Wait and see, but do the next thing

In a conversation the other day, my friend said, “We’ll just have to wait and see.”  When she said that, I realized how much of my life hinges on those words right now.  It’s no secret anymore that we are, and have been for over a year, praying for a door to open for a new place of ministry.  So our whole mindset for the past 14 months has been “wait and see” just because we have no idea when God will open a door or where that door will lead.  We hold all commitments and future plans very loosely right now, because we know we will go as soon as the door opens.

As different possibilities arise, it is almost impossible not to start considering and even dreaming of what our life would be like if that door opened.  It can be a crazy roller-coaster ride, waiting for God to open a door after He’s told us to watch for one.  If we’re not careful, we can emotionally invest in a church or a town or a situation, then be disappointed (devastated at times) time and time again as they don’t open up.  It can also be very draining.  It is easy to get caught up in the waiting, to be immersed in it, to the point that our focus is only on the fact that we’re waiting, while everyday life just kind of coasts on by in a cloudy fog.

If that were the only “wait and see” area of my life right now, it would be hard enough.  But then there are Clay’s health issues.  Wait and see what the doctor says.  Wait and see what the test shows.  Wait and see what the surgeon says.  Wait and see if he really has a blood clot.  Wait and see what the surgeon says the next time.   Wait and see if the problem might be treated in some way besides surgery.  Wait and see when the surgery/hospital stay will be scheduled because the whole rest of our fall hinges on those dates.

And there is Lydia.  She is healthy, but she is lagging developmentally.  Every time someone asks how old she is, then responds with the invariable, “Oh, I bet she’s crawling around everywhere!” my heart twists a little.  She’s not, as a matter of fact.  She’s not even rolling around everywhere.  When we first noticed her delays, in the spring, we decided to wait and see what the doctor said at her four-month-checkup.  Then, work with her, exercise her, and wait and see at six months.  Then wait and see what Aunt Gertie’s First Steps evaluation showed.  Now wait and see at her nine month check.  A minor issue in the grand scheme of things.  This is what everyone tells me.  This is what I preach to myself day in and day out.  And it’s true.  But she is one of the largest parts of my world right now, as she is with me almost every minute of every day, and that makes little things seem huge.  And, again, all the rest of life just seems cloudy.

All of life is filled with wait and see.  Most of the time, it’s just little things.  We’ll wait and see what the weather is like before we make plans for the weekend.  We’ll wait and see how the kids behave before we decided whether to get treats or not.  We’ll wait and see how much is left after the bills are paid before we decide whether to go shopping or to the movies.  But when wait and see is big, that’s when it can cloud all of life.  And that’s where we have to be very diligently on guard.  God is showing me through this time of wait and see that I cannot just let everything else slide while I wait on Him to show us where we’re moving.  He’s showing me that I cannot just ignore my other children or my house while I try to get Lydia to roll over on her own.  I cannot stop the calendar while I wait on Clay’s surgery dates.  I still have to do school with my kids even if my mind just wants to dwell on what town God will lead us to.  I still have laundry to do.  I still have meals to prepare.  I still have to go to the store.

Even when it feels like my whole life is on hold waiting on God to lead us to a new church (and speaking largely, it is), my day is not on hold.  Even when it feels like my whole fall is on hold waiting on Clay’s surgery (and speaking largely, it is) my week is not on hold.  Even when it feels like I’m holding my breath, waiting for Lydia to catch up to other babies her age, her health is not on hold.  So, in the advice of one of my heroes, Elisabeth Elliot, I do the next thing.  I don’t know when we’ll move or where we’ll move, but I know what we need to do for school today.  So I plan school, I wake my kids up, and I teach them.  I don’t know when Clay’s surgery will be or how long it will take him to get back on his feet afterward and what we’ll miss during those days, but I know we have gymnastics this afternoon.  So at 3:00 I’ll be in the van heading to Paducah with my little gymnasts. I don’t know when Lydia will have a developmental spurt and become mobile, but I do know that she’ll be hungry in a few hours.  So I pack the diaper bag with Gerber Baby Stage 2 Mixed Vegetables and a spoon.  There are question marks floating everywhere I look and they make me emotionally weary and I’d rather put everything else on hold until I know the answers to these immediate questions, but my laundry insists on piling up and my floors need cleaning.  So, while I wait and see, I do the next thing.  And when I do the next thing, the cloudy fog lifts a little at a time.

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