Tuesday, December 24, 2013

advent & adoption: the art of waiting

As a child, when I would tell my mom that I wanted a new pair of jeans or new shoes, she would often respond with “Christmas is coming!” Even in July.  It didn’t matter what point we were in the year, Christmas was always coming. Every year we can count on the arrival of Christmas. We are always moving toward the baby born in Bethlehem.

In November we mailed off all our adoption paperwork. After 8 months of answering questions, filling out forms, mailing off for documents, we had completed all the work that goes into preparing the Dossier. We were done. We received word from our agency that our Dossier was officially complete and that we were ready to receive referrals. . We were placed on the Waiting List.    

Waiting is not my favorite. (In my defense, I have yet to meet anyone who says that waiting IS their favorite.) Don’t get me wrong, I CAN wait. But I’d rather not have to. Sometimes I get frustrated with waiting. Example: Yesterday Rob and I were driving and I wanted to watch a video on my phone; it was taking for-ev-er to load. Instead of patiently waiting for the video to load, I repeatedly pushed play hoping that somehow in the last 2.2 seconds it had magically completed the buffering process and would be ready for my viewing pleasure. Nope. Okay, 5 seconds  later? Nope. Dang.  I felt genuinely annoyed that the video wouldn’t load. The way in which I waited affected how much I actually enjoyed the video; when the video loaded and I was able to watch it, I didn’t really enjoy the video. This had nothing to do with the content, and everything to do with how I prepared.  

How then should we wait?

Throughout Scripture there are stories of people who had to wait years for God to fulfill a promise. In fact, that IS the entire story of Scripture---an entire PEOPLE waiting on the coming of the Messiah. Waiting to be saved, waiting for their King to arrive.  All those years of waiting were not wasted, God was still alive and at work in the lives of His people. Over and over again, God’s word reminds us us that God sustains us during the wait, that strength rises during the waiting, and that JOY is coming.

We have HOPE because we know that HE is coming.


For the last several weeks, churches around the world have been celebrating Advent. Advent literally means waiting. It is a season of preparing for the birth of a baby. Advent is our time-as individuals and as a community-to prepare for the arrival of our King.

Making it personal.

Advent 2013 has been unique in that I am preparing my heart both for the birth of Jesus and the adoption of our children. I realized at some point that I was faced with two ways of waiting:

Option One: Endure. Stay busy. Spend lots of time on Social Media so that I don’t have to think about my own life. Just count down and get through.

Option Two: Lean in. Learn and grown. Allow this process to change me, transform me. Rely on Jesus. Be present with the wait.

At the beginning of December, I wrote in my journal: I want my kids home where I can snuggle them, love them and teach them about Jesus. The thought of months upon month of unknown waiting feels hard, painful. But I knew this was part of it, and I knew it would be hard. I need to accept this reality and focus on how to WAIT WELL. Lord, what does it mean to wait well?

“Let me show you,” he whispered into the moment, inviting me to lean into him as I learn how to wait.

So here’s what I’ve been doing during Advent:

-          Create space for myself to feel and to think. The primary way I created space was by setting aside time each day to read THIS advent devotional. It has been a good way to slow down and focus on Jesus. Also, the reflection questions at the end of each day are excellent for creating mental and emotional space to process. I have loved journaling my way through Jesus’ family tree.  

-          Lean in to Jesus and allow myself to be known. I am really good at leaning in to others and allowing THEM to be known, or running to social media as a way to avoid thinking or feeling my own thoughts/emotions. I have been intentional about connecting with Jesus and my husband during this Advent season.  I have spent time with family and friends. I am trying to be aware of when and how I am using my phone, and if there is something that would be healthier to do instead.

The other day I told my mom: On the outside it doesn’t look like I am ready for Christmas, but in my heart this is the most ready I have ever been.

On the outside, I am not a mom but in my heart I am becoming one.

Waiting is ACTIVE. There is something in me that is coming ALIVE during the wait. Praying that as you wait, you will lean into Jesus. As you wait, you will grow in His strength and know how much He loves you.

The greatest gift ever given came at Christmastime.

Get ready, y’all,