During one long, difficult winter when I was at my lowest, I remember praying to God and asking Him to give me a life-story or something in my life that could be a testament to His glory. I did not think things could get much worse at that point, as I was jobless and feeling pretty beat up by the world- physically, spiritually, and mentally. Eventually, I did find a job that I actually liked, and I moved on with life, but still remember that prayer, and I kept it in my back pocket, wondering, and waiting, and trying to do something bigger and better.
As a child, I would spend all summer dreaming. I dreamt about “things that are, things that were, and some things that have not yet come to pass.” (A little Galadriel for you because mood.) But those shattered hopes and broken paths have made it so much harder to dream as an adult. There is wonder in growing in wisdom, but an ache that comes with understanding things more deeply. I pray, I wait- that is all I ever seemed to do: wait.
I gave up waiting for a place of my own this spring. I resigned myself to a different future than what I had pictured for myself, but not for the first time. Before this, it was letting go of ideas of marriage, not being alone in my future, and living in the country. So I began to believe simply owning my own place was impossible, and when I said that out loud, a friend tilted her face at me as if the response to this was obvious. What she said shook me, but I didn’t show it. I was too fragile to grasp it. She said, when it is impossible, that is when it is God’s best time to work. You had better get ready for something big to happen. It was hard to believe anything could happen to me. I did not doubt God’s ability, but I doubted that He wanted for me what I wanted, and what my future would be like if I did not get what I asked Him for. I knew that I was supposed to trust Him, but trusting hurt, because it meant understanding that my desires may not be God’s desires for me. And I forgot, at the time, that prayer that I'd made years prior.
Through out this time,“Mrs. J” from my church had been keeping me informed of a place. Eventually, I received a call from the realtor of this home. “I was told that I am supposed to tell you that this is on the market now.” This voice message made me laugh out loud, how adorable of Mrs. J to have such hope, such excitement that she called the realtor and told her she needed to call me. Although still disbelieving, I called my realtor and set up a walk-through.
The evening of the walk-through, I left work on time but construction cones blocked me from properly merging with traffic. I had to pull over to the curb at a dangerous part of the highway, and another car followed me into this space and rear-ended me. The second I was hit, my first thought was, it is a sign. This is not meant to be. I shouldn’t go tonight. Due to waiting for a police officer and because of damage done to my car, I had to take the back roads all the way to the house, and I arrived very late. I hate arriving late anywhere, I was anxious and embarrassed, but the house was everything I had prayed for. It felt calming and homey. Ample space and light, a deck (hello gardening opportunity!), and it did not require a ton of heavy work to make it liveable, just some repairs and touch-ups. It was move-in ready! I made an offer. My realtor shook his head, said that it was way too low. The market at the time was very high, and competition so fierce. I did not have any leverage to compete with. There was some back and forth over this, but what my dad said aloud to all of us was right. It was going to have to be a God-thing. All I could do was wait.
On Monday, I got a phone call from my realtor. The first thing he said was, “So, when do you want to close?”
“What?!” I could not believe what he was saying.
My realtor explained that it was the most bizarre thing he had ever seen. He could not explain it, and said this never happens. It is common to see a dozen or more offers on a place. Yet the other realtor had called mine, and told him there were no other offers. She was completely shocked. Apparently the home owners discussed what to do and decided the only reason this could happen is because God wanted this one person to have it, so it must be a God-thing! Elated, I called my family and shared the news.
Here I have to be vulnerable again to really give you the full picture. As grand as this was, reality eventually sank in and my human nature is worrisome. I was not sure how to afford to furnish my home. (Artists are broke, okay?) Providentially, I had dishes in storage that had been passed on from my grandmother. It was not until much later that I realized that the month of her passing was exactly one year from getting phone call from my realtor! Definitely not coincidence. When I began searching for furniture, my prayers were answered yet again. Family and friends have been most generous, and I have been able to fill my space with everything that I need. I should never have worried. Once again, all I had to do was ask and wait. So simple.
But so hard.
Waiting is one of the most difficult things in life, and yet it is also constant. There is never a time in a person’s life when they are not waiting for something. In 2021, I attended Realm Makers and heard Steve Laube speak. I was so gripped by his workshop that I listened to them all at once after I returned home. One in particular hit home (pun intended). It was about the crucible of waiting. When he was a teenager, his parents took a trip to Hawaii. They woke him at o’dark to drive to a point overlooking a quiet volcano to watch a sunrise. The jungle was a symphony of chaotic noise. Bugs and birds clicked and buzzed and hummed all around them in the darkness. And then, very suddenly, as sliver of light rimmed the horizon and the animals went silent. Still. Waiting. A moment later, the sun burst over the horizon and it was as if God took splashed a paint brush across the entire landscape. The jungle was alive with color and sound again that instant. I was so glad that I watched this workshop at home in my own privacy because I bawled like a baby when he closed it with this story. (And y’all know I don’t cry that easily.)
What this story conveyed was that waiting is more than pain. It is anticipation. If you’re not comfortable with waiting now, you never will be. Even after this wait (whatever it is you’re waiting on) is over, there will be something else. The point is not the thing which we gain or lose from the wait, the point is how we carry the weight of waiting. Whether you are waiting in stillness like the jungle creatures who paused, expectant, for God to paint the sky before they renewed their song even louder, or waiting in turmoil and groans of hurt. I don’t have a secret cure to ease the heavy kind of waiting. Trust seems too big a word in those times and although comrades will repeat “God has a plan,” as if it is a band-aid, it isn’t. I can tell you that I know He sees. He sees you, He waits with you. He grieves with you.
I’ve found it particularly helpful to keep a small handful of treasured friends close, people with whom I can share and we can laugh as well as cry together. Remember, it was a friend who reminded me that God had great things left to do, and it was my family and friends who lifted me up and shared time and generosity.
I do not know if this story is the one that God meant to share, the one that shows how His glory and grace shines abundantly. I have hope that He has more in store for me. For now, I am so thankful for how He has fit every detail into place, seemlessly. I am most grateful to all who were there for me, as well. For my parents and extended family for their kind aid and gifts, and friends who lent a helpful hand to paint or clean. And for my found family across the United States, the enthusiasm you shared with me even though you could not be here was sweet.