When I was small and people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up I would say many things, an astronaut, a fighter pilot, a helicopter pilot, a police officer, a marine, a Kung-Fu master, a doctor, a veterinarian, a surgeon, a paleontologist, or an archaeologist like Indiana Jones. Basically anything that was epic and that would allow me to travel the world having adventure, discovering some lost knowledge, or saving people from danger. I wanted to do something important. I wanted to make a difference. Then someone would ask me to pick just one thing that I wanted to be when I grew up, pick the one thing I wanted most to be. Every single time I would say the most epic thing that I knew of or could imagine; I would reply, “I want to be a wife and raise a family with my husband.”
When I was a girl I would walk around with just about any kind of fabric I could find that was a little see through draped over my face. I would practice walking down the isle all the while singing “Here comes the bride, all dressed in white…” then later I would stuff a pillow or one of my dad’s sweatshirts into my shirt until I looked pregnant and would rub my “belly” the way expectant mother’s do. I would imagine that I could feel the baby kick. I would jump and giggle and everything. Then I would even go so far as pretending to give birth. I would breathe and push and scream like all the women in all the shows that I was too young to watch but I watched anyway when my parents weren’t paying attention. Sorry mom and dad!
I wanted nothing more in all the world than to be a wife and raise babies with the man I loved. Life has a funny way of turning out doesn’t it?
When David was between 12 and 15 the prophet of Israel came and interrupted his day to anoint him king of Israel. What did David do? He went back to his normal life. When Joseph was a young boy he had a dream that he would be in a position to rule and not long after that was sold into slavery by his own brothers where he remained for decades. Hannah prayed and prayed and ached to give her husband a son, she prayed for a son so desperately Eli the priest thought she was drunk! Boaz, Moses, Joshua, Caleb, Noah, Elisha, Jeremiah, Elizabeth, Zachariah, Simeon, Anna, Mary, Martha and the most famous of all Abraham and Sarah, waited. ALL these men and women waited on the Lord. The Bible is chocked full of people who waited, and waited. Some of these didn’t see the things they longed for come to pass at all, yet they never gave up, and they never stopped trusting the Lord.
Psalm 37:34 Wait on the Lord, And keep His way, And He shall exalt you to inherit the land, when the wicked are cut off you shall see it.
Psalm 27:14 Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!
Lamentations 3:26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the Lord.
Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
I have struggled with obesity for most of my life. I have tried everything under the sun to get this body to a healthy state. I have prayed, I have fasted, (once for over two years) I have wept bitterly, I have hated my body, I have learned to accept it, I have dieted, I have exercised, I have spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars on this quest to find myself at a healthy weight. Since I began a new this journey toward a healthy weight I have lost over two hundred pounds and yet after all these years I have never seen the scale where it should be. I was once with in two pounds of reaching my first mile marker towards that ultimate goal. Then I blew out my knees at work about a month apart. I haven’t been able to fully recover form those injuries. It has been three years now and I am not happy to say I have gained a good amount of that weight back. Sometimes I just want to give up. Sometimes I feel like I will never see my dream of not being in constant pain and discomfort come true. Really I mean why? Why must this be so hard? I have been waiting and waiting.
I have also been waiting for my heart’s most sacred dream to come true for ever thirty years. I am still single. I have no children. My hair is turning grey and I am starting to get wrinkles. My joints are starting to ache when the weather changes and I get heart burn more than ever before. I am at the dawn of growing old, and I am here alone. I didn’t want this to be my story. I didn’t want to be at the threshold of my fourth decade on earth childless and single. I never ever dreamed of this. I hate it. It is more than I can bare some days. I look down the long road ahead and think of walking it alone and I think sometimes I would rather not go. The last flicker of hope I held for this dream died with in my heart a long time ago.
By the time my great grandmother, grandmother, and mother were 37 they had all lost their ability to bear children due to cancer popping up in their womb. As you can imagine I am not looking forward to my yearly check up this year at all. Honestly I am a little scared. As far as romance goes I feel like dating leftovers. You know what I mean? It’s like the leftovers in the back of the fridge. No one wanted me when I was fresh and on the table. Now I have been in the fridge so long no one is going to choose me because they aren’t sure if I will give them food poising or not.
I know how that sounds. It is so awful and sad but that is the truth. That is how I feel. I have missed it. I have been passed over too many times. I have run out of time. I am an old maid. Some days I feel like the loneliness is an ocean that I am drowning in and I want to surrender to it…
I don’t. I fight, and I keep swimming.
I know I am loved. I know God has things for me to do else I wouldn’t be on the earth. I have love to give even of it doesn’t look the way I want it to.
I just keep waiting.
I tell of these shadows in my soul as honestly as they be so you truly grasp the weight of the words I will next share…
Mary and Martha waited. Lazarus was deathly sick and they sent for Jesus to come heal him. They waited, and Lazarus died. They waited expectantly. They waited four days after Lazarus died. They waited until the last ember of hope has grown stone cold. Lazarus was truly dead and beyond hope of rescue, and that is when Jesus came.
Abraham and Sarah were promised to parent a great nation. They were promised a son. They waited until they were nearly one hundred years old and they had not been blessed with that promised child. Their child bearing years were decades behind them. All hope was dust in the wind. That is when God showed up.
Joseph had been sold into slavery. He was a faithful servant and through no fault of his own had been thrown in jail. He remained there for many years. His chance of being in position of authority was beyond zero. That is when God gave Pharaoh king of Egypt a dream only Joseph could interpret.
Those accounts all have epic endings. Jesus raised Lazarus, Abraham and Sarah had a son at nearly one hundred, and Joseph became the second in command of all of Egypt, only the king himself above him.
The God I serve is able to deliver me, but even if He doesn’t I will worship no other. I will serve no other. God is good beyond measuring no matter my circumstances. His word is true, His promises are kept, and He is faithful like gravity. Though He slay me yet will I trust Him. I will go to my grave singing of the goodness of the Lord even if tings don’t turn out perfectly the way I always dreamed. I know that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living even if my heart’s most sacred, treasured dream never comes to pass. God’s goodness is greater than my disappointments.
I will keep waiting. I will keep singing. I will keep trusting.
Not that long ago I began to realize that I am in control of how I experience life. That how I experience life is part of my God given free will. Allow me to explain. I am overweight. I can focus on that and hate everything, or I can be grateful that I have come as far as I have (set backs and all) and that I am not where I was. I a single, I can loathe my existence, or I can choose to embrace all the good parts of my life and find the good about being single and be grateful. I have a job that can be stressful and I don’t make as much money as I need to. I can walk around like a crankasourusrex being annoyed at the world and complain until I cry, (which until recently I definitely did a fair amount), or I can see all the amazing parts of my job. I can see the incredible opportunity that I have to do things that not everyone gets to do. Yeah I don’t get paid enough, but the place I work is truly special and I have learned and grown so much being there. I get to work with amazing people and I get to be a part of something that really matters every single day. Being there is a privilege that I was blind to because I was so focused on all the parts that were hard. There are things about my life that are hard and suck, but there is SO much more that is wonderful. God has hidden treasure all around me. He has blessed me so much and I was oblivious to it all because I was choosing to only see my dreams that had turned to ashes. I wasn’t experiencing the wonder of all those blessings because all I was looking at was all the things I feel badly about. You become what you behold. I have decided to focus on the goodness the Lord has placed in my life and experience the joy of it.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
When I was in my twenties I didn’t really have any friends. Either they had moved away, or I had alienated them because I was so obsessed with ministry that I had forgotten how to have real human relationships. I used to pray and pray for a group of friends who shared my values and would do life with me. I wanted people who got me and would encourage me to run hard after Jesus and carry out the great commission. I longed for people who would sing the song of my heart to me when I had forgotten the words. I wanted friends who were more like my family. I asked God to bring these people into my life over and over for years, I fasted and I prayed for them until I ran out of words. Eventually I let go and told God I trusted His timing. If I am being honest I had been praying for that group of friends since I was very young. I had seasons where I thought it was happening but things would change and the friendships would fade. I kept praying and waiting. I waited until I gave up hope that it would ever happen. I chose to love people and serve them no matter what I got in return. Then it happened. God connected and reconnected me with the people who would become the exact tribe I had prayed and cried for and dreamed of for all those years. When all hope was gone and waiting was all that remained that is God working became clear. God had been working that whole time. He had been putting things in motion, preparing my heart and teaching me to a good friend. I couldn’t see it, but looking back I can now.
The other day I was talking with a dear friend and she told me that I deserved all the good things in life. I said “Yes, but that doesn’t mean I am going to get them.” Does that kinda suck? Yes, yes it does but that doesn’t make it any less true. Life is not fair and you know what? God is still good, and the life I experience with Him is still SO good. His words are still true. His promises are still kept. He is still faithful. He is still worthy.
Though He slay me yet will I trust Him.
©Rachel Anne Redfield 2019