Although none of my flesh wants to believe that there is joy in waiting, I know that there most certainly is | by Valerie Hatcher
As Christians, we hear this hundreds of times, have probably even attempted to remind ourselves daily that God is working while we wait for “X” event, or for an answer, or for some sort of change. All the while, we are supposed to be joyful in the process. But the truth is, waiting sucks! At least for the Flesh it does, and guess what? That is entirely what we are!
Growing up, I was as broken as they come. Although I had no clue of this; I thought I was amazing. Throughout middle school, and well into high school, I always surrounded myself with a big group of friends, and even more so, male friends. I always had a crush on someone, and I usually prevailed when it came to having them fall for me. It was a game, a way to see how I could get what I want, but all the while running far away from the one thing I truly did want: Love.
It was my Senior year of high school when God began a work in me to truly transform me from the inside out, and he used the most perfect tool: a boy. I was introduced to this boy through a mutual friend, and he couldn’t have been more different than me. I was starving for love and attention, from anyone or anything. But he was filled with Jesus, the greatest love of all. I was so naïve. “No big deal,” I thought to myself, “I Believe in God too.” But boy was I wrong. From the minute my best friend asked not to try to make him like me, because he was a “good boy,” I was determined to do the contrary. I thought it would be easy, as it had been in the past. I had a way with words, and I had perfected the art of flirting. I was going to like this boy anyways, but even more so, I would make him like me too. Easy enough, right? Except for the fact that he really was DIFFERENT. We talked for months, and to me, it felt like years. Typically, I was over a boy by then, and had found a new crush and was onto the next. Why was this taking so long?! He liked me–that was clear. Although he absolutely hated dancing, I convinced him to go to Homecoming with me. We talked non-stop, and I drove to his house nearly every day after work just to sit in my car with him for 10 minutes to talk. But still, nothing. He would tell me over and over that dating was a serious thing to him, because you should only date to find who you will marry. This concept, though not completely foreign to me, felt awkward. It made me start a deeper evaluation of myself and ask what my reasons were for dating. More and more, God was showing me the value in waiting. The longer I waited, the more I began to fall in love with this boy’s values. He had a different outlook on life than I had–that was clear–but why?
It was after months when I finally worked up the courage to tell this boy that if he was not going to ask me out, then there was no point in investing all this time. That alone was not like me because I rarely gave up but then again, I also rarely had to wait for months for a boy to turn around. I was not prepared for his answer either, because it was a clear, hard, “No, I still do not want a girlfriend.” To say I was in shock would be an understatement. Through a night full of tears, I began to question what was wrong with me. I wondered if he did not think that I was good enough. What was it that I was missing?
Maybe it was the tears, or maybe it was the fact that I tried my hardest to ignore him all day at school the next day, but again he did the unthinkable and finally asked me out (and the crowd said hooray)! Here is where the real waiting began…
Now that we were officially a couple, I started to realize even more that this boy really was different from others I had previously pursued. He told me shortly after we had been dating that he was saving himself until marriage. This was something I had honestly never planned for myself. I actually assumed that he would change his mind. But at the same time, I knew right away that this was the boy I was supposed to be with forever! As time went on, I found myself wanting to be this “good girl” that he would eventually want to marry. That alone was a process in which I found myself waiting. I began going to youth group with him, and before I knew it, I was no longer striving to be a better me for him, but a better me for the one true love that was there for me all along: Jesus.
We have now been dating for eight years and four months. Saying that aloud brings a multitude of emotions; I am sure many can imagine why, but frustrated is at the top of the list. Don’t get me wrong, it is a complete joy that I have found the absolute love of my life and the man I know I want to marry. Our relationship and walk with God, together and apart, has seen so many breakthroughs after all this time, that I know it has been a blessing that we are still waiting to be married. However, I am human. A woman in my mid-twenties human, who has become the absolute highest amount of impatient that one can get!
Not only has it been challenging to not have the title of wife after all these years, but we are still in fact adamant that we do not want to act as if we are married. Put more simply, we are still abstaining from premarital relations. This, to be honest, is NOT easy. We have been together for as long as most married couples in our church, crying out loud! But yet, we are to be joyful while we wait. This is something that my flesh screams CRAZY! But my heart has, in fact, found joy.
The reasons why are quite simple, actually; one being that it is written over and over again throughout Scripture that we are to wait on the Lord, but also due to my own interactions with the Holy Spirit in which I have heard God say to me, “It’s not your timing, but mine.” These specific verses are ones that I feel God has perfectly illustrated to us;
- Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all ways submit to him, and he will make your path straight.”
- Lamentations 3:25 “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.”
- Romans 12:12 “ Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
These past years have been far from a cake-walk, and that has become my biggest testament as to God moving in this relationship. That may seem a little backwards to some, but to me it makes perfect sense. The Lord has promised us both that we are to eventually be together, if we indeed wait on him. It seems crazy to our Christian friends who cannot believe we have waited this long, and even crazier to our non-Christian friends who cannot grasp the idea of “waiting” at all. It’s frustrating to both of us, and we have failed at times and have threatened to give up. Every time, we are met with the Lord’s precious grace and reminded of his promises. It is because of this that I have been able to wait with a smile, because every time I want to cry out to the Lord, “How dare you make me wait when I’m trying to do everything right by you,” I am quickly reminded of the works he has done. He has transformed this once-little girl, who starved for any worldly love she could get her hands on, into a woman who is running only after Christ’s heart. He has taught both my boyfriend and me the value of a Godly relationship, and has shown us, in many circumstances, how glad we are that we are not yet married. He has also allowed us to be a light to so many people through our experiences. And, He has undeniably reminded us both that though the world may look at us funny for waiting on the word he spoke to our hearts, that He will be good to those who seek Him. Although none of my flesh wants to believe that there is joy in waiting, I know that there most certainly is.
My name is Valerie Hatcher and I am 26 years old. I live in San Marcos and have recently taken on the responsibility of raising my 12-year-old brother, Keanu. I grew up always believing in God and occasionally would attend Catholic Church with my family, but I would consider myself to have been saved in 2009. I began to attend The Father’s House regularly along with the high school group The Bridge with my boyfriend, Simon, when I was abruptly met with the Holy Spirit one morning at work. From that moment on, I knew I wanted to live my life for Jesus. Growing up with the furthest from a “normal” family, I was finally at peace to know I had the best father anyone could ask for in Jesus.