What is it like to wait for God to change our circumstances? What is it that keeps us from waiting well?
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t waiting. As a teenager, I waited for deliverance from the lies of cutting and depression. As a daughter, I waited for my mother to come back into my life for good. As a mother, I waited to shed the lies of “not good enough.” As a patient, I waited for the results to show the microadenoma on my pituitary gland was benign.
I used to wonder why God couldn’t just take it all away. I was tired of being the girl with “all the baggage.” No wonder I couldn’t keep a relationship strong and healthy. No wonder I didn’t believe I could be a good mom or a good wife. I wanted the baggage to disappear so that someone would love me just the way I was. All of it.
What I learned in the waiting was that God wasn’t trying to teach me a lesson; He wanted me to know he was there, beside me, no matter what I was going through. It took me years to understand this.
When I understood God loved me in spite of it all, I met my husband. He loves me for everything I was, am, and will be. And the baggage is not given a label in our marriage. We call it experience.
Now, we wait together.
In Still Waiting: Hope for When God Doesn’t Give You What You Want Ann Swindell explores why God wants us to wait well by chronicling her own story in the wait for healing from an incurable condition. She compares her story to that of Sarah, the bleeding woman of the Bible.
There was a choice before me, it seemed,… it was the choice between my own strength and the strength of Christ.
Through these pages, I learned about trichotillomania – a compulsive condition where a person pulls out their hair. I learned about its stronghold on the human spirit and its persistence in the face of prayer. Anyone who has prayed for a change in circumstance can relate.
Ann’s story is eloquently written, turning the reader back to Jesus on every page. Her writing is clear and not overwrought with imagery or metaphor. I expected because she held an MFA in creative non-fiction writing that her style would be complex. However, the book was easy to read, and though it often felt repetitive, that was the point. She wrote out the many ways God still loves us right where we are, with all we have.
When we have begged and demanded from god all that we can, and when he still doesn’t change our situation, we’re left with a choice: we can choose offense with him, or we can choose obedience.
This is what it is to wait well.
I respected that Ann recognized her privilege in wanting this condition to cease, to be lifted from her body. She is gentle in her approach and, throughout the book, her voice doesn’t change. It’s as if the reader is sitting with her, having coffee in a cafe, discussing a part of her life which has not been voiced until now.
I felt honored to listen, to read, to take a sip of coffee and let a tear roll down my cheek as I realized she made me – her reader – a friend.
And while I wait for release from my own struggles, Still Waiting drives hope into my life. It takes me by the hand and says, me too.
Ann Swindell is an author and a speaker who has written for CT Women, Relevant, Deeply Rooted, Darling, the Gospel Coalition, and (in)courage. She holds an MA in writing and an MFA in creative nonfiction writing, and she makes her home in the Midwest with her husband and daughter. Connect with her online at annswindell.com.
“Bad Hair Life” is a documentary on trichotillomania.
Purchase Still Waiting here: Ann Swindell
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Book goes on sale in stores on April 4, 2017.
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