It’s been 22 days since I posted my last blog and although I only intended to write when I felt I actually had something to say, 22 days still feels like a long time! The reason for the delay has been the feeling that my head wasn’t in the right place to say anything to anyone about anything! For the past 22 days, I have been really struggling with…waiting…
Now, the thing that I’m waiting and praying for has actually been on the cards for the past few years so this hasn’t exactly been a short term thing. Ironically, I am closer than I have ever been to having my prayers answered and yet as the day drawers nearer the frustration increases. So, I made the decision to wait and write something when all the loose ends were tied up and I could share with you how I had navigated the frustration of unanswered prayer through a demonstration of unswerving faith, sheer grit and determination!
Unfortunately, I am still waiting…
I wrote these words last November.
274 days ago.
I’m still waiting…
Waiting for this thing to happen that has been prayed about for the last 46 months.
This feels like the hardest part of the journey so far, but I’d have probably said that at any stage if you had asked me. You don’t necessarily need to know the situation or the details. I'm not trying to be mysterious, I'm just not sure that it's relevant. Waiting is waiting...
I'd also ask (very nicely) that you avoid making a judgment about what you feel my idea of difficult or challenging is!
We often do that, don’t we?
We look at other people’s lives and decide where they're at, with no idea what their private struggles are. I know I can be guilty of it. I’m trying hard to do it a lot less these days.
This feels like the hardest part as I keep thinking it’s over and then it would appear it isn’t.
I'm still hoping, still waiting, still praying.
When you're waiting, there's lots of time to think. My mind has wandered back to all the times I’ve been in this position before.
Waiting for a positive pregnancy test.
Waiting to discover if the hospital results would reveal a different future for my unborn child.
Waiting to see if Mum would make it through.
Waiting to discover how a broken relationship would impact my future.
Waiting to see if I would heal.
Waiting to discover a new purpose after a career in teaching.
What are you waiting for?
How long has it been?
You had enough yet?
Well done to all those familiar with the book of Habakkuk, but it's a relatively new one on me. In this tiny book I found these words.
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
able to tread upon the heights.
Now, before you leap in and point out all the blessings that I have and that things aren't that bad, then hold on because that’s kind of the point I’m trying to make. When I’ve been in a situation like this before the problem and finding a solution as quickly as possible, has been my only focus. When waiting for the fig trees to blossom, I have assumed that every crop in my life has failed and that everything is barren and empty. That’s not happening this time. My husband, my kids, my family, my friends and even my Old English Sheepdog have been constant reminders that God is in this!
My Mum said I look tired today and I’m told that Mum’s are always right! I am tired, but it’s not the same as the other times I have been in this situation. I’m not running scenarios in my mind 24/7. I’m not afraid. I’m not constantly worrying about the situation. It’s not consuming my every waking minute. Now and then I lose my footing, hope disappears and for a little while, the uncertainty is too much. I turn my focus to the fig tree that just won’t blossom, and it’s all I can see. The difference is that this feeling doesn’t last anywhere near as long as it would have done before.
I’ve been trying to pinpoint why it’s different this time, and I think the answer can be found in Psalm 94:18-19.
I cried out, “I am slipping!”
but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me.
When doubts filled my mind,
your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.
The difference this time is that I’ve cried out to God on a daily, if not hourly, basis. I’ve grumbled, prayed, worshipped, complained, cried, praised but haven’t quite managed rejoicing yet (sorry Habakkuk). I’ve not held on to any thoughts and feelings. Instead, I have allowed myself to be held. I have to begrudgingly acknowledge that this change has only taken place in the last 274 days. Make of that what you will!
Am I up for another 274 days of this so that I can grow, develop and deepen my faith? Absolutely not! My deepest hope is that this 46-month prayer will be answered in the morning and that the elephant in the room will "do one" and leave me well and truly alone, but life isn’t quite like that.
It can feel like there are only two options when talking about this stuff. You’re either a complete mess or fully on board with the whole “God’s got this” outlook, but I’m neither of those. Of all the blogs I’ve written, this one has felt like the biggest overshare, but I know there are others like me who are waiting and finding it difficult. So, we’ll wait together, whether it’s 274 days or 46 months. We’ll wait, we’ll slip, we’ll cry out and we’ll allow ourselves to be held.