When Waiting Looks Like Celebrating

The clock read a quarter ’til five and still nothing. No phone call. No email.

Surely she would have heard something by now.

Nothing.

Then, my phone buzzed and those four little words with huge meaning flashed across my screen: “I got the job!” I let out a sigh of relief and a silly grin spread across my face.

“She got the job, she got the job!” I hollered to my roommate. We hopped up out of our seats and made some movement I will for now call a “victory dance.” Nearly a year and a half in the making, we were witnessing a tree of life bloom before our very eyes.

For this hope, this job, we had been on our knees and on our faces; for this dream we raised our glasses in eager expectation. We sat on couches and in cars, across from each other at tables and in coffee shops sharing our prayers and declarations for this hope and longing. And in four little words the longing ceased. She got the job.  IMG_4149

Six, nine, 12 months ago, it seemed nothing was going as planned and I honestly wasn’t sure how God was going to pull this one off.

I am not sure why I had to lose my beloved Grandbud, it all seemed too soon. I am not sure why rejection upon rejection came, it exhausted us all. But I woke up everyday — with my cup of coffee in hand — declaring that he in fact would bring redemption, restoration, and relief from the spinning. Believing and praying that sense would somehow be made of it all and even if sense never came, we would have faith in the purpose. Yet part of me still wondered how out of reach it all might be.

I came to a point where I expected to be disappointed.

Today, we could all name at least a handful of hopes we’re still longing to see come to pass for ourselves and for those we love. I have friends who wish to be married, yet sleep alone. Friends weep in longing for children, yet they still carry empty wombs. Friends dreaming for big things manage to hit every road block to keep them from ever accomplishing their goals.

Yet today, we could also name some people and things worth celebrating — the jobs, the promotions, and the save-the-dates and birth announcements filling every last inch of our fridges. I can’t deny the juxtaposition of the celebrations and disappointments.

I was determined to not be disappointed. In the swirl of it all I found myself wondering where I fit. 

I tried earning my right to fulfilled dreams by being good enough or holy enough to gain God’s favor. It didn’t work.

I tried playing victim, hoping God would take pity on me and give in. He saw right through the act.

I even tried taking matters into my own hands because God must have gotten busy fulfilling other people’s dreams and forgotten about mine. Or maybe he was too tired by the time my turn came around and just wasn’t feeling up to the task. Yeah, not so much.

Then God reminded me: as much pain and disappointment as I have witnessed for others and experienced myself  in the past 18 months, I have also had the privilege to celebrate some ridiculous things with these people I do life with down here in the Peach State.

The same people I stood beside and supported as they packed up their desks — saying goodbye to one season without knowing what the next season would hold — I later celebrated with as they moved to new cities, started new jobs, and stepped into the people they’re becoming. Somehow, that’s made the disappointment lighter, the hope stronger. I am realizing God’s favor  is not a rat race or a lotto— there’s enough pie to go around.

Know I don’t write this from the other side telling you I got everything I’ve ever wanted because God finally showed up. I don’t write to you now because I have my perfect pin-board life with a zillion blog hits, the dream job, and Adam Levine came to his senses and proposed after having a come-to-Jesus moment.

No, I have none of those things.

I write to you still in the waiting.

I am not telling you if you just hope hard enough the dreams will appear. I cannot tell you where the magic lamp is hidden.

But I can tell you it will never look the way you expect. Often times, we miss out on the best in search for the good. That’s why as much as the waiting Sucks with a capital “S”, we wait on the Lord. And part of that waiting is celebrating with those who celebrate — the way Elizabeth’s baby lept in her womb when Mary came to visit with some big news. We are all pregnant with promise and I believe that promise will deliver in due time.

Until then, we press on in what we know — which is who he is, not necessarily where we are headed.  God’s not wasting a moment of this season and neither should you.

There is no use in taking a short cut when it comes to becoming the person God created you to be.

Take the small steps of faith that end in great treks of life. Fulfillment happens in the waiting, in the journey. I don’t plan on missing out on the best in search of the good. And today’s best is celebrating the victories in the lives of those who have celebrated with me.

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(Don’t) Save it for the Honeymoon

How’s Bora Bora sound?

Very sexy sexy. –Serendipity

Here’s a confession — I may be a hoarder. I try saving up:

  • creativity, because I am convinced the stream will run dry, and I will have nothing left to offer.
  • big asks, like collecting gold coins at Chuck E. Cheese to buy the bright neon stuffed bear rather than a whole lot of silly bandz.
  • words from the Lord, for myself or for others, as if he only speaks every once in awhile and I want to make sure I have it just right before I share it with anyone else.

Today is about the big ask.

My dear friend is moving to South Africa soon. She’s been there and other places in Africa before, but never on a safari. This is an adventure she’s been dreaming up for her honeymoon for years. Such an epic event should happen on such a momentous occasion, no?

Turns out, her future casa in Mafeking, South Africa (go ahead and giggle) backs right up to the wildlife reserve. That’s right. Safaris everyday, right outside her backdoor.

While we’re in America with our domesticated cats and dogs, she will have zebras, lions, and rhinos in her backyard.

Grinning ear-to-ear with excitement, Sara told me how she’d been asking God to one day let her go on a safari for her honeymoon, and instead, he is giving her a safari everyday.

She’s thrilled, and it got me thinking.

I save up my requests for when I will really want them, as if God only gives us our desires once in a blue moon so I shouldn’t risk asking for just any day, but a truly special one. I save up hopes and dreams for a special occasion like a honeymoon or retirement or just someday.

Why can’t I go and do these things now? Why should I wait for my honeymoon when I can have backyard safaris everyday?

God’s goodness is not some pie with only so many slices.

A piece of inheritance today does not leave me hungry tomorrow.

I think I am going to start asking God for some big (and little) things today, for today. Not for years from now, or when I am married, or when I live here or have this job. No, it’s safe to say I am ready for his goodness today.

And I’ll trust his goodness will be there tomorrow too.

What are you asking for today?

(Coffee Bay, South Africa. Photo credit: Brittani Dunlap)