I see you.
I’ve watched you as you wait. Motherhood is a waiting game, you know—a game that seems to have no end, at least not as far as I can tell, and I’m a grandmother seven times now.
The waiting game starts with waiting to get pregnant, then the nine months of waiting to deliver. You wait and you count the days on the calendar; you waddle around WalMart, shopping for a car seat, and then you wait in line until you think your bladder will burst. It bursts, but it’s not your bladder; it’s time. You thought it would be over then, the waiting, but no; it’s just beginning.
Days, weeks and months go by as you wait to get the hang of this motherhood thing; you rub your weary eyes and wait for the baby to go back to sleep, then to sleep through the night. You wait and wonder if this child will ever get potty-trained or learn to walk.
Then there are the years of waiting for the school bus, soccer practice and report cards to show up in the mail. Before you know it, they’re teenagers and it gets more serious: you wait for them to make curfew, to pull in the driveway safely when they finally get their license. Maybe you wait for college application results, (please, Lord!) or drug test or pregnancy results. (Pulleease, Lord!)
Your prayers in the middle of the night don’t go unnoticed. You bite your nails and you watch and wait and pray for a good report and sometimes the waiting seems endless.
Later, you’ll wait (and wait) for a phone call and settle for a text.
I’ve waited too. I’ve waited with hope in my heart and with a pit in my stomach. Most of mothering is waiting for our prayers to be answered. I confess I didn’t always wait well. Maybe you can relate?
I wish I could tell you that one day the waiting will be over, but so far, that hasn’t been the case. My children are all adults with children of their own and I’m still waiting for some of my prayers for them to be answered, plus now there are all the prayers for my grandchildren. So many prayers. So much waiting.
It does get easier, though. I don’t get the pit in my stomach so much these days. I’ve stopped biting my nails (-ish.)
Lately, I’ve even started turning my phone off at night. You know how I learned to wait?
You’ll have to learn that way, too, I’m afraid, but hopefully it won’t take you as long as it did me. The waiting is inevitable but there’s a right way to do it. God’s way.
Here’s my Mother’s Day gift to you, whether you’re a new Mom or a Grandma:
Five ways to win the waiting game that is motherhood
- We’re to wait quietly. That doesn’t mean we’re not supposed to talk about it out loud; it’s more about having a quiet spirit on the inside. Psalm 62:1 says, “I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him.” It’s about having peace while we wait for Him to move on our behalf. The phrase “wait quietly” means to be dumb, or astonished. Maybe because we trust that God will do something astonishing?
- We’re to wait determinedly. Habakkuk was one example of this. He vowed to climb up the watch tower and station himself there until the Lord spoke to Him. And Isaiah speaks of posting watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem who pray day and night, continually, giving the Lord no rest until he completes his work. I like that! “Lord, I’m going to bombard you with prayers for my kid until you turn him around!” I think God likes it, too.
- We’re to wait eagerly. This kind of waiting isn’t passive, it’s active. The implication is one of waiting spiritedly, with enthusiasm and thirst. “We have waited for you eagerly; Your name, even Your memory, is the desire of our souls.” Is 26:8 NASB
- We’re to wait patiently. I think sometimes we act just like kids when on a road trip: “Are we there yet, huh, are we there yet? Are we, huh, huh; are we?!” To be patient means to bear provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship or pain, with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger or the like. Psalm 5:3 says, “Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait patiently.”
- We’re to wait confidently. Micah 7 speaks of a son despising his father and a daughter defying her mother—enemies living in the same household! But then Micah says, “But as for me, I will look to the Lord for help. I wait confidently for God to save me and my God will certainly hear me.”
Oh, friends, if motherhood feels like a never-ending cycle of waiting, that’s because it is. There will be times when you get tired of waiting and you’ll be tempted to grab hold of the reins… to help God out just a little because it seems like he’s preoccupied (maybe with someone else’s kids?) but don’t do it. Won’t work. Know this from experience.
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“Then Abraham waited patiently, [makrothymeo to be long-spirited, not to lose heart] and he received what God had promised.” Heb 6:15
One last piece of advice before I go and I’m preaching to myself here… when you get tired of waiting for the answer to your prayers and wonder what the Lord is waiting for, ask yourself this instead:
What is He waiting for me to do?
Chances are, He’s waiting to see if you’ll be long-spirited and not lose heart.
Cheering you on this Mother’s Day,