Waiting is my favourite pastime said no one ever. Waiting is Not Easy (so Elephant and PIggie tell us) but it's inevitable. So how do we wait, well? I pray you'll be encouraged today by the words of my friend, Mary Adams. As a momma of 4 littles, 6 and under, she gets a lot of practice waiting, and keeps a listening ear open for what God is teaching her in those moments. She loves Jesus with all her heart, and her husband Darren. They parent their little army in small town Alberta. I'm so excited for her to share how she's learned to wait well, with hopeful expectation. Only by grace friends!
As a mom of four kids, 6 and under, I’m well acquainted with waiting, especially during the winter season when the 2 year old and 4 year old decide to exercise their independence.
I have a love/hate relationship with wintertime. Prior to having children, I loved winter. The coziness of a warm fire and a glass of cocoa set against the backdrop of a shimmering frost covered countryside was where it was at for me.
After having children, winter became a little less idyllic — a whole lot of time spent indoors, kids going crazy, momma trying desperately to keep small people healthy and sane, and a lot of waiting.
Waiting is the name of the game in winter. I spend a lot of time waiting in emergency rooms, doctor’s offices, grocery store lines, post offices, on the phone with customer service representatives, and waiting for the threenager to figure out the zipper on his coat.
While I’m quite familiar with waiting, I can’t say that I’ve made peace with it. Instead I see it as a huge annoyance that I really don’t have time for. Throughout this season of parenting toddlers and winter inconveniences, I’ve struggled to wait patiently and not wish this season away.
Ironically, waiting is what the Advent season is all about.
Our Advent calendar is filled with tiny storybooks strung with gold thread, that night after night tell a bit more of the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. As we read a book a night leading up to Christmas, we eagerly anticipate the countdown to the coming of the Savior. We are able to explain to our children the reason they also wait to open the tempting packages under the tree. Waiting produces in them a longing, a desire and an anticipation for what might be in those packages.
Similarly, the Jewish people waited with expectant hope, the coming of their promised Messiah. Waiting likely felt discouraging and discomforting for them, especially considering they waited hundreds of years in anticipation for the promise to come true.
The nine months I waited to meet my first child felt like an eternity; I can only imagine how long their wait felt. Yet for both of us, there was purpose and beauty in the waiting. God used those nine months to grow in me a love and a longing for that child unlike anything I had ever known. The moment I met her I was overcome with gratitude and emotion. The Gospel of Luke describes a moment like this for a righteous man called Simeon and a widow named Anna. Upon encountering Jesus as a newborn infant they could not help but proclaim and bless the name of God and “speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.”
Advent is a time for us to remember the waiting and longing for the newborn King and it reminds us of how we are to wait and to long for His return. Instead of waiting with great faith and anticipation, my heart often grows impatient and irritable with waiting.
I want my kids to hurry up so we can get to where we need to be and I’m often short when they make us late. I want to get through winter so we can get to the easier seasons for getting outdoors. Most of all, I would like God to hurry up and cure me of all my failures and limitations. If He could fast forward us to the next season of parenthood that has more sleep, less diapers and mature little Christ-followers, that would be really great.
As a society, we’ve lost the art of waiting. We live in a fast-paced, high-speed world, where time is money and if you waste mine you’re going to pay. The prevalence of fast food chains or the billions of dollars pouring into the porn industry every year remind us that the beauty of waiting is lost on our culture. Pleasure is to be had right now, even if it means it is cheapened.
But it’s the waiting that increases our longing, desire and ultimately, pleasure in what we are anticipating.
The prophet Isaiah spoke of a time when the glory of the Lord would be revealed. God speaks through Isaiah to His people, of comfort, of restoration, of the greatness of who He is and always will be and of what happens when we wait on Him.
“Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who WAIT for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:30-31, emphasis mine)
That is pure hope for this weary momma.
The Hebrew word here for wait is qavah and it carries an idea of tension and expectation while you wait for something. (Check out this link for the Bible Project’s Word Study on “Hope”)
This idea of tension reminds me that waiting may not always be comfortable, but there is an expectancy or hope in it.
Yet, how often do I just sit and wait on the Lord? With the tyranny of the urgent and the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season constantly vying for my attention, am I willing to wait for God to meet with me, eagerly expecting He wants to and will speak to me? Are you?
Because here is the marvelous mystery of Christmas: The God who created the Universe wants to be in relationship with you and I.
What will you wait for this Christmas season?
Likely you will spend some time waiting in lines or on people. Perhaps you will continue to wait for unfavorable circumstances in your life to change. Maybe you, like me, are waiting for it to all get just a little bit easier. Will you wait on Him with expectant hope and longing, embracing the tension that comes with the waiting?
Take a few quiet moments right now to worship Him and wait for Him to speak to you. Simply acknowledge Him for who He is as you listen to “Seasons” by Hillsong. It has spoken to me in this Advent season of waiting and I pray it speaks to you as well!