In late 2019, I was waiting in the lobby of my OBGYN’s office. I was there for my annual checkup, though, after a painfully long time trying to get pregnant, I desperately wished I was waiting in that lobby for an ultrasound appointment. I was losing hope that I’d ever need my “lady doctor” for the first two letters of his credentials.
As I scrolled on my phone, a couple walked out from the back with instructions to wait on the couch until the doctor was ready to see them. They sat down across the small waiting room from where I was sitting and began looking at a strip of black and white images. “I can’t believe it,” the wife loudly whispered with a smile that took up most of her face. “Okay, this is actually starting to feel real now,” the expectant father said with a quiver in his throat. During the time we were together in the lobby, they FaceTimed friends, reminded each other that they were “going to have a baby!” and had no idea that I—the only other person in the waiting room—was fighting back tears.
We live in a culture that makes getting what we want when we want it incredibly easy (thank you, Amazon Prime), so waiting feels like punishment. If we sit in the waiting room for too long, we assume something must have gone wrong: Maybe I didn’t sign in correctly? Did the doctor forget about me? When you’re waiting to become a mom, and friends happily tell you they got pregnant “on the first try,” or—a stronger sting—when they “weren’t even trying!” you’re left to wonder what you did wrong: Is this payback for following God incorrectly? Maybe God is holding out on me?
Friend, I’m holding space for you—I don’t know what your story holds or in what way you’ll become a mom (there are so many valid and beautiful ways to be a mother!). Let’s study Deuteronomy 8 and be encouraged by God’s faithfulness and intention that are on display. Because God’s character is the same right now as it was in the story we will read, we can trust he’s doing something beautiful in our waiting.
Remember the Lord Your God
Read Deuteronomy 8.
For forty years, the Israelites were in the desert. Maybe you’ve heard of this group referred to as “wanderers.” Whether or not they were lost, they were certainly waiting for more. The journey from Egypt to the Promised Land should have been much shorter than a forty-year trek, but complaints and questions of God’s character slowed them down. Deuteronomy 8:2 says, “you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.” Oftentimes we’re taught to assume the Israelites were aimless in the wilderness, scattered about like sheep without a shepherd. But this verse implies they were led the entire time. God was close and their waiting held purpose.
If you dream of becoming a mom, but you’re unsure when—or if—that will happen, you know firsthand what it feels like to be in a desert you don’t deserve. By the time we get to Deuteronomy, the first generation of Israelites who began the journey have died, and the younger generation will inherit the Promised Land. The wilderness was punishment for the generation that perished, but for the current generation, it was a loving act of discipline. Because of sin brought on by our ancient Edenic ancestors vying for control, we deserve desert-level punishment. But, in Jesus, all punishment was put to death on the cross. You can rest assured that your time in waiting isn’t a punishment from God, but it is a loving act of discipline (I say this with the utmost gentleness because it feels so, so unfair). You will be more mature and equipped for whatever comes next because of your current testing of faith through waiting.
Deuteronomy 8 takes place just before the Israelites enter the land for which they’ve been holding onto as a promise. Moses is vision-casting what the future holds for them, but he’s also calling them to remember how God has shown up in their waiting. In verse 3, he tells the Israelites that God provided daily bread from heaven to sustain them, to provide for them. A purposeful life in a season of waiting is marked by manna—trusting and believing every word that comes from the Lord.
Verse 7 says, “God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills . . .” In the Old Testament, water that wasn’t stagnant, but flowed, was referred to as living water (Mayyim Hayyim in Hebrew). Moses encourages them that, after decades in the desert, they’re entering into a land of living water. If you’re familiar with the New Testament, you’ve heard Jesus refer to the Holy Spirit as living water (John 4:1-26 and John 7:37-39). This is how we know the waiting will be worth it: while we’re parched in the desert, we’re promised living water—the Holy Spirit.
If you’re sitting in a metaphorical waiting room wondering when your name will be called, when your time will come—know that you’re not sitting alone. Friend, I can’t promise you’ll become a mom by giving birth to a baby. But here are the promises we know will happen for certain: when we trust and believe every word that comes from the Lord in our wilderness, we will be drenched in the Holy Spirit.
And like the Promised Land’s crops—fig trees, pomegranates, olive trees and honey (v. 8), we will be marked by fruit for our faithfulness.
Take a few minutes to journal a prayer to God expressing what you feel: your desires, your sadness, your hurt. Your feelings aren’t too big or too scary for him. Imagine that he’s sitting with you as you write your prayer. Then pause and listen for what He has to say to you in return.
Consider the ways in which you’ve experienced God show up in the time you’ve been waiting and hoping to become a mom. Write them down and take time to thank God for who he is and what he’s done for you.
Read the list of fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. In your season of waiting, which of these has grown in you? Which can you ask God to continue growing?
Photo credit: Emilee Carpenter
Kathryn is an INFP, Enneagram four, a big fan of personality tests, a wife, manager, and wannabe-writer. Her truest identity, though, is rooted in her relationship with Jesus. Her mission is to love God, love people, and equip young women to do the same.