What God Does in Our Waiting

Image of a contemplative woman sitting outside

Waiting on God–for an answer, guidance, or perhaps fulfillment of a dream or promise–can be frustrating and unsettling. It can test our faith and our perseverance. But as my guest today shares, it’s often in the waiting that God does some of His most beautiful, necessary, and delicate work.

What God Does in Our Waiting by Amanda Wen

Waiting—for anything—has never been my strong suit.

Maybe it’s because I’ve grown up in the microwave generation. Or maybe it’s my natural temperament; I come from a long line of not-so-patient people. Doubtless it’s partly sin nature. But as believers, we serve a God who not only rescues us, but also seeks to transform us and make us more like Jesus. Part of how He does that is by growing us in patience.

I’d heard several times that if you pray for patience, God will give you kids. In my case, that’s exactly what He did. Three kids in just under four years, to be precise. Naïve new mama that I was, I assumed that, because God blessed me with children, He would similarly bless me with patience. I assumed I would magically morph into the smiling, sunshiny mom I always expected to be, bursting with ideas for fun activities and craft projects, healthy meals and educational outings. The kind of mom who would never lose her cool or snap at her kids, and who would definitely—definitely—not turn into a screeching lunatic after her two-year-old scribbled a Sharpie mural all over the basement wall.

Unfortunately—and perhaps unsurprisingly—I’m not that mother. I don’t do crafts, our meals consist of mac and cheese more than I’d like, and I still snap more than I smile (though I’m really working on that last one). But motherhood has brought about a different kind of patience, one that God has quietly grown in me without my knowledge.

See, babies take time to grow. To develop. Nothing you do makes that happen faster. Each time I found out I was pregnant, the weeks and months ahead felt like an eternity. I had few couple health scares during pregnancy, scares that could only be resolved by “just wait and see.” God spent a total of twenty-seven months knitting my kids together in my womb.

Could He have done it faster? Absolutely. But He chose not to. He knew my husband and I needed time to prepare for parenthood. My babies needed time to grow. And one of the fruits of the waiting was a new willingness to be still and be patient with the Lord and watch Him work.

All that waiting was so very worth it.

When I began to pursue writing as a career, I learned quickly that if the publishing industry and a glacier were in a race, the publishing industry would win, but only by a nose. You send out queries…and you wait. You enter contests…and you wait. You submit to editors…and you wait. For weeks. Sometimes months, or even years. And nothing on your part speeds up this process. It just takes time.

To my surprise, this waiting hasn’t driven me insane like I thought it would. I’ve learned that, like babies, a career takes time to develop. Time towoman sitting on dock and words to Isaiah 40 verse 31 prepare me as a writer. Time to prepare the people who might read my work. Time to bring all the parts and pieces together into a beautiful masterpiece that only God can create.

Can He do it instantly? Of course He can. But it is for our best and his ultimate glory that he does not.

And so we wait.

God promises strength to those who wait. He promises his presence and assures us of his love. And He will use our wait—like He uses all things—to make us more like Jesus.

***

Let’s talk about this! Are you in a season of waiting? What might God be doing in you during this time? Perhaps you’ve come out of a prolonged time of waiting. Looking back, can you see God’s hand in your waiting? If so, share that experience with us. Do you have a favorite Bible character that reveals God’s loving hand during a time of waiting? Share your thoughts, examples, and questions with us in the comments below, because we can all learn from and encourage each other!

Before you leave, make sure to sign up for my free quarterly newsletter.

Subscribers receive image of cover for study based on 1 Timothygreat, free content sent directly to their inbox along with a free, 36-lesson study (ebook form) based on truths presented in 1 Timothy (sent separately). (If you signed up and haven’t yet received your free study, please contact me through this website so I can get that to you!) You can sign up HERE.

Get to know Amanda! 

 Amanda Wen is an award-winning writer of contemporary inspirational romance. Her contest wins include first Amanda Wen Author Photoplace in the 2016 ACFW First Impressions Contest, the 2017 Great Expectations Contest, and the 2017 Phoenix Rattler Contest. In addition to her writing, Amanda maintains an active and rewarding career as a freelance cellist. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and their three adorable Wenlets. Amanda is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. 
Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and visit her online at her website, AmandaWen.com

Are You Teachable?

“I’ll do it myself!” the two-year-old cries, stomping his pudgy food with fisted hands. ID-100284325

“I know what I’m doing,” says the stressed-out teenager who’s convinced they have a strong grasp on reality–and that we, the adults in their world, don’t.

“That editor just doesn’t get me!” says the writer who’s convinced their book is the next big seller, even though others have alerted them to major plot holes.

And so, they dig in their heels and continue on their way… further and further from the finish line.

ID-100260522Early in my writing career, my skin was thinner than a pears and as easily bruised. But before long I learned, if I truly wanted to grow, I’d need to allow God to develop within me a teachable spirit. This realization has helped me in every area of my life.

Are you doing the same? Today my sweet friend and fellow ICD writer shares her thoughts on teachability.

Are You Teachable by Susan AkenSusan'sheadshot

     (Read Ruth 3:1-6)

How do you react when someone gives you advice that is scary? We don’t know all of Ruth’s motivations and reasons for choosing to go with Naomi but we do know she was determined to stay with her and was deeply attached to her. Ruth had great respect for Naomi. When they arrived in Bethlehem, Ruth devoted herself to taking care of Naomi and providing for her. She always listened to Naomi and followed her advice. In chapter 3, verses 1-6, Naomi asks her to get all dolled up and go to the threshing floor where Boaz is sleeping. She tells her to uncover his feet and lay down there. Verse 6 tells us that Ruth “did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.”

She took a great risk here. She risked being rejected and embarrassed. She couldn’t know without doubt how Boaz would react. I think Naomi was sure of his reaction but there was no guarantee. Naomi asked Ruth to take this risk because she knew that Boaz (as next of kin) was her best hope for a future and she knew that he had taken an interest in Ruth since he told her to only glean in his field and instructed his workers to leave extra grain. When Naomi told Ruth to lie at his feet and then ask him to spread his garment over her, this was a custom of the time to let him know she was interested in marriage. You can read more about this HERE:

Ruth allowed Naomi to guide her and trusted her advice.

BeyondIDocover In Beyond I Do, Ainsley also has a mentor who gives her advice. Her friend, Deborah, who led her to Christ is also her coach and friend. Deborah encourages Ainsley to stay open to her mom and to forgive her even though she would prefer to just shut her out of her life. Deborah asks her to take a risk by opening her heart to her mom. Her mom has hurt her so many times over the years and she is afraid of being hurt again. But Deborah keeps gently prodding Ainsley to reach out. She remains open and teachable with her mentor. In one beautiful scene, when Ainsley realizes that she is not sure what is next in her life, Deborah asks her, “If you could do anything, knowing God would stand behind you 100 percent, what would that be?” When Deborah asks that question, Ainsley knows immediately what her answer is. She has known it in her heart but Deborah helps her voice that desire. She helps Ainsley find her ministry to hurting families.

If we want to grow as Christians, we must remain open and teachable. When we think we know it all or that we don’t need advice, we’re headed for a fall. When someone speaks into our lives what feels like criticism or makes a suggestion that would take us out of our comfort zone, God uses it to help us to grow and become more mature. I am experiencing that in my life. My good friend, Jennifer, has become a writing mentor (though I am older than her) and she has recently given me some challenges as a writer that would take me out of my comfort zone. She is also helping me realize that I need to be open to advice and constructive criticism in order to grow as a writer. We need each other!

Some questions to discuss, pray over, and ponder:

First, if you haven’t already done so, read Ruth 3:1-6

  1. How do you react when someone offers advice that scares you?
  1. Are you cultivating a relationship with a mentor? (I don’t think it has to be someone older than you, just someone you can learn from) Is there someone you could mentor?
  1. Would you be willing to share about a mentor relationship and what you learned either when you were mentored or when you mentored someone else?

Share your thoughts here in the comments below, join the discussion in our email loop, or at our Facebook Group page Beyond I Do Bible Study Group. 

***

Susan Aken is a homemaker, substitute teacher and writer. She lives in Nebraska but was born and raised in Oklahoma. Her greatest love is for the Lord Jesus Christ who has redeemed her and set her free. Her other loves are her husband and son (she is now an empty nester). Susan enjoys reading, photography, spending time with family and friends and writing. She has a heart for prayer ministry and loves her church! Visit her online at Soaring With Butterfly Wings. Find out more about her writing or pick up one of her devotionals here.