Waiting…It’s No Joke
Waiting…it’s no joke. Waiting has marked most of the last 20 years of my life. I’ve had to wait longer than most to get married and now have children. It’s like God has me on a different timeline than everyone else. A much slower one. Thus I’ve felt “different” than my peers as they marry and have children and I don’t. Waiting has been the banner over my story. I’m not going to lie, it’s been brutal at times.
I’ve had to encounter the unthinkable at times. Dan Allender defines trauma as ‘the unthinkable happening.’ Sure, there are worse things I could face, but at the age of 36, I experienced the excruciating severing of lives that happens at a break-up after a year and a half relationship, the longest I’d ever had. I had already been waiting for so long to marry. Waiting eleven/twelve years past some of my friends is embarrassing and agonizing. When all you want is a permanent +1 to do life with, seems to come so easily to others. The wait is brutal.
I did marry a really good man two years after that break-up (He was worth the wait). But now, I wait again. This time for children. Marrying at 38 doesn’t give you the option of being able to casually “just be married for a few years before you start trying to have children.” I dared God to make me wait for a family. But five years into being married and we are still waiting for children. I’ve encountered the unthinkable again. After many, many rounds of infertility treatments, we never got pregnant. We then began the adoption process last fall, were matched with a birth mom in February, and expected a baby boy in June. Three weeks before the due date, we learned the birth mom changed her mind. We were not getting that baby boy. Again, the unthinkable happened. We were and still are devastated.
Again, we waded into the process of waiting, presenting our profile book to birth moms in hopes of being chosen to adopt their baby. Two long months later, we were chosen by birth parents to adopt their baby boy due in mid-November. Joyfully, we are anticipating the birth and adoption of this baby, but still, we are waiting.
Have I said waiting is no joke? God has foreseen that waiting for me is better than having the things I long for. In John 11, when Jesus found out from Mary and Martha that Lazarus was ill “he stayed two days longer in the place where he was” and then Lazarus died. Jesus intentionally stayed away, making Mary and Martha wait and experience the loss of their brother. As stated in beginning of John 11, this was all because he loved them. God makes us wait and experience loss, because he loves us.
Mary got to experience Jesus being “deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled” and weeping. Jesus is helping me to see and experience this too. He is deeply moved and troubled by my loss and my continued wait. It doesn’t come easy for me to receive His empathy, but He’d rather give me an experience of Himself right now, than the experience of cuddling a newborn. It’s very hard to write that. Most days, I don’t believe that’s better for me. But I’m learning to believe the truth that it’s better to encounter Jesus Himself than the things we want from Him.
Lauren Cheatham joined The Barnabas Center’s counseling staff in 2007 after earning her master’s degree in counseling from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Georgia. Lauren counsels individuals and couples. She is married to Rhett, and in her spare time she enjoys spending time with Rhett and friends, digging in the dirt designing planters, and playing with Selwyn and Abby, their collies.