Many years ago when I was between recovering from a bad mistake, and going back to school, I interviewed for a position as road manager for a female country singer. (Hint...tiny body, big voice, big hair...and it was the late 70's.)
I remember my initial meeting with the artist's high rolling manager. He asked me to meet him for lunch at 3:00 in the afternoon after the crowds had died down because he "wouldn't wait in line to be born."
My interview was at the famous singer's Nashville home and went something like this: "So, if I were to call you in the middle of the night while we're out on the road because I've run out of the color fingernail polish I want, what would you do?"
What would I do? I had to think carefully about my words because everything that came to mind was not very nice. So I explained that, not to worry, as a visual artist and fine arts major I would be able to mix any color she wanted. After a few more vitally important questions she and her husband went into the next room to discuss whether or not I got the job. After they left the room, I immediately shook the manager's hand, told him I was no longer interested, and left before I heard their decision.
The biggest thing that stuck out in my mind from that experience all those years ago was not the eccentric (and perhaps a little spoiled?) singer, but her manager. I've never forgotten his comment, "I wouldn't wait in line to be born." Really?
I'm no good at waiting either. In fact, I can't even wait for all the kernels of popcorn to pop. By contract, my brother is the master of waiting. The way we married our spouses is a great example of that. When Doug was fresh out of college and working as a game warden, he was teaching a gun safety class one night when a cute sixteen-year-old girl came in to take the class. He decided right then and there, "I'm going to marry that girl one day." So he waited for her to grow up, asked her out when she turned nineteen, and married her four years later.
I, on the other hand, met my husband Clay at our 20th year high school reunion, decided to marry him three months later, then waited one more month because four sounded so much better than three. (We had a surprise wedding on Thanksgiving Day, with mixed reactions, but that's a whole other story.)
Three weeks ago I decided to take violin lessons. (And if one more person tells me that's great because it will keep my mind sharp, I will scream.) When I rented my violin I also picked up a book for beginners because I knew I couldn't wait until my first lesson a whole week later. However, by then my instructor had to undo some of the incorrect techniques I had already developed trying to teach myself. And even though it's only two weeks since my first lesson, I'm already frustrated that I'm not an accomplished violinist by now. I gave myself two weeks to struggle as a beginner and now I think I should sound like the violins on the radio.
We observe a great deal of waiting at Blue Monarch and that's one of the many reasons I so deeply admire the amazing women we serve. Many arrive without custody of their children. They have perhaps not seen them for weeks, months, or for some, even years. The separation, despite the circumstances, is very painful - especially when they are living at Blue Monarch surrounded by children who have been reunited with their mothers. This separation gets even more excruciating as they become stronger in their recovery, free from the drugs that previously numbed the pain, and begin to process how their choices have hurt their precious children along the way. Waiting for that pain to heal is hard!
So they wait. They wait for a chance to speak to their children on the phone - if and when the caregiver allows it. They wait for a court date to get the lengthy process of custody started. They wait for all the court dates that follow. They wait for the scheduled visits so they can have longer and longer time with their children. They carefully prepare their rooms for their children's arrival - counting the weeks, days, and even hours until the big day finally gets here.
But the waiting isn't over at that point. Their children often arrive very angry and difficult to handle. They wait for the time it takes to develop a new, healthier relationship with them. They patiently wait for their children to trust them again as they prove day after day that Mom will still be here in the morning and again when you get off the bus. They wait as their children adjust to them as the parent again while they gradually learn new parenting skills they never learned at home. They wait for those new methods to actually work, which can take lots and lots of frustrating repetition and consistency.
Let's face it. This journey is so, so hard.
The kind of waiting our residents endure is way beyond having to wait in line at a restaurant or wait to master a musical instrument - or wait until the store opens to get that fingernail polish you can't live without. Their waiting is so agonizing it often brings them to their knees in floods of tears and brokenness.
This is what I have learned through the years as I have watched these courageous women go through this process: These moms eventually discover that turning to God for strength is actually what makes the waiting easier. It works every single time.
It's no wonder that the Bible refers to waiting 160 times. After all, it's such a huge part of our walk with the Lord. But this is what our mothers have shown me: When we rely upon God for strength and trust His divine timing, the results are much, much sweeter. But more importantly, it gives us an opportunity to give the glory to God - and that's the part our moms do so beautifully.
Lord, thank you for showing our moms that no load is too heavy for you, no child is too broken for you, no wound is too deep for you - and the journey is always easier when you are at their side.