Grace in Waiting

Grace truly is amazing! We hear it in songs, read it in words of encouragement, and wear it on our jewelry. It is easily found in our times of joy, but can we find it in our times of waiting?

Twenty-plus years ago, I was a young newlywed with great expectations of becoming a mother. In my head and in my heart, I had it all planned. I would become pregnant right away, carry the child for nine months, and easily give birth—all with a continual, contagious smile. It would be a glorious time in my life. Little did I know that our best plans are not necessarily the plans that will ensue.

I can still remember exactly where my husband and I were when we decided that the time was right to start our family. We were outside of our little farmhouse that we were renting. He was changing the oil in my car and I was there giving him moral support—or actually—“talking his ear off!” It wasn’t the first time we discussed the possibility of starting a family, but itwasthe first time we both thought that it was the right time. I will never forget that day.

A couple of months went by after our decision to start a family, and I was optimistic that we would soon have good news to share. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. I was disappointed, but still hopeful that, the next month, we would be celebrating.

The next month came and went. Nothing. Several months followed, and brought the same results. I was very discouraged, to say the least. All the while, people would tell me that it was normal. I wondered, “How can this be normal?I should already be holding my baby!”

I was crushed when women I knew announced their pregnancies, and when others  placed their newborns in my arms—My heart broke into a million pieces. My eyes could not cry any more tears. I usually put on a good show and said, “I’m fine,” when asked how I was doing. But deep down, I knew it was just a show. I was not fine. I hated the waiting. I would cry out to God, “Why don’t I have a baby yet? Am I not meant to be a mother?”

I could not understand why this was happening. I resigned myself to the thought, “I guess it’s just not meant to be.” However, my heavenly Father had a different plan, and He reminded me to rely on Him. Proverbs 3:5 encouraged me, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding” (NKJV). I knew He was with me, and that was comforting.

We had a wonderful church family, and many people offered their prayers and words of encouragement for us. I was so grateful for their love. It kept me going, even through times of weakness. The Bible says, in Second Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (NKJV). You see, God’s grace came in the loving words of others.

During our time of waiting, an evangelist who regularly preached in our church came to town. We did not know him, and he did not know our situation. It was a rainy Friday night, and it was a struggle for us to get there. My husband had worked a twelve-hour day in the bad weather, and church was the last place he wanted to be. Reluctantly, he did show up—muddy boots and all.

We were sitting about halfway back in the large sanctuary, when the evangelist—in the middle of his sermon—suddenly stopped. He looked directly at my husband, and told him to stand in the aisle. He spoke to him about several things that only God would know, because the preacher had no knowledge of us or our situation. The one thing he said that is seared into our memories is that we had been struggling with something, and that God was doing a great work. He prophesied that when he returned in a month, we would have a good report.

That night, we heard God’s grace in the loving words of another, and the next month, when he returned, we were able to tell him that we were expecting!

The first few months of pregnancy were a blur of elation, sickness, and gratitude. It was surreal. All that time waiting to become pregnant was suddenly over, and now I found myself in a new season. I felt as if time would just fly by. I was overflowing with joy in anticipation of meeting our baby, and I thought that nothing could slow that down!

The second trimester brought many tests, not just physically but also emotionally and spiritually. One came in the form of a blood test. It was a routine test that screened for a few different “abnormalities” or diseases. I had the tests run and thought nothing more about them, until one afternoon a week or so later. The doctor called to let me know that the results revealed that my baby had an elevated risk for having Down’s Syndrome, and she informed me of my options. I let her know there were no “options,” and that we would carry the baby.

I remember hanging up the phone and feeling somewhat numb. The strength that I felt while telling my doctor that I was going to keep my baby now seemed to disappear. I suddenly felt defeated, frightened, and weak. I confided in a friend at the pediatrician’s office where I worked, and she did what she knew to do—she prayed! She prayed among the parents and children in the waiting area. Her prayer helped me pull it together, and I made it through the rest of my work day.

It was only by God’s grace that I could. I knew that He was there with me, but somehow, I still felt alone. My drive home that afternoon seemed extra long. When my husband returned from work, I let him know what the doctor had said. He then did what he knew to do—he prayed! He laid his hands on my pregnant belly and prayed a prayer of faith, believing that God was doing a great work. He asked the Lord to protect our child, whom He had given us, and to make our baby “so smart.” He asked for peace during our time of waiting and for grace to carry us through. My husband did this every night through the course of my pregnancy.

Once again, I found grace in the loving words of another. God brought us comfort in knowing that He was the one in control. I was reminded by Isaiah 40:31 that “they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (KJV). Though our waiting was not over, I knew that we were not in it alone. That brought us much comfort, and made the next few months a little easier to get through.

My third trimester was filled with unexpected peace. Every kick I felt and every pound I gained brought more joy and less fear. I not only believed that God was protecting, forming, and molding my baby—I knewit. God’s grace can turn thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear, and doubt into strength, boldness, and unshakeable faith.

The day came for our baby to be born. It was a day that I had dreamed about for a very long time. It was filled with anticipation, a little anxiety—and yes—more waiting. But, seventeen hours later, after concerns of high blood pressure and fetal distress, and amid voices and beeping machines, I heard the most beautiful sound in the world: the cry of my perfectly healthy daughter!

As I held Rachael for the first time and our eyes met, I could seethe grace of God in that perfect little six-pound-two-ounce bundle of joy. Everything that He spoke to me or whispered into my spirit during my time of waiting came to pass. He protected, molded, and shaped her, and He gave us peace and comfort because He never left us.

 The story does not end there. I have been privileged to witness God’s perfect grace working in Rachael’s life for the past nineteen years. When she was in kindergarten and first grade, she would come home and tell us about her day. I would ask her about some of the fun things she did, and she would tell me how she asked her friends if Jesus was in their hearts. If they said, “No” or “I don’t know,” she would tell them, “OK, just say what I say, and He’ll be in your heart, too!”

From a very young age, God has given Rachael boldness and wisdom beyond her years. In the third grade, her teachers noticed that she had a very good memory and could recall many details in the stories they read. She was evaluated and formally identified as “gifted.” Every time I think about that I am reminded of how God turned a seemingly negative blood test result into something so miraculous! It fills me with joy! To this day, as I watch my “baby girl” in the church choir on stage worshipping the Lord, I am in awe of His perfect love for her and for me. He has given me a beautiful gift, one that was not deserved or earned. She was definitely worth the wait!

Is there grace in waiting? Absolutely. Open your senses to experience all that God has for you, to lead you through your time of waiting no matter how long it may be. His grace is there for you to see, hear, and touch. It is all around. May you experience all that God has for you. His timing is perfect, and His gift is worth the wait.

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