“Those are dead. All the leaves fell off. Can I just chuck them over the wall?”
I was glaring at three bare stalks sticking up in the far corner of our backyard. My dirt and grass-flecked hubby walked by, weed-eater in hand. The late-April evening weather was perfect, and we were outside doing yard work while the boys ran around like trod-upon fire ants.
“We just planted them. Give it time.” Patient Hubby noted, buzzing the grass along the flower bed border.
Our house backs up to the six-foot wall spanning the south side of our neighborhood, and on the other side of the wall is overgrown nature: trees, weeds, and rarely mowed grass. It’s a convenient area to toss dead bushes and expired plants. The small trees had been doing well, but we had to relocate them in order to paint the back wall a few weeks prior. Trev had shoved them in the dirt a dozen feet from their original spot, and I watched over a period of days as healthy emerald leaves curled into yellowed brown and fell off.
Give it time? They’re just going to die.
Days passed, two weeks marched into three, and I was caught up in the boys’ school activities, work, field trips, and a friend’s weekend visit. Sunrises and sunsets blurred golden-pink, into each other and the future. And one day, as I kicked the soccer ball around for Jedi and watched Cole and Chase play a two-man game of baseball, I noticed the triple stalks.
Topped with shiny green leaves and sunlight. Emerald again. Flourishing.
Worth the wait.
Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord! ~ Psalm 27:14
It’s possibly the most difficult aspect of being a Christ-follower. Laying aside self and trusting Jesus. Waiting and trusting while walking in faith. Believing God’s promises in His Word, trusting in His goodness despite setbacks, and knowing His plans for our lives are far better than our own.
Five years ago God gave me a story to write, and I went into it blind, unsure. I mumbled a prayer, again and again as I struggled to piece together who and what He wanted me to write about.
“Lord, use the talent You gave me to bring honor and glory to You alone.”
Then I wrote.
The past couple years, God called me to wait. Wait on what my heart beats about…my fiction writing. I had finished the story He gave me, but instead He directed me to blog, read books about the craft of writing, connect with other Christian writers on a similar journey, and learn to write better.
Most importantly, to be in His Word so I could know Him more.
I prayed, prayed, and prayed about the story God gave – the characters he drove into my heart and head – knowing they were meant for something beyond me. Waiting. In the midst of my impatience and uncertainty, I clung to the verse God gave me shortly after finishing the first draft in 2009.
“Your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” ~ 1 Corinthians 2:5
In early May, I received some amazing, awesome news. A writing contest in which I’d entered my fiction book announced their semi-final list.
Is that…my name? Mine?
I freely admit to five seconds of out-of-control screaming when I saw the message. I had to convince Cole and Chase that my screeching cry was indeed a happy one. It’s an honor and a privilege to be on the list of semi-finalists for the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Genesis Contest, but greater than my excitement was the realization that the weight of the wait was worth it. He had strengthened my heart through the waiting and through the uncertainty.
Are you waiting on a promise from God? Trust Him. He will strengthen your heart.
Throwing God’s promises over the back wall when they’re not growing as you think they should may seem an easier, more sensible solution – but don’t do it. Trust Him. Wait. He can use the weight of the wait to grow your faith and draw you closer to Him – the very best place to be.
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. ~ Psalm 37:7