We dropped our kids at church camp yesterday. As we made our way through the registration line in the 100 degree heat we were greeted at each stop by very energetic, very bouncy, very smiley camp counselors. Each one would smile huge, toothy grins, ask my kids what their names were and if it was their first time to camp. Neither of my kids are particularly toothy grin kind of kids so they would shrink back a bit, whisper their names and share that it was their 4th trip to camp.
They love this particular camp. My daughter says it’s her favorite place on earth. They wait so excitedly in the weeks before camp because they can’t wait for the freedom from Mom and Dad, the cabins, the new friends, the pond, the home made hill side slip and slide…they love it all. But they will say that waiting for camp to come is the hardest, most agonizing part.
As I watched them go through the process of checking in and finding their cabins I couldn’t help but giggle at how may times I had heard them say, “I can’t wait!” throughout the week.
Waiting is hard.
We wait for so much in life. We wait for joyous occasions, holidays, celebrations, vacations…all the exciting good things that life holds.
We wait for clarity. Will the job fall through? Will the test come back positive? Will we stay or will we go?
Watching my kids yesterday made me think back to a time in life when the waiting was excruciatingly hard. I was remembering the years I was waiting on my kids.
Charlie and I got engaged and married when we were very young. Very. I walked down the aisle at 21. There was nothing I wanted more in life than to be married to him and to make his babies. I know that’s not very popular among the strong, vocal, young women of today who rage at the idea that a woman’s place is making babies. But that’s what I wanted. I had never loved or been loved like what I had with Chuck and I couldn’t imagine not having babies immediately.
That’s not how it happened for us though. Oh, we got pregnant. Getting pregnant was not the problem. Five times we got pregnant. Five times. Five positive pregnancy test. Well, probably more like 20 positive pregnancy tests. I know I took at least four per pregnancy. And yet five times we experienced loss. Five times a doctor looked me in the eye and said, “I’m so sorry.”
I reached a point where I doubted. I doubted this dream in my heart to be a mom. I doubted my desire, my heart, my yearning. How was it that I prayed so hard for so long and yet faced this heartache over and over and over? Five times over.
We decided to go see a specialist who took lots of blood, ran lots of tests, scanned me, scanned Chuck, and poked and prodded me in every way imaginable. I was diagnosed with endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome. I was put on a strict diet and given medication. And still we waited. And waited.
I was doing all the right things. I was praying and dieting and medicating. I had multiple surgical procedures. I was smiling at my friends who were popping out babies left and right. I was buying gifts and attending showers. And yet I was waiting. And in that waiting I grew weary and I finally reached the point where I was done. I didn’t give up on the idea of being a mom but I did give up on the idea of birthing them myself.
I was tired of the advice from people with lots of babies. I was tired of people questioning my resolve. I was tired.
So I called several people I knew who had adopted babies. We made an appointment.
And I got pregnant.
I swear. I almost had to roll my eyes at myself. After all the people said things like, “As soon as you relax…” or “As soon as you quit worrying about it…” and then here I was pregnant after all those things.
We weren’t at ease though. After all, we’d been pregnant five times before and it was never good. We had never seen a pregnancy past 8 weeks. But 8 weeks came and went. And then 12. And then 20. And then one morning at week 36, I waddled out of bed to go to the bathroom and my water broke. Shelby arrived a few hours later.
And when she was 9 months old (because who’d have ever thought we would need to worry about getting pregnant again?) I found out Seth was on his way.
We’ve done a lot of waiting over the years. We’ve waited on medical test answers. We’ve waited on surgeries. We’ve waited on job offers. We’ve waited. Every time we wait I think back to those years of waiting to have a baby. I know that God’s answers don’t always look the way we want. I know his answers rarely come in the time frame we expect. What I do know though is that he is loving and good. I know that he never gives you a snake when you need a loaf of bread. I know that he is faithful.
So even though I still don’t like to wait on, well, anything…I know that waiting brings growth. Waiting brings trust. Waiting brings faith built upon faith. I can watch my kids wait for things and not feel the need to rescue because I know there is good in waiting. I can hold on to hope in waiting when the answers seem to be no where in sight because I’ve seen the faithfulness of a good, good Father.