While You Were Waiting

Photo: Moon Lee, Creative Commons, cc license

Collapsed and cubed cardboard boxes climb the downstairs couch, and scatter the floor. My gardens and landscape beds lie neglected, choked with broadleaf plantain weeds, skinny grasses, and surprise sunflowers from last year’s blossoms. I don’t how long we’ll be here, so I decided not to plant anything this year.

I feel a little bit like Noah from the Bible, who started building the ark before he saw the rain. This week we start packing up for a move that hasn’t happened yet. Labeling boxes for a new kitchen, living room, and bedrooms, we guess where they’ll be and can’t picture our new home yet. Paperwork that completes our house’s impending sale is up in the air still, and we are hesitant to put an offer on a new house before they fully clear. So, we wait and trust, and wait and wonder.

It’s an odd thing, this waiting game we all find ourselves in some days. We probably have different things we wait for and wonder about. Whether you are waiting for your kids’ school to resume, or for a doctor’s prognosis, a friend’s call, a relationship to heal, or a job change, we all have moments to wait. What does this waiting season look like? What can it look like? It looks differently depending on the day for me.

I pull my Bible, gratitude notebook, and journal close this morning, with my french press coffee on the side. Starting with the gratitude gifts notebook, I scrawl simple things I see: #3750 summer, #3751 breeze with sweet scents, #3752 lazy white cotton seeds floating by, …herbs growing in a bucket, hot fresh coffee, sleeping in this morning, worship floating through the house, last piece of strawberry rhubarb pie for breakfast. 

It’s not until eleven counted gifts in that they start getting deeper: deep talks with a son, scary lessons learned, seeing my negative influence affect my daughter’s choices too. Humility always follows thankfulness, doesn’t it? Counting God’s gracious gifts that stack and topple high never fails to help me suddenly see my own shadowy sins in the corner. Brought to the surface, they are carried to Him, confessed, and forgotten, though. God’s kindness overflows.

My pen scratches beauty seen and captured: cotton puffs erroneously landing to try to live on my coffee cup and the quirky laughter that gives me; a friend buying a house that is nearby; and romantic thoughtfulness seen in my man. I stop and tap out a quick text to him, smiling quietly to myself at the table.

I write and count more: red-capped birds scavenging in my weedy garden; succulent jade plant thriving, a neglected garden meaning a summer of change, and suddenly the gratitude list turns personal, and I find myself actually talking to Him. Praying, trusting you, choosing to trust. Lessons of choosing to trust you, God, to believe you. Knowing you! 

The joy mounts, and I feel the peace settle in, relaxing my shoulders. I write more, realizing that it finally feels like talking to him face to face, no longer just an anonymous list. Knowing your heart, your hand, God. Waiting for your timing; heading off here now to encounter you in your word, I smile and get ready to zip open my ratty red Bible cover. That your word is active and alive; I keep seeing the gifts now for which to thank him: that YOU are active and alive! Lord, I want to meet with you, learn from you. 

And the waiting mood has changed again. Reminding myself of who he is, and of how he cares for his creation resets my mood. Thoughts shape feelings. Truth determines attitude. 

Grabbing the verse that has become a mantra lately, I’m going to heat my cold coffee and start packing books. Join me? “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope” (Psalm 130:5).

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  1. Bill (cycleguy) on June 10, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    Its the coffee which makes it so hard to wait. LOL Seriously, the waiting game is not a fun game. And to be in limbo as you find yourself is even more stressful. But gratitude sure puts a more than perfect spin on our daily lives. Thanks for the reminder Jenn.

  2. Jennifer Dougan on June 10, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    Hi Bill, coffee is always a perfect touch! 🙂

    Jennifer Dougan

  3. Floyd on June 11, 2014 at 6:22 am

    No easy task, but you're doing it with the dignity of our Father's grace. Wherever you end up, it's perfect in His will. And you'll make it the home, sister. If I've learned anything in my years it's this; while it might be the men that make the dog hunt, it's the women that makes the house a home…

  4. Jason Stasyszen on June 11, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Humility comes before thankfulness–that's a great way to state it! We've been in a waiting game ourselves in regard to a house selling and trying to move into another. Very stretching and uncomfortable situation! Here's my testimony about it if you want to read: Finding a Settling Place. Thanks Jennifer–need this reminder over and over.

  5. Ceil on June 11, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    Hi Jennifer! Your post reminded me of the words to a song: "In you oh Lord, my soul in stillness waits. Truly my hope is in you."
    How hard it is to try and be patient and watchful, and not really know what's going on. A waiting season is not for the faint of heart, that's for sure.
    I'll be praying that your answers will come in the best time, and that God and your family will support you, as you support them.

  6. Lisa notes... on June 12, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Oh that waiting stage is so difficult for me. Your Noah analogy is a great one and helps me put things into perspective. At least I don't have people pointing fingers and laughing at me while I'm waiting. 😉 (That I know of anyway. ha) Praying you don't have to stay in this phase much longer.

  7. TC Avey on June 12, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    I was reading my Bible this morning (drinking my coffee) out on the patio and I stopped to just enjoy the beautiful day around me. What a beautiful day God created! And He created me too!
    Instantly my heart was filled with praise, joy, hope, and gratitude to a God who has never failed me!

    He is worthy of our trust.
    Praying your move goes smoothly and that you feel His loving embrace the whole way through.
    God bless.

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