(Photo courtesy of Jen Fox Photography)
Oh how I love this woman! Her and her family are like family to me! They were used significantly years and years ago to help find Jesus. It has been such a joy to watch Hannah grow up and start her own family and to now serve together doing ministry! Hannah is on the Collide team and we call her our Martha Stewart. She brings an eye for design but even more importantly she brings with her a big heart of compassion and care. You will enjoy every minute here as she shares that big heart of hers!- Willow
In October, I had the privilege of sharing my story at Collide. I have to say that the opportunity to reflect on the past several years impacted me greatly and has led to even further healing. I shared about our experience with infertility and pregnancy loss and the journey I have been on to hope for a blessing when it is not right in front of me. The Advent season is significant to my story and has provided space for me to enter into my longings, to really feel the tension living in the now and yet longing for all things to be made right.
According to Wikipedia, “Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The term is a version of the Latin word meaning ‘coming.’ Latin adventus is the translation of the Greek word parousia, commonly used to refer to the Second Coming of Christ. For Christians, the season of Advent anticipates the coming of Christ from two different perspectives. The season offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert for his Second Coming.”
I have had plenty of longing; it has become familiar to me and to be honest, it is comfortable. I am more than familiar with anticipation, in fact, anticipation and I have an unhealthy relationship. My disappointment and hurt have taught me to expect or anticipate more disappointment and hurt. As a means of protecting myself, I anticipate less than enough to avoid the gut wrenching crush of yet another disappointment. I am learning that this is not the anticipation that God has called us into.
It is mind boggling to me that my deepest hurts and disappointments have taken me on a journey of learning to trust God, and to start to anticipate more rather than not enough. My longing has shown me where I don’t trust God, where I feel that He is not quite enough, and challenged me to see God in new ways.
It takes faith to trust. It requires me to believe in what I don’t see, to believe in something bigger than my circumstances or the circumstances of others. To anticipate joy is to trust that in my scarcity He is, and will continue to be, enough. This is what excites me, this has revolutionized my anticipation. It has given me hope when I feel that there is no hope. Every day is like a second coming. I see His kingdom come into my daily life. He takes the broken and restores it.
My longing and my anticipation now have a co-dependent relationship, one is not present without the other. I long for love to invade our hearts and replace hate. I long for restoration of broken relationships. I long for every child to be protected and cherished. I long for every refugee to have a safe home. I long for every person to have a voice and be truly heard. I long for those suffering with illness to be healed. I long for peace. My hope is in a God that will restore all things back to Himself. I anticipate that He will fulfill the longings of my heart even though His timing and the outcome often looks different than what I expect.
My prayer for you this advent season is that in the midst of the longing you would experience a glimmer of hope. That you could anticipate joy and wonder.