When you’re in a difficult season you’re continually on the lookout for the next change. Poking your head around the corner, looking both ways, peering over shoulders to find a glimpse of sunlight, a ray of hope that this season will soon come to an end. You watch the clock and convince yourself that if this goes on longer than one calendar year you might involuntarily suffocate from the pain or the stress.
And then it’s been two years. Three years. Five plus and it pains you to keep track. You’re still waiting. Still sitting in this hard season, holding on for dear life. You’ve memorized the scriptures, gone to counseling, struck up four new hobbies. Been there, done that, bought and designed the t-shirt. Still waiting.
Let me tell you about my friends Steve and Sue. By outward appearance, they’ve got it going on. They are beautiful and patient and caring and have the biggest hearts. They let us live with them in Casa de Bush in between our move from the High Desert to San Clemente. They took in our stuff and our dogs and didn’t bat an eye. They have a home and wonderful families and they love each other in a way that is both deep and cute- as though they haven’t forgotten why they first liked each other in the first place.
Oh, but there’s is a story of waiting. Waiting for a long time and in so many ways.
Sue went to school to be an elementary school teacher but got her credential in 2008 which was the year that anyone under the age of 30 was either let go from a teaching job or didn’t have a job to apply to. It was a dark, dark year(s) for young teachers. True to character, Sue barely flinched and instead stayed at her job as a campus assistant at a middle school.
She stayed there four more years. Long years of breaking up fights and sitting with kids in detention instead of sitting with first graders, helping them learn sight words and share with their classmates. Gentle-spirited, passionate as she is kind, Sue faced the reality of missing her dream job with a grace I don’t quite comprehend.
And then in the middle of this, Steven, our smart, educated, integrity-filled friend lost his job. We were in shock. It didn’t seem fair, it didn’t seem just. It wasn’t. But Steve and Sue picked up the pieces and kept going. They asked for prayer, listened to advice, and made strides to find new work.
Eventually Steve got a great job that he believed in. Then a few years later he got another great job and they moved to Azusa. And the waiting continued as now they waited for a baby, possibly the hardest waiting of them all. Leaving the desert was much harder for them than it was for me. They left their friends, both of their families, and the church they loved. They were on their own in a new town, still playing the waiting game.
We’ve been friends since 2008. During the seven years of friendship, I wouldn’t have defined their life as one of waiting. They celebrated well, went on fun trips (we did New York together and had the time of our lives!), held numerous tea parties and shared lots and lots of our best memories. They served and they gave, even if they didn’t have anything left. They were faithful even when it seemed like their land was dry.
And would you know it, seven years later, one by one, prayers are answered, seasons are changing.
Three years ago, Sue got a teaching job. A real, full-time job at a great elementary school with an awesome principal and co-workers. She loved it and she poured herself into it.
In fact, other people thought she was pretty good at it, too. This last year, three years in, she was voted as teacher of the year. In her school. And the whole district.
While Steve has had two great jobs in the last few years, he just took a job that, to be honest, was something Kasey and I secretly hoped for long ago. He was really good at HR in the corporate world, but we always were so impressed by his wisdom, his integrity, and his heart for the Lord. For a month now, Steven has been working at High Desert Church as their COO.
This October, they will welcome their first child. They get to live near eager grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles, go to jobs they believe in, and raise a child together. Cup overflowing.
Your season of waiting may look similar, but it also may look markedly different. Results may turn out well, some may have a long, far-off answer, and some may end exactly as you hoped and prayed they wouldn’t. Everything will not simply be okay.
But there is hope in making it to another day, still alive to feel it all, even if the feeling is hard. There is power in trudging along, in seeing that other people have made it to the other side, whether it’s getting the job or finding new strength after an untimely death. There is power in the community of others who are also waiting, dreaming, asking, and holding on to hope. There is power that God will provide in a way only he can at just the right moment.