It's a blessing. Pour yourself into your relationship with Christ, family, friends, and your community. Cultivate an inner circle that is honest, loyal and points you toward Jesus. Spend time getting to know yourself; take advantage of having this time just for you. If you're dating, make sure you're dating for the purpose of marriage.
Spend time advancing your skills. Pray over your goals, plans, and desires. Ask God if the path you're pursuing is a part of His purpose for you, and then listen intently for His reply. And, possibly most important, do not listen to the lies Satan will no doubt throw at you! The Father is preparing you for great things according to His will. The Enemy will do anything in his power to distract and discourage you. Armor up!
“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.” Ephesians 6:10-1
Waiting well doesn’t just happen. It takes real work. It can be easy to become discouraged when we see those around us getting the very things we want. We must draw near to Jesus and rest in His confident hope rather than rely on our own strength. Taking matters into my own hands has only ever lead to disappointment. Still, I'm sure of His goodness. That He is working within me, molding me into His image. If you're anything like me, you fall short of His glory every day. But His love endures, and He offers grace to us freely.
"But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do." Psalms 73:28
Rehanna Mae (a girl who's waiting)