When I was growing up, the bathroom at my parent's house had a slate hanging on the wall. It was from the 100 year-old building where our church met; the building was demolished about 18 years ago. The roof was tiled with these 1'X2' slates, a perfect canvas for our craft-minded neighbor to decorate. This certain slate had a sea-scape painted on it along with a quote from a book called Gift From The Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Yeah, it's chick-lit, but seeing the quote every day caused it to be etched into my mind. And I can recite without hesitation: "Patience is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beachÂ— waiting for a gift from the sea."
Like almost all people, I've struggled hard with patience.
Remember when you were younger, you thought, "wouldn't it be nice if we were older?" That's the story of my life. I've always looked young for my age, so I always anticipated getting another year under my belt. Everyone was like this, but when I was twelve, I wanted to be sixteen. When I was sixteen, it was eighteen. When I was eighteen, it was twenty-one. And I also liked to round up my age, just so I could feel legitimate. I just wanted what's next. Just a note, it's funny that at thirty, I finally feel comfortable where I'm at. But my patience issues aren't all about age.
When I graduated Bible college, I was ready to preach. That's why the whole reason I wanted to go into the ministry, not because I wanted to pastor people but because I liked to preach. Think about it: a half hour every week when I talk and everybody has to listen. Are you kidding? That's like getting paid to go to therapy! But out of school, I couldn't get a preaching job; I guess I looked too young. I kept waiting and waiting, through three different jobs, for the opportunity to live out my dream [fortunately God used this time to teach me that the ministry is more than just a homily]. Honestly, if I knew I would have to wait eight years to see that dream become a reality, I might have given up and moved onto a different profession. I am Veruca Salt: I want it now.
And that brings me to right now. 4am in a hospital room striving to be patient. I know we're most likely just beginning this waiting process for our baby, but my stoicism runs thin. But I have a some patience incentive. Now it's not about me getting what I want when I want it. I want so bad to see this little girl's face, to finally hold her in my arms. But I know that my need for instant gratification works against the health of our child. For that, my friends, I'll do all I can to get patient . . . as quickly as possible.
Phillipians 4:4-7 says it best:
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Now, I can wait. Thanks, God, for getting me here.