Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:11-13
In my thirty-five years of mothering five amazing children, I have changed no less than 5,000 messy diapers, lactated for 63 months, kissed and bandaged dozens of skinned knees, winced at hundreds of flat notes, and spent many a sleepless night listening for the sound of a car in the driveway returning a child safely home.
I have had my heart ripped out by a single glance at a teary little face behind a window pane; and while gently coaxing hesitant little birdies from my nest to catch the updraft of independence. Mistakes notwithstanding; experience, determination and repetition bore their promised fruit as I slowly grew into a seasoned and confident mother.
Yet, resolved as I was in theory, nothing had really prepared me for this stage of mothering.
As a family, with the Lord’s guidance, we embraced a courtship vision as the godly pathway through which our children would find love and enter into marriage. We read books, heard testimonials from other Christian families and most importantly, discovered in God’s own word that His plan looks nothing like the the worldly pattern of dating that is prevalent even within the church.
With confidence, we committed to trusting Him with all aspects of our children’s futures —including love and marriage.
However, nothing could really prepare me for the realities of what it would mean to walk alongside my daughters on this journey toward true love.
Today, on my middle daughters 25th Valentine’s Day with still no sweetheart in sight, my heart resonates with sorrow and question. Lord, how do I do this? How do I gracefully execute the role of helpless observer, while watching my beautiful daughter wait as love seems to pass her by?
This is the daughter who got on a plane at 18 years of age to obey the call to medical missions. Her faithfulness landed her on foreign soil delivering babies among the ‘least of these‘; unreached women in poverty, on the fringes of the developed world. Her walk has taken her far from loved ones, from all the conveniences of the culture she grew up in, away from all that is familiar. She has endured illness, hardship and intense loneliness in an often very harsh world —all for the sake of the gospel.
She has prepared. She has prayed. She has preserved her purity in both heart and body. While her peers rush out and seize love through their own devices, she waits in faith to receive it from the Lord’s hand. She has chosen to trust Him in defiance of a culture that tells her she must actively pursue love. She proclaims Him to be the God of Isaac and Rebekah; the God with the perfect plan for her life.
‘She has given you her life, Lord; completely and wholly. Has she not laid down all that you have required? All of her childhood dreams have been yielded in the pursuit of your heart and your will. All that remains of those dreams is the very thing your word says is precious and pleasing in your sight – a godly marriage.’
And so she waits. She waits and my heart breaks with each passing day as another portion of her youth evaporates into that vapor that slowly dissipates our lives away. She waits with strength that I often lack. She continues walking in obedience, serving with all of her heart, and trusting the Lord to bring her the Isaac of her dreams in due time.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:30-31
‘Please Lord. Give me the strength to trust you as she trusts you. Give me the grace to wait with my Rebekah.’
Post Script: Three years have passed since the writing of this post. The waiting continues, but He is faithful. This mother’s heart is continually strengthened on the journey by His word and by His grace. I trust that the perseverance produced through the testing of our faith will someday bloom into the godly maturity that is beautiful and pleasing to our Father.