Thoughts On the Wait

Thoughts on Waiting

Seth and I had the biggest fight we’ve ever had last week, and I’m not exaggerating, a go-to-bed-angry fight.  And of all the things I learned in it, I learned that we don’t have marriage figured out. I mean, I knew that already, but it’s one thing to say you know it and another thing to act it out. I knew my time of mourning and pulling back after the funeral would have its consequences. I just didn’t know how to stop it.

Isn’t that how it goes? So often we know that what we’re doing isn’t going to end well, and we don’t know how to stop it. I laid in bed crying, and he couldn’t stop it. He was angry, and I couldn’t fix it.

Righteousness and peace kiss each other, so the next morning first thing, he said he was sorry. Neither of us ever settled with the others’ perspective, but there was peace. We know we’re on the same side. It turns out that marriages die little deaths throughout, and it has to be this way to experience all the resurrections. Every time we’re resurrected, I know my adoration for him deepens.

I’m assuming it’s my age, but I’m suddenly surrounded by the inexpressibly exhausted. We’re carrying on and can laugh while dining together, but when you pull the real ones off to the side and ask how they’re doing, the answer for both men and women can come so quickly to tears. Hardly any of us know what we’re doing here with all these kids. We don’t know how to keep these marriages together or how to live justice before God.

So many friends have shared how they’re not keeping it together, and I nod a big YES.

Don’t we all have tax-collector souls?

Aren’t we just begging that a friend would come over and pop the cork, hear our hearts and send us in the unwavering direction of truth? We keep finding ourselves begging forgiveness and screwing up at the same things over and over again. Is Jesus still my friend? I see so many eyes ask that question. If He were hearing me, why am I not acting better or why haven’t I found healing? And with these questions, the problem is then what to do with all the guilt and shame.

Maybe it’s just my scene of strugglers and stragglers, but I can list long how many of us have something in our lives that we just want to stop: a secret sin that we truly want gone, the agony of bitterness toward someone we don’t know how to forgive, the sickness in the child we’ve begged to be healed. What happens then to our perspective of God’s ears, his understanding and love when our earnest prayers are answered with silence.

It’s true that we rarely hear anyone speak of such things (especially from pulpits), not until the person is broken and at the edge of total unbelief do we hear it, how even our most highly esteemed elders have had seasons of questioning God’s love.

All the verses on waiting for the Lord, they all say it’s worth it. He hears. He renews strength. He is only hope.

Thoughts on the Wait

1. It’s not for nothing.

There’s a purpose in the waiting. Maybe waiting for His voice is like drawing a meditative bead on hope. We can preach in our sermons that hope is in God alone, but then watch your baby get sick and then see where it really is.

2. It builds faith.

Believing that he’ll answer builds faith; I’ve experienced it. If it’s faith, we’re dealing in unseen realms, and sometimes we forget that part. Things are not going to be as they seem. You know it’s all upside-down here, you cheek-turners and grace-bearers. Even if you’re believing by the hair of your chinny chin chin, by standing in one place, bead drawn on the horizon of last breath, our hope is coming. Every passing day that you wait in hope, whether you feel it or not, your faith is maturing.

3. You can’t work perfection into yourself, so chill out.

Often we think that next time we’re tempted to sin, we’ll just muster up all our acquired righteousness and beat that sin in the face. That’s not how it works. I have to re-believe against my shame, or against the fact of the matter that sicknesses aren’t yet cured, that Christ’s work is complete. That’s the hardest part for me. We are becoming, and Christ already is. When we lean into the the waiting and say that Christ is worth it, we often learn the power of resting in Christ Who Is. A heart rested in Christ is armored against heaping shame or burning anger and the sins that follow the lies therein.

4. Worship is oxygen for when you’re drowning in the wait.

Even if I never get better than I am right now, never stop losing my temper and struggling with overwhelming fears of becoming a moral failure, even then, Christ has still offered himself to me and for me. He stands outside of time for me. He is still worthy of my praise. I’ve threatened to never say another prayer again, said I’m not going to do it because I’m not so sure he hears me and obviously I don’t mean it when I ask for forgiveness or I wouldn’t keep messing up. But I look back at my story, my history with God, and even if He stopped now and left me with a life of spiritual silence, I would have lifetimes of praise to still raise up to Him. I was given more in the first 15 minutes of my faith than I’ll ever earn in a lifetime. No matter the strikes against me, I am going to worship God. That is how I fight the lies. That is how I know He still works in me. Play me a hymn, and you can wash the puddle of me up with a rag off the floor. While I’m waiting, while I prove to myself that I’m a short-sighted screw up, I refuse to stop singing.

My tax-collector soul can only set the table and wait for Him to open the door and pour the wine. Kingdom Come.

This post originally posted January of 2013. I have needed it this past week and figured maybe some of you could need it, too. Hey, I love you, church.

About me


Soul Practices, Part 1: An Introduction
January 17, 2017
When There’s a Lion in Your Yard
November 18, 2016
What do you taste?
November 08, 2016
Stay in It: The Un-Ministry of Love in the Time of Locker Room Talk
October 11, 2016
Dog Days
August 26, 2014
Be the child, then revolution.
June 02, 2014
You Inherit Me
May 21, 2014
You Have Not Come to Darkness
April 30, 2014
A Haines Home Companion: On Limbo
February 27, 2014


Lindsey Nobles
Reply April 7, 2014

Love this Amber -- While I’m waiting, while I prove to myself that I’m a short-sighted screw up, I refuse to stop singing.

    Reply April 7, 2014

    You know what's funny? A year and few months have gone by since I wrote this, and I would write it differently today. I am still short-sighted, and I am still a screw up, but I think I believe more today that our capacity for greatness actually grows in the wait.

    I have seen even more now that when we draw that bead on hope, we can move mountains. Waiting is an active thing. It's a complete different thing from being STUCK. I'm not sure I knew that as well a year ago.

    I love you so much, Lindsey!

      Diana Trautwein
      Reply April 7, 2014

      I love this response - it gives me hope. After 48 years, I still cannot write about 'how to have a successful marriage.' I have a good marriage, filled with many flaws, many of which begin and end with me. But I always have hope - and your distinction between waiting and being stuck? YES. Absolutely spot on. (Also glad that this was over a year old, actually. Sometimes it's good to let these things gestate.)

Bethany Bassett
Reply April 7, 2014

I remembered this post as soon as I came to the line about a sincere how are you? bringing we, the "inexpressibly exhausted," to tears. The weariness, the spiritual silence, the sense that no one else is going through these seasons... I relate to it all, every bit. Thank you for these good words of yours; I do need them.

kim whitaker
Reply April 7, 2014

Such reality and truth. SO proud of the amazing spirit-filled young woman you have become.

Amy L. Sullivan
Reply April 7, 2014

So glad you decided to repost for those of us who didn't read it the first time. Thanks, Amber.

Brandee Shafer
Reply April 7, 2014

Maybe you reposted this, without knowing it, for me. Now, post a marriage letter prompt for me? I could use that challenge before you head off to Haiti. :)

Reply April 7, 2014

This about sums it all up. "We are becoming, and Christ already is."

Reply April 7, 2014

This is the hymn that has been putting me into a puddle lately...

Reply April 7, 2014

I cried like crazy the first time I read this.

It was in the middle of a cry-every-time-I-worship phase, and I needed it so much.

Still gets to that place in my heart, and I am thankful.

Kim Murden
Reply April 8, 2014

Just so. And beautifully said.

Chris Malkemes
Reply April 8, 2014

Thank you for reposting. I loved this. The realness - the truth.This is why His dark red blood flowed down the grainy wooden grooves of the cross. He was willing to take upon Himself the sins of the world. My sins.
He’s alive and we can live also.

Reply April 9, 2014

Me and my husband have misunderstood and disagreement on things sometimes. We say we are sorry and we never go to bed mad. We always kiss each other good night and tell each other I love you. Because you never know what another day will bring or if you will see each other again. We never settle with each other thoughts but we have peace. We know we are on we are on the same side and that it will work out and everything will be good. We have God in are marriage and we pray about everything before we do something. We pray, talk, amd laugh while we dine together.

Reply April 11, 2014

I echo the others who said thanks for re-posting, as I didn't see it the first time. This is so where we are - in the waiting and it is ever so hard. I am persisting on worship anyway, which is more like the broken hallelujah, grateful though that God hears my heart's cry. My beloved on the other hand, shoots nails, jagged pieces of metal, and rocks in the angry words of frustration. There is no peace and yet I will continue to worship and pray that we learn whatever lesson Jesus wants us to learn while we wait.

Grace and continued peace to you. Grateful for the words God gives to you to share.

Reply April 11, 2014

I love the theme of surrender and dependency in this. I am struggling to believe God is listening even though when I look back at what He has done for me, I stand amazed. Thank you for being real and candid with your words.

Reply April 13, 2014

Brave and real. Such a breath of fresh air. Following your time in Haiti and praying!

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