by Marilynn Chadwick “I’m sorry,” the nurse said gently, “you are not pregnant.” I sat stunned. All signs had pointed to pregnancy. It looked like our long wait was over. But once again, our hopes were dashed. Month after month of disappointment had left me raw. I couldn’t have imagined that waiting for something I desperately wanted would be so hard. Nor could I have realized then that I would eventually come to find treasures in the dark place I called barrenness. Maybe you’ve tasted a similar despair when gazing over the wreckage of broken dreams, wondering, “How can I possibly get back up and try again?” It’s easy to become battle-weary. Hard not to grow cynical. Desperate. It’s the word I used to describe myself on hard days. Desperate. For. A. Baby. Now. My friend’s three-year old daughter Molly summed it up quite well one day when, in the middle of a toddler tantrum, she cried out with all the drama her little heart could muster: “But Mommy, all I want is what I want when I want it!” Yes, Molly. My sentiments exactly. Woodrow Wilson once said that men “grow great by their dreams.” I would learn that my life was shaped by the dream to have a baby and even more by the waiting. It ended up being a total of 96 combined months of waiting for our three beautiful children. Each one, something of a miracle. The struggle proved to be an expensive education in what I’ve come to refer to as my season of “wait training.” For one thing, I learned to deal ruthlessly with worry, the most exhausting emotion of all. I was diligent to purge fear, or in Bible language, I took my thoughts captive. Guess you could also say I binged on faith. My hope soared in proportion to this lighter mental load. Learning how to wait required a fight. It took spiritual muscle to guard my hope. I resisted discouragement and fear as I would an aggressive intruder. After our cutting-edge medical treatments fell short, I was left with two choices. I could obsess about the lack of a baby—and probably go crazy—or I could find a way to have a meaningful life while I waited. In the end, a good dose of grace and grit were forged into my character. Other rewards were won. I became more resilient. I gained greater compassion for the suffering. I learned to find hope in life’s barren places. And I discovered some surprising benefits of not getting what I wanted when I wanted it. Put simply, I learned how to wait well.
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