Life’s Advent

She bristles, still, when I hold her. I kiss her stiff flesh and remember that friend who prayed “set yourself for 10 years of restoration” just before we left to go get her.

I run my hands across my thirty-five year-old midriff at the comment of one who said “you prayed, and didn’t get pregnant” — past tense, as if that door was sealed shut. I’m still praying, I whisper to my weak heart.

I stir soup in between folding another load of laundry, with my planner cracked on the counter, patiently waiting for my attendance to an item on its list. I type here, in between a screen full of open windows and with one leg folded under me and the other ready to lift me up and out of my chair to respond to the next of life’s fire-drills.

And I wonder why my heart comes alive in advent.

Tree

This is the season seemingly built to steady the world’s calendar, where waiting is given permission.

Long ago, that young woman waited. She carried a secret, veiled as immorality, for nine+ months and watched it grow for thirty years before the consummation of that Secret she once held at her breast ended in earthly death. Life for all of humanity came at the expense of her mama’s heart, dying on that tree. Even though it was what she had waited for.

And the people? Hundreds of years of waiting for the Messiah to be born, not as a King, yet, to conquer, but as a babe covered in birth, yet to be raised.

So it seems that waiting isn’t an ancillary part of life in Him. It is life in Him. And all these years of my own waiting are surfacing a question which I wonder if He’s been waiting for years to answer.

Road

 Father, why do You have us wait?

Our souls made for eternity, imposed into bodies made temporal, cannot capture the beauty of God in their natural state. We could see it, catch a glimpse of it, just like we do when we scan a quick facebook post or give a thumbs up to a picture or type “unbelievable!” at the news of a friend – but would our flash-pot attention span really receive His beauty … if we didn’t wait for it? Or would it be here today and gone tomorrow, like the hundreds of  “soundbites” we hear and read in a day?

Feet in Sand

Our temporal flesh was made to become His beauty,  not just to have a one-day intersection with it. We were made to not merely taste, but to consume. To let it become our skin and seep, deep, into our being. To parade and declare with our lives this engulfing Beauty.

And waiting makes the space for this to happen.

I kiss her neck because she turned her face away from me, her years of brokenness serving as a barrier between she and love, and I know that when she offers her cheek for my touch I’ll marvel at what He’s done.

We pray, again, “bring life to this once-barren womb” knowing that if He graces this body with His miraculous touch we’ll forever tell His story because we gave nearly a decade to its gestation.

The world calls waiting a great shame but, to Him, all of life is a pregnancy.

Our skin stretches farther than we ever knew it could and that promise of what is to come – goodness in the land of the living – conceives inside of us when He says, it can be just as good now as it is on that day when heaven breaks through to earth, because all of life is about receiving Me and I have deposits to give while you wait on My fullness.

Pregnancy

The mystery of that day and that God who folded Himself into a babe’s flesh to be unwrapped by the world wouldn’t have been all that wondrous if it came without any waiting.

We were made to marvel, in the day-to-day, and to wait and dream on the one day when all things are made right. We were made to carry both. When one or the other is absent, we go back to clamoring for quick-fix resolutions for our unsettledness.

Our discomfort in waiting is telling, but not surprising. Hearts, living temporal, but created for beholding His supernatural will wiggle and squirm until they settle themselves into His kind of waiting.

A lifetime of His waiting. Because these moments-in-waiting count. After all, they shape how we’ll stand when the waiting is finally over.

Field

Waiting, in Him, isn’t sitting, it’s expecting. It is a heart stance that says, You are both coming and You are here, now.

This posture changes our heart.

His whole story is wrapped up in one, long wait. One beautiful wait.

One advent that says, both, He is coming … and He has arrived.

Joy to the World

For Your Continued Pursuit: Isaiah 40:31 | Ephesians 1:3 | Ephesians 3:19 | John 17:13, 23 | Luke 2:19 | Psalm 27:13 | Psalm 25:3 | Hebrews 11:6 | Jeremiah 31:14

Photos compliments of Mandie Joy Photography.

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