Sometimes when I catch myself thinking of this season of my life as “waiting”, I feel conviction from the Spirit stop me. I reanalyze, asking myself this same question (again): “Waiting for what? Whose plan? God’s? Or mine?”
There are times when we are in “waiting mode”, waiting for something we are fairly sure God has in His plan for us. But when it comes to our future, it took me years before I was really willing to fully trust God in my heart and realize that I really have no idea what He has in store for me down the road. So every time I would talk about “waiting”, I was really in essence unintentionally saying I knew what was in store for my life. I knew what was best for me and I was simply waiting for God to hurry up and finish up whatever He was doing so I could move ahead to what I thought was important.
We are told in Scripture to “Wait on the Lord” and sometimes that is the hardest, most difficult thing to do. My dad always says, “Someone out there must be praying for my patience!!” But if we take one step back and look at the bigger picture, it really all comes down to submitting fully and completely to whatever God has planned for my life, and trusting enough to give it over entirely – (Jeremiah 29:11)
In other words, for me that means: stop waiting, start trusting. For me in my personal walk, it was like I was unconsciously telling God how, when and what areas He could work in my life. “Keep working in me, Lord, but make this happen in my life and use that to grow and change me.” He has impressed on me lately that, as I look back over the years and some broken relationships and trials through which I went, He knew it wasn’t time!
More than that, He knew exactly what it would take to work certain things in my life and what I needed to get there. More specifically, I know that in Romans and 1 Corinthians and the rest of the Bible, God endorses, encourages and holds up marriage for those who feel that it is God’s calling on their life. But none of us know what God’s plans are for us or our futures. If I really trust Him, will I not give it over to Him and trust Him to give it back, or bring it into my life in His timing?
Think of a small child’s trust in a loving parent. Whenever my dad or mom would ask me to give something to them “for now”, I instinctively knew they would give it back to me later. With God, we should have no doubts. Perhaps, for me, God is waiting to see if I am ready and willing to trust in Him: not just a little, with every area of my life. If I stop looking at what He has not yet brought into my life (marriage) and start looking at what He has brought into it, He has brought most everything that is there except marriage!
So I guess it comes back to perspective. This sounds so simple, but for me it is profound: if I do not see marriage happening (or appearing to be happening soon) in my life right now, then that is not God’s will for me at this time! Trust in God is so simple and such security, but yet the unknown can be really scary to someone who likes to plan ahead, like myself! (Proverbs 3:5 – trusting and “leaning not on your own understanding”!!!)
I think that is why God works differently in each of our lives. Because I like to plan, God would ask me to lay down my plans! And that’s because He doesn’t want my trust to be in my planning, but in Him. For one of my sisters, God could bring someone into their lives at a younger age than me, if perhaps they already trust God completely in this area. He uses trials to build up our weak points, yes?
For some people, thinking of your life now as a waiting period can be hopeful and encouraging. For me, it became discouraging and seemingly too long, filled with heartache. Please do not misunderstand me as saying that I have given up on marriage, or view it through a negative lens. Personally, I just believe God brought me to a point where He asked me to lay it down at this time, which does not mean that I never struggle or experience any sadness. What it does mean is that for some time I have been able to view life as living right now, each day for Jesus, rejoicing in all the opportunities for service He brings my way, and which my singleness enables and frees me to do and enjoy when my perspective is right.
When someone asks me (as you know they often do and will!) “What are you going to do with your life, though?” … instead of experiencing feelings of awkwardness, inadequacy or embarrassment, I can, with a smile that genuinely reflects my heart, say, “I am already living my life right now!! I believe I am where God has me right now, serving others and my family and doing other things for Him!!”
I have been reflecting lately on all we hear as Christian girls, or girls growing up in Christian homes, about preparing to be wives and mothers, having families of our own, waiting for God’s timing in marriage, etc. I don’t think our mothers, Christian advisors, older and younger friends, or pastors and teachers ever meant to give the impression that was all there was to life as single girls! I think it’s just because in the natural flow of life, marriage usually comes while we are still fairly young, so there isn’t a lot of thought put into what we then think of as the “transition” or “waiting” period.
For some of us, this has lasted a lot longer than others; and I think that’s one of the reasons why a magazine like this that Hannah was willing to start is really important. My mom confessed to me recently that she has thought over her (and other mother’s) teaching, that they did cover God’s timing and waiting, but just not well enough. She regrets not putting more time into discussing, “What if my girls don’t get married right away?” But that’s OK! None of us can see into the future and we sometimes wrongly assume we know how things will go. Now it is our job as single young women to encourage each other!!
Two of my very good friends gave me the book “Authentic Beauty” by Leslie Ludy when I was baptized a year and a half ago. God used that book greatly to encourage, bless, challenge and inspire my walk and my thinking! The following quotes from the book (pages 75, 78, 81 & 88) really stood out to me and the whole concept of it grew in my heart as I realized so many Scriptures echo its truth and God was, yet again, re-shaping my thinking.
“As I made my Prince the center of my days, I quickly found that my obedience to His voice did not destroy my……..future – but only enhanced (those areas) beyond my greatest imagination.” (pg. 88)
“…The other areas of my life were not destroyed, but only enhanced through my relationship with my Prince. ‘Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.’ Instead of trying to satisfy the desires of our heart through meaningless pursuits, we must delight completely in the amazing love of our true Prince- as we focus on Him, we will be more than fulfilled.” (pg. 78)
“‘Am I enough?’ came the gentle challenge of my Prince, and His tender voice drowned out all the clamoring confusion of my mind. My Prince was, and always would be, much more than enough. He did not desire to destroy my life, to leave me as a desolate, lonely failure alone in the woods somewhere. He wanted me to put Him first, above everything else – to give my heart, time, affection, energy, and devotion to Him alone. He gently assured me that as I pursued Him and Him alone, all my other needs would be met. In the meantime, my only concern must be to worship Him with every fiber of my being.” (pg. 75)
“Stop trying to fit ME into your life; instead build your life around me’, came the tender request of my heroic Lord.” (pg. 81)
This book captures so well what I want to say – it’s not that God hasn’t put in me the desire to be a wife and mother, etc … – I hope one day! – it is simply that to excel in those things, I must first learn the very basic ideas of loving and trusting Him completely. Not that I will have it down perfectly, but that I learn that when things go wrong, I can always fall back on my trust in Him. By devoting myself to Him, He will make my way clear.
Sometimes I wonder if God takes people out of our life – even short-term – so He is the only One we have to fall back on, and therefore learn this lesson more quickly. He knows we need it to survive. Trusting Him is one of the things He has been teaching me about this past year. Anything I set out to do, any plans He has for me, will only be furthered/enhanced by this lesson. I think God has been trying to show me this for a long time and maybe I just wasn’t listening to Him.
“God denies us what can devour us. And He does so out of love.” (from The Solitary Envoy, written by T. David and Isabella Bunn)
“When I think of all I have, nothing compares to what you give……And you fill my life; You’re everything to me. And there’s nothing else I need anymore. And I know you are everything to me; and there’s nothing else I need anymore.” – Nothing Else I Need, Jeremy Camp
Girls, let’s think of God as our Prince! I challenge you, along with myself, to ask God to change our perspectives so that we view our lives right now, not only as a time of waiting, but living each day for Him!!!
(This article was originally published in Volume1 Number2/Summer 2008. You can request the entire issue in PDF on this page.)
Possibly sharing at: The Modest Mom, Mama Moments, The Art of Home-Making Monday, Titus 2 Tuesday, Titus 2sdays, Roses Of Inspiration, So Much At Home, A Wise Woman, Raising Homemakers, A Little R&R, Coffee and Conversation, Hearts for Home, Growing in Grace, Imparting Grace, SHINE Blog Hop, Grace and Truth, Fellowship Fridays, The Homemaking Party.