Waiting: When Months Turn Into Years

Every morning that I drop my son off at preschool, I join a procession of moms politely jockeying to be first in line to the classroom. It’s subtle, but I think it’s pretty clear that we are all anxious to leave our tiresome offspring in the hands of other capable adults. Maybe I’m projecting, but I think if we weren’t so hung up on what others thought, you’d see a lot of moms skipping and doing cartwheels on the way back to their cars and then speeding off with Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” blaring and the windows down.  Off in the distance all you’d see is hair blowing wildly out the window like a flag declaring: Hallelujah, let freedom ring!

In this brood of mothers and children, there are a few put together mommies with their cute little hairdos, bright lipstick and shiny heels tapping along the walkway like a sprightly pony.

And then there are the rest of us.

Like a bunch of ashen zombies in yoga pants and fuzzy ponytails, we have tired and glassy eyes that tell of the unspoken horrors of trying to get out the door on time with small children.

I look at myself and other moms and I don’t recall as a kid thinking my mom looked this haggard. But I noticed recently in a professional family portrait, that maybe mom was a lot more frazzled than I remembered.

In this particular portrait, mom isn’t wearing any makeup and her hair is a bumpy mess of curls. But more obvious than the underdone appearance is mom’s bedraggled expression that read like a miserable groan: I have three kids.

I don’t have three, but even having just two children is stressful enough to have me looking like life grabbed me by the hair and jerked me around.

Kids are great and all but raising them is tough on the body and pummels the spirit.

I remember when my son was a baby, every so often I would have these internal panic attacks because it had been months since the last time I wrote, painted or played piano. I would freak out because I was desperately afraid that if I didn’t keep being creative, one day I wouldn’t be, even if I had the time.

I realize now that I wasn’t just anxious about losing my skills, I was afraid that I’d forget how to be “me” and become a faded and fragmented version of my old self.

Child-rearing isn’t the only occupation that can rough up one’s soul. There are many times in life that you might have to set aside normalcy and put off dreams in order to support others you love.

It’s been during these tough seasons that I have attempted to “have it all” and add and add until I felt “normal”. I Knew I couldn’t do everything one hundred percent, but I still wanted to give it a try. When that failed, then I’d opt for a more long-term strategy. Something more akin to what Oprah once said, “You can have it all – you just can’t have it all at once.”

Though this statement offers a positive perspective, it’s missing a source of hope. It’s based on human wisdom and plans. In Jesus I have real hope, and he cares about my soul, loves who I am, and even wants me to dream. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” That’s not just an optimistic mantra it’s a path to true happiness.

Right now raising my kids takes up more of my time than building my dreams. There is a lot of trading, settling, and going without and sometimes it’s gut-wrenching. God knows this and is prepared to take care of me when I’m tired and discouraged. I can look to scriptures like Isaiah 40:31 for encouragement, “But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.”

There are a lot of things that I have been waiting for and will likely keep waiting for a bit longer, like going back to school, writing fulltime and painting a few masterpieces.  Until those desires are fulfilled, I can depend on God to help me thrive during this waiting period and not merely survive.  No matter which approach I take, whether it’s achieving my goals by my own willpower or by God’s direction, it’s going to take time. So while I’m waiting anyway, I’m better off putting my trust in God.

Angie Derrick 9/24/2012 ©

 

 

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Why Do Some Seasons Drag On?

Winter here in Washington has been disappointing; a gray slurry of soggy grass, deep puddles and overcast skies. Even the few days of fluffy white snow quickly hardened into dense layers of ice encasing every square inch of our landscape.

It has been bleak and tiring, even oppressive at times. The abysmal weather just drags on and on.

Tomorrow is the first day of spring but you’d never know it around here with the alternating bouts of frost, snow and rain throughout the last few weeks. While there have been sunny days here and there just long enough for our pale residents to kick off their rain boots, it doesn’t last long and a cold downpour always seems to ruin the weekend.

It feels sometimes like spring will never come and we will always be looking over our shoulder for signs of rain.

It reminds me so much of difficult times I’ve lived through. You let yourself hope and settle into “spring” and then the clouds come rolling in.

You feel like a fool for believing things were going to change. You promise yourself to never be so stupid again.

When you’re going through a difficult season, unpleasant surprises aren’t just annoying, they tax your sanity. You just want to breathe easy and settle into a life where everything is new and warm.

Before I met my husband, I was in a relationship that was riddled with ugly surprises. He betrayed me, but I forgave him and it seemed like he wanted to change. But then my blue skies would darken over and over again as he would often disappear, sometimes selling my things to fund his escapades, other times draining our account.

We were always broke. Everything I couldn’t pay for reminded me of every dollar he stuffed and every woman that lived off those dirty bills.

Having been betrayed so many times, I was weary and I was done. I just wanted a normal life where what I nurtured would grow.  I was done with always waiting for when my bright day would freeze over and life would become cold and slick.

I finally moved on and stop putting my hope in my efforts and God, but in just God.

It was very hard and sometimes I felt very small and alone. But I had a verse that I know God showed me to give me hope and I would read it over and over:

“For your Maker is your husband – the Lord Almighty is his name – the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit – a wife who married young, only to be rejected….Though the mountains be shaken and the hills removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord who has compassion on you” (Isaiah 54:4-6, 10)

Here was my story and God had already prepared for it, just as he did for Israel! He promised long before I was born that he would be my husband and redeemer and even though my world would break to pieces around me, his love would never fail and his promise of peace would never be taken away.

He has and continues to remain true to his word – his love hasn’t failed me and his peace is real.

My life didn’t heal overnight, just like spring doesn’t appear in an instant. There are stages – parts that must melt away, roots that need to strengthen, and even rain to wash away the old grit and nourish the new life that will eventually flourish in the new season.

Things can look hopeless, but I am certain of this: Spring always comes; it just feels like forever sometimes before it does. We just need to trust that while we’re waiting, God has something beautiful in store for our future.

 

Angie D 3/19/12 ©


  • I believe in Jesus, loving people, living fully and creating good things. Whether it's art, food or finding solutions, I am always in "creative mode". With this blog I hope to encourage and help others to live in whatever "mode" God has called them to.

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