Posted on March 6, 2013 - by Brenda Anderson
In January of 1997 my husband and I were living in Moorhead, Minnesota (the city right across the Red River from Fargo, North Dakota). We had three small children (4, 2, and almost 1), and were three and a half hours away from the Twin Cities area where our families lived. It’s not a bad drive, but it’s not fun with three small children. In addition, all the friends I had made in the seven years of living in the FM area had moved away.
Then my husband received news we’d been hoping and praying for: he was offered a new and better position in Brooklyn Park, MN, a northern suburb of Minneapolis. Obviously, we were thrilled.
The job location was perfect, only minutes from Marv’s parents’ home. He could stay there until our house sold. Keeping our home toy clutter-free wouldn’t be so bad as long as the house sold quickly.
And that became my daily prayer, that our house would sell.
There were a few problems with that. First of all, that winter was a doozy. We had eight freeway-closing, school-closing (a rarity) blizzards that dropped a total of 117 inches of snow. Who’s looking to buy a home in that? Four of those blizzards occurred after my husband moved to the Twin Cities. Still, he made it home every weekend.
Then, along with that record snowfall, came the threat of flooding. A 100-year flood was forecast. Again, people weren’t exactly in the moving mood. That threat became reality as water not only spilled over the banks of the Red River that April, but also crept inland across the flat farmlands. Homes miles away from the river were swamped. (See photos <here>)
We lived a mere block and a half away from the river. A new daily prayer was added, that our home would survive.
I remember listening to the radio nightly as the announcers would plead for more sandbaggers to dam a broken levy or to build taller levies where water climbed higher than expected. At one point the announcers warned the entire area that if we heard sirens, we were to evacuate immediately.
All this was happening with my husband 220 miles away. I called him that night of the warning and begged him to come home. That drive took him down I-94 where, for miles, ditch water was licking at the freeway.
The waters eventually receded, and our home was spared, but now it was May, and our home had been on the market for three months. A definite negative for home buyers. But I continued to pray that our house would sell, that God would bring our family back together.
Well, summer came then said goodbye, then fall swept in, and then another winter. We were beginning to believe our prayers would never be answered.
The stress of keeping a house immaculate with three toddlers was overwhelming, especially without local friend support, so that December of 1997 we took the house off the market. I wanted to enjoy Christmas. I wanted the kids to be able to play and make a mess. I wanted them to be able to be kids.
Shortly after Christmas, we listed the house again and our prayers were more fervent than ever. Finally, weeks later, we received one contingency offer, then another non-contingency.
14 months of keeping toys picked up–14 months apart from my husband, of him driving back and forth amid rain, snow, ice–14 months of being alone with three small children. After 14 months of praying, we finally put out that Sold sign.
Why we had to wait that long, I doubt I’ll ever know, but I did learn from the experience.
* Knowing *why* you have to wait isn’t a given. Sure, God has His reasons, but we’re not owed an answer. But, God does know what’s best for you, and He’ll walk you through this season.
* Don’t give up. Over 3000 years ago, the Israelites fled from Egypt, aimed for the promised land–their new home. A trip that should have taken days turned into 40 years of wandering–and then, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, only the children and grandchildren reached the new home. The point is, they never stopped. They didn’t give up. The 23rd Psalm says, “Yeah, though I walk through the valley …” They were in the valley, but kept on moving and eventually came through it. When you are ensconced in that season of waiting, keep moving. During our wait, we were discouraged, but that didn’t stop us from living life, and life certainly didn’t stop around us.
* Expect a roller coaster ride. The Israelites desert wandering offered moments of hope and times of despair. While you’re waiting, expect it to be a roller coaster ride. Expect to see those glimmers of hope that are snatched away by defeat. Expect daylight and tunnels of darkness before eventually arriving at your destination.
* The answer may look far different than you anticipated. Those same Israelites awaited the Messiah for centuries, but when He did come, they didn’t recognize him. Jesus wasn’t the majestic, warrior king they expected, and they rejected Him. Your waiting season will end, but keep listening, and be prepared for the unexpected answer. While we eventually received the hoped-for answer, that wasn’t a guarantee.
I’m in another waiting season right now, waiting for an answer from an agent, but I refuse to sit still. I had high hopes at one point, but then they were snatched away. So I wait. And I keep writing and editing. I plan to enter contests and query more agents. When this wait is finally over, I pray I will recognize God’s answer.
Are you in a waiting season? Have you previously experienced a tough waiting period? I’d love to hear about it.