Tuesday, September 15, 2015

We're Out of the Waiting Room!!!

For 1 year, 11 months, and 15 days, Jon and I have been in a Waiting Room. Not physically, although we’ve definitely sat in our fair share of those.  We’ve been in the Waiting Room of life.  I have blogged about it. I have talked about it. I have been thankful for it.  I have complained about it. I have been patient and I have been impatient. I have had excited anticipation and I’ve been annoyed.  I have felt the full range of emotions about this room.  This room where we have been invited to wait and trust.  And seek and listen.  We have spent much of our time in the Waiting Room on our knees.  We have sat in silence, longing to hear even a whisper of what God would reveal to us.  And He did.  He continued to say, “Wait patiently.”  Sometimes I received that beautifully.  Other times I rejected it, kicking and screaming.  Do you know how frustrating it is to want to move on in life but instead, you hear, “Wait.”  Let alone, “Wait patiently”!??!  The nerve. ;)  But He continued to speak the same thing.  And when I’d think that he had forgotten about measly little us, sitting in the Waiting Room, He would show up.  He would reveal His presence and remind us of His sovereignty.  He would reassure.  He’s so gracious like that.  

And so we continued to wait.  Sometimes patiently.  Sometimes not-so-patiently.  But incredibly, we have not twiddled our thumbs in the Waiting Room.  No, God was kind enough to give us ‘work’ to do there.  He used us in the Waiting Room.  How gracious He is.  

And then not only did He use us, but he taught us.  He taught us about what any good dad or mom would: our posture.  Like a mom who is constantly reminding her child to sit up straight.  Or a dad who is reminding his child to make eye contact.  Our Father taught us the importance of our hands.  Think about the most precious thing you own.  Now imagine being able to hold it in your hands. Would you want to hold it loosely? No way!  You wouldn’t want to risk it being dropped or broken or stolen.  You would hold it tight and close to you. You would protect it with all that you are.   Well God, in his incredible upside down economy, invited us to do the opposite of what our instincts told us.  Our instincts said, “We’ve lost a lot. We better hold on to whatever we have left!  We better take what we have in our hands and really protect it and try to make the most out of it.”  Everything in our world says that is the smart way to live.  And yet God invited us pry our tight fisted grip wide open.  Not just a little, like a loose grip. But full-on hands opened wide, fingers flat, palms facing up.  “Leave your palms up.  Lay everything you have in your hands.  Everything you love.  Everything you hate.  Every secret hope and every extravagant dream.  Put it in your hands and leave your hands open.  Trust that I will take out of your hands what you don’t need and put into your hands what you do.” His voice was so clear.

And so that’s what we did.  We waited. And we waited.  Palms up. Hands open wide.  And there were times when the Waiting Room door was cracked open.  And we thought we heard our name being called.  Job opportunities, ministry invitations.. they came and we asked, “God, was that our name being called?  Is this what you’re putting in our hands?”  “Wait patiently,” was His response. Yet again and again.   

And then a few weeks ago, we heard it.  Loud and clear.  “Ramsay Family!  Ramsay, Jon Ramsay!”  We were invited out of the Waiting Room!  It was so surreal.  You want to know exactly how I heard this?  (it was different for Jon and I.. but this was my experience)  I was in church worshiping - singing a song I know and love.  And as I was singing, I had my hands directly in front of me - wide open, with palms facing up... Singing a song of surrender and following God.  Singing the same words and in the same posture I had been for almost 2 years.  And as I was lost in the music, with my heart totally surrendered, my hands all of a sudden felt heavy.  I know.  This is crazy talk, right?  I’m just telling you what happened.  My opened hands, palms facing up, felt a physical weight on them.  And right then I heard, “You have waited on me.  You have lived your life open handed.  I have now put something in your hands.  Go.  Your next season starts now.”  

A few days later, Jon was officially offered an incredible job.  We took time to pray over it.  God confirmed this was it.  And so after 16 years as a pastor, and 6 years on staff at Mariners Church, and 2 years after a brain tumor stripped him of the ability to do what he has always vocationally done, Jon resigned and accepted a position with the non-profit “I Like Giving.”  He also is going to seminary at Talbot to get his masters in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care.  Wow.  Crazy.  Amazing.  These are the words that come to mind.   It’s been 8 days since we left the Waiting Room.  8 days of fun and excitement and passion and gratitude.  8 days of reflecting on God’s faithfulness. His sovereignty.  His goodness.  His loving care.  Wow.  Crazy.  Amazing.

If you are in the Waiting Room, know that you are not alone.  God is there with you.  He will use you.  He will teach you.  He will bless you.  He won’t be early in calling you out of there but he also won’t be late.  And if you hear an odd sounding voice that doesn’t quite sound right to you, and you see the door cracked open a little bit, and a name is called that kind of sounds like yours but it’s pronounced wrong and it’s misspelled on your file?  It’s not for you!  Don’t settle.  Don’t jump at the first thing that you think will rescue you from the season of Waiting.  Be patient.  (And when you can’t be patient, know that God’s grace covers it. Trust me.  I know.)  :)  And when the time is right, your name will be called.  And boy will it be worth the wait.  His love for you is personal.  His knowledge of you is intimate.  His gifts for you are good.  And when He calls you out, you won’t just see the door cracked open a tiny bit.  The Waiting Room doors will swing wide open!   And you can walk out of there, confident that He who began a good work in you was faithful to complete it.

Amen and amen.