Waiting

When my mom first passed, my comforters were many.  Old friends that I haven’t spoken to in years went out of their way to express their condolences and to offer their services or a listening ear if needed.  Those closest to me were extravagant in showing care and concern, and offering up grace where it was desperately needed.

Since that initial outpouring, I have felt tremendously alone.  In a real sense, I am alone.  No one can truly walk this journey with me, and relatively few try.

I cannot blame them.  I have learned a great truth: most people can only handle a cup of other people’s tear soup.

It is not in our nature to linger in the dark and uncertain places, especially when we do not have to.  Even those of us who find ourselves there and sense that it is indeed our rightful place at that time seek desperately for a way out, or for anything that will light the way, even if that thing be false.

But, “where is our willingness to incubate pain and let it birth something new?” *

Right now, I am a mess.  A holy mess.

Something is being birthed inside of me that will be purer and more true than anything I’ve known so far.  A version of myself that is closer to God’s vision for me than the life to which I am tempted to cling.

Birthed.

Birthing takes a predetermined amount of time.  As this child grows inside of me, I can do nothing to hurry its arrival or to speed up its process.  Someone may later write a book, 7 Days to a Healthy Child, but it will not make it true.

Birthing takes time.

I think back to the first woman to give birth and wonder if God told her how long her pregnancy would last.  We have the advantage of knowing approximately when the end will come, but I wonder how Eve felt.  What were her emotions like, watching her belly grow?  Did she think 3 months would do it?  6?  As Cain didn’t come, did she think something was wrong?  Did she wish for something, anything, that would make that baby come out faster?

Eve learned what we know, but often fight: growing a healthy life takes time.

No matter what I or others may say or wish or want, the process cannot be rushed.  It may not be hurried and it will not acquiesce to our demands of instant-fixes and quick progress.  I cannot skip the painful or ugly parts, nor should I try to conceal them from view.

But when the waiting is finally over – when the life is finally born – it will be completely new and “other” than any life that exists now.  It will be something special and unique, and the wonder and grandeur of it will make the waiting, however long and painful, worthwhile.

* Quote from When the Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd

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4 responses to “Waiting

  • Amber

    I wish I had more time to respond to this post, TJ, but I wanted to let you know that I am praying for you. You have the task of birthing not one, but two things, simultaneously right now. Both of those births need to be bathed in prayer. It is hard to sit alone and eat a bowl of tear soup each day, and it makes my heart sad that I think Christ desires for us to split tear soup if that is what is on the daily special for a season, but so few people are willing to enter in when it’s tear soup day after day.

    I’ve been there before in the process that cannot be rushed and time and again I felt the Lord reminding me that it’s painful, but ok, to be in the process (even when others around me don’t think so.) Even when the process and the pain doesn’t make sense, and even when you don’t have the answers others want to hear, it isn’t your job to encourage or tell others that your pain is less, to hide it, to deny it and try to push through, or to tell them that it’s ok. It’s your job to be in the pain until the Lord releases you from it. And whether that takes 2 days or 2 years, the “birth” process is different for different people, depending on what you’re birthing. In our American Christian culture, I clearly see example after example of celebration *after* the dark days subside and we are through the hard process or season of pain. We praise God for what He brought others through after it’s over. But, how often do we see a speaker share a birth process of pain that hasn’t yet been brought resolution? We are still more often than not missing the ability to sit in the pain alongside our brothers and sisters and not try to push them through the pain to the other side before their birthing process is over. There are feelings that it’s not “ok” to be incubating the pain because it’s uncomfortable for others, it isn’t a true display of trusting God or of His faithfulness, and it’s better to hurry up through the pain to get to the other side, when the celebrating can be done. I like your birth analogy a lot because I can only imagine how it would feel in the pain of actual labor if the people around you were saying, “Hurry up and push that baby out! I can’t watch you be in pain any longer. Can’t you get it out already?” rather than encouraging and coaching you through the pain.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. They speak to some of the experiences I’ve had and that I think many other believers have also walked through. I’m praying for you!

  • truman

    Thanks for sharing a bit of the rawness of what you’re experiencing. I for one, am often guilty of wanting to see the end result of the birthing. So, it encourages me…well, challenges me every time when I try to enter into pain with someone else. It is not an easy road that you are journeying on now. Praying for you and Jason.

  • Carita

    Have I said this already? I just want you to know how much I love hearing your heart. I know you share it not only here on your blog, but you share it with me in person. You are so REAL, and I love that! You have sat with me through my hard times and have always been so sensitive to where I am in my own “birthing process.” I am grateful to get to be here for you as well, and I hope you always know that even though I can never fully know exactly how you feel, I am available to just be with you. You are dearly loved!

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