A parent’s life involves a lot of waiting. After eighteen years on the job you’d think I would have a great deal of patience, but I don’t. When my boys were little and going to three different kinds of therapies each, to address issues associated with autism, I spent hours in waiting rooms. After several years I felt like a professional “wait” lifter. I could bench press a stack of “waits” three appointments deep. I grew to be a lean, mean, waiting machine.
Like any workout routine it got old, but when you see results you press on. I saw God’s hand at work and that made the waiting game more bearable. I wasn’t feeling that way last week though. Sitting in the school parking lot waiting for Chase I fell in the abyss. Like sands through the hourglass so are the days of my life I kept thinking. If I’m not waiting for “this” with Chase I’ll be waiting for “that. The longer it took him to get to the car the more frustrated I became. When he popped in and started his usual complaining about the injustice perpetrated on him by the other kids, I lost it.
Fortunately for Chase, I didn’t lose my cool with him, but God certainly got it. I drove home glaring at the mountains silently voicing my disappointment with Him for not bringing breakthroughs with Chase. “What are you waiting for?” I kept shouting with dirty looks. “Why do we keep circling around the same issues?” I got home slammed everything down on the counter, and went to my bedroom. I lay down and fought back tears wondering why all these feelings had stacked up on me. I know the beginning of every school year is a challenge for both boys. I also knew Chase would have it the hardest starting high school, but why did I feel so disappointed in God?
I’d like to say an angel visited me and gave me all the answers, but that wasn’t the case. I got through dinner and the rest of the evening with a half-smile by focusing on the positives in my life. Still, the unanswered questions nagged at me. The next morning after taking Chase to school I sat down with my Bible. Before I opened it the answer came.
In the still small voice He’s famous for, God said, “I’m waiting too.” I knew this was Him because I had no impulse to talk back. I quietly listened while the Holy Spirit explained. “God isn’t waiting on you, He’s waiting on Chase. You need a new paradigm. You need to remember that Chase is expected to mature in his faith just like you are. He has to be motivated from within like anyone else. He’s got to want healing in his life otherwise; the change it would bring is being forced on him. It’s your will for Chase not his own.”
How long had I overlooked this consideration? Did I have it at one point, and lose it in the proverbial forest from the trees? Had I reasoned it away, arguing Chase would never have the self-awareness to understand his part in the equation? Was I assuming that I had to be the one to pray for Chase instead of him becoming his own advocate? Or, am I just like any other mother that gets confused? I think all of the above – which is why a new perspective is necessary.
I was relieved. God had spoken in a way I would understand. Having spent years using the phrase “paradigm shift” in my work, I had to laugh. God turned those words back on me to tell me my point of view needed to change. The framework all my thoughts were resting on was off-kilter. This is why I’d fallen in the pit.
After my conversation with God, I set out on my prayer walk. My prayers for Chase were different with this new perspective. Momentum after being stuck feels good. My steps were lighter. I wasn’t expecting to find any pennies but I suspected I might. Still, I know if I’m looking for a penny I won’t find one. I set the thought aside. Then, there they were. Not pennies but dimes – two of them. This was outrageous. I didn’t want to believe it.
I put the dimes in my pocket and walked home shaking my head. Point taken, Lord. I heard you! I don’t think He was convinced though. Later in the day I found another pair, and then another – three pairs of dimes in one day. Then today, right before I sat down to write, I found another pair. This pair took some stretching to get, but that’s what my prayer walks are all about – my faith and life being stretched.
Jesus asked the man at the Bethesda pool, “Do you want to get well?” His problems had become a way of life. Jesus wanted to know if he was motivated to be well. Was he willing to participate in re-creating his future or resigned to wait on others? The same question holds true for Chase.
God is not unfair – life is. Chase like everyone else, has to learn to cope with that. I can pray for him to let the world’s trouble fall off him, but until he participates in that prayer he’s not likely to see any help. God wants to partner with Chase, not just his mama. This is hard for me to accept, but God has made it clear I need to.
Does the same hold true for you? Are you disappointed in God? Do your circumstances need to change or your paradigm? It’s a question worth asking.
Follow-up: A few days after posting this Chase asked me if I would pray with him on the way to school. “Of course, Chase,” I said. Since then we pray together every day. One night I heard Chase saying his own prayers in bed. His words echo those we offer God in the morning. Since then, we’ve seen exponential progress for Chase in every area of his life. God’s mercies are truly new every day. Great is His faithfulness!