Posts Tagged waiting

On Waiting

12/23/10 - Chicago Union Station after getting engaged

Around this time last year I was anxiously waiting. I can’t even explain the emotions I felt, but anyone who has waited for something good and exciting to come–a specific thing–knows the feeling I’m talking about. Lisa Velthouse‘s recent blog post reminded me of those feelings. She captured my thoughts perfectly as she wrote:

“…with all of my breath I have been waiting. Wishing. Wanting. Hoping. Praying that it would happen. And what I have been telling myself is that if this something were to come true it might possibly change my whole life for the better.”

The event I was waiting for was a marriage proposal. I knew it was coming soon because I knew Gerald had talked to my parents about it around Thanksgiving. He probably shouldn’t have given me so much detail because that made the waiting harder. I knew he was looking for an engagement ring because we’d shopped for one together. I knew we were going on a series of dates around Christmas time so I wouldn’t know when the actual proposal was coming (sneaky, but it drove me crazy with anticipation). I was putting so much hope and anticipation for the day I would get engaged knowing that moment would change my life forever and feeling like my life would somehow be more complete once it happened.

Well, that proposal came. We got engaged on December 23, 2010–a year ago today. The event was actually a little anti-climactic because I didn’t even realize what was happening until Gerald practically told me in the poem he wrote. I didn’t have those feelings of anticipation right before because I was being grumpy in the car on the way to the proposal site. If I had known what was going to happen, my attitude would’ve been completely different.

With Christmas just a few days away and the season of Advent coming to an end, we remember God coming to earth in the form of a baby. Since that first Christmas, we’re now also supposed to be anticipating Christ’s return to Earth as the conquering king. Advent is supposed to remind us to look toward that future coming with great expectations. We know what’s going to happen (read Revelation), but we don’t seem to care as much.

I’ll admit that I don’t often think about Christ’s Second Coming, nor do I wait anxiously for it to arrive. Instead, I’m more focused on what I have going on in my everyday life and the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. Christ’s return seems so far away, and yet we’re told that He can come at any time when we least expect it. I’m not sure if I’ll feel the same kind of anxious anticipation about Christ’s return as I did about getting engaged, but I think if I try to focus my attention on things with eternal value, I will be desiring and anticipating that return with more urgency and with greater expectation.

For with engagement came joy, but also stresses and more hard work; but with Christ’s return all the wrongs in this world will finally be made right. And then our lives will truly be made whole.

So what are you waiting for?

Merry Christmas!

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Four Years

Today is Gerald and my 4-year dating anniversary. It’s hard to believe that now we’re coming up on our 3-month wedding anniversary. We’ve both certainly changed and grown a lot since we first began dating.

One Year Dating Anniversary

Our Second Year Together

Dinner for our 3rd anniversary

Gerald on our 3rd anniversary

Our Wedding Day

A year ago today (or around this time), I remember feeling hopeful anticipation. Gerald and I had been looking at engagement rings for a little while, so I was MAYBE hoping he would propose (and quickly figured out he wasn’t going to when we had a discussion about it that night that left me disappointed but with a better timeline). A lot of my preoccupation with wondering when we’d get engaged (and hoping it would be sooner rather than later) was my impatience and my need to plan everything. I was thinking we’d have to get engaged in either December or January if we wanted to have a 6-month engagement because I knew Gerald wanted to get married during the summer (but I wasn’t sure which summer).

All my questioning about timing and proposals put a lot of pressure on Gerald. He felt like I wasn’t trusting him with all this, and ultimately I wasn’t trusting God’s timing in it all. I felt like I should’ve been married or at least engaged by then (I actually suggested to him on our first anniversary that maybe by our second anniversary he could propose…that didn’t happen). Even though three years felt like a long time to be dating, in those few years, God grew us both in our ability to communicate with one another (and to work out conflicts), in our friendship with one another, and in our relationships with Him. I know I learned a lot more about what it meant to love someone during our dating years. It made me realize how naive I was about relationships when we started dating (and I was even out of college by then!).

So all that to say, the waiting was worth it. We could’ve gotten married earlier and probably been fine, but as we weathered the ups and downs of life together over several years, we learned more about each other and the joys of serving God together. I think it made us better prepared for marriage. People also have told me that couples who don’t argue a lot while they’re dating tend to argue more once married and people who argue a lot while dating argue less once they’re married. So far that seems to be true for us. Gerald and I argued a lot sometimes while we were dating, but we’ve only had one big argument so far since getting married. By now I think we’ve just figured out how to resolve conflict (through lots of practice in our dating years), that we’ve already worked out a lot of those issues. I know arguments will still come, but hopefully we can employ some of the tactics we learned from premarital counseling to argue well (from John Gottman’s book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work).

This is no longer an anniversary we’re really going to celebrate (we’re waiting for our first wedding anniversary now), but I’m still wishing Gerald a happy four years together. I’m looking forward to many more to come!

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Week of Thankfulness: Faithfulness

As I take up my challenge to spend a week being thankful, I’ve reflected on the times when God has been faithful to provide in my life. It’s so easy to talk about trusting God to provide and to know that He has a great plan for my life, but it’s another thing to live like you believe that.

I remember first really worrying about my future when I was a senior in high school. It was around this time of year, actually. I only wanted to go to Taylor University in the fall for college, so I applied for early admission and didn’t apply anywhere else. My parents were okay with this, and so was I until I started getting nervous. I was supposed to find out in November if I got accepted or not and November was quickly coming to a close. I was pretty sure with my grades and ACT score that Taylor would accept me, but I kept asking myself, “What if…” I even started looking into possibly applying to Purdue as a backup school because their application was easy. I didn’t even want to go to Purdue and I knew nothing about their English program. I was trying to trust God about my future, but I wanted to be prepared just in case He didn’t come through.

That was the year I took up Jeremiah 29:11 as my “life verse.” Think what you want about life verses; I needed

Here's me as a little freshman in college! I'm sitting on my bed (on the right).

something to cling to while I waited. Sure enough, the day before Thanksgiving, I got a letter–more like a packet. The kind where you know you got accepted because they’re sending you a big packet of stuff instead of a little rejection letter. That was one of the greatest Thanksgivings ever because I knew I had something to be thankful for–God provided my college acceptance to Taylor in His own timing and I never had anything to worry about. I went to Taylor and God worked out more of His plan for my life throughout that time up until now.

There were other times where I didn’t trust God’s plan while in college. Going into sophomore year I almost didn’t want to go back because one of my good friends who was supposed to room with me and another girl transferred in the summer. I was scared I’d be alone and not have any close friends at school. Basically, I worried. Then we got a freshman as our third roommate (I was in a triple and we were hoping it’d be a double with the other roomie gone). I wasn’t sure how that would work out either. I should’ve trusted more in God’s plan because the three of us–Alicia, me, and our new roommate Rachael, became great friends. Rachael was my roommate for three years and I love her. Those last three years of college were even better than the first and I knew I was in the place God wanted me to be.

Rachael & me my sophomore yr & her freshman yr

There are a couple things I’ve learned from these past experiences:

1. God works on His own time, not mine. I continually have to remind myself of this. Whether it’s waiting to get a college acceptance letter, waiting for the day I’d have a boyfriend, waiting for those job interviews to pour in, or waiting for that engagement ring to come, I know that God will allow those things to happen on His timeline, not mine. If it were up to me, all those things would’ve happened sooner, but in making me wait and be patient, God has used that time to mature me and to draw me more to Him. As a senior in high school, I reminded myself that God’s timing is perfect–never early and never late. He knows what He’s doing.

2. God’s plans are way better than my plans. I’m a planner. I like to organize and plan events. I plan out my weeks and my days and I don’t like to get off schedule. It throws me off. I’m getting better at being flexible in this though. When I graduated from college, I didn’t have a job lined up. So I just moved back home and sort of looked for jobs while enjoying the break from school. My resume was up on job sites and I wasn’t being too proactive about applying, but somehow God had the communications manager at the Chicago Tribune call me and ask me if I’d be interested in a three-month freelance position. I interviewed later (though there’s more to this story) and ended up getting hired. After my three months, my boss kept adding another month, then another month, and finally he said I could stay until I found a full-time job. They even gave me a raise! Shortly after that, I got a call from Tyndale and ended up getting hired there soon after. Talk about God’s provision. I know having the Trib on my resume helped get me noticed, so when I look back, I can see how God provided all along.

So even now when I wonder what God’s doing with the timing of events in my life or what I’ll be doing in the next seven months, year, two years, or five years, I can think back on these moments when I’ve seen His faithful provision and perfect timing. Then I know I should “wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD” (Psalm 27:14 NIV)

How has God shown you that He is faithful?

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