I just want to get to the point. No cliff hanger or climax of a story to build up towards: patience is hard.
I wrestle with it – my lack, my desire to just be gifted with it, and the reality that its attainment rests on the action of waiting. You see, I don’t wait well. I ask a whole lot of “why’s” and “why not’s” and you can be sure there’s a lot of physical and spiritual eye-rolling and heavy stepping as I walk. (Did you like that, “heavy stepping”? I thought it sounded classier than “stomping”) I am half laughing, half shaking my head because…well, as a 28-year-old woman, it’s slightly embarrassing that my description is not an exaggeration.
I bring it up in the first place because I’m trying to live a transparent life, as I’ve said before. I want to continue to expose all of me to bring glory to my Father in heaven. I want every ounce of my being to point to Jesus. I’ve been wrestling with my desires and how they line up with God’s will. Most recently, the want I’m waiting for is one of having our own family. We’ve been praying and trying, and it just hasn’t happened. Listen, I know God is still good. I know He has a love for me and my husband that surpasses all understanding. That’s why I’m wrestling. I want to know that love more and more. I want more of Jesus and less of me. Ultimately, I want the waiting to bring me closer to Him. I do not want to be the girl who “heavy steps” her way through the waiting. I want to be the one who is looking to Jesus, with eyes focused on His faithfulness not rolling them at my unmet desires.
While I was at work the other day, we began to talk about dinner plans. A patient of mine said, “steak and…probably sweet potatoes”. “Ah”, I said “I love sweet potatoes but I can never get them right”. He looked at me and his response made my nose wrinkle. “You’re probably rushing it”, he said.
Excuse me, sir? What are we talking about again, sweet potatoes or my life?
What a silly comparison but man, it hit me.
Foster care and adoption have become more of a conversation this year. Ever since Troy and I talked about a future together, I’ve shared with him that adoption has always been on my heart. As a young girl, I remember telling my mother that I wanted to adopt. I have three cousins through adoption and without it, my extended family would not have been complete. What a beautiful option. And as I’ve gotten closer and closer to God, the more I know that’s what He asks of us. “to look after the orphans and widows…” (James 1:27). I actually wrote in my bible on 5/3/2017, “tell me when Lord”. What I should have written is, tell US when. You see, since the biological avenue hasn’t been working the way I want it to, I’ve turned towards foster care and adoption because it’s always been part of my plan. I’ll be honest and say it’s always been part of my back up plan. My attitude has been: “Okay God, if You choose not to give us biological children then I still have the other avenue to pursue.” The option in and of itself is beautiful, it’s life-giving, and with the gospel at the forefront, it is Kingdom building. I believe that. But…my motives and the way I’ve been operating lately have been to completely leave God (and my husband) out of the equation. I want it so let’s do it now.
What did he say about sweet potatoes again? Oh that’s right, “you’re probably rushing it.”
After having a conversation with my husband a few weeks ago, I immediately went to God – just crying, and calling out to Him. I had to look straight into the selfishness I was acting out of while pursuing my plan and the lack of regard for my husband’s feelings. Through my tears I felt God was speaking to my spirit. I believe He was saying to me –
Surrender this to me.
Foster care and adoption have been your back up plan.
Let go of it.
Let Me be your only plan.
Responding through my tears and sadness, I said – God, I want to want You more than I want children. I’m going to humble myself and say…lately it’s been quite the opposite. I believe it is good to want a family and children, I really do. But I have to look at the order of my wanting. You see, He is asking for all of me & He’s asking for all of you; all of your hopes, dreams, desires, all of your expectations, all of your hurts and sadness. In full surrender – with open hands to give to Jesus all of our own plans and receive all that God has intended for us. As I go further in my journey with Jesus, I’m seeing more and more areas of my life that I’m holding onto. I’m seeing more areas that need to be surrendered.
Here’s my reminder: your Father in Heaven is a good, good Father. He does NOT withhold goodness and love from you. No. His heart is for you. He gives in a way that the world cannot give (John 14:27). In surrendering all of you to all of Him, you will continue to be transformed into the likeness of Jesus. Don’t be closed-fisted towards our God of abundance. Open up those hands. Be protected by the boundaries of His will and His timing. Be encouraged by His faithfulness, that He is for you, not against you. Be reminded that the God who is love, gave Jesus for you. That is the weight of your meaning to Him. He is faithful in keeping His promises. That is just who He is.
“Fix your eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18
Maybe as you are reading this, you’re struggling with patience in an area of your life as well. Maybe you’ve been waiting and hoping for something that has yet to come to pass. Please know, my heart is heavy for you. I have an idea of what that may feel like. My hope is that you read and reread that “reminder” written above. I’ll be reading it again and again right along with you.
I’m also hoping that one day I will be able to write an addendum or even a part 2 to this entry about what it looks like to have received but while I’m in this waiting I’ll end with this…my God loves me. And you know what…even if time passes and I don’t receive what I’m praying for, my God is still good. I’m just going to declare that today. He will and has always loved me. Jesus is still pursuing me and His Spirit is still working in me to fulfill His purposes. The same is true for you. So, maybe instead of focusing on receiving, we can change our focus to the unseen, to be fixed on the Giver.
Our God is faithful in keeping His promises. Lean into Him more and more…
Don’t rush it, my friend.
Be a sweet potato.