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I’m still sitting here, waiting. Waiting for time to pass, for plans to be executed, for another baby to come, for it to be the new year (yes, already) to figure out the next stage in my professional/student life. I have done a lot of waiting this year, more than I care to admit because what is profitable about waiting?

I have never been good at waiting. It often causes me a lot of anxiety and worry and never feels like it produces anything but stress.

So when last October I began considering a bold move and applying to a program that would require us to move once again and spend the next four-five years of my life in a school program that would require A LOT of my time, I was excited by the prospect but also worried. It would be a lot to do in a short amount of time and the fact that I was able to submit the application and accompanying required paperwork on time was a miracle. And then, I had to wait.

While I was waiting, God was preparing me- to wait. During my morning time of devotion and prayer I read in Deuteronomy how God told His people they had not yet seen the place He had called them to, a place where they would lay down their sacrifices and offer their all to Him. How He told them not to burn their sacrifices in every place they go, but only in the place He had called them to.

A stirring in my heart started that day. One that was hard for me to accept. I read the verses to my husband, highlighted them, and cried over them. I told my husband how I felt I was not to have anymore back-up plans, to trust God to lead me where I was to go, where we were to go. I asked what it meant that I had not seen the place- the school I had applied to was somewhere in which I was quite familiar, a place I missed being near. I questioned if the dream in my heart to be in a PhD program was even going to happen, if I was going to get the job that I had worked hard toward all these years in school, trying to figure out what it all meant.

God said, Wait.

So for almost a year I have been waiting, and things have slowly unfolded. I did not get into the program, I did get pregnant with our fourth child, I did make a decision to begin homeschooling my oldest until a better school option presented itself, I did not find a new job. I did not make any definite plans this year to find a job at all, instead waiting until the baby comes and the new year begins. I completed my internship and my program and I worked on me. Me and God and waiting.

Whenever I start trying to come up with plans or look into jobs or schools because I feel anxious just waiting around I am reminded of those passages in Deuteronomy.

I feel like I will be pregnant forever, but I wait.

I feel like I need to be doing something more than being at home with the children, but I wait.

I wait and wait and I have learned that this waiting has forced me not to focus so much on the next step but rather focus on what is going on in the present.

So many people have said that the secret to happiness is living in the moment. I thought happiness would be impossible if that were true because I was constantly thinking ahead and could never focus on the present. Being at home this past year has helped me to re-focus, to see how much I miss if I don’t pay attention to the now.

I was missing milestones of my youngest. I would miss the explosion of her vocabulary as she learns to talk and express her self. I would have missed her dancing and carefree, joyous attitude each day. I would have missed the magic of my oldest learning to read, of watching the sounds and words click together in his young mind and the access to knowledge he is gaining. I would have missed many a days of cuddling with my middle son, who is quickly phasing out of toddler looks to a young boy and needing his mommy a little less each day for the small things.

It is tiring day in and day out, reminding myself to focus on the now. It is hard not to be doing a hundred things or scheduling work or school activities and planning. But I believe this was the only way I could get to the point to say to God, Ok, I am not going to have any back-up plans. I am going to be and wait to see where you lead me.

Being pregnant with my fourth and chasing three wild, spirited children also slows me down to not overschedule.

And you know what? I have found that waiting can be profitable. Exciting, almost. God will lead me where He plans and sometimes part of the process is waiting. And while I wait I have learned to surrender to His plans and His will and I know it will be good. Because He is good and wants good for me and my family and for our lives, wherever we are led. And when we get there, I will lay my sacrifices down and praise Him for the good and won’t be burned out in many places because of my own meager plans and ideas of where I thought I should go.

While I wait, I will do my best to live in the moment, to re-focus when I don’t, and ever be mindful of the promise He gave me a year ago.

“But you shall seek the place where the LORD your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go. There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks. And there you shall eat before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand, your and your households, in which the LORD your God has blessed you. You shall not at all do as we are doing here today- every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes- for as yet you have not come to the rest and the inheritance which the LORD your God is giving you…Take heed to yourself that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every place that you see; but in the place which the LORD chooses.” (Deuteronomy 12:5-8,13-14a.)