Finding Purpose in the Wait

We are all always waiting.

Waiting for marriage. Waiting for a job. Waiting for a friendship. Waiting for children. Waiting for healing. Waiting for heaven.

We are human. We have seasons of unmet desires while on this Earth, and so we wait.

Waiting is quite possibly my least favorite thing to do. My mother can attestever since I was a little girl, I’ve been impatient. Living in New York City only amplifies this. We all have places to be, things to do, people to see. With everything from food delivery to on-demand dry cleaning available with a quick tap on our phones, it’s safe to say we live in a culture of instant gratification. No one wants to wait. Our time is precious after all.

Whether I’m maneuvering through slow tourists in midtown, standing in line to buy my groceries at Trader Joe’s, or just trying to get my nail polish to dry faster, I hate to wait. But the area where I most struggle with waiting? Waiting on God.

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
— Isaiah 40:31

Scripture instructs us to wait. We’re told to stay dependent on God, and He will honor our waiting.

Even though I know waiting is good, I still wrestle with it. Just hurry up, God. If you’re going to grant me the desires of my heart, then can you make it happen sooner rather than later? That would be great, thanks.

Full disclosure: I’m waiting for a husband, a man who is God’s best for me to come into my life. I’ve been in love. I’ve been in a long-term relationship with someone I thought I could marry. And I’ve been hurt. So I’ve started to become hardened, thinking maybe I’ve missed my chance. Maybe my standards are too high. Maybe I’m meant to be single forever. I can’t help but think: If I have to experience this much pain and longing, is the wait really worth it?

Waiting feels passive. Weak. Helpless. This week I finally understood that waiting is in fact the complete opposite. It’s one of the strongest and most courageous choices you can make. I have Marian Jordan Ellis to thank for that realization.

I had the honor of meeting the amazing Marian on Wednesday, and, boy, did her words completely wreck me. She spoke with such truth and utter conviction about waiting, specifically during singleness. Marian is the founder of Redeemed Girl Ministries, and if you haven't heard her before, please check her out. I came home from an event she hosted feeling more encouraged and hopeful than I have in a very long time. I was so excited about what I’d heard that I couldn’t fall asleep until 1 a.m. I wanted to talk about the evening with all the women I know. I wanted to process and to pray. Most of all, I wanted to really do something.

Marian lit a fire in me, one that’s been dimmed for months because of heartache, doubt, and fear. I know The Lord is absolutely using this woman and her story to be a light to others.

She talked about how God redeemed her, and what she's learned in waiting. Marian got married in her mid-30s, after hosting countless bridal and baby showers for her friends. She knows what it feels like to deeply desire something that doesn’t seem to be happening, and to have glimpses of the relationship she so wanted only to have it taken away.

“I thought my life should look a certain way,” she said. “But God was holding out His hand and saying, ‘This is what I have for you in this season.’”

So Marian quit throwing pity parties for herself and decided to exchange her list for God’s. She allowed herself to feel pain, and then she began to live a life of purpose. She acknowledged the deepest desires of her heart. She prayed with reckless abandon. She found her true footing and assurance in Christ alone, and she made use of the gifts that He gave her. I’m so inspired by the ministry she created and the countless ways she continues to serves others.

She saw that waiting is an act of utmost faith. It means choosing every day to say, Jesus is better.

God wants us to have dreams and desiresand then give those up to Him. Our good desires, be it for marriage or family or mission, come from the Lord. He cares so much about what is in our hearts. We matter to Him. He asks that we wait for the appointed time in which He fulfills his promises to us. And I truly believe that if our desires are not in God’s plan for us, He will shape our hearts to want the path that he has instead.

I’ve been impatiently focused on my list of how my life “should” look, and comparing my life with the other women around me. Yet God is actually handing me His list with open arms. I can trust that it’s ultimately so much better than anything I envision for myself. I am ready to live a life of purpose and step into what the Lord is calling me to.  I want my life to look different as a woman who knows Him.

Marian’s words helped reignite my hope in Christ. I feel this restlessness in my soul, like I’m on the cusp of really using my gifts for His glory. Something is stirring in me, and it’s exciting. I also feel more confident now that God will bring the right man into my life at the right time. A man who loves Jesus more than he loves me, and who wants to run alongside me the race that has been set out for us. I’m beginning to pray boldly: Father, don’t give me what I want but give me your best.

The wait is worth it.