The last two months have passed in a blur of activity. I have successfully moved into my first home of my own, which has been a massive answer to prayer in itself. I have also just taken on a new role at work. It feels like a time of new beginnings and I am so grateful that some of the things I’ve been waiting for have come to pass. But at the same time I am conscious of all the situations where I am still longing for change, brought into sharp focus by this new season.
I am still waiting to have the energy and the health to live my life the way I would love to. I want to be able to show off my lovely new house to my friends, but I know that will have to wait until the increased fatigue from the new job has faded. I want to be able to start finally working through my to do list instead of endlessly adding to it. I long to be able to properly invest in my writing, instead of letting so many words get lost within the brain fog. I am weary of the elaborate balancing act that life with chronic fatigue becomes. I am desperate to remember what having strength feels like.
I am also waiting for an end to this season of singleness. Sometimes even a beautiful new home can feel somewhat empty. And it’s easy to become envious of those who have another person to share the joys and the challenges with. Sometimes the longing for companionship can be overwhelming. And I wake up heart heavy after dreaming of the children I may or may not have.
We are all waiting for something. It might be for that job in which we can flourish, where our strengths can be harnessed and developed. It could be waiting for that breakthrough, where healing blossoms in our own lives or the lives of those we love. Or maybe we’re waiting for God to speak to us, after a long period of silence. Waiting is a universal human experience.
But the longer the wait the more it can shake the very foundation of our faith and what we believe about God. I would be lying if I said there weren’t days where I wonder how a God of love allows his children to walk such rocky roads. That sometimes the gifts he gives us don’t feel altogether good. Or that sometimes holding onto faith and hope for a brighter future takes every ounce of your resolve.
Yet I am also finding that there can be joy in the waiting.
I may not win every battle with illness but there are always small victories to be celebrated. For me I’ve been celebrating the small jobs I’ve achieved around the house, things like changing a window handle may only be small but can still bring joy in the sense of achievement. And it’s true that sometimes our seasons of pain, where we are at our most vulnerable, bring the most opportunities for connection. Our relationships can take on a raw authenticity as we strip away the facade and show our true selves. This deepening of existing relationships and creation of new ones is precious and brings us closer to the perfect community God designed us to be a part of.
And as I wait and dream of a family of my own I am finding so much joy in those who are inviting me to be a part of their own little families. I am privileged to be god mother or an adopted auntie to some beautiful children. It’s impossible to look into their faces and not be reminded that there is so much good in the world. And watching my friends be fantastic parents to these little ones is an absolute delight. I am learning that you don’t have to have children of your own to help nurture and care for them.
As I continue in this place of waiting for healing I am reminded that Paul encourages us to ‘rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character, and character produces hope’ (Romans 5:3-4). Now when he calls us to rejoice I don’t think he is expecting us to be jumping for joy; none of us want to suffer. But he is encouraging us to recognise the valuable lessons we learn in these periods of suffering and waiting. Those lessons may be painful and difficult to learn, but they are worth learning.
You don’t really learn how to trust God until you are clinging onto to truths of his character by your finger tips. You don’t know what it means for God to provide until each day you are dependent on his provision. And you can not really understand the sufficiency of his grace until you are at your weakest and most in need of his strength to shine through.
So even in this continued season of waiting I refuse to call this place a desert, as I firmly believe I can still bear fruit here. I am a strong believer that we can serve God exactly where we are, with the strength he has given us. It’s one thing we don’t have to wait for. He is with us and working through us even in our weaknesses and limitations. His purpose and plans cannot be thwarted.
The older you get the more you learn life is far more grey than black and white. It’s possible to experience joy even alongside depression. You can know freedom whilst still being bound by sickness. And sometimes both hope and despair dwell together in the darkness. The beauty of being alive is there will always be moments of joy to find, whatever season we find ourselves in.
Perhaps the inspirational quote has is right after all: ‘life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.’