Sunday, February 26, 2012

Learning to Wait

As we head home and anticipate surgery this coming Friday, the other concern I’ve been grappling with is the issue of waiting.  With the news of required surgery, we once again enter into a time of waiting.  We wait for the surgery, for the prognosis, for healing, for the future.  And we've already been in this thing for 18 months.

But again, God has been with me and He is teaching me how to wait with patience and grace.  Waiting is something I’m not too good at, and it’s something our fast-paced culture doesn’t encourage.  We want immediate gratification in everything. But waiting is a part of life, and I was reminded of this while reading Dr. Seuss once again:

You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…

For people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a place to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

I could just cry reading this words because they are so…. True.  I mean, aren’t we all waiting for something?  Longing for something?  And yes, it can be “useless” if we’re focused on the wrong thing.  If we get so focused on the future, with our “as-soon-as-I-have _________, I'll-be-happy" attitude, waiting is completely useless.  It robs us of living in the moment and rejoicing in the present.  But if we wait on the Lord, waiting is a completely useful, refining process.

I was recently encouraged on this point precisely – waiting on the Lord – through a Beth Moore Bible study that I’m doing on the book of Esther.  As Beth explains, waiting can be the most exhausting, frustrating, life-draining experience when you’re completely focused on the thing or event you’re waiting for.  But when you are waiting on the Lord instead – your eyes and heart are upon Him – then waiting is totally different.  It’s not that we shouldn’t desire those ‘things’ or ‘events’, but it’s just where you have your hope.  She brought up this verse:

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”  Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)  or in the NIV, “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.”

I mean, really?  I will run and not be weary?  And walk and not be faint? With God, I can claim this promise.  That is a hope worth living for.  And one you won’t find anywhere else.

Even if life works out differently than I wanted, planned, expected - the fact that I can Hope in the Lord and know that the God of the Universe is with me – that is quite profound. 

His Gentle Guidance

It’s almost March and we will head home for our first big trip home in just two days.  The past five months here in Costa Rica have both sped by and dragged on.  We both can’t believe this trip is actually here already, while at the same time it seems we have been waiting forever for this time to arrive.

Part of why I in particular have been anxious about going back is simply to get stuff.  As trivial as this may sound, we left quite a few important items behind in October simply because we ran out of space/weight, and I can’t wait to have them again.  For example, our Bob jogger.  I mean, we have gone running with Kate inside our umbrella stroller!  And the streets and sidewalks here are not exactly smooth.  So Bob will be “muy bienvenidos” here in Costa Rica.  And then there are lots of little things, like my acrylic paints and a multitude of craft stuff, a blanket and comforter for our guest bed, the booster seat for Kate, posters to hang on our empty walls… the list goes on.  Yes, we have learned to live without a lot of these little comforts, but the truth is, it will feel more like “home” with them.

The more serious part of why we are anxious to get back is to take care of some medical issues.  As I’ve shared before, I found out shortly after moving here that my right fallopian tube is blocked permanently.  After several appointments with a doctor down here and trying various medications to address some other infertility issues to no avail, I finally contacted a fertility specialist in Seattle.  She told me the best course of action is to remove the tube completely.  She called it the “elephant in the room” and said nothing else really will help until I get this done.  So, with lots of effort and emotion, we changed our tickets for a week earlier and scheduled the surgery in Seattle for this coming Friday, March 2nd.  Honestly, I am so relieved to finally have a plan – a plan that I actually trust and think will solve some major issues. 

And even though surgery is a little scary, I feel fully in God’s embrace during this time and by His grace, have an incredible peace about it all.  Throughout the past year, and especially since moving to CR, my relationship with Jesus has deepened and grown in ways that wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for this situation.  You cling to God in a different way when you’re going through a trial. I am not saying I haven’t struggled with and fought with and doubted God.  I certainly have.  He’s heard my honest, frustrated prayers.  But He’s also teaching me things…

First, I have learned, (or re-learned) how He guides and directs us in the ways we should go.  He is with us as we go through unchartered waters. I was reminded again of this truth as I was reading “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss to Kate last night:

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. 
Some windows are lighted.  But mostly they’re darked. 
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?
And IF you go in, should you turn left or right…
Or right-and-three-quarters?  Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
For a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

The thing is, is that we all have been or will be at some point, in a situation where the streets are not marked.  And I for one am not good at being a mind-maker-upper.  But God is.  He opens doors and closes them. For us personally, the “darked streets” have been dealing with infertility in another country, medical system, and language.  There have been so many lingering questions.  What do we do?  Who do we see?  Why this now?  But His still, small voice continues to whisper: Let me show you the next step.  Trust me.  I am with you. His word is a lamp to our feet and a light for our paths.

For now, the surgery is the next step.  Just getting it scheduled was a major feat! The doctor is actually leaving a conference early this coming Wednesday in order to do my pre-op appointment.  And there were ZERO other surgery openings during the month of March when we’ll be back. But God opened a door and worked out the details.

As David writes in Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.”

This has been true again and again in our lives.  And especially true during this season.  I am grateful to be reminded of his gentle guidance.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Feria Verde - An Organic Market!

We recently discovered an organic outdoor market here in San Jose.  Can I just say that it was a little piece of home?  

I mean, there are vendors selling local, organic fruits and veggies, specialty chocolates, handmade pottery and jewelry, delicious smoothies, and there is even an espresso stand.  Like legit espresso.  Surrounding this "Feria Verde" (Green Market) is a soccer field, a basketball court (where Joe went and played a few weeks ago with some Ticos), and another court where a roller derby team practices (yes, on roller skates, with knee and elbow pads and all!).  And there's even a tiny park where Kate can play.  It's open every Saturday morning and it is becoming our new routine to frequent this wonderful little market full of color and life.


Friday, February 3, 2012

North Carolina!

Kate and I have been in North Carolina for the past week visiting my parents.  It's been such a treat to be back 'home' (in the States that is), breath in the cold Carolina winter air, go running on country roads, peruse the aisles of Target wide-eyed with wonder ("wow, that's so cheap... AND cute!), and of course see Kate enjoy her granddaddy and grandmama.  Here are a few pictures from our week.

A tea party!

Uncle Dan (my brother) bought this Darth Vader hat for Kate at Target.  The juxtaposition of her blond curls under the Vader hat is great.

Swingin' at the school park next to my parents' house.

Push me Granddaddy!


First haircut!  Kate's hair was long and beautiful, but it was getting harder and harder to comb out in the morning... time for a first haircut!  She was very patient!

She would squeeze her eyes shut when being spritzed with the water bottle.

 A mini dance party... twirling around in her leotard.


 Modern moves.

We fly back to Costa Rica on Sunday, just in time for a Super Bowl party!  Joe has been ridin' solo in San Jose and so it will be great to see him and get back into our routine of Spanish and daycare and swimming lessons next week.  But we sure are glad to have had this wonderful time visiting with my parents.  Thanks mom and dad for having us!