Life is full of times where we find ourselves in the waiting room.  Sitting in a doctor’s office because you or someone you love is sick, at the mechanic because your car needs to be fixed, at the dentist because you have to, or in a business office for a job interview. Like it or not, times of waiting just find us. Yet what I am beginning to realize is that in life, the greatest times of waiting, often happen outside of the waiting room.

As I shared on Monday, where I used to have a “plan” for my life, I now have questions and the unknown. For ten months now I have been in a time of waiting.  And though different than any experience I have had before, it is a quiet and persistent struggle, I am familiar with.

Six years ago, about Christmas time, I told God that I couldn’t do another year single.  I was living far from where I grew up, far from my friends, and far from my family. I had never really had a long term relationship, which was getting old, and I didn’t want to be alone anymore. So I prayed that God would bless me with a husband (and particularly that my now husband would be that man!). Broken and lonely, I prayed boldly, and with everything I had.

(This is the part of the story where I would love to tell you that I woke up the next morning, and my future husband was knocking on my door–but he wasn’t).

A month after I prayed, I sensed God say “not yet.”  Six months later, I felt Him say “It’s going to be another year.” Five months after that, I entered into one of the most darkest, loneliest times I have ever known.

Then, a few months later, I thought I was coming out on the other side. I started dating someone who was really great, but soon broke it off because I just sensed he wasn’t “the one.”  Another whole year went by–a year of waiting, of my dad getting cancer, and of deciding to get counseling. It was a year that felt like everything and nothing was happening at the same time.

Until finally, a little over two years after my bold prayer, I found myself on a hike in early February, with the man I had prayed would be my husband. Ten months later, we were engaged.

I obviously skipped some details from those two years because it would be too much to share here. But I can tell you that what I learned is that God was using everything that happened in between to stretch and grow me in so many important ways. If I hadn’t gone through that time of waiting, I wouldn’t have been ready for my marriage. In fact, those years were part of God’s way of answering my prayer for a husband in the fullest sense. It was as if He was saying, “yes, I will bless you, but when you are ready for it.”

Today, as I wait once again, I am trying to hold on to the fact that it is in our times of being in Life’s waiting room that God is doing the most important work of preparing us for what is next.