FMF – Wait

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Here’s the deal. For over four years, bunches of bloggers have gathered every week to huddle around a prompt word and just write. It’s called Five Minute Friday, and we don’t think about the ins and outs of grammar or spelling or punctuation. We just write.

And it’s glorious.

I’ve done this quite a few Fridays, but rarely explain what I’m doing. HA! So now you know 🙂

Today’s prompt is “wait.” Good one.

Waiting is a time in space that I used to dread. At times, I still do. Mom would say, “Wait,” and ugh! But I want it now!

The doctor would say, “Wait,” but ugh! I want to get it over with!

Waiting can feel torturous.

More and more in our self-indulgent society, where we are taught that our immediate happiness is our merit, waiting doesn’t even appear an option. What we want is owed to us by the very fact that we are… well, us. And we matter. And we deserve what we want when we want it regardless of how it affects another’s happiness.

But I’ve learned that waiting is a discipline… and one that bears the fruit of true happiness, joy, and developed character. To survive a season of waiting… to delay gratification and self-pleasure is to know true, lasting gratification and pleasure. In time.

If a baby were birthed at the time we demanded… who knows but that his/her lungs would be under developed or his/her vision not quite formed. But the womb and its Designer take the time needed to form what must be formed, in its time, and gift the child when he/she is ready.

I have had to wait a lot.

I waited for five years, gritting my teeth and mourning as though a death had fallen upon me, for the life I’m now living. But while I waited, I built community. Invested. Rooted. Loved. In ways I’d never done before.

Little did I know, God was using those five years of my impatient perseverance to develop in my life everything I needed to be a healthy, whole person amidst my dream. Had I forced it sooner… I would have been less… well, less everything. Less mature, less developed in character, less adaptable, less intuitive, less patient.

Less.

But that time of waiting formed in me, and for me, everything I needed for the gift to come.

How I sadden to think of how much of that time I spent in grief… blind to the ways God was using it to give me exactly what I hoped of and dreamed of.

In HIS time and in HIS way.

What are you waiting for today? What longing has been put on hold in your heart? What despairs you to see off in the distance, seemingly unattainable?

I won’t preach the current message of our world. “Give up everything for your dreams!” “Press on and never give up!” “Don’t quit!” “You deserve happiness, don’t let anyone take it from you.” “You can be anything and everything you want to be!”

Instead, I say… tenderly hand the dream over to the Dream Giver. Trust Him with it. Trust that, while we deserve nothing, He holds something beautiful for you. Something the He will care for, nurture, develop, raise… and when the time is just right… He’ll give it back. And it will be more beautiful, more splendid, more.

More.

More than you ever imagined or dreamed possible.

It will exceed the dream you handed over.

If you will be but willing to wait.

And while you wait… look for Him. Look for what He’s doing in the meantime… He’s not wasting it. Don’t you either.

I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Lamentations 3: 19-26

Read a previous post, {Dad’s} Lessons in the Waiting on other values in waiting.

Perseverance… According to {Dad}

I’ve literally sat here for almost an entire hour… doing anything but write this post.

Even now… I finally wrote that sentence… and then spent another five minutes distracted.

*Sigh*

Do you have those moments too? When a thing you love doing… finds you lacking the inspiration, the energy, the time to do it?

I chose a topic and sat here… uninspired. Even though it’s an inspiring topic… my dad, the artist.

I even contemplated skipping today.

Can you believe it?

That’s how uninspired, unfocused, and drained I feel.

But I knew I couldn’t quit. Skipping a day is quitting. Because why do something only partially? When you can do it completely… and receive the “reward” for the hard work of endurance?

That’s when it hit me.

Confession: Anything I know about perseverance or endurance I learned from watching my dad.

And still I struggle.

My dad is the most patient, long-suffering, forbearing person I know.

He is slow to anger.

Steadfast through the most difficult tasks you could imagine.

I’ve seen him sweat, bleed, and weep under the pressures… begging for an alternative.

And yet he continued on… diligent with what was given him.

And joyfully!

Oh, how much I have yet to learn.

Because it’s not just about waiting… but the hope that drives it. The belief that carrying on is good and right. That there is some value to the effort of sticking out something that’s difficult.

That staying married to your spouse, even when things are rough, has an outcome far greater than just one’s own pleasure.

That consistency in child-training has an eternal value, even if exhausting in the now.

That going to job interview after job interview, filling out application after application, is somehow leading to something life changing.

That sitting down to write a post, in the middle of a 31 Days in 2012 Challenge, will build something in my character as a writer and as a human if I stick with it… regardless of the visible outcome.

Regardless if anyone reads it.

Especially if anyone reads it.

Because you are worth it. You, the one reading this… is worth pushing through the muck of writer’s block and lack of inspiration.

You need to hear that you are not alone.

That some days are hard to get through. Some hours seem unbearable. Some moments find you pleading, “Is it worth it?”

And it is.

It’s worth it because it changes something in you. And gives something deep and meaningful to this world.

Another true-life example of perseverance against all odds. Endurance. Diligence. Faith and patience.

There are plenty of stories about quitters and they inspire no one.

Your story can be different. It can change lives. Yes, pushing through the toughest of seasons can change lives.

Because they are watching you.

Just like I’m watching my dad. And his life is changing mine. Showing me that this not-giving-up changes people. Encourages people.

Saves the world.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Galatians 6:9

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4

To learn more about 31 Days in 2012 or view other 31 Dayers blogs, click here.

I’m spending 31 days writing about my confessions and the lessons {Dad} has taught me. This is day 20 of 31 Days in 2012.

{Dad’s} Lessons in the Waiting

The more I get to know my dad… the more I’m learning to endure the need to wait.

As a child, the thought of waiting was unbearable. My little mind could understand nothing but immediate self-gratification. Any pause on my desire was unthinkable. Cruel.

I learned to make up for his delays by doing things on my own. Why wait for dad’s wallet to open up when I have my own? And it buys what I want more quickly?

Only to come home and find a wrapped gift on my bed… just the thing I’d been pining away for… and bought on my own.

If only I’d waited…

I noticed how often his heart was to bless me with my heart’s wishes… but in his time, in his way… small surprises of delight in his daughter. And I was good at ruining it.

So I decided to try this whole “waiting” thing out.

I waited until he approved of the man I’d marry. And I’m so glad I did… no broken hearts, no ex-relationships to haunt me, minimal regrets.

Then came a halt to my life abroad. A time of waiting. Rooting. Things I’d never done.

My dad has raised me to love people, cultures, languages, new experiences.

Then told me I couldn’t do any of it… for an indefinite amount of time (which turned into eight years!)

I was obedient… albeit depressed and grieved… and took to figuring out this whole “rooting” thing.

One of the best things I’ve ever done.

Because he asked me to wait.

And I did.

Now here I am.

Living in Germany… the life I’ve been waiting for.

And oddly enough, there are still things he has me waiting for.

Our empty parking space… also waiting. 🙂

A car.

He told me he’d buy us the perfect car when the time was right.

He’s never ever lied to me, so I know He will.

And now we’ve been here two and a half months.

It’s pouring rain and I have two toddlers to take on a fifteen minute walk… in the downpour. Twice.

I’m tired of waiting.

I toy with the idea of getting it myself. Shop around. Count the change in my wallet.

And keep waiting.

Because by now I know the gift is just around the corner. And there is so much I can learn from this moment.

  • The generosity of car-endowed friends and the rides they offer.
  • The clean, fresh air detoxifying my lungs.
  • Watching him provide the things that only a car can get us… in other ways.
  • The time with my children… hopping through puddles, peeking down at creepy crawly worms, conversations about life.
  • Rainboots, umbrellas, and rain coats… all things my dad has given us while we wait for our car.
  • The exercise we get walking up and down all of Kandern’s hills, together.
  • The mental map of all of Kandern’s back alleys, side roads, and walking bridges… only known by my wandering feet.
  • “Hallo”s and “Guten Morgan”s exchanged with the many other walkers in Kandern’s keeping.
  • The new gratitude I’ll have for the gift of our vehicle when it’s given… a pleasure not taken for granted. A gift to share.
  • My brothers and sisters, near and far, asking dad to help us out, offering him their time and resources to make it happen.
  • The pure joy of seeing my daddy respond to my heart, know my needs… and provide.

All things I’d deny myself if I rushed through the moment, submitted to the immediate self-gratification of my childhood, and distrusted my dad.

Who has been so faithful to me… discerning between the wants that would harm me and the wants that would grow me.

While lavishing his abundance all over my life… and the life of my brothers and sisters… each in their own journeys of waiting

and trusting

and seeing.

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Romans 8:24-25

To learn more about 31 Days in 2012 or view other 31 Dayers blogs, click here.

I’m spending 31 days writing about my confessions and the lessons {Dad} has taught me. This is day 10 of 31 Days in 2012.