Longing Wrapped in a Wait
By Amy Carroll

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14 (NIV)

In college, a group that I spent the summer with nicknamed me “Action Amy”. I earned the nickname, but I have to admit that I wouldn’t have chosen it. One of my pastors has said that there are “do-ers” and there are “be-ers”. I fall definitively into the “do-er” group. I’m wired with an impulse and drive to be at work. I’m a list maker (one of those sick ones who puts things on the list that are already done just to put a check beside them), and I feel good about myself when I’m productive. I often drive myself and the people around me crazy! Besides the lack of pause, prayer and compassion for the tired, God has shown me that there’s another huge problem with my approach: My significance is to be found in Him alone.

God, in His great Love and mercy, has used times of waiting to realign my values with His. He has taken me through several times when I felt that my life had been forgotten. I still had dreams and visions, but I didn’t feel needed or useful. These were times of forced stillness and quiet.

In my junior year in high school, I began attending a Bible study that changed my life forever. I had given my heart to Jesus as a little girl, but this study challenged me to know Him more personally and to begin studying His Word. God used that year to begin to peel me down to my core. I went from a very opinionated, very worldly-minded girl to a girl humbled before God. My life ahead suddenly looked like a new beginning. God used that difficult time of waiting for a new beginning to start, to ground my thoughts and beliefs in His own Word.

When my children were born, I again went through a time of waiting. It was such a struggle for me, because I had always wanted to have children and be able to stay at home with them. I didn’t realize, though, how much of my identity had become entwined with my career. When all of the work outside of my home stopped for a time, I felt that I was again waiting for work that “counted.” God reminded my restless heart that my love and care for my family was valued.

I also remember the struggle with waiting that I had when we moved to a new town. Nobody here knew me or knew my vision. To my lonely heart, it even seemed like no one cared. It took over a year to establish friendships, a job, and a church that felt like home. Waiting was hard, but God used it to foster my need for relationship with Him.

God has always used those quiet times to whisper, “Amy you are not loved or valued for the things that you do for me. You are loved and valued because I made you. You are mine. Find sufficiency in Me.” God has faithfully used waiting to minister to my heart. He has also used it to ruthlessly cut out that love for works that can so easily become idolatrous in my life. I can’t truthfully say that I’ve learned to love waiting, but I have learned to look forward to deep times with God during those waits. He sees the longings of each of our hearts, but He loves us enough to use waiting to root our longings in Him.

Dear Lord, help me to know that You use times of waiting for my good. I want to learn the lessons that I need to learn as I wait. Please make me committed to spending time with You and to listening for Your direction each day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Boundaries, by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

Come Thirsty, by Max Lucado

Visit Amy Carroll’s blog

Application Steps:
Think through the stages of your life and consider creating a personal time-line. Color the times that you can see how God used your work in red. Color times of waiting blue.

If you are currently in a time of waiting, journal some of the things that you can see God doing in your life. Write things you are thankful for during your wait. Then list the longings of your heart. Really pour them out—God hears you!

What has God done in my life in times of waiting?

Do I respond in obedience or bitterness as I wait?

Power Verses:

Psalm 130:5, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.” (NIV)

Psalm 119:81-82, “My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word. My eyes fail, looking for your promise; I say, ‘When will you comfort me?’" (NIV)


Blogger Roxanne said...

Amy, I can oh so relate to your list making...
I am that time in my life where God is showing me so much... I to am a do-er and he is teaching me to be a be-er...
Thank you for sharing.

Blogger Wrighteous Girl said...

WOW, that really spoke to me. I am a doer

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amy, thank you for your insight. I am also a "doer". No, I don't make lists just to check things off, but I make copious lists of things yet to be done.
I am currently in a "wait state". God has shown me a preview of where he wants me to be, but He's saying "Not just yet." It's hard to wait, but like you said, He is using this time for maturing me in the faith.
It has happened to me once before and that one lasted 10 years! I hope I'm not quite that slow to respond this time.
Lord, help me to learn what you want me to learn, even if it means sitting down at your feet and waiting patiently for You to teach me what You want me to know. Help me to value times of waiting. Amen

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow-this message was for ME today! I have been "waiting" for 3 years for a new career path--something that will be a service to others. I have felt God's calling on my life and now I'm having to wait for a job opening in that field. WOW is this hard! It makes it SO much worse when you have to work and leave your children or you won't have a home to come home to and, on top of that, the place you are going to work daily makes you a miserable wreck! It's the hardest thing I've ever been through! I pray it doesn't take 10 Years as in Rhoda's case, but however long it takes, I pray CONTINUALLY for God's peace!!!!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and time.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Amy: Thanks for your devotion. Last Fall, an illness forced me to stay home from teaching. I could not even start the school year. My Pastor and my mentor both told me to "just be". I thought, "what in the world does it mean to 'just be'?" I tried w/ all my might to "just be", but couldn't...no surprise there!! I kept getting involved w/ school every chance I got, until I became so ill, I was flat on my back in bed. I was angry!! I began to feel better so I went back to work in January, only for it to last for 6 weeks before I collapsed. Finally, I told myself, " you can't do this!!" I relinquished all holds on my class as God directed me to. Now...2 months later I am THOROUGHLY ENJOYING JUST BEING!!!!!! I can't believe how wonderful it is!! These past 4 weeks especially have been some of the most precious times in my walk with Jesus! He is revealing so many truths to my heart...some special & others quite painful, but necessary. I do believe wholeheartedly that as we wait on the Lord, we truly will mount up on wings like eagles...in His time.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow God used this devotion to show me what He's doing in my life right now. I'm definitely on the other end of the do-er vs. be-er spectrum (sometimes to a fault ) I find that I can fall into the trap of laziness by spending all my time being and none of it doing. I actually, instantly identified with Mary in the Mary Martha story. For me, I like nothing better than to spend my time reading The Bible and devotions, hanging out with family, or enjoying a pretty afternoon staring out the window on my bed. I call those days my cat days, for during those times I see my behavior resembling that of my house cat. However, while I might not pride myself in doing, there is another good thing that I run the risk of making an idol in my life. For me that's being what I consider "good." I like to think of myself as a good person and am most complemented when people tell me I'm so sweet. But lately I've been seeing things about me, and things I struggle with that break my heart and make me so ashamed. Sometimes I look at my weaknesses and want to hide. I think there's no way God can still love me, there's no way I can be useful, life will never be good, I might as well give up. Like Adam and Eve during these times I hide in my own fear unable to hear the voice of the only one who can help me. But somehow God always wraps His arms around me and tells me He loves me and that I'm beautiful and that He's not through with me. And then I have to come once again to the surprising and humbling realization that God does not love me based on what I do right and what I do wrong. That's now where my value is. He loves me because He is love. I can come before Him only by the blood of Christ, and not by any righteousness of my own. And praise God for that, for now the pressure of perfecting myself is taken out of my hands and placed back in the outstretched hands of Jesus. Who knew that it was possible to make being good an idol. I am to do good not so that God will accept me or so that I can sit back and think of myself as a good person. But because God has already accepted me through faith in Jesus. I do good because it makes my Father happy and I love Him. It's not so much about being good, as it is about just loving Jesus and doing the things that naturally result when you love someone. When you love someone you do the things that make them happy. So everything I do should be about saying to Jesus "I love you Lord!"

Anonymous Anonymous said...

am so glad that I am not alone! I too am a doer, didn't know what to really call my spirit to be busy or involed, but a doer fits me to a "T" Many of my friends who are not doers often tell me you are too busy...

I was without my car an entire month! Which slowed everything down, some things to a complete stop. I did find myself more in tune to reading my word, praying, getting needed rest, communicating and spending quaility time with family and friends. After reading this dovotion I realize I need these quiet times with God and I am so glad as my Father He knows me enough to have the car brake down for and entire month. Thanks for this dovation it spoke volumes into my life today. Be blessed

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a fantastic post! This is so important for women to understand! Thanks for sharing your own struggles.
After my son was born, I was surprised at how difficult it was for me to adjust to being at home. Then, we had to relocate out of state for my husband's job - so now I was a new mom isolated in a new town... it was probably the loneliest "waiting period" of my life. But I am certain that God wanted to get me alone with just Him. I began to spend more time with Him, and my faith grew more than ever before!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! I was just talking with my husband about how hard it is to wait. I want to be used so much more in my church, but I feel like I have brakes on. I am ready to leave my church because things aren't happening as fast as I would like them to. Thank you for sharing your story. I need to wait for the right time. I too am a stay at home Mom, and God has been also showing me how important I am to my family. For years I have searched for my life's value. I didn't feel important to anyone. But God has shown me (through this time of waiting) just how important I am to others. I would rather be at work, but my family depends on me. I too am learning to be a be-er. I pray I learn all that God wants me to learn.

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