Hurry Up And Wait…

We’ve all been there. Staring down a road that leads to who knows where, wondering if we’ll ever reach the end of it. I’ve read that on average, we’ll spend at least five years of our lives just waiting. Waiting for the interminable line of traffic to start moving. Waiting for the phone to ring. Waiting for an email. Waiting for that long-awaited letter to arrive in the mailbox. We wait for good news. We wait for bad news. Waiting is a physically agonizing process, a process that is completely out of our hands.

If you’ve been writing for any length of time, I suspect by now you know all about waiting. Perhaps you were fortunate enough to go in prepared. Some kind soul warned you that once you start submitting your work, you’d be in for the wait of a lifetime. I wasn’t so lucky. When I started sending out queries to agents and editors, I had no idea how long the whole process would take. Even now as a published author, I’m still frustrated by how long everything takes in the world of publishing. You see, I’m not the most patient person in the world. But I have learned, through trial and error, that some things are worth waiting for.

Once upon a time, about a decade ago, I decided to search for my birth family. I’d always known I was adopted, but until then, never felt the need to search. Until God stepped in and said otherwise. Call it what you will – fate, destiny, blatant curiosity. All I knew for sure was that I needed to know. And so I embarked on a journey with an unknown destination.

If you think the wheels of publishing move slowly, try dipping your toes in the murky waters of the adoption ocean. Uncovering any information is akin to embarking on a quest for The Holy Grail.

Fortunately, given my aversion to waiting, I was one of the lucky ones. My answers came quickly. Too quickly perhaps. I was totally unprepared for the onslaught of emotions that took up residence and unpacked for the duration. It was a hard but necessary time in my life. A time when all I could do was throw up my hands, cry out to God, and ask Him for answers.

You see, not only had I found my birth mother, who was not completely receptive to my sudden reappearance in her life, but I discovered that I had a sister. A sister who was completely unaware of my existence. And I was asked to wait. Wait for the right time to tell her. Wait to see whether or not I would be able to establish a relationship with this person I knew nothing about yet felt deep in my soul a connection I could not at the time comprehend.

I said earlier that waiting is something we can’t control. But we try, don’t we? We send follow-up emails, perhaps a phone call or two to nudge the process along. Eventually we realize we’re not doing ourselves any favors. We give up and go back to waiting.

In the Christian community you’ll often hear the following – “God answers prayers three ways. Yes. No. Wait.”  There are no maybes with God. When your answer is a “Yes!”, you know that feeling! You rejoice, cry a little, throw a party. The “No.” answer is hard. It hurts. You don’t understand. You might get angry, depressed, reluctant to try again. But if you know in your heart that God is at work, you’ll accept the no in faith that He has a better plan. Oh, but that “Wait…” Now, that’s the kicker.

How long, God? Why? When will something give?

Sound familiar?

My wait took a little over a year. As frustrated and anxious as I was with the situation, I knew without a doubt that somehow, some way, God was working it out. Was it easy to wait? As easy as walking across a bed of hot coals and broken glass. Every day. Was it worth it?

You bet.

My sister and I now have a wonderful relationship. I’m glad I hung in there. I’m glad I didn’t give up. I’m glad I waited. Most of all, I’m really glad I trusted God.

Nowadays, when I’m checking my email every five seconds waiting for news, I remind myself of that time in my life. I tell myself to cut it out. Stop being so impatient. There is a time and a place for everything. And it’s not up to me.

What about you? What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever waited for?

28 Replies to “Hurry Up And Wait…”

  1. What a great post, Cathy! You and your sister look so happy! Great picture.

    I’ve always believed the best things are worth the wait.

    1. Thanks, Loree! You’re absolutely right. And it’s always the hardest things, the times in life that you don’t think you’ll ever get through, that seem to bear the most fruit!

  2. What a beautiful story, Cathy. Like a beauty from ashes tale. I love how God redee,s our times in waiting when we see that to have moved any faster would not have yielded the same rich result. Waiting to be published was one of the hadest things I’ve done, but waiting for my daughter to be okay and walk into her future healthy and happy was even harder. Now that’s happening and I can see it was so very much worth the wait. 🙂

    1. Dineen, I can’t imagine how difficult that time in your life with your daughter must have been! But you hung in there, trusted God, and now you’re receiving the blessing of her good health! Sometimes all we can do is hang on to that last thread of hope and wait. It’s always worth it.

  3. The five-year odyssey to find a publisher has to rank up there in the top ten Cathy, but the wait for our children was the toughest. We married young, while we were in college and decided to wait on starting a family until we’d finished school. Our first baby, born the year after we finished college, was a beautiful daughter, but within the first week of her life she died of meningitis. The loss was devastating, but eventually the Lord blessed us with two more children. Dealing with the sorrow of that loss and the desire for more children made that time of waiting seem VERY LONG!

    1. Sue, that must have been agonizing. But I am sure you can look back on it now and see how you grew from that pain, as difficult as it must have been. We experienced the loss of my great-niece a few years ago at 2 months of age. It was devastating. I am not sure you ever ‘get over’ that kind of pain, you just get through it. With God’s grace, love and mercy.

  4. Great post. Waiting for the book deal was definitely difficult. Hard stuff. But now….as I travel this road toward adoption, I think this wait will trump the book stuff.

  5. Cathy,
    You and your sister share a lot of resemblance.

    My twin sister and I were adopted. Fortunately we were adopted together. I know the feeling of looking for birth parents. All our lives we wondered but when we were thirty we hired an intermediary to look at the birth records. First we met our birth mother who was hesitant at first. A few months later they tracked down our birth father had never been told about the pregnancy. Can you imagine his surprise when he was told he had 30 year old twin girls? It took him a year to accept the news but we eventually did meet.

    1. WHAT! Ha, now that’s a story I want to hear, Lucille! Funny, I was thirty as well the year I knew I had to search! Must be a girl thing too. A lot of male adoptees never make that decision. I am glad you were reunited with your birth family. It’s a roller-coaster ride, isn’t it?

    2. Lucille, that’s such a powerful revelation. Having lost my own dad when I was 11, I’m a firm believer in reaching out to fatherless young people. Fortunately, our mom was a real champ. She died 50 years to the month after Dad–had a stroke while she was getting ready to go dancin’.
      I hope your father manned up and became a part of your lives. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Hi Cathy,
    Thanks for sharing your story. I’m adopted and a writer, too, although yet unpublished, but I love how you brought the two themes of my life together in a very unexpected way…I must be the world’s patient person because my bmom still hasn’t told my two half-sisters about me and I suspect never will and I’ve been working on the same book for 10+ years. So, as you can see, it made me smile to see it all work out for you!

    1. Hi Stephanie,
      Oh I can definitely relate!! I’m so sorry to hear you are still waiting…on all fronts. It IS so hard sometimes. Please feel free to contact me if you need to vent about all this, I have SO been there and although, yes, I am now on the other side, there is still sometimes pain to deal with. I’m always happy to chat with fellow adoptees and writers!!

  7. What an amazing journey God has given you, Cathy. I have 3 sisters and can’t imagine life without the love, laughter, and camaraderie of each. I’m so very happy for you, your sister, and your wonderful relationship. Woo Hooo!!

    1. Thanks, Donna! Yes it has been quite the journey! I was able to tap into a lot of those experiences in writing my upcoming novel, Hidden in the Heart. I think anyone who knows anything about adoption will relate, but even if not, it’s still a cool story!

  8. This is probably one of my favorite blog posts. Ever.
    So many life lessons, so much honesty.
    I welled up. I smiled.
    I’m holding this one close to my heart.
    And now I have another reason to thank God that I know you.

  9. Hey Cathy,
    Love the pic of you and your sister. So wonderful. Waiting journeys are some of the toughest journeys there are;so hard. My oldest daughter who is now 22 has struggled with 11 years of severe mental health problems. Every day has been like waiting for the other shoe to drop, but this past year we’ve seen improvement, and hope, and possibilities. No, waiting is not easy, but it has made me an incredibly patient person in incredibly difficult circumstances of all kinds. Such preparation for the world of publishing. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your special journey. Hugs.

    1. Wow, Jillian, thanks so much for sharing. I love the community here and how we can all relate to one another even through totally different situations! I will be keeping you guys in prayer as you continue to wait for those wonderful breakthroughs! He is faithful.

  10. Great post!

    I could relate to a lot of what you said. My two sisters and I are adopted, and I’ve thought about finding my birth parents. For myself, it’s not that I “have” to find them, but that I’m very curious to know who they are, and I feel as if I owe them a huge thank you. They gave me an amazing family and an amazing life, and they didn’t have to. My birth mom could have aborted me, and chose not to. She’s my hero for that reason, because it could not have been an easy decision to make.

    The one reason I hesitate is because I worry about how it would affect my adoptive mom, who is also my hero. I think it would really hurt her feelings and make her feel as if I was trying to replace her. If it’s not too personal of a question, did your adoptive mom experience similar feelings?

    1. Hi Lizzie! I think all the feelings you are experiencing are completely normal for an adoptee. I felt a lot of guilt for even wanting to know, long before I decided to search. I always felt that somehow the topic was off limits growing up, even though later, I discovered my mom was quite willing to talk about it and told me all she knew. She was actually deceased when I decided to begin my search. I know she would have been supportive if she’d still been alive but I’m not sure I would have felt okay about it. It’s hard to know. My dad was fine with it and very supportive, but if he had shown any hesitation at all, again I don’t think I could have gone through with it. Everyone is different. It sounds like you and your mom have a wonderful relationship and for what it’s worth, it sounds to me like she’d be supportive if you decided to search. I think sometimes we the adoptee but a lot of misplaced feelings and emotions on people because we’re not sure how to deal with them ourselves. You’re not trying to replace her, you just want answers. The thing that sealed the deal for me was something I read on an adoption site – “You existed before you were adopted.”
      I hope this helps some, I’m always happy to chat anytime!

  11. Cathy, what a beautiful story. Thanks for the reminder about difficult waits. It’s funny how in publishing there only seem to be two kinds of time: agonizing waits in total silence, and mad dashes to meet deadlines. But having experienced the latter, I’m now going to find the former a blessed relief!

  12. What a gorgeous picture and precious story. Some things are really worth every minute of the wait, huh?

    The hardest things I’ve had to wait for aren’t things to post to a public site, but yes, waiting on the first book contract was a very difficult wait. But God makes all things beautiful and the way I got my contract was extra special because so many who walked the wait with me were there to hear about it when I did.

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