My sister and I were talking recently about how, when you finally reach a life stage you've spent years waiting for, you suddenly have so much more wisdom about the previous phase you were in. It's easy for me to look back now and say things like: If I'd known I was waiting for Chris all those years, I would have waited another decade.
First of all: this is true. I'd wait a lifetime for Chris. BUT, if you'd told me, when I was 26 and yearning to meet my husband, that I'd have to wait another decade for him, my heart would have ached with desperation.
When you're in the thick of a waiting season, it feels almost impossible to trust that the goodness of the next chapter will be worth more waiting.
Something that has always helped me when I feel stuck is this idea:
Every single thing we go through is a step toward our future.
Some steps will feel like we're moving backward, but they are still steps we have to take. Some will feel like we aren't moving at all, but we have to stick them out. We can't rush through the hard parts. We have to live them and feel them. They shape us into people who are ready for our futures. They will not be wasted.
That job interview you thought you'd nailed, but didn't get? It's a step.
That baby you thought you'd be rocking by now, but, instead, were met with another period? It's a step.
That first date that went so well, only to be met by heartbreak? It's a step.
The move you thought you'd make by now, but are still stuck in a city you don't like? It's a step.
These are hard, slow, painful steps, but, they must be taken. We have to press through them.
I recently heard a woman talk about her experience fostering kids. She said people always tell her they couldn't foster, because it would be too hard to give the babies back to their families. She replied: When did we decide the Lord only calls us to do easy things? Sometimes we are called to do hard things and that doesn't mean we don't do them. It means they will be hard, but we do them anyway.
I was so convicted. I want an easy button when I'm in hard seasons. I want an eject button when I'm stuck in the waiting. I don't want to take these steps! I just want to fast forward to the next chapter. But no. Because:
Every single thing we go through - the good, the bad, the hard - is a step toward our future.
This is, though, a reminder that there is always hope. There is always more to come. You will not be stuck here forever. Today is a step toward tomorrow. Give yourself grace. Rest when you need to rest. But never, ever, stop taking steps forward.