"Have you gotten any more calls regarding your adoption?" This question is so bittersweet these days as it usually comes from friends familiar with our story, and our waiting, who I know are excited for us but each time I look at their hopeful eyes and just blurt out, "no". Then of course comes the "well, do you know where you will be pastoring?" Again, without hesitation or emotion, "no".

It's a long story, and it feels even longer living it, so while I so appreciate the inquiries I would most days like to bury my head in the sand and believe that I am not waiting for anything. Not over two years for a little girl (three years since we started the journey), not five months into a working sabbatical that God prompted us to take and hasn't yet definitively revealed the next step, not anything.

It is easier to forget that I am waiting than to look myself in the mirror each morning and believe "today could be the day".

I have grown pessimistic and frustrated with this holding pattern and while I know that it is exactly where God wants me to be, I also know that my body is tired and if I were being completely transparent- a bit without hope.

Not that I don't believe God can or will - because I know He can and He will. Just like I know one day I will be at the dreaded "goal weight" (dreaded only because it takes so much effort to get there) but can tend to get frustrated when after eating one salad or doing one workout I am not already there yet. No one likes expectantly, hopefully, waiting. Maybe that's an overstatement as it is exciting in the beginning and everyone starts out that way - I guess it can be best said that no one likes continuing to the end in an attitude of expectantly, hopefully, waiting. 

When all of the dust settles from our excitement of a new dream, we are left with two words that define if that dream will ever come to pass. Working and waiting. And that is where we are, in many areas of life, working and waiting.

Recently when sharing with God all of my frustrations over circumstances that have risen out of the depths of Hell... ok maybe just out of this transitional season... He brought my attention to a Psalm most likely written by Ezra after the Babylonian exile. It reads...

Psalm 126:1-6 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Restore our fortunes, Lord,  like streams in the Negev. Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.

At first glance I thought it ironic that He would direct me to a passage where the Israelites would be celebrating the fulfillment of their freedom. THEY HAVE THEIR ANSWER, LORD, NO WONDER THEY ARE CELEBRATING. I would be celebrating too.

But then I reread the chapter because I knew my pessimism had gotten the better of me and I saw it. The last few verses. Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them. These people were working through their sorrow, through their trouble. They were mourning over loss and their waiting for their freedom while still planting seeds into the ground that they could only hope would bring back a harvest. 

I have gone through the gauntlet of emotions as I imagine many of us do between the birth and fulfillment of a dream, but I have not paid attention to my sowing. I have been stuck with my head in the sand instead of grabbing my seed and heading to the fields despite the tears in my eyes to sow into others or into a dead field with hope that God would bring the harvest one day. 

Because those who sow with tears WILL reap.

And those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, WILL return with a harvest.

Not that it is easy, or easily explainable, but because it is a promise from a loving Father to keep doing good and right in the waiting because every seed sown will not be in vain. So through tears, or grit teeth, keep planting. Keep sowing into the ground that God has asked you to sow into knowing that the "no" for right now is just a "not yet".

Faith, after all, is having an assurance of things NOT YET seen. It is knowing that one day they will come to pass, but until then resting in an expectant, hopeful, faith of "not yet". 

So ask me again about our adoption or the place we will pastor. Ask me about the dreams I have for girl's ministry or the church. Because while this season has been grueling and longer than I ever expected, I have made it to the land of "not yet" and though it may not seem like a destination I can tell you that there is something greater happening here beyond what can be seen.

Hope has returned.

A certainty that I can expect for the impossible things has filled my heart again. And while I may still have to fight back tears sowing into a dry field day after day, I can assure you that I will soon enough come back dancing with joy for the harvest that is coming.

For now it's just not yet.

 

Romans 8:24-25 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

John 7:1-7 After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” For even his own brothers did not believe in him. Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.”

Psalm 126:1-6 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Restore our fortunes, Lord,  like streams in the Negev. Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.

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