When you need encouragement as you wait

Tricia Lott Williford is a rare person who wraps words around the depth of her heart and helps us all process the delights and sorrows of life together. She shares the hard pieces of her story, and the redemption that God offers in the midst of it. Tricia writes and speaks with raw transparency, honest grief, winsome joy, and a captivating voice. It’s a joy to welcome Tricia to the farm’s front porch today…

guest post by Tricia Lott Williford

I

completely love the GPS apps on my phone.

My mind serves me in a lot of ways, but wayfinding is not one of my strengths. Insert: All the driving apps.

I’ll admit, but I won’t apologize: I’m spoiled by them. Do you remember the days, even if only in childhood, when the person in the passenger seat held the giant map with the route highlighted in yellow marker, and the only possible way to know “how much longer” was to guess at the distance between your fingertips?

Detours and construction sure didn’t show up on that map, so your trip could be suddenly delayed by hours, and there was almost nothing to be done about it.

Those days are over; now we can know for reasonably certain that we will reach our destination in two hours and twenty-one minutes, and if there is an ever-so-slight change in that plan, the GPS will quickly inform us.

But making our way through this road trip of life seems to be more of the old-fashioned map variety. “Looks like I should go this way, maybe that’s the best plan, but I can’t know for sure, and I can’t tell where I would find any Starbucks on this route.”

Give me my trusty apps, complete with updates and icons and police alerts, thank you very much.

Waiting feels hard because we aren’t in control.

We are living in a time when something is wrong every single day. Hurricanes. Investigations. Allegations. Another mass shooting with another list of victims.

Perhaps each year of being single on another birthday reminds us that we’d dreamed of being married by this age.

Other years of wedding-anniversary dates remind us that we thought we would stillbe married at this age.

There are diagnoses. Disappointments. Natural disasters.

All reminders of how very little we can truly control. When we lose control, we get terrified quickly.

And even if we can trust and believe that God is in control, we may not like how He is driving this bus we’re all in together.

I cannot make you believe He is good. But I can only trust the sovereignty of God because I also trust the sweetness of Jesus.

He is not a flippant God without care for His children. He can see things we cannot see; He has information we do not have.

If He says no, then I can choose to trust that this answer serves for a greater plan—and maybe even my greater good—that I cannot see.

When I cannot make sense of it, I can remind myself that I do not hold all the pieces of this puzzle. And I can recall that He has always been with me, closer than my own breath, even when He didn’t give me what I wanted.

Even, and perhaps especially, when He gave me exactly what I didn’t want.

I deeply love this verse: “You did not forget to punish the guilty or listen to the cries of those in need” (Psalm 9:12, cev). Those first four words have captured my heart. You did not forget.

In the midst of the waiting seasons, and even in the midst of the seasons-after-the-wait, I need to rest in this deep truth: God did not forget.

Those four words prompted me to list the things my God has not forgotten. I discovered this practice is good for the soul, whether the sun is shining or not.

You did not forget about me.
You did not forget about Tucker.
You did not forget about Tyler.
You did not forget about my aching heart.
You did not forget that my children were fatherless.
You did not forget how I love to love.
You did not forget that I was single, or even more importantly, a single mom.
You did not forget that Peter longed to be set free from gripping addiction.
You did not forget that children everywhere are hungry.
You did not forget about the senseless violence that is happening all around us.
You did not forget that you are the Lord of lords, the Prince of Peace.
You did not forget that we are waiting for you.
You did not forget your promises.
You did not forget the sparrows.
You did not forget to remember.

Make your own list. Say what your heart needs to know he remembers. In your honesty, may you make way for truth and new perspective.

He has not forgotten your sadness.
He has not forgotten that you still want a baby in your arms.
He has not forgotten your cry for healing.
He has not forgotten that you need a job.
He has not forgotten that you have bills to pay.
He has not forgotten that you long for a companion.
He has not forgotten what you have lost.
He has not forgotten our nation.
He has not forgotten you’ve been betrayed.
He did not forget about you.
Even as you wait, He has not forgotten.

You do not wait alone, and you do not wait for nothing. He did not forget.

When my friend Sheri visited Kenya a couple years ago, she learned that the Kenyans’ concept of time is very different from ours. They are never in a hurry. It’s almost as though they have learned to refuse to be rushed. They are fully in this moment, doing what is now.

Kenyans have a saying in Swahili: Haraka Haraka Haina Baraka. It means, “Hurry by hurry, and the blessing is lost.”

Lift your head, oh patient one. Look for the blessing in the now.

The whole earth is full of God’s glory, so keep your eyes wide open.

Waiting is a time for watching.

May the God Who Sees open your eyes to see glimpses of His work beneath the soil and behind the scenes.

The long days that feel empty and useless, the lists of questions without answers, they will become something. The jobs you must work before you get the one you’re waiting for.

The people you will date before you find the one you’re waiting for. The pages in your journal that hold your many questions.

The long walks of wondering and wandering.

These are making you. These are your becoming.

Just you wait.

~ ~ ~

Lord, today You know what I need to do.
But You can do more in my waiting than in my doing I can do.
“To Those Who Wait,” Bethany Dillon
For he will complete what he appoints for me,
and many such things are in his mind.
Job 23:14, esv

 

Tricia Lott Williford is a remarried widow, a writer, teacher, reader, and thinker, and the author of three books. Thousands of readers join her each morning as they sign online to read today’s funny, poignant stories that capture the fleeting moments of life. She collects words, quotes, and bracelets, and she lives in Denver with her new husband and two sons.

Tricia has recently released her book, Just. You. Wait.: Patience, Contentment, and Hope for the Everyday. Everybody waits. We wait for a spouse, wait for a baby, wait on our children, wait for our parents. We wait for clarity and direction. We wait on a job, a promotion, a new direction. We wait for hope, for healing, and for miracles. We wait on God. And when we misunderstand what waiting is about, we can get confused about what God is up to.

Waiting is one of God’s favorite tools. He can do certain things in our hearts, our lives, and our relationships while we wait―things we cannot experience once we’ve opened the gift we have been waiting for. So just you wait, because everyone takes their turn in the waiting room. It’s a long and painful fact of life, but shortcuts and microwaves aren’t the answer. God is at work behind the scenes in invisible ways you can’t see . . . yet. Just you wait and see how ready you’ll be if you spend your waiting well.

In these pages, Tricia discusses the joy hidden in the discipline of waiting, and the practices of believing God is for you and working on your behalf, even when the work of His hand is hard to find.

[ Our humble thanks to Navpress for their partnership in today’s devotion ]