My daughter is a “champ at the bit” girl – the type of girl who wants what she wants – right now. She’s impatient and struggles with bossiness, and it’s a struggle for me whether I can lovingly, patiently guide her or will I lose it and get impatient over her impatience? (How many ways can you explain patience before you just want to bang your head against a wall? Clearly, I still need help with patience!)
I look at my baby girl, and it’s like I am looking in the mirror. I’ve been known to hit the steering wheel when delayed in traffic. Worse, she’s seen me grumble at the store because there was only one checker, and I had to wait. This is an area I have to work on, and I am recovering from impatience (very patiently, of course!).
My recovery from being impatient would start when Scott and I were trying to have a second child. This waiting period reminds me so much of the long season Sarah (Abraham’s wife) went through.
She deeply desired to have a child and had lost patience. Sarah would take matters into her own hands instead of waiting on God perfect timing. Her foolish attempts ultimately resulted in massive amounts of suffering.
Sound familiar? Oh, how many times I attempted to make something happen in my own strength and didn’t wait on God. (No, I didn’t learn from Sarah and Abraham’s example.) Those long months trying to conceive caused a head-on collision with destructive behaviors like impatience, envy, and doubt.
We deeply desired to have a second child. Because of my age and health issues, I was high risk and knew I could face severe issues, including death. The natural circumstances seemed extreme, but I didn’t care. I often thought of Sarah as she had been promised a child just as I had been given a baby name, and I thought God was telling me another child was in my plan.
Sarah grew weary and insisted Abraham make a child with Hagar. This ultimately caused her great pain and torment. Why did she do that? Her advanced age (Genesis 18:11) was all Sarah could see. There was a lack of trust that led to her mistrust and impatience. She wasn’t looking at God and His promise… rather she zeroed in on all the negatives.
That’s exactly what I did. I wanted what I wanted, despite the great risk to my health. We listened to the advice of doctors rather than the voice of God. Rather than trusting the Lord, we pursued medical procedures without asking God what He wanted us to do. There was great suffering as three times we conceived and miscarried. With each loss, faith waned and fear took root.
Our impatience became the lens to which we made our decisions, and we began to engage in fear faith. We focused on the days of my cycle more than we focused on the peace and joy of the Lord. And as a result, we never conceived again after the third loss. We’ve had to spend a lot of time healing, accepting and repenting. The damage that was done to our marriage is still being worked out to this very day.
Sarah would get her child. For us, it was a blessing that would not come. But through this tragic season in my life, I gleaned some wisdom I’d like to share now:
Patience is possible!
I first learned that I have no real control over my life. I am here at the delight of God, and it’s the Holy Spirit within me that provides the strength to do what is required.
Patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, difficulty or annoyance without getting angry or upset. The King James translates it “longsuffering.” A patient person is slow to anger because they rely on God to provide comfort and self-control. I thank God that patience is a fruit of the Spirit, a freely given gift! Once I learned how to use the power of the Holy Spirit in my life, my days became a lot calmer and less stressful.
I see impatience as sin – a result of fear or believing a lie that God will not show up for me. It was a serious lack of trust on my part that had to get dealt with!
Our timeline is not God’s timeline
We’ve become a fast food, instant gratification world. The enemy has us convinced that if we are not being blessed immediately, then God is not for us. How many times have you felt God must not be listening to your prayers? Why shouldn’t God deliver promises on our time frame? Doesn’t He want us to be happy?
Of course, God wants us to live a life filled with contentment, but while we adhere to seconds, minutes, hours and days, God does not. 2 Peter 3:8 explains that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day”.
I realized in my hard season of waiting, that I demanded God’s resources without honoring or respecting His timing. However, God wanted something greater from me… a trusting heart, so He had me walk through a trial in order to get me out of my own way. Surrendering and accepting His timing and plan, I was able to learn how to live in hope and keep peaceful while God works out my problems.
Periodically, I have to ask myself, “Am I merely giving God my long list of ‘I wants’ or am I really listening and accepting what He desires for me?” God has a perfect plan, and I must be willing to let it unfold according to His way, timing and purpose.
Sometimes, that is rough for me, but I’ve learned God’s plan is always better than the best plan I could conceive.
Waiting seasons are faith-building seasons
Hebrews 11:11 tells us it by faith that Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she believed God to be faithful in His promise.
I had to accept the reality that I was no Sarah! Even though I had every reason to trust God, I allowed the fear of being “old” to trample all over my faith.
I didn’t rest in God’s promise. I didn’t stand on Luke 1:45 as I had when I was blessed with my daughter. “Blessed is she who believes what is spoken will be accomplished.” I was impatient and did not stand firm on my faith!
Waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty while praising God in the midst of the waiting. It is trusting God even when everything looks grim. It is silencing the accuser by taking every negative thought captive.
Waiting seasons are opportunities to grow.
Isaiah 40:31 says that those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. I don’t know about you, but I want to soar on wings like eagles, run and not grow weary, walk and not be faint.
The key to being able to soar is growing in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 16:13 charges us to be on guard; to stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Think of a waiting season like boot camp… we must surrender to God’s commands. We must be trained. Any good sportsman or warrior has perfected their craft over countless hours of practice and training.
There is a choice to be made in any waiting season, and the choice is this: Will you squander the opportunity to grow or allow the Lord to guide you into His purpose for you?
God’s not waiting for us to be perfect.
Waiting seasons don’t end when we are perfect and get it all right.
Imagine this: Sarah laughed in unbelief when, at 90 years old, she heard an angel tell Abraham that she would become pregnant (Genesis 19:12).
Even worse, when she heard the Lord inquire, “Why did Sarah laugh?” To that, she quickly denied her laughter even though He knew she had laughed. This poor woman mocked God by laughing at God’s plan for her, and then she lied to Him!
I’ve made more mistakes than I care to count. However, God, who had great esteem for Sarah, looks at you and me the exact same way! He loves us and desires to bless us despite our failures and poor choices. Yes. It’s true that I didn’t get blessed with a second child; however, through these years I have watched God bless my marriage, my daughter, my business and our finances in ways I could have never imagined.
I will sum it up like this: waiting season sometimes require us to learn a lesson or rid a sin before God will move on our behalf, but it’s important to know that God does not expect perfection from us. It is Satan who tells us this ridiculous lie. Don’t believe it!
Waiting seasons help us realize He is in control.
The concept of fully relying on God became a reality in my life as a result of this painful journey.
I love the way Elisabeth Elliot, author of Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ’s Control, put it when she wrote, “I realized that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able to honestly to pray what He taught His disciples to pray: Thy will be done.”
While Satan tries to tell me, “This is the only life you’ve got… live it up,” I’ve learned that my life is not my own. All that I am and will be are because of God. This truth enables me to leave behind the control freak mentality.
Waiting seasons can be a time God desires us to rest.
Waiting literally means remaining inactive or stationary. It is the act of staying in one place or remaining inactive in expectation of something.
In Matthew 11:28-29, God invites us to go to Him when we are heavy laden, and He will give us rest.
I’ve grown keenly aware of where I am striving or thriving. God promises I will find rest for my soul if I will rest in Him. It’s when I am able to recognize that I am striving that I am able to see that I have surrendered my place of rest and picked up old bad habits such as impatience and fear faith.
Patience is a choice.
I have a golden opportunity standing before me. As a mom, I am required to train my daughter up in the way she should go. I am to model what a Godly woman looks and acts like. My daughter will see me fail time and time again to be the person God calls me to be. I could get impatient and give in to shame, or I can keep trying.
I get to make a choice whether to show my daughter patience when she is at her worst. Will I choose: love or fear; good or evil; right or wrong; patience or impatience. I thank God that He’s there to guide me. I am grateful His mercies are new every morning as He shows me patience over and over again through the grace He lavishes on me. My prayer is that I can show even a minuscule amount of that patient love to my daughter.