This story is for anyone who is waiting for hope, waiting for answers and waiting on God to come through. It’s hard to see him in the midst of a challenging season when your patience, strength and endurance are wearing thin. Thankfully, we never wait alone — when we wait on God, we wait with God, and when we realize that we don’t have to rely on our own strength or our own grasp of control, we experience freedom and the blessing of God’s faithfulness.
Fleas. Yes, I said fleas. When I started writing my story months ago, I never envisioned that this is how it would begin. But, as it turns out, it couldn’t be more applicable.
After a trip to Florida, we discovered that our cat had fleas, and even worse, that our home was infested. You can imagine my heartbreak when I realized after taking my son to urgent care for suspicious red bumps all over his body that, in fact, he was getting eaten alive by these terrible pests.
If you’ve never had fleas take over your home, consider yourself blessed. If you have, I’m so sorry! And if you had a young child while going through this experience, I am especially sorry! It’s definitely at the top of my list for most horrible things ever. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. Here’s why:
- Every time my son woke up in the morning or from a nap, I would discover new bites on his body. It ended up becoming a ritual where he would just lay on his changing table as I looked for “fresh” red bites. I would fear putting him to sleep, fear letting him play on the floor, fear having him anywhere in my house. My heart broke every time I saw a new bite.
- We spent hours treating our home — this means washing EVERYTHING, vacuuming non-stop, putting powder all over our floors, rugs and carpets and having to leave our home for the weekend. Then, we came back, spent all day cleaning it up, only to find more live fleas.
- When the treatments we tried didn’t work, I had to call the professionals. This means vacuuming once more, bagging up anything you don’t want sprayed with insecticide (which is everything — bedding, pillows, toys, kitchen appliances, high chairs, you name it), leaving your home for several hours, coming home and ventilating everything before you can even go inside, and then vacuuming again, and waiting 24 hours before really deep cleaning your entire home.
- After spending ridiculous amounts of time, energy, and money to eradicate these pests from your home, you find more fleas and the process seems to never end. You don’t want to be in your home for fear of getting more bites and you can never be completely at peace because you constantly feel like things are crawling on you.
And so, the waiting begins. Waiting for my house to be flea-free. Waiting for my son’s bites to heal. Waiting for another home treatment. Waiting the allotted time before I can clean again. Lots and lots of waiting.
Seasons of waiting have become an integral part of my story. I have been through many of them. I wish I could say they were easy, but like the flea situation, they have all been incredibly hard. They have tested my patience, my strength and especially my faith.
Several years ago, a job opportunity became available that seemed like the perfect fit for me. I had been in my current role for a while, but knew that if an opportunity opened up with this organization, I would certainly pursue it and believed with my work experience, background, and passion for the cause, it would be a no-brainer. Some unbelievable circumstances transpired that put me in a situation where I had no peace about pursuing this position. I cried. A LOT. I pleaded with God, I asked the question we all ask in difficult situations, “Why?” For the first time in my life, when I asked the Lord what He wanted me to do, I heard Him audibly respond, “Be still, and know that I am God.” I didn’t understand what that meant in that particular moment, but I couldn’t ignore what He had told me and I knew that although my flesh wanted to press on and pursue this opportunity, my Spirit wanted me to be still, to be patient and wait on the Lord.
Fast forward to years later. I now know why what I thought was the perfect job for me wasn’t where He was calling me to be. I stepped into another role that helped build a foundation that has led me to where I am today. It’s certainly not the plan I had for myself, but it’s the plan God had for me, and it’s better than I could have ever imagined. What I thought was best was not even close to His best for me, and I can now say I am grateful that I had to go through that incredibly challenging season. It strengthened my faith, and ultimately, brought me closer to God.
I love this excerpt from Louie Giglio’s “Waiting Here For You” Advent Devotional. It’s one I have read many times:
“If we are honest, we all hate to wait. In fact, most often we say something like, I can’t believe this is taking so long; it’s costing me time I don’t have! That’s because most of us consider waiting to be wasting. But it’s not so with our God. God works while we wait. Even when you can’t see what He is doing, God is always orchestrating the events of heaven and earth to accomplish His purposes for Your life. Trust in His unfailing love — love that moved Him to send a Savior from heaven to restore and rescue you. God’s plans for your life will not be thwarted. Wait patiently, knowing that waiting is never wasted when you are waiting on God.”
In the moment, waiting can feel like wasting. A waste of time. A waste of energy. A waste of efforts. A waste of tears. I remember when my husband and I decided we were ready to start a family. I remember that his parents were told they would never have children and that my husband and his sister were miracle babies. I remember wondering if it would be the same for us. I remember having tests done. I remember waiting for the results. I remember being told that everything was normal. I remember crying. I remember waiting for a positive pregnancy test. That experience shook me to the core and my waiting felt like wasting, but I will never forget that when I let go of my grip of control and truly surrendered my fears and anxieties to the Lord, He answered my prayers. It happened when I least expected it, but it happened at the perfect time.
I love this truth that Louie shared about God’s timing and not our own: “A Savior had been promised to God’s people for centuries. They longed and prayed for rescue. And then on the right day, in the right place, at the right time, Jesus was born. While God rarely comes at our appointed time, He always comes at the right time. All of us are waiting on something, often wondering if God has forgotten us. In your waiting, let the birth of Christ encourage you. Just because God hasn’t come through (as far as you can see), it doesn’t mean He has abandoned you. To Him, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day. This very minute He’s working for His glory and for your good. Though circumstances say otherwise, God is going to come through, on schedule, fulfilling his long-appointed plans for you. Don’t give up before the time is right. Take hope in the manger and know that you are loved and prized by the God who stepped down from heaven and arrived at the perfect time for you.”
Little did I know that another season of waiting was upon me before my sweet boy came into the world. My due date came and went and the anxiety started to build. I tried every wives’ tale in the book in an effort to get things going, but nothing was successful. I knew that a scheduled induction was more and more likely as each day passed, but that wasn’t part of my “plan.” I was frustrated, impatient and just so tired of waiting. I guess I needed another reminder on letting go because once I threw in the towel and accepted that nothing within my control was working, my contractions began on their own and my little guy was in our arms later that day.
During this time, a dear friend sent me the link to a message from our home church on “Gaining Wait” – yes, wait, NOT weight. The message focused on Psalm 130 and how the psalmist acknowledged that he had no control in his current valley and fell on his knees surrendering the very situation that was piercing his heart. He cried out to the Lord and waited prayerfully and patiently. Psalm 130:5 says, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope.” I loved what Scarlett, the speaker, went on to share, “We have no idea when certain seasons of waiting will be over, but you can be certain that if your hope remains in Christ during the waiting, your pain and suffering will not be wasted.”
So, here I am in another season of waiting. I don’t know when the fleas will leave my home permanently — at the moment, it seems like they may stick around for a while. But, I am waiting expectantly and asking the Lord to not only give me patience to endure, but “patience in joy” as Paul talks about in Colossians 1:11. I am putting my hope in His word as I wait because I’ve seen and experienced His faithfulness in my life time and time again. I am praying that my spirit will be filled with eternal joy that cannot be shaken by difficult circumstances or earthly sorrows. I am believing that there is a greater purpose in my waiting and that He is with me every step of the way, refining my character, reinvigorating my faith, and reenergizing my weary soul. I love what Nicky Gumble shared: “Who you become while you are waiting is as important as what you are waiting for.”
We are all waiting on something — love, children, healing, jobs, purpose, homes, reconciliation, promotions, financial freedom, peace, direction, guidance, wisdom, answers, and the list goes on. It’s so hard to wait (especially in our culture of instant gratification), and it’s so easy to feel like you are missing out, but I promise, friends, if you are truly waiting on God, you won’t miss a thing.