The Long, Lonely Wait
- Linda Dillow & Lorraine Pintus Authors
- 2003 4 Apr
Waiting is agony. You long to share your life with someone, to connect in deep oneness-thought to thought, heart to heart, and spirit to spirit. You yearn for a soul mate who will listen to you, someone with whom you can share your hopes and dreams. As you've read this book you've become increasingly eager to put into practice what you have learned about the Gift. Between each line of text the unspoken question lingers: How long must I wait?
Waiting. It's not a pleasant subject, is it?
The mantra of the twenty-first century is: NOW! We want what we want when we want it. Our culture has conditioned us to receive immediate gratification. As a result, waiting is an unwelcome intrusion that produces within us finger-drumming, stomach-churning, brow-creasing frustration.
You know well the frustration of waiting. Your insides churn with each tick, tick, tick of your biological clock. Every friend's wedding or baby shower sets off an ear-piercing alarm. Like an icicle on a warm day, your happiness melts, leaving you in a puddle of tears. You tell yourself:
"I'll never be a bride."
"The other side of my bed will always be empty."
"I'll never have kids."
Or, for the more pragmatic:
"I'm forever destined to mow my own yard."
The following entry from a friend's journal expresses this silent ache.
It's a Friday evening, and my plane has been delayed. I'm returning to Nashville for business. I'm wondering if we are going to meet on this trip. I don't really know, but it's fun just to imagine a "maybe." A small part of me is hoping and expecting that perhaps this trip, this time, we may meet.
I miss you. I miss you here, in these quiet moments, among the activity of the usual routine. How can it be that I both need you and don't need you; that I long for your presence yet find myself completely without you; that I hope to have my world vastly opened by your being made real, yet find it already so intriguing and inexhaustible.
Perhaps when we first meet, I will feel right away that I have been given a gift - the gift of love that exists between a man and a woman. I hope I recognize you - not in a "love at first sight" kind of way - but something deeper, something more real. I want your heart to first belong to the Lord. He's teaching me the same. I am praying for you. I've already begun loving you...is that possible?
This young woman hopes that God will soon bring that special someone into her life. Her hope will likely be realized, but she has no guarantee. Some women wait many years before they marry; others never marry at all. The wait can be difficult and filled with uncertainty. Keep reading, and glean wisdom from two single women as they share their thoughts about the waiting game.
I blew out the candles on yet another birthday cake last week. It wasn't my twenty-fifth, or even my thirty-fifth for that matter. In many ways, my life has surpassed the hopes I had as a twelve-year-old who went to slumber parties and dreamed with my girlfriends about what we wanted to do when we grew up and who we would marry. Some things had turned out like I dreamed, but my life is far from what I would have chosen. You see, I've never been married - and I'm a virgin.
I've dated many men, and I've had just about as much heartbreak, but I don't have many regrets. I've done some stupid things, but I am grateful to God that I don't have to ignore an old boyfriend across the room at a Christmas party or in the grocery store. I'm glad I can look him in the eye, smile, and wish him well and that I don't have to deal with a heart full of anger or bitterness over what I allowed him to take from me.
The path of purity is difficult. When I'm sitting in a church pew, listening to a rousing sermon about the evils of sex outside of marriage and how it is best to save myself for my soul mate, my spirit cries "yes!" When I'm curled up on the sofa, sipping a cup of hot chocolate, and reading about how God can fulfill me and satisfy my deepest needs, I nod in agreement. But it's a whole different story when I'm alone with the man of my dreams and I think that he loves me just as much as I love him. When the hormones are surging, I'm amazed at how quickly my perspective can change what is right and...well...what might not be so wrong.
I've had my share of words with my heavenly Father about the whole issue of sex. I've cried. I've sulked. I've bargained. At times, I've whined like a child, turning my back and crossing my arms as I pouted in the corner. His answer has never changed, but I know deep down that my only reasonable option is to obey. I know that God's way is always best for me. As I trust in Him for the will and strength to obey in this area, I feel joy and peace - a buoyant hope that shines beyond the loneliness and longing.
I've had mixed feelings as I've watched the years go by, but one of the blessings of age is perspective, a larger view of life, and a chance to watch the test of time. I've seen the "rest of the story" in some areas of my life and the lives of friends. I've seen their choices played out; the tolls they have taken or the blessings they have brought. It's hard to wait for sex until marriage, but through the years, I've seen that life is harder, and the price is greater, for those who do not wait.
For me, the hardest thing about waiting is being reminded that I am waiting. Like when I'm picking out a movie on Saturday night, and everyone else at Blockbuster is part of a couple. Or when my car develops a new noise, and I don't know how to fix it or where to take it, or when I'm sick and have no one to run to the store to pick up some medicine for me.
Still, I reject the notion that because I am single my life is on hold. I don't feel that my life is incomplete without a husband. While I dearly want a husband and see ways God can be cultivating my heart this direction, I know that in Christ alone, I am complete.
A friend who is ten years older than me recently confessed that she feels that God has forgotten her. She knows in her head that He has not, but the circumstances in her life - she's single and childless and has to support herself - add up to a different life than she thought she would be living at her age.
I can relate because my life is very different than what my soul wants it to be. I can be gripped by the fear that I might still be single when I reach her age. But I don't want to be controlled by fear, so what do I do?
I go back to something bigger than myself - I go to God and His Word. In God's Word I find promises. His promises are real to me because God is trustworthy. What I read isn't just theology; it is Truth, Truth that speaks to the questions my heart and mind ask.
This Truth is often a paradox. Some days are so discouraging and seemingly without purpose. Other days, I feel strong and capable, bursting with an irrepressible hope. Because I go back and forth, I need an anchor - I want an anchor. Jesus is my anchor. He centers me. He reminds me who I am and where my home is.
My relationship with Jesus contains endless mysteries and paths of learning. This is precious and real to me. I have learned in small measure what it means for Jesus to be my husband, my lover, my intimate, my confidant. I know and believe that during the times of stress or displeasure, my Lord is etching into my soul and building into my character the thing that will bring Him glory.
The bottom line is this: God is bigger than anything I am going through, and He wants something bigger for my life than I want for myself. God can be trusted.
Don't Miss Part Two, "Everyone Has to Wait" tomorrow!
From Gift-Wrapped by God. Copyright © 2002 by Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus. Used by permission of WaterBrook Press, Colorado Springs, CO. All rights reserved.