Put on Hold

Why is waiting so difficult? At times, it seems I’d rather gnaw off my own arm than wait–at least there would be something to DO. The action, even though extremely painful and harmful to myself, would somehow feel productive and gratify my deep need to be productive.

“Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord, we will wait upon the Lord…”

I’ve been singing this line from the popular praise and worship song over and over to myself like a soundtrack for my daily life as I’ve mulled over what to say about the theme of WAIT. But as previously stated, the soundtrack doesn’t accurately portray me. Yesterday on the phone, I reluctantly agreed to be put on hold and ended up waiting on the other line for forty minutes. During that time, with speakerphone on, listening to the same advertisement repeat itself, I ranted aloud about how, if they would just let a person know how long the wait would be, I could maybe deal with it.

While enduring the forty-minute detour, I convinced myself I had been forgotten which quickly led to frustration. And there we have it: waiting is hard because after a while, I begin to believe that I’ve been forgotten.

Choose a scenario from my life when God has made me wait in faith, whether it be for healing or financial provision or a new job, I have floundered by believing the lie that I’m forgotten by my creator. Thankfully, it doesn’t end there. Every time I fall into this sort of thinking, Jesus, the lifter of my head, comes to my rescue and reminds me that even though I falter, God sees me and cares for me and loves me more than I can ever comprehend.

One of the most vivid memories of a season of waiting in which I performed particularly badly happened about six years ago. My husband and I were in our third year of our time in China and had begun to realize we needed to make a change in the near future for the education of our children. Knowing we didn’t want to leave China, we began to look for employment with international schools. I fell in love with one out West, particularly because it would bring us out of the place the Chinese called “The Ice City” to a place referred to as “The City of Eternal Spring.” Everything progressed at an amazing rate and I’d already mentally packed my bags and burned my winter coat when my husband got the job offer and turned it down because it didn’t feel right to him.

I can still see myself sitting on the cold tile floor of my tiny concrete apartment crying my eyes out, waiting for Spring as I endured the melting and refreezing black sludge month of March. My tears expressed the anger, confusion and hopelessness I struggled with as I tried to be a good mom to my two rambunctious little boys.  On my worst days, the concrete high rise in which we lived became more like a window-less prison than a home as the long, relentless winter persisted outside.  I knew God was asking us to wait on Him for our next move, and deep down I still believed He had a good plan for us, but the waiting felt like self-consumption.

It wasn’t long after that moment when God began miraculously putting our next steps in front of us with clarity that still astounds me. We knew where we’d be going (and it wasn’t “The City of Eternal Spring”) but, we heard Him asking us to delay a year before leaving our current post. The hard season of wrestling over my plan to head West versus His plan had prepared me to agree to staying another year in “The Ice City.” I’ve never regretted our decision to stick with our team for another year as it proved to be one of the best as far as community and outreach goes. Had we refused to follow the Lord’s leading and wait, we could have missed out big time!

I’m glad to have reminders of waiting seasons that ended with God’s sovereign provision. They strengthen my faith and courage. Calling these times to mind helps me remember God has not forgotten me. Next time I have the blessing of a season of waiting on God (eeeek…) I hope I can calm down, tell myself I’m not forgotten and keep my eyes on His goodness even though I don’t know how long I’m going to be on hold.

In what ways has God been teaching you to wait? 

How has hindsite helped you to see your seasons of waiting in a different light?

13 Comments

  1. Jodie March 26, 2017

    M’Lynn, I can completely imagine the scenario you described: mentally burning your winter coat and packing your bags. In 2009 (2 1/2 years into our adoption wait) we were offered two sisters 4 and 6 years old. We prayed about it as a family and I was so ready to say yes. I could picture our new girls celebrating Christmas–just weeks away–with our family. But my husband said no. They were two, but they were not from Gansu province which was our specific request (they lived 50 miles away in the neighboring province). God had us wait 4 more years for the boys we now have. Waiting has to be one of the hardest lessons God has to teach us! Looking back we can see the good but it’s so easy to give into the temptation when we’re put on hold that God has forgotten us. Thanks for sharing your heart.

    1. M'Lynn April 18, 2017

      Jodie, I finally get to respond to your comment! There was a timing issue and this post had to be disappeared, but I’m glad to see your comment is still here when it reappeared! What a season of waiting! 4 years! I don’t know how I’d handle something like that without trust in God’s sovereignty. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Kathleen April 16, 2017

    I feel like my husband and I are “on hold”. I am a (MK), born in the US but raised and still living in Brazil. My husband is German/Brazilian, and he and our three kids have dual citizenship. My youngest has been studying in Germany for the last 6 years. My oldest did university here, then got his MBA in France, and currently lives in Lisbon. My daughter, the only one married so far, currently lives here, but she and her husband are considering moving overseas, probably to Europe sometime in the future.
    I have spent 62 years of my life in Brazil, 40 of them in São Paulo city, which I hate… it is huge, and crime and pollution and noise and the cost of living are constantly climbing.
    My husband and I have been thinking of moving to Europe (and planning, and selling things, and trying to sell the apartment we live in) for the past several years. We feel a very strong desire to move, and the Lord has confirmed it through other people, circumstances, Bible passages, etc.
    BUT, it’s taking SO LONG to happen. I am worn out… my house is only half furnished now, and since I’ve sold pieces like a bed and my big chest of drawers, the contents of those 10 drawers are spread around in boxes and bags in my bedroom. Being in this non-defined space has really worn me out.
    Thank you for writing about this. I encourages and comforts me. I KNOW the Lord is in control.

    1. M'Lynn April 18, 2017

      Kathleen, I’m glad to hear from you. I hope and pray the Lord continues to work in your circumstances and remind you of His constant care for your well-being (even when the wait is long and uncertain and just plain not fun!)

      1. Kathleen April 18, 2017

        Thank you so much, M’Lynn!!

  3. Elizabeth April 17, 2017

    “A season of waiting in which I performed particularly badly.” Oh yes. I have often performed badly in these times as well.

    You have a way of putting these things that is true but also helps me laugh at myself. Thank you.

    1. M'Lynn April 18, 2017

      Well there are those times when we can either laugh or cry…Or BOTH! Glad I could help you laugh today 🙂

  4. Rachel April 17, 2017

    Easter has helped me to see waiting in a different light! Our family is currently in what I have called an “in-between” time of waiting. I updated our blog on Saturday – the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. I realised, reflecting on what the disciples were going through on that Saturday before the sun rose on Sunday, how much Easter teaches us to be patient in these in-between times.

    1. M'Lynn April 18, 2017

      YES!!!! That’s so cool because we just happened to pause and watch the most beautiful sunset on the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. And it was one of those amazing times when the clouds are just showing off and you can see the glowing orb of sun disappear before your very eyes…And something about that moment spoke to me about the waiting as well. God is there on that day between death and resurrection. God is there as we wait. Thanks for sharing!

    2. M'Lynn April 18, 2017

      Rachel…I loved your blog post and how it completely matches up with the VA theme this week. I loved the beautiful photos of all the farm life!

  5. Elizabeth Legendre April 18, 2017

    M’Lynn – Thanks so much for this encouragement! I’ve said yes to what I feel is God’s call for me to stay on the field (England), but knowing that none of the practicalities are in place for that yet. So I’m definitely in the waiting phase.

    1. M'Lynn April 19, 2017

      Elizabeth, sometimes saying “yes” is all we need to DO (except WAIT…) Hoping you can keep from gnawing on your arm at this point 🙂

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