In my life right now, there are a handful of scenarios that are leaving me hanging. I am the poster child for limbo living these days.

Richard and I have been married for over a year-and-a-half, and we have yet to live together full-time. To say it’s been lonely and not at all what we expected married life to be would be an understatement.

I have an important relationship that is broken, what seems to be beyond repair. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about this, and there’s not a day that goes by that my heart doesn’t hurt over this.

Sara and Jack are away at college. I’m an empty-nester in that I can be home alone for days and days at a time, and then one or two or three or four people will come sweeping in for a weekend filling my nest back up again, just when I’ve become accustomed to living alone. It’s emotionally jarring, to say the least.

Transition upon transition. Change upon change. Limbo. In-between. Discomfort. Waiting and waiting and more waiting.

Waiting for a job transfer that hasn’t come.
Waiting for a response that never shoots through the phone.
Waiting for someone, anyone to come home. Then, oddly, waiting for them to leave again.

And in the midst of it all, the challenge is to be grateful for what is in front of me and to live as fully in the present moment as my heart and mind will allow me.

Part of me wishes I could nudge the hands of time ahead about five years, for many reasons.

I would love to be past the push-and-pull stage with Sara and Jack. I’d love to be either fully still parenting them or fully finished parenting them. But this in-between…this not knowing where they even are from day-to-day, let alone how they’re eating, how they’re sleeping, what they’re doing, how they’re feeling…and yet, the occasional call for help or advice or whatnot…and coming back home again and I’m not supposed to smother them and not supposed to care if they head out for the evening, blah blah blah. My mama’s heart struggles with this. But there is nothing I can do but love them, support them, pray for them, make sure they know I’m here for them, but ultimately wait for time to pass.

…transition…change…limbo…in-between…discomfort…waiting and waiting and more waiting…

And I would love to know if this broken relationship of mine will end in reconciliation. I have lost sleep over this. I have filled my journals over this. I have cried out to God over this. There are no signs of movement. After innumerable apologies and innumerable attempts at reaching out, the silence continues. On paper, there is no hope for restoration. But I don’t serve a hopeless God. So, I walk with a relational limp. I’m aware every day of this hole, of this thing that is so very wrong, of knowing I have not only done everything I can, I probably have done too much in my attempts to fix it. And so I realize over and over again, that there’s nothing more I can do but love from afar, pray every day, but ultimately wait for time to pass, knowing I have to live my life without them in it today and possibly forever.

…transition…change…limbo…in-between…discomfort…waiting and waiting and more waiting…

In my first marriage, I was the leader, self-appointed. I was the puppet-master, though I wouldn’t have admitted to it then. I was the orchestrator of our every move, though I was also a desperately-praying, Jesus-loving girl. That we even got married, on me. When we had our children, on me. When we moved, on me. I ran the show. Through coercion, manipulation, nagging. Again, all while loving Jesus and trying to follow him and begging him to work in my heart and in my life and in my marriage. I was a Christian control freak. (Yes, yes, I see the dichotomy.)

So, when my new husband and I got married and his job transfer hadn’t happened yet like we had assumed it would before the wedding day, and days turned into weeks turned into months and letters were sent out and we saw each other on weekends and maybe once or twice during the week, I knew I had a challenge before me.

I knew I could default into the old-Beth mode and take this thing into my own hands, if you know what I’m saying. Or, I could step back. And shut up. And pray.

Not once in over eighteen months did I tell Richard to quit his job, or even ask Richard to quit his job, or manipulate Richard into thinking quitting his job was his idea. Nope. I new-Beth’d it. I was quiet. (Don’t get me wrong, we talked and prayed about this all the time, but I was not demanding or nagging.)

I sat back and I let God and Richard do what they needed to do.

Fast forward to very recently when Richard said to me, “I’m done. I’m not going to do this anymore. I’m resigning.”

And my heart burst open, for a couple reasons. First, we were finally going to start our marriage, finally going to be living together every day in all the hardness and preciousness of daily living. But secondly, I hadn’t orchestrated this. It was a marriage miracle for me, truly; an emotional triumph. I can rest knowing that this was God’s and Richard’s doing and I hadn’t butted my way in.

I had been wondering along the way what the point was in our being apart, why the waiting, why God couldn’t just – you know – wave his magic wand and open up a position for my husband close to our home? (Yes, thirty years into my faith walk and I still sometimes think and pray like that.)

I may never know all the why’s. Because, I have to admit, it’s been very painful for me on many levels to walk this journey out, leaving me full of insecurities and doubts that I’ve had to wade through and give to God.

But here is what I do know now BECAUSE OF the waiting that I wouldn’t have known without it:
I am not the woman I once was, and this waiting season not just refined me, it proved it to me that Jesus is completing something in me, and that was worth the wait.

Today, sweet one, what are you waiting on? And what is God teaching you?

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! -Psalm 27:13-14


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