Eighteen years ago today, I was waiting on the very edge of the biggest change of my whole life. My belly was round, my ankles swollen, my blood pressure all over the place; and I was one day away from pushing out my firstborn.
We went to bed on December 11, 2002, knowing that the next day our son would be born. I couldn’t sleep. Who could? I was uncomfortable, nervous, and excited, and when morning finally dawned we were already on the way to the hospital, an empty car seat hooked into the back of our Kia Spectra. We left our apartment that morning a couple, knowing we would come back a family.
I think there’s something really unique about waiting for your first child. There’s so much unknown. So much hope and fear. And when my son was born, swaddled in my arms, I held him with the wonder of a new mother at Christmastime and I thought of Mary, giving birth in such different circumstances, waiting for not just the gift of a child but for the hope of the whole world.
That little boy who filled me with so much unspeakable love and joy eighteen years ago is a senior in high school now. He is taller than I am, and smarter too, but don’t tell him I said so. He is a great kid on the cusp of adulthood, and I’m proud to be his mom.
I am supposed to be writing about waiting, and all day I’ve just been thinking of those long, uncomfortable days waiting for my son to be born, waiting to go home from the hospital, waiting through midnight feedings, waiting for that first smile, first tooth, first word. I fear I spent too much of my firstborn’s babyhood waiting for what would come next instead of enjoying who he was in each moment. And I think there’s a lesson to be learned from this.
We spend Advent waiting for the celebration that comes on Christmas, but I hope we don’t wish away the waiting and miss what God has for us here, on December 11th, in the middle of the season. Today, as we wait, God wants to teach us and meet our needs. So many passages that talk about waiting also talk about taking refuge in God, about trusting Him. Faith sees more in waiting than just a blank space. Faith knows that God has a plan, that He is always at work. Faith finds wonder in the midst of waiting.
It’s so easy to become impatient when we are in a season of waiting, but if we can endure and keep our eyes on God, finding our refuge and hope in Him, I think we will discover that there is so much in the waiting and not just at the end of it. That’s why we take these moments during Advent to reflect, to quiet our souls before God, because in the deliberate stillness we learn again that He is God.
My son waits eagerly for his future– graduation, college, and whatever else lies ahead. But I am waiting in wonder still as I look at this tall young man who has brought so much joy and laughter and blessing to our home in the last eighteen years.
There are treasures to be found in the waiting.
Lord God, help us not to wish away the waiting. Show us what You want us to know, and teach us to be still and to keep on seeking You. We can’t wait to see You face to face on day, O God. Creation groans, and we do too. But we know that all You do has a purpose. Teach us to find the wonder in the waiting.
What wonders do you see today as you look around you? What gifts has God given you during seasons of waiting?