Saturday, August 23, 2008

When God Says WAIT

I am a go-getter. I am slightly fanatical about crossing things off my To Do list. Since I became a stay-at-home mom, absolutely EVERTHING (even hobbies like "scrapbook") goes on my To Do list so I can have the sick pleasure of crossing it off and feeling like I am actually accomplishing something measurable in my day.

I can also tend to be a bit rash when it comes to decision-making. I consider my options for about 30 seconds, pray about it, pick something and roll with the consequences. I can't stand uncertainty and get frustrated with people who deliberate forever and never seem to come to a conclusion. When I worked in the "real world" almost all of my performance reviews said, "We can't believe how much Jodi is able to accomplish in a short amount of time, although she would do well to slow down at times, double check and consider all the options before proceeding."

Now that you know a little about me, can you feel my pain when I tell you we began a process of praying about, then actually following through with, moving cross-country, from suburbia Illinois to Portland, Oregon, a year, 2 months, and 2 days ago?!?!

During this time, we have seen God move mountains on our behalf. He led my husband to a perfect job, He sold our house in a real estate market that was completely dead, and He brought us to the perfect RENTAL (yes, I meant that in caps) home in Newberg, Oregon.

We have now resided in Newberg for exactly 8 weeks and living in transition is about 7 weeks 3 days too long for my blood. I am itching to buy a house, paint with brilliant colors, hang art work on the walls, develop friendships with my neighbors, and intgrate my kids and our family into our new community. But, God, who has a great sense of humor, keeps chuckling and then sending me a message, through multiple mediums, "WAIT!"

Wait? Please. Anything but "WAIT." I get frustrated if I have to wait for snail mail instead of email, when I want to leave a message for a friend and I have to wade through a million voicemail prompts, or with kid crafts that are marked for age 5 and up, but really take a genius to assemble all 200 pieces with Elmers glue that sticks to everything except the pipe cleaner that holds it all together. Waiting is not my strong suit.

And yet God persists, alternately whispering and then shouting, "WAIT. Jodi, slow down, take a deep breath, and learn the beauty of waiting on Me." In my humanness, I don't see much beauty in waiting, but I keep asking God to make me a more willing student.

My husband and I have walked through more than 50 homes in the Portland area and I don't even want to begin to guess at how many hours I've wasted scouring real estate listings and ruling out homes before we even have a chance to go look. Out of the 50 homes, only 3 have peaked our interest. We had a heart-to-heart early this week and decided to start pursuing the possibility of moving forward with a bank-owned home which we dubbed "WD" for Water Damage. The home was way out of our price range but we figured the water damage would be our bargaining chip with the bank, so we hired a contractor to write up a worst-case scenario estimate and headed to WD. On the drive there my mind was racing with images of our family celebrating Christmas in front of the fireplace, of small groups going deep in their faith, and of the yet-to-be-met neighborhood kids playing on our new fort in the back yard. Those images were shattered when I pulled into the driveway and watched in disbelief as the crew of contractors, hired by the bank, worked steadily at repairing all the water damage. I saw my bargaining chip go flying across the field that backed to the house and in my frustration heard God whisper, "WAIT."

The job my husband landed was a full-time position at a university, but they allow him to work one day a week in a clinical setting to keep his skills fresh and suplement our income. Once we moved to Newberg, he started interviewing with different doctors and his first offer was from a great group of surgeons. The only catch was that the hospital they need him at is an hour and half from our home. He already drives 50 minutes to work on the other 4 days and we were all sick about the idea of him driving so far on his clinic day too. He put that job offer on hold and began talks with a doctor who worked right in our little community of Newberg! The dreaming started again and we envisioned 5 p.m. dinners, lack of exhaustion from driving in traffic, and hours in the evening of wrestling with the kids after supper and helping them with their homework before bed. The day after God said, "WAIT" to WD, Curt got a "we're very interested but not in a position to hire right now" call from the doctor in Newberg and again God said, "WAIT."

I was so disheartened and made sure I told God exactly how I felt. Then I opened my Bible to read the Proverb of the day and these verses, Proverbs 21:29b and 30, JUMPED off the page: " upright man gives thought to his ways. There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD." I had written in the margain of my Bible, "being calculated is good - waiting and praying before acting is a good plan." I realized that my great plan of buying a home immediately, finding a community and getting my pictures on the wall within a week of taking ownership would be a total failure if God wasn't behind it. As I reflected on God's word to me, the frustration, discouragement and anger melted away and I found myself sitting in AWE of a God who loves me enough to teach me to WAIT.

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