When I was newly married, I couldn’t wait to be a mom. I loved the idea of having a family and building a life together. Shortly after marriage, my husband and I started a family. And though I’d been around babies my entire life through my mom’s home daycare, it was a shock of epic proportions. Epic, sisters.
Pre-child, my parenting plan was: Take Care of Child = Child Will Love Me = Lovely Life.
Post-child, it looked more like: Baby Won’t Stop Crying = Child Hates Me = Unfit for Parenting.
In that first year with my daughter, I struggled with even the tiniest of tasks. Making bottles took hours of preparation. Packing a diaper bag required a check list that was longer than my list of facebook friends. And connecting with my daughter came to mean that she clung to me as I slept while feeding her rather than the “instant” connection that all of my friends talked about.
Secretly, I didn’t like being a mom. I felt like a total failure. And, I just wanted someone to tell me what I needed to do to succeed.
Today, it’s hard to remember feeling that way. I’m so enamored of my kids at this point, I’m pretty sure they’ll be the ones falling asleep as I cling to them those last few months before college.
And, as they’ve grown a little, and I’ve ventured into ministry, I’ve found that serving God can often feel the same way.
You start a ministry, or join one, that you are excited about. You envision the lovely result of your hard work and commitment. You think of all the many ways it will grow and expand to be more than you’d ever hoped. Then, you put all your plans to work.
But, it doesn’t happen the way you planned.
In fact, it’s really tough. Filled with loooong periods of time when you feel like you are waiting for years. (Oh wait, you often do wait for years!)
And, while you are in wait mode, God sharpens you with challenges that not only did you not see coming, but you are quite certain may kill you. As he hones, you try not to drone. He works to prepare you, while you struggle to see how what you are going through could possibly end well.
And yet, it does. Even better than the vision you had.
Then, when you feel completely ready . . .
You wait some more.
I love the testimony in Isaiah 49:1-2:
“Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver.”
Isaiah knew that God’s work began in him before he was born. He knew that God placed a special calling on his life, and worked on him until he was ready. God “hid” him, protected him, as He worked to refine him into an object that he could use. Then, he concealed Isaiah in his quiver until it was time for him to be used.
You too, must be sharpened, polished, and ready to serve before God can use you. Whether that be in the young part of motherhood (talk about sharpening!) so that you will be ready to raise godly men and women, or in a ministry you feel called to work in.
Don’t hate the wait.
Because it is in the wait, that God is closest to you. Stay on the task before you, and develop your relationship with Him. Don’t lose sight of the fact that He is using you, detailing you, getting you ready for the next step. Molding you into the best form you can take, so that when you are ready, He can pull you from His quiver, aim, and make a direct hit. At the target He has prepared for you all along.