I have a picture of myself as a four-year-old with a white dish cloth draped on my head and secured in place with plastic pop beads. With plastic flowers in my hand, I’m walking dramatically slow on the plastic floor cover in my grandparents house pretending it’s the aisle of a church. The Beach Boys or Elvis are probably playing somewhere in the background.
My mom met my dad in college so I just thought that would happen to me as well. Getting married and having a family was never something I considered a choice or just one of life’s paths; it was the ONLY path as far as I was concerned. However, I had a bit of a rough childhood and didn’t have the best role model in terms of what I should be looking for in a husband, so I tended to date guys who were just awful to me.
And so I waited. And waited. And waited some more. I got angry, sad, mad and depressed. I questioned how God could put a desire so deep and strong in my heart if He wasn’t going to fulfill it. I begged and pleaded with Him to take that desire away. I cried at night when I prayed. My heart physically hurt at times. I waited through wedding after wedding (some of my friends had already gotten married, divorced and married again) and new baby after new baby.
But I had a choice. I could sit in the waiting and wonder if my life would turn out like I had dreamed or I could embrace the waiting and take advantage of that time. I wasted several years wallowing in that waiting. And I was no better off than I had been five years prior so I eventually made the choice to live my life through the waiting instead of sitting it out on the sidelines.
I traveled to Europe and Thailand and hiked the Grand Canyon. I ran four triathlons, a half marathon and dozens of 5Ks. I joined the board of a non-profit that focused its efforts on addressing foster kids’ needs. I took a cake decorating class and started baking cakes for my friends’ kids parties. I planted a garden. I adopted another dog. I joined a new church and my faith grew by leaps and bounds. I also saw an amazing counselor who helped me figure out tools to deal with some of my emotional pain. It didn’t take the hurt away or make the waiting any less hard but it did make that time of waiting have meaning and purpose. It taught me things about myself I never knew and strengthened me in ways I didn’t know possible.
The pastor at my church gave a sermon recently where he specifically addressed those times of waiting. He asked what we would do if we knew when the waiting would end? Would we treat this time any different? If you knew that in 10 years, you would eventually get married to the person God had handpicked for you? Or that baby you’ve been praying for would start growing deep inside your womb? Would you waste this time of waiting? What if that time of waiting could be some of the most amazing growth and experiences that you’ve ever had? It was like he had reached right into my soul and taken those thoughts from me. I wish I hadn’t wasted those first five years but I’m so grateful that I didn’t waste the last five before I finally met and married my husband.
If you are in a season of waiting, I want you to know that you are not alone. If you are waiting for a husband or a family or a job situation or anything else, that waiting is hard. It’s lonely and can be painful. But you can choose to live through the waiting. And you might be surprised who you find you are when you come out on the other side.