Guest Posts, Trusting God, Waiting

Wait: The Ache of the Waiting Room

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

I’m so excited to share a little from Jennifer Dukes Lee today! I recently read her newest book, It’s All Under Control, and it has ministered to my heart. Jennifer has a way of speaking real, and being encouraging. A combination I love.

I am traveling today, but I plan to check in and comment and visit as I’m able to this week. Thanks for your patience!

Please welcome—Jennifer Dukes Lee

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This is the waiting room. Welcome. You know this place, don’t you? When we are in the waiting room, we eventually have to make this choice: We can either distance ourselves from God or we can trust him in the wait.

This truth became so evident to me over the last three years, a season when I’ve logged many hours in waiting rooms—literal ones. Waiting for a friend when she had a cancerous lump removed. Waiting for our daughter Anna when she underwent procedures for a digestive problem. Waiting for Dad when he had a pacemaker put in, and then more waiting when he had part of his right leg amputated.

I’ve found that waiting rooms everywhere are a lot alike. An interior decorator has done what he or she could to make the place inviting. Chairs are upholstered in trendy colors. Fake greenery has been arranged in matchy-matchy ceramic pots.

Meanwhile, the one you love is on an operating table. Your inner “fixer” is paralyzed. Unless you happen to have a degree in neurosurgery or anesthesiology, you are clearly not needed. You are, instead, stuck—feeling rather powerless—in the waiting room. If you’re lucky, a digital board identifies your loved one by a number and provides periodic status reports.

My family of origin tends to be the obnoxiously loud ones in the waiting room. Humor has always been a coping mechanism for us. I suppose there could be worse things than laughing through hard times.

Our stories in the waiting room kept us sane during one of Dad’s recent surgeries. Every so often, one of us would step out of our circle, somber faced, to check the digital board. A sister would whisper, “Still in surgery.” We’d pause, and then we’d all start in again. Here in the waiting room, it was about stories, connection, laughter. It was about family.

There was no pushing, only pausing.

Oddly, these moments, when I sat miles away from the answers I wanted, were an unexpected gift because they caused me to consider the practice of being still. I did not flit or fly. I was a bird on a wire, wings tucked in, waiting for hope to appear, inching up from the horizon.

Waiting has compelled me to understand that I’m not in charge of the world and that my notions of control are all an illusion anyway. Waiting can feel like a weakness, especially in a culture that places a high value on self-sufficiency and “making things happen.” Waiting is the opposite of sufficiency, and it leaves me exposed and armorless.

I step into so much of my life wearing armor: The armor of ambition. The armor of good performances. The armor of masks. The armor of control. The armor of trying harder.

There is no armoring up when you’re waiting. You simply wait, stripped down, vulnerable before your struggle. You can fix nothing. You are not in charge now—not that you ever were—but the armor you wear on a typical day gave you a false sense of security. You finally realize there shall be no pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. This can be a very beautiful thing. When you pause—instead of push—you do all the things that matter most: You pray. You read Scripture. You sit quietly—or laugh loudly, if that’s more your style—with friends and family. You practice allowing yourself to be still.

In the quietness of a hospital waiting room, I would often turn inward and whisper to my Savior, “How would we get through this without you, Jesus?” Letting down your faux armor causes you to more carefully inspect your life and discover how incredible it is to belong to Jesus: Where, oh where, would we be without Jesus?

Where are you today, friend? Where, oh where, are you?

Perhaps you are in a waiting room of some kind too. Perhaps you wish to act instead of wait. You want to take matters into your own hands but haven’t a clue how—or even if you should.

What are you waiting for? The answer to your financial distress? A baby to come? A resolution to a relational conflict? The phone to ring? The wound to heal? The last twenty pounds to drop? That moment when it’s your chance to finally celebrate?

You ask good questions for which there are no immediate answers: Why is this opportunity slipping through my fingers? How am I going to go on now that he’s gone?

Maybe today you actually are reading these words in a hospital waiting room while someone you love is in the operating room, and your prayers seem to dissolve into antiseptic air as you cry out silently: Are you here, God?

Though he may be silent, God has not abandoned you. He is working while you wait.

The work that God does in the waiting room often proves more important than the end result. Here he will give you clarity for what he wants you to do when the wait is over. Here he will draw near to you. Here you will get in touch with your essential self, the one who wasn’t made to wear all that armor.

This is the greatest gift of the waiting room. Lean in close, for when you least expect it, you will sense the presence of Jesus in ways you never could have before.

What about you? What lessons have you learned in the waiting room? How do you stay focused when God doesn’t seem to be answering your questions? 

***All photos are the property of Jennifer Dukes Lee

Click to Tweet: I was a bird on a wire, wings tucked in, waiting for hope to appear, inching up from the horizon

I’m linking up with #RaRaLinkup, #TellHisStory, and Holley Gerth

BIO: Jennifer Dukes Lee is the wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, and an author. She loves queso and singing too loudly to songs with great harmony. Once upon a time, she didn’t believe in Jesus. Now, He’s her CEO. Jennifer’s newest book, It’s All Under Control, and a  companion Bible study, released on September 18th. This is a book for every woman who is hanging on tight and trying to get each day right―yet finding that life often feels out of control and chaotic.

Adapted from It’s All under Control: A Journey of Letting Go, Hanging On, and Finding a Peace You Almost Forgot Was Possible by Jennifer Dukes Lee, releasing this fall from Tyndale House Publishers.

Find It’s All Under Control on Amazon

 

 

There are still a few days left to enter the Gleam Book Giveaway celebrating the release of It’s All Under Control. Jennifer and her publisher, Tyndale, are giving away 50 copies of the book in celebration of its release! Enter below to win. Giveaway ends September 30. Winners will be notified by Tyndale House Publishers. Email subscribers can click here to enter.

It’s All Under Control 50 Book Giveaway

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31 thoughts on “Wait: The Ache of the Waiting Room”

  1. Great post.

    In working on the construction I shall likely never finish in this life, my next task is to build the ribs for the wing; light wooden frames that will form the ‘lifting’ aerofoil shape of the wing when covered with fabric. There are about 40 of the wee buggers.

    They are assembled in a rigid formwork, from strips of spruce about the diameter of a pencil (though they are square), with the joints sheathed in small pieces of thin plywood, and glued with staples to hold the plywood plates into place.

    Are you still with me? Oh, jolly good!

    When the completed – glued and stapled – rib is removed from the form, it’s not ready for use; the glue has to dry.

    And thus, the wait. The frame looks static, but invisibly the chemical bonds reach out and join hands to make a joint of adhesive that is stronger than the wood itself.

    But it takes times.

    And we wait.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Andrew, I love that you are still working on completing your aeroplane. This speaks so much to who you are. It’s interesting to hear the process for building the wing of the plane. And how the waiting comes in the unavoidable time it takes for the glue to dry.

      So much of life entails waiting for things we simply can’t hurry, doesn’t it? Thank you for the reminder that strength is often the result of waiting. Beautiful illustration, my friend. I continue to pray for you and Barb.

      Like

  2. Hey Jennifer, I just love your writing. I had wondered (nervously) if this post was an excerpt from your new book, and now that I realize it is, I have to go out and buy it! I don’t even read books – hardly. (Shh…don’t tell.) But I may have to get yours for my bedside anyway. 🙂 What I love about this post is mostly everything, but I particularly love the glimpses into your family’s life. I love how you were all there for your dad, twice. I hope my kids will be there for me like that. I love how you all laugh together as older siblings. And those pictures are your property? I’m guessing you took them yourself – they are lovely! They soothed my soul as I read your post. Nice touch. What a great read. Thank you for sharing. Stopping over from the #raralinkup).

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I agree 100 percent! There is no greater test to my faith than the test of waiting, and it’s clearly a control thing. When I’m waiting, I’m not in the driver’s seat, and this is an area I continually turn over to God, but still have much to learn.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Michele, there’s something in me that chafes at waiting too. But God . .. His ways and timing for everything is perfect, isn’t it? When the waiting is for things beyond our control, we must choose how we will respond. With patience and yieldedness or with impatience. I’ve done both, and I’m learning that leaning into the Father in waiting seasons is the more fruitful way to wait. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Love this, Jeanne. Thanks for sharing Jennifer’s post. I have so many favorite quotes I could share, but I will share only one. “My family of origin tends to be the obnoxiously loud ones in the waiting room. Humor has always been a coping mechanism for us.” It’s true for my family too. When I become impatient in the wait, I look back and remind myself of all I’ve gained in the past waiting. And that, I would not trade for anything in this world.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Gail, humor in the hard times is a gift. How beautiful that your family can find that when you’re in waiting seasons, or difficult times. There truly is much that can be gained in the waiting, isn’t there? Thank you so much for sharing here.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jennifer’s chapter on waiting impacted me greatly. As I described last week and again this week, I was going through my own time of waiting. I needed her reminders of being still and just being. Not grabbing my armor to try to fix something that God is already working on.

    I hope your time of travel is refreshing and fun! Enjoy!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mary, God does have ways of placing us in waiting times that we can do nothing but . . . wait. I have seen that, int hose times, He’s always with me. And He grows my character when I learn to trust Him and not fix things. I loved this chapter too. May God continue to strengthen you and guide you in your waiting time.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Jeanne and Jennifer, there is so much wonderful truth here, but this really grabbed me this morning: “The work that God does in the waiting room often proves more important than the end result.” I can attest to this, although I normally don’t see it until after the fact. I’ve been in a lot of waiting rooms over the years, both literal and figurative, and I still don’t like them at all. But without them, my life wouldn’t look anything like it does now, and that would be really sad. I’m thankful that God always gives us what we need, especially when what we need is more of Him.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lois, I loved that too. God seems to be so much more about the growth in the journey than in the end result, doesn’t He? I love the insight you bring to this conversation. I’m with you . . . thankful God meets us in the waiting times, gives us what we need, and especially gives us more of Himself.

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  7. Wonderful truths on waiting. I am currently waiting on healing from one surgery and preparing for the next. Not life or death surgery but surgery to help me balance better from crooked bones in my feet. Sitting and waiting on healing is as hard as waiting on what may or may not happen during surgery. But God is always with us and helps us wait.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish you all the best Anita and I pray your faith will be strengthened as you wait for what has been promised. So many well-meaning people like to put us off by telling us that maybe it is not God’s will to heal you. But if this was the case, he would have never published 1Peter 2:24 in his word, so be encouraged that it will come!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Awww, Anita. Waiting for surgeries, for healing, can be wearying. I am praying for you today as you sit in the figurative waiting room for surgery and healing for your bones. May He be your strength in this season.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree, times of waiting can be so hard. It really feels out of control as we often have no control over the outcome or how quickly the waiting is going to end. It is often when God does some of his greatest work though as we learn to rely on him and not on ourselves. Thanks for sharing this excerpt, Jeanne! I really love Jennifer’s book!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lesley, you’re so right. It’s often in the waiting seasons when God does His best work. I think back over those seasons in my life, and see (in hindsight) how He worked in my heart and in my life. He has a way of revealing more of Himself to us when we’re waiting, doesn’t He? I’m so glad you’re enjoying Jennifer’s book!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Reblogged this on Light-bites For Your Heart and commented:
    Have you ever heard of a re:reblog? This is a third-hand post, because the lovely Jeanne Takenaka posted this on her site, but it is written by somebody else. But I love it so much and feel that you will too, that I simply had to ‘reblog the reblog.’

    I think the whole ‘prophesies are conditional’ comment that pastors often make, have me feeling that I must DO SOMETHING to help make those precious promises come to pass and I often feel I’ve missed the promise because I am not doing enough.

    So it’s articles like these that help give me peace again, by realising that if I’m daily communing with God and studying the word as much as I can, he will guide me to ‘do the doing’and ‘do the stepping out in faith’ when the time is right.

    Be blessed! 🙂

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  10. Dear Jeanne, thank you for sharing these words from Jennifer. I’m seeing her book everywhere and it looks to be a truly worthy read.

    Waiting rooms? I’ve been in more than I could count. And oh there are lessons that flow from those experiences, lessons of trust and grace and grit.

    Whether it’s a real life room or a room where our emotions and situations dwell, God is there. Always. And He does whisper ‘peace.’

    But that doesn’t mean it’s easy …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Linda, I think you would really enjoy this book. Jus’ sayin’. Yes, there are all sorts of waiting rooms, aren’t there, Linda? There are lots of lessons that come from seasons in the waiting rooms of life. I’m so, so thankful God is always with us, regardless of the waiting room we’re in.

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    1. Trudy, I can’t say it enough. I SO enjoyed this book. God really spoke to. me through it. Waiting IS so hard. I’m thankful God doesn’t waste the waiting times. And that He works in the midst of those seasons. Sending you love and hugs back, friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Jeanne,
    I am not good at waiting ….at all. But, God knows that I needed to grow in that area and so He has presented me with many opportunities to “get it straight” if you will. I have loved Jennifer’s book and it’s been fun to be on the launch team. I always love her stories – she IS a master story teller. Good to be at your place again!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bev, waiting is NOT my super power. But, God knows how to get us where we need to be so we learn to lean on Him more, doesn’t He? I’ve definitely walked through some of those seasons of waiting and learning…and re-learning some life lessons.

      I’ve enjoyed being a part of this launch team too. Jennifer IS a master story teller! I’m so glad you visited, friend!

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