Day 29: delay

6 04 2011


I was on my way to Target today, and got a little delayed. “Little” is the operative word here–I was delayed by 5 minutes. Big whopping deal. A minor nuisance, at most.

For Mary and Martha in this Sunday’s John passage (John 11:1-45), Jesus’ delay was more than a minor nuisance. The sisters sent for Jesus, because their brother was gravely ill… and Jesus did not drop everything he was doing, rushing to Lazarus’ side. He delayed. He stayed where he was for two more days! David Lose suggests that the Greek intentionality is better captured by the word “tarried”. Jesus wasn’t just held up, he intentionally waited, delayed, dragged his feet, tarried.”

Delayed. Tarried. Stayed. Whatever word is used or intended, the message they received was: Jesus wasn’t there in time, and Lazarus died. Where are you, Jesus?

Apparently the delay is so that God could be glorified in this event. That happened—Jesus eventually showed up, raised Lazarus from the dead and God was glorified. I am grateful that God was glorified. But frankly, I struggle with the delay, the tarrying. Despite that struggle, though, I am grateful for God’s love—even if it feels distant at times. And, as my friend Jo Ann reminded me in her post, (“Jesus, you are a little late”), Jesus loved Mary and Martha and company, even as he delayed.

Those who are waiting for God to arrive, or bring good news, or answer prayers… those who struggle with the wait.. those who have experienced this type of waiting… know the pain when God seems to be “tarrying.” It’s more than 5 minutes late to Target. The delay and tarrying can be years, decades–or never end. And I pray for grace for those in these situations, that they may know the love and power of God even during the wait.

God, help us to feel and know your presence with us, even as we wait. And give us the grace of knowing your love for us as well. Thanks be to God! Amen.

a sign, please!

10 12 2010

John the Baptist reappears in this Sunday’s Gospel text, from Matthew 11. This time, John’s in prison, has heard about what the Messiah is doing, and sends someone to ask Jesus, “Are you the one, or should we keep waiting…?” From our viewpoint, knowing what we do about Jesus and John both, this seems a bit strange. Wasn’t John the one who was so in tune with God’s Spirit? Was he confused? Having a “senior moment”? Doubting, since he was trapped, in jail…? Wanting his disciples to seek the answer for themselves?

If I were him, I’d want a sign. A big, clear, neon sign (all the lights working, by the way…), with a big neon arrow, pointing to Jesus, saying,  “This is, 100%-guaranteed, God’s Son, the Messiah, Jesus Christ!”

I’m not sure what John’s thoughts were, when sending someone to ask Jesus for clarification. And if I once knew, I have forgotten. But I sympathize with John the Baptist, an obvious “let’s get to work” kind of guy, who was stuck in jail. Hearing reports, perhaps… wondering… lots of time to think and let your mind wander. It’s like those familiar seasons of waiting. And even if we might KNOW what is true and we might know that God’s promises are true, at times we still want a sign.

The other day Jim, Kajsa, Abby and I took our walk down to the baseball field below our church. Jim found this baseball… a sign of a season gone by, and a season to come.


Except for a forgotten base, now partially covered with sand, there is little sign of a current baseball season. But the baseball, found on the frozen ground beyond the field, reminds us of a season to come.

Often I feel as though the only “signs” we get from God are like the found baseball. Initially there’s an excitement at the find.. oooh, look! a baseball! Then the reality that the season is over…and the next promised season is not yet here. Completely.

Someday, God might shock me and give me a clear neon sign, complete with an arrow pointing to the direction I need–or think I need. In the meantime, I’ll find hope in the signs of God’s kingdom, God’s presence, God’s light in this season: the people of God bringing about God’s kingdom here and now, in our daily lives.

could you define “will”?

9 12 2010

Isaiah 35 promises many things-things that are not altogether bad. In fact
they are community-building, wilderness-enduring, healthy and faith-deepening
things. And yet the word “will” accompanies these promises so much, that if I
were alive back then, I’d be saying, “Define WILL… and let me know WHEN.”
Those of us who have spent many years waiting for something know how hard it can be to hope, when what we are waiting for doesn’t happen yet.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, life doesn’t always work like that. We don’t know
when, we don’t get to define “will”—at least not when it comes to Biblical
promises. We don’t always get it, or, if we do, we don’t understand it. Waiting is

the "patient" dog waiting for someone to play with her

Some promises in Isaiah 35 have come true in the life and ministry of Jesus
Christ. Literally and figuratively. Light into the darkness, the blind see, miracles
happened, the power of sin was conquered, rejoicing came to the wilderness.
Even so, at times the wilderness stinks. For instance, when someone says, “It
will get better…” or… “Someday you WILL see the good in all this waiting
period.” Whatever. That may be true. But in the meantime, waiting is still hard.

I suspect we’re all waiting, on some level. My good friend Karen says that
everybody is waiting for something. Whatever we are waiting for, may we be
graced with the strength to find joy in the wait. We may not know WHEN our
waiting season WILL be finished… but help us, Lord, to see you in it. And to find
joy in this time.

Fisher Price Prodigals

12 03 2010

son #1: in the back of the pick up truck, face turned away…can’t believe he took this drive with his father today… he just went along because he was bored, and now he has to witness this occasion…

Fri., March 12th

son #2: a daughter, in this case… can’t believe that her father saw her from the pick up truck, and didn’t turn around and drive back to the house. Can’t believe her father is running out to greet her.Can’t believe her father hasn’t even asked her where she’s been, or where the money is.. can’t believe how much her father loves her.

dog: not in the original parable, at least not divulged, if there. But I think she belongs in the Fisher Price edition of the Prodigals.

father: jumped out of the truck to greet the daughter, after driving down the long driveway everyday for years, looking for his daughter. Can’t believe his daughter is back. Sad that his son is staying in the back of the truck.

The prodigals: prodigal #1 is the daughter, who’s been known as the prodigal… prodigal #2 is the father. The word prodigal means a reckless spendthrift, an extravagant spendthrift. The father is the true prodigal because his unexpected, counter-cultural response to his daughter’s return is prodigal behavior.

Retreat at Harbor

21 09 2009

This past weekend I was at Covenant Harbor Bible Camp, in Lake Geneva. Sunrise at CHBC8 other women from church and I attended the annual Womens Retreat. The weekend was fantastic. Great. And a superb speaker, even if I am a bit biased. Karen Hinz, one of my good friends, was the speaker, and did a phenomenal job at speaking to the issue of waiting… waiting on God… waiting with God… waiting with others… God waiting with us…. Way to go, Kar.

Sunday morning I walked outside before breakfast, to take a few photos, and I took this one. Of course, I love to be at Harbor, because of having worked there for two summers, but it is a gorgeous location.

Kajsa’s Room, Part 44

20 06 2008

The “44” is just a random number. But I’ve been working on this room for so long, it feels like there have been over 100 parts to Kajsa’s room!

But the other day I put the shower/baby gifts we have received in Kajsa’s room, so I could take pictures to send to my mom, and to show Jim’s mom. Then after I took pictures, I remembered more of the gifts… and took more pictures, but this is the one I uploaded, so in the interest of time, here’s a photo of some of the gifts.

We feel blessed. We can’t wait until Kajsa gets to meet all these phenomenal people who are surrounding her with love, support, and prayers. We can’t wait until she gets to wear all the fun outfits she was given and play with the cool toys, and sleep under the soft blankets and gorgeous quilt.

This weekend we will be putting the gifts in their proper places, making the crib bed, and arranging stuff. Kajsa’s room continues to progress!

So, off to work on that… off to the dentist, and to print out more necessary documents and make copy of the documents, and start packing! Here I go.


19 06 2008

Overwhelmed by all the to-do lists….. all over the house.

Overwhelmed by everything on the lists.

Overwhelmed by the excitement of meeting Kajsa.

Overwhelmed by the state of the house. Pretty funny.

Overwhelmed by God’s grace, evident through my friends, family, my yahoo adoption travel groups, the dogs, strength to keep moving these days…

Overwhelmed by how hard life is, still. Even with God’s grace.

Overwhelmed with sadness, at the upcoming move of good friends.

Overwhelmed by how long this wait has been. And that many people I know are frustrated and tired and exhausted by their waits.

Overwhelmed by how much love already surrounds Kajsa, and how many people are–and have been–praying for her.

Overwhelmed by how many peanut butter M&M meals I have had in the past 2 weeks.

Overwhelmed by the fact that in less than 6 days we leave!

Overwhelmed…. and yet excited. I can hardly wait.

and slow down again.

6 06 2008

Ok, run full speed…. and now, sloooow down. As if the adoption roller coaster isn’t long enough, with enough highs and lows up to this point…

The excitement and even the stress of thinking we were leaving June 9th or 10th was huge. It became the only thing we could think about (which was a nice break!), meeting Kajsa before she even turned 11 months old. Well, no longer. Turns out that we probably should never have received an email saying we might travel next week–because it wasn’t even possible!

We found out a few days ago that we probably would not be traveling next week. Then yesterday morning we found out that we cannot travel until the week of June 22nd. Sigh. So, Jim and his father are working on flight itineraries, and hopefully we can confirm today. As soon as we have the confirmed date of travel and return from China, I’ll post it.

The bad news: we felt misled, we got all excited for nothing, we won’t meet Kajsa as soon as we thought last Friday. (At this age, babies change constantly, and we simply don’t want to miss another day of her life.)

The good news: some things on our to-do lists that automatically got crossed off last Friday can now, maybe, be done! We have more time to get flights, to pack more efficiently, to work on the house…

And the best news: we’re still on our way to meet Kajsa!

faster and faster and faster

2 06 2008

We received an email from our agency on Friday afternoon that our Travel Approvals (TA) arrived! This means that China has approved our travel to their country. Now we wait for the agency and the American Consulate in Guangzhou (CHINA) to set up our appointment… then everything works backwards from there.

BUT, the big news in that email from the agency, was that we could be leaving as early as next week! COULD be. It all depends on the consulate appointments.

Needless to say, we’re in speed-up/stressed-out/excited-beyond-belief/prioritizing mode. Obviously there are some things that will not get done at this point, before we bring Kajsa home. Then there are some things that have to be done before we leave. So, after years of waiting, we’re finally on the fast track, and it seems a bit out of control. Yet fun at the same time.

Jo Ann was here last week and she and I rearranged some furniture in the dining room/mess room/and living room. Now I need to rearrange the junk that belongs in those rooms. Last night I officially finished painting Kajsa’s room, and today I’ll touch up her crib with white paint, before putting that in the room.

So, here goes! faster and faster and faster…

Summer Cologne? and waiting…

7 05 2008

Ok, so tonight Jim and I were at a mall, in a department store. We were walking by the mens’ cologne counters… and Jim overheard a man ask the salesperson this question: “What’s a good summer cologne for traveling to the Tropics?”

Pretty funny.

On the adoption front, we’re one step further to our baby! This evening we DHL-ed our acceptance packet back to our adoption agency… stating that we want to adopt Wan Yi Ling (yep, still no English name.. still trying out our options). The process of compiling the acceptance paperwork (including more immigration paperwork, an email to the Milwaukee immigration office saying that our third fingerprint expiration date should be at our house within 2 weeks, etc..) was exhausting. But once we had the packet of information handed over to the DHL guy, it felt fantastic! We can’t wait to meet this little girl.

Re: medical report…the other night (Monday) we received the medical report in Chinese. And I called a lady from our church who is from China, and emailed her the report. She called me later to say that Wan Yi appears normal. And on Tuesday we faxed the translated medical report to a pediatrician, who called me to say that everything appears normal as well, based on what little information we have.

Our acceptance packet should be in the office of our agency by noon tomorrow. The packet will be sent back to China by May 14th. And from there, we continue to wait. Only now we wait with many copies of the same three adorable photos. Of our daughter, waiting for us in China.