The God Who Waits

Thursday, November 2, 2017

“Just one word, Father! One word. That is all I need–all it would take. Lord, I believe!Please just come through for me!”

Silence.

I wait for my train with tears streaming down my cheeks. I really don’t care who sees anymore. None of it seems to matter– these people will never see me again, and I’m so tired of trying to hold it all together.

Someone asks if I’m okay.

“I’m fine,” I mumble. But I’m not. God is silent and I’m begging for just one word. One vibration of the phone to have an answer.

Silence.

The cell phone rings but it’s not the number I want to see. We can’t wait for an answer any longer the doctor says, we have to cancel the test for tomorrow. That big medical test you have to have–the one you have been trying to have for the last 8 month, the one that has repeatedly been cancelled and rescheduled, the one that is standing between you and getting better–we have to cancel it again.

My train comes to a stop at Coney Island and I rush to the boardwalk, the beach, and finally the water. I can breathe again. Something about being at the water helps.

I don’t know anymore. I don’t know what to do.

What now? WHAT NOW, GOD?! I finally thought this was it. I’ve waited so long…will none of this ever end? All it would have taken was one little word from you, and oh, how I would have praised You! You would have come through for me in the nick of time and I would have a great big story of how you worked a miracle at the last minute.

But You didn’t. You chose to remain silent. So much ache, so much hurt and so many seemingly pointless stabs to my heart over the past year, and now this…why couldn’t you have just done this one little thing for me? The humanness of my heart cries and my finite eyes have a limited view.

I look back over  my past year and wonder what it was all for. I’m basically at the same place. I’m sick and I was supposed to be better by now. I question and I cry and I want to scream.

The minutes pass as I walk along the beach and eventually I head to the train to take me back to my crooked little Brooklyn apartment. I didn’t hear the answer I wanted. But it is not the end of my story, and I dry my eyes and somehow I KNOW. I know it’s still going to be okay. I know that I will wake up tomorrow and He will still be God, His calling is sure, and He will show me the next step. He is the God who sees; He is the God who hears, and my tears and cries are not lost to Him. He will act when the time is right.

Because He is God and He is good.

And I was wrong. I thought I was at the same place as last year, but I realize I was wrong. I am not the same person I was last year. Through all the silence, the questions, waiting, and aching, I am not the same. My roots have run deeper and I am more sure of all that I know to be true. Maybe this was really for me after all and God is working a deeper work in me than I ever could have imagined.

So I dry my eyes and I walk home. I buy some ice cream and call my dad and we talk about what God is doing and how I’m going to be okay. My heart is calm once again because God is good even when He is silent, and even if I have to keep waiting, the story isn’t over.

And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you; for the LORD is a God of judgment; blessed are all they that wait for him.

                                                                                                          Isaiah 30:18

December 31, 2017

I’m not going to lie, 2017 was a rough year, and this little blog hasn’t really been much of a priority in my attempts to keep my head above water. Looking back, however, I am continually amazed at the faithfulness of God. I’m so glad He’s the one writing my story and that all the delays have a reason behind them. Sometimes I can see the good, and other times the view is a little cloudy.

I’m so glad the events of that November day weren’t the end of the story, and God has been continually showing me the next step. I love to plan and am the kind of person who likes to have my life sorted out several years in advance, but am learning that God wants to guide me day by day and not by months or years. He gives grace and guidance for the moment.

I honestly don’t know what the next year will hold for me, but I’m trying to just keep taking the next steps. On January 11, Lord willing, I will be checking myself into the National Institute of Health Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland for a week of extensive testing. From there I hope to be able to have a surgery to remove a tumor from my pituitary gland. If the surgery is successful, my health should drastically improve, and I am optimistic about the prospects for the future. However, I know there are no guarantees and I’m trying to hold plans and dreams loosely.

I don’t understand all the delays, and I still question and wish things could have been different  but I know God is moving and working, and if in the waiting He is more glorified, then it will all be worth it in the end.

Here’s to a wonderful new year filled with unexpected adventures and glimpses of God!

DeLora

 

 

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It is Well With My Soul

I recently bought a shirt online that came in the mail yesterday. Splashed across the front in white lettering are the words “It is well with my soul.” The shirt arrived in the mail at the end of a particularly discouraging day. A day filled with another ‘no’ from God—another big disappointment that hit me harder than I expected. A day when I didn’t have the strength or desire to keep the tears from coming and was too tired to try to summon up the energy to keep a positive outlook—I just wanted to sit on my parent’s couch and feel sorry for myself. And then the shirt came.

“It is well with my soul.”

Is it? Is it well when I don’t feel like I have the strength to fight anymore? Is it well when it feels like this might all be for nothing? Is it well when it feels like God is constantly lifting your hopes only to yank them away at the last minute? How can it be well when I am not? When my body is already sick and waiting for healing and then I fall off my bike, break my leg, and have to sit on the couch for most of the summer? How can I wear a shirt declaring those words when circumstances all around me are saying the opposite?

“It is well with my soul.”

My soul—not my body, not my circumstances, but my soul. I’ll admit, when circumstances are not ‘well’ it is so easy to question and cry and accuse and start to think that nothing will ever go right again, but this is not truth. As God slowly peels away the trappings of our dreams and plans and leaves us with what feels like empty hands, it can still be well. It IS still well. The beauty of living life as a believer is the overwhelming truth that because of Jesus, all is well and all will be well. This morning I know that I can wear my new shirt honestly. Jesus changes everything and because of Him it is well with my soul.

Dying for Love: Is it worth it?

What is love and is it worth it? Countless words have been written on this topic, and I’m fairly certain I have nothing to say on the subject of romance and love in general which hasn’t been said before by better writers than I. Nevertheless, in my recent readings I stumbled across some truths I felt compelled to share. And I suppose that since it is the month of “love” it might not go amiss. However, I warn you that I’m taking a darker and more tragic look at the subject than what might be considered altogether pleasurable.

I recently read a short story by Oscar Wilde entitle “The Nightingale and the Rose.” I came across this work in a book of short stories and was reading under the assumption that in the end love would win, the young man would get his dance with the beautiful girl, and the sweet Nightingale would at least go down in history as having given her all for the greater beauty. I was anticipating tragedy, yes, but I assumed it would be worth it. The actual reality of the ending took my breath away.

To give a short overview for those who aren’t familiar with the work. Basically, a young man is in love and wants to dance with the beautiful maiden, but she will only agree if he brings her a red rose. Unfortunately, there are no red roses anywhere to be found. Naturally, this creates a bit of a problem for the young man and he is rather distraught. There is, however, a beautiful nightingale who, unbeknownst to him, sees and commiserates with his plight. She realizes she has the power to create a red rose if she sings all night, drives a thorn into her heart, and gives all of her life blood. She decides that love is worth it.

 

All through the night she sings as the thorn goes deeper and deeper into her heart. At dawn her life fades away, but the most exquisite red rose has been created. Beautiful, right? Terribly tragic, but now the young man will find the rose, live happily ever after with his love, and the nightingale will have sacrificed nothing in vain. Wrong. It turns out the young man flippantly grabs the rose, knowing nothing of the sacrifice of the nightingale, and is promptly refused by the young lady who declares that it won’t match her dress and she has agreed to dance with someone else. The young man throws the rose away and goes back to his books. The end. Ouch.

I can’t help but look at this in a much broader life context and I am convicted and challenged. How little I love. How little I care about people beyond how it affects me personally. The nightingale sang herself to death knowing that no results would benefit her in any way–it was ALL for someone else. And they never even knew it. They never even appreciated it.

Am I willing to do this. Am I willing to give my life, give my all, go into the deepest darkest places of pain and prayer for someone else. For someone who might never know or appreciate the sacrifice. Is it worth it? Is it worth it if it never makes sense? If I pray and pray and give and give and never see ANYTHING?  Is it worth it?

Look at the Cross. Look at Jesus. What did He do, and how many countless people have rejected the love He gave? But I am convinced that even if NO ONE ever returned His love or accepted His gift, He would still have done it. It is worth it. It is worth crying out in soul-wrenching prayer, giving your time, energy, emotions, and passion for another individual even if it never brings you personally any joy, and instead leaves you in greater pain than before.  Do it anyways, because Jesus did it for you, and it is the very least we can give back. Maybe it isn’t our story, but we are being called to be a chapter in the story of someone else. My prayers and my committed love are the very least I can give back to a God who gave everything for me.

Love is always worth it.

 

Don’t Waste Your Pain

Pain. Will I never NOT hurt, and will my body ever NOT ache? Will fractured ribs–that shooting pain in my shoulder–ever heal?  Will this rare disease ever leave and let me look and feel normal again? And, by the way God, is there even a point to all of this? Wisps of thought run through my head as, exhausted, I rest my forehead on my violin case, just wanting the delayed subway to start moving and end this impossibly long commute home.

Pain. Why? What is the point of pain? Is there a point? Does God want to use it, or is it really just an unredeemable result of the fall?

So much pain and hurt everywhere. Over the past months as I have been struggling with my health I have had my eyes open to the vast amount of people that simply do not feel good most of the time. So many people with health issues and chronic diseases that just live with daily pain. I realize how much I have taken my health for granted, and I also realize that, even though I may be struggling, I know nothing of the ache of countless other. I may be sick and not getting better right now, which is frustrating, but I’m starting to get answers and I think it’s treatable– at least I’m not dying. It could have been cancer and it’s not. I’m blessed, so blessed.

There is a physical pain, but even deeper than this is the emotional pain that people live with day to day. Deep hurts, deep wounds, deep loss. Loneliness and questions that don’t seem to go away. Broken marriages, rejection, depression…I recently heard of a woman with 7 children who lost her husband in an accident. I can’t imagine waking every morning to that pain.

Pain. Why? What is the point of pain? Is there a point? Does God want to use it, or is it really just an unredeemable result of the fall?

I believe, yes, there must be a point! My Jesus is too good and loves me too much to let all this be random. And feeling the ache—it means you are alive! After you have felt and tasted the bitter your capacity to enjoy the sweet is intensified in a way you never could have experienced otherwise. People who have gone through deep waters have a heightened capacity to minister to others because they can actually understand and enter into the hurt as well.

Don’t waste your pain–please don’t! I remember the words of a wise man (my dear dad) this past summer in the midst of tests, and tears and questions. I told him that I just desperately didn’t want any of this to be wasted—didn’t want any of this to be meaningless. And he told me something that I think will always stick with me. He said that the only way it will be wasted is if you bail on God. If you give up. If we offer our struggles to God, He will be faithful to use them and they will not be wasted, so don’t bail. Please don’t! None of it has to be wasted!

Loneliness, questions, ache—embrace them because it means you are alive. Nothing is wasted unless you bail on Him. You have not been abandoned and Jesus loves you far too much to have the events in your life be random. He said “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” And, oh, the sweetness of that comfort…He is drawing you close and the joy will be so much sweeter in the end.

                                            Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. 

                                                                            ~Psalm 126:5

                                         Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.                                                                            ~Matthew 5:4

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Waiting…the art of learning patience.

Step by step, just one foot in front of the other. Breath. Just keep walking–don’t run. I keep having to tell myself this. Patience. Oh, how I hate learning patience. Oh, how I struggle with the plodding pace of the journey. But it is what I need, and right now it is what God is asking of me.

The true test of commitment is how long we are willing to wait when it seems like nothing is happening. I’ve told God I’m committed, but did I only mean it when I had something exciting to do? Some exciting place to live? Now I’m here and suddenly life looks long. I thought I would reach the place of being settled, but I’m learning that there is no arrival. No time when you reach the point of having everything nailed down and figured out. Is there?  What am I going to be doing when I’m 50? Am I here for good? Or is there more? Somewhere else? I guess I’m waiting to find out. Sometimes I just wish I had answers.

There is a fine line for me between action and patience. We must to what is in our power to do, but we must also be willing to stick to a vision even when it seems long and slow. The other night my roommate and I were brainstorming and discussing future plans and I literally had to tell myself to calm down because I didn’t have to plan it all out right now. Breath. Sleep. One step at a time and just keep walking.

In the rushing we miss so much. In the planning and pursuit of goals and dreams we lose today. We lose what God is speaking in this moment and the beauty of the life He has given us right now. And we can’t get moments back. In the times of sitting still I’m convinced God wants to meet us. No time is wasted if we are actively seeking and waiting with expectation–if we keep walking even if it feels like we are walking in circles. Life and joy are in the adventure of the journey. Patience with joy.

 

An update from the Shire…

Things don’t always go as planned, life isn’t always neat and tidy, and sometimes we just have to hang on for the ride and be okay with not having the answers we want. These are just a few things that God has been trying to teach me these past weeks. My summer has turned out quite differently than what it was “supposed” to look like.

A lot of people have been asking me what is going on with my health and what things I have been finding out. I figured it would be easiest to just put it all in a blog post instead of trying to answer everyone individually. So here it goes…

Over the past few months I haven’t physically been feeling the best, but at the beginning of May I threw out my hip and from there things have just gotten progressively worse. It took me a while before I would admit that anything was really wrong, and when I finally decided to get some help, I could barely walk. In June I decided to visit my family for a week to give myself time to rest and recover. I was expecting to take a week of vacation and then I was going to be better and everything was going to return to normal! I would feel good again and be ready to take on the world. Unfortunately…that’s not how it has been working out. In July, right before I was scheduled to direct a choir at BMA Convention, my wrists decided to give out on me. Needless to say, this was a rather frightening and confusing experience, but it forced me to admit that something really was wrong, that I needed help, and that I needed to go back to Indiana for a time.

I wasn’t sure how long I was going to need to stay in Indiana, but I still had my timetable in the back of my mind-I wasn’t expecting to be here for a month. That plan didn’t work out too well either, and I’ve ended up spending the entire month of August here with my family. All the medical answers I’ve gotten haven’t really been answers, and the ones we have received were not what we were expecting. It seems like every time I think I have the answer, the test comes back negative, and we are back at square one.

What we have found out is that somehow I had gotten several fractured ribs…THAT was a surprise! They also determined that I have osteoporosis, which is NOT normal for someone my age. The doctors have been trying to determine what could be causing it, but haven’t been able to find any answers, and the diagnosis doesn’t explain my other symptoms.

At this point, I am planning on returning to NYC in September and do some more testing at Columbia, and possibly in Lancaster. I am feeling better and stronger than I had been and it has been good spending time with family. I’m not going to lie, I love my independence, but it has been such a blessing to have two wonderful parents to make decisions and “take care” of me…although I have had to remind my mother several times that I am not an invalid! 🙂

As crazy as all this has been, I have seen the hand of God working in so many ways…time after time I feel like He has showed me His love and provision in such tangible ways, and I can’t shake the feeling that He is doing something specific through all of this. So many people have been so encouraging and supportive and I cannot thank you all enough for the prayers! I have been so blessed by many individuals and it has been a very humbling experience. On the bright side of all of this, I never wanted a boring or “normal” life, and apparently I’m meeting those goals. 🙂 At least the doctors seem to think I’m a fascinating case study, and I know a whole lot more about medical things than I did before!

I’m making my plans for continuing to teach and do life in the city, but God has been showing me that I have to hold on to things loosely, be okay with admitting that physically I’m not able to do everything I wish I could, and that I will have to be willing to ask for help when I need it. God has been showing me that I’m not as strong as I like to think I am and it’s okay to admit my weakness and ask for help. It’s a journey, but it’s an adventure and there is no one I’d rather take it with than my Jesus.

Shalom,

DeLora

Good News: Monday Morning Musings from the Shire…

When you are struggling to pull it all together, He is the God of good news. Despite the news we get here on earth–the news from the Doctor, from the bank, the credit card company, or the discouraging stories from the television. He is the God of good news, and we can hold on to that. We MUST hold on to that! This world is broken, our lives are broken, and this is hard, but there is good news.

The Gospel. Redemption. Jesus. What more good news do we need?!

I read a quote this morning in my devotions which said, “He is the God who offers comfort in sorrow, bread in a time of famine, blessing in a season of barrenness, and joy that overcomes all sorrow. He is the God of good news.”

Lately I just can’t seem to get over this concept of the both/and. How can there be so much pain while there is simultaneously so much beauty? How do we reconcile this? Only through Jesus. Only through His death and resurrection. We look at the ugly, bloody cross, but find such intense beauty in the truth that it encompasses.

The Kingdom of God is an upside down Kingdom. I think that is one of the most beautiful and compelling things about it. We have to look at things differently in order to understand, and even then we often can’t wrap our minds around it. Things are rarely neat and orderly, but yet if we look through eyes of faith things can be so incredibly clear.

The capacity to experience joy is proportional to our experience of pain. Yes, you can feel joy without having experienced suffering, but the greater the pain one has felt, the more you appreciate its absence. An amazing meal is much more enjoyable if you are hungry than if you have never experienced the ache of an empty stomach.

God wants us to experience joy at its most intense level, and could this be one of the reasons He brings pain? The deeper the pain, the deeper the joy. The more tormenting the night, the greater our appreciation for the rising of the sun. And the amazing thing is that He does give us joy in sorrow. We do live in this dichotomy. And He loves us. Oh, how He loves us! He sees past our today into what we can be, and He desperately wants that future for us. If only we would learn to let Him move. If only we could learn to embrace the pain as the beauty that it is. Because when we are truly committed to the will of God—truly, in the deepest part of our being—nothing is wasted. No pain, no sorrow, no heartache, when committed to God is wasted.

I am clinging to this in my season of life right now. This Monday morning begins with questions that don’t yet have answers. There will be tests and results, but what answers will they bring? Maybe they will tell me what is wrong with my body, but they won’t answer the deeper questions. Why me? Why now? What is going on and why have you given me the vision that you have if only to let it end here? It can be easy to let your mind run wild with scenarios that quite possibly will never take place, but the unknown can seem so much bigger than when you know your enemy. No matter what results I get I just desperately want there to be a point. I just desperately don’t want any of this to be wasted. And it won’t be. And your pain won’t be wasted either—if you let Him use it, He will.

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Waiting and Rest

I didn’t expect this. These things happen to somebody else. It’s easy to create a story in your head, but it seems somewhat surreal when you actually have to live it…

I like to come up with specific sayings or words at the beginning of a new year that I want to carry with me and focus on. My words for this year were patience with joySablanut im Simcha. I remember walking through Burough Park last December and contemplating what this year was going to look like, knowing that it was going to take a lot of patience, but desperately wanting to learn how to find joy in the waiting. I couldn’t have known where God was going to take me…perhaps I would have chosen different words.

I am NOT a patient person. Sitting and waiting drives me crazy! There must be something one can be doing, things need to happen, and quite obviously I should be able to roll up my sleeves, work hard, and make things happen. I’ll come up with a plan, and have things checked off my list by a specific date, and then I’ll know how to plan even better.

I will make things happen, I will schedule my life, and I’m tough and can take care of myself.

Yea, so that hasn’t been working out so well for me lately. This year hasn’t been going quite like I had planned. I didn’t really expect to be sitting at my parent’s house with my wrist’s wrapped up and pain shooting through my hip when I try to walk. I’ve always been able to push through and make it on my own, and it is frustrating to admit that I need help, that if I want to get better I have to sit, I have to ask for help, and I have to admit that I am weak.

For that past few months I’ve kept trying to plan things. I’ve kept trying to put a time-table on things. I’ve kept trying to fix things—telling myself if I just try this, or eat this, or rest for a day or two I’ll be better by next week and things will go back to normal. I don’t need to go back to Indiana and just sit there! And of course, if I would, I must carefully plan out my schedule so that I will be completely better by a certain date, so that I can plan my life accordingly. I will make this happen.

Once again that hasn’t been working out so well for me. And I know God has a purpose in this. Looking back on the words that I chose for the year I could almost smile with the irony of it. In the past several weeks I have realized that I just don’t know anymore. I can’t schedule time-tables anymore because it isn’t up to me. It was never supposed to be, and I know God is trying to pry my life from my clenching hands—not to frustrate me, but to liberate me.

I have been struck recently with this dichotomy of joy and pain, frustration and rest, and lack of control with complete freedom. It seems like nearly every time something difficult and painful has happened, God has given me something tangible and so beautiful that has carried me through. These things leave me almost in tears with the knowledge of His incredible faithfulness and the realization of how much He loves me. Whether it is someone randomly giving Alyssa and I an air conditioner on one of the hottest days of the summer, someone offering to drive me to the store on a day when I’m discouraged and not feeling good, or a sister who just walks into your room and randomly gives you 20 dollars ‘for anything you might need’, I know He loves me. God’s ways are so above ours and can seem so topsy-turvy to how we would plan them, but His wisdom is so much higher than ours.

So here I am in Indiana. Sitting here, knowing that I have to rest if I ever want to get better, and not knowing how long I need to be here. No control. But still I know that in this letting go of my plans and time-tables, there is freedom. He wants me to rest. He wants me to let Him plan things, and He wants me to trust. I know there is so much He wants me to learn, and I’m praying that I don’t miss it. I don’t know what your journey or your story is, but I know that He loves you, He’s got this, and HE IS FAITHFUL.

 

What a difference a year makes: Memories and Moving on…

You know those pictures that pop up on Facebook telling you that such and such happened so long ago? Today mine popped up with the memory of my last day in Israel. A year ago? Really?

I remember those last few days of saying my good-byes. I remember how I wanted to live my last week there the same as I had always lived it, doing my normal ordinary things. Going to orchestra rehearsal, playing in Zion Gate, and going to class, Christ Church and congregation. I remember just how much I was dreading that final Hebrew exam, and I remember being exhausted and contemplating how I was going to get all my suitcases down my bazillion flights of stairs, to the sharut stop, and into the airport.

But I also remember how excited I was. Saying good-bye was bitter sweet. I knew what I was leaving, but I was SO excited for the future. I remember slowly walking down Yaffa Street that soft Jerusalem night for the last time just like always and running into a friend…she spoke incredible words of blessing over me as I was ready to move on. Life was crazy and I was emotionally and physically exhausted, but I remember that my heart was at rest because God had told me it was time to go. He had tied up the lose ends of a story I thought would never be finished, and said that I didn’t have to worry about looking over my shoulder anymore. He was telling me it was okay to say good-bye.

 

I remember anticipating the next thing. Life in New York. Seven years I’d waited and I was so ready to stop just planning and actually start this life here! Oh, if I had known…let’s just say it’s probably a good thing I didn’t. I mean, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but…I’m just glad I didn’t know!

I have learned so much over the past year. So much about myself, so much about God, and so much about how little I actually know. I have seen God work and move in so many different ways, and I wouldn’t trade any of it, but I sure as anything wouldn’t want to have to do it over again!

What a difference a year makes. I visited the Shire the other week do to unexpected health issues, and it was wonderful to be there. Wonderful to rest and spend time with my family. Wonderful to have people to take care of me. But being there also confirmed something for me. My heart is here. This is starting to be ‘home.’ Life here hasn’t been easy, but I love this place with my crooked little staircase, my books and music, and even Reepicheep the mouse that occasionally comes to visit. (Yes, I did name him, and I really have gotten rather attached.)

I don’t know what the next year will hold, but I know that whatever it is it probably won’t be easy. There will be pain, there will be tears, and maybe God will say it’s time to move on again. Maybe this won’t be home forever. But I know that whatever the next year holds, I can’t do it by myself. And the wonderful thing is that I don’t have to. I am held by an everlasting God who knows exactly what adventure He has for me next!032

Life in the Alleyway

Waiting, desire, and pain are all a part of life. Sometimes it seems so much easier to just shut down our hearts because desire for something that may never be attained is too painful to live with. It hurts to feel and numbness can be comforting. But if you feel nothing are you really alive? I am becoming more convinced that we must be willing to truly feel, and love, and grieve in order to really live. And isn’t that the lifestyle that Jesus calls us too? A life of passion that is willing to go to, not just the physically difficult places, but the mentally and emotionally difficult ones as well?..Normally this blog is a compilation of my own writings, but this quote from a book by Jan Meyers is beautiful and profound…

“How sad. How very sad. I’ve been ushered away from the meal I know the chef intended for me. As I look around this alleyway, everything I see is cold, dark, and lonely. I’m going to slowly look around the harshness of this place, and then I will weep. I will weep for what has been lost. Then I will set my gaze through that back kitchen window. From just the right angle, I’m able to see the table where I once sat. As the back door opens and closes, the aromas of the kitchen hit my senses and remind me of what I had. I will not cover my eyes; I will not cover my nose. I will allow myself to be reminded of what was. And I will wait. I will not wait merely for the meal to be restored to me–that may never happen. But I will wait for God. It is His gaze, His care for me that haunts me, and it is His seeming abandonment that puzzles me. In the waiting I will wrestle with my own personal dilemma with the chef. And in the waiting I will offer my presence to those around me; I will find opportunities to love.”

–Jan Meyers The Allure of Hope: God’s Pursuit of a Woman’s Heart