It finally happened. Something I have been praying for for years was answered. The answer came quietly, not with the fanfare, the earth-shaking I expected. One day I woke up and this prayer was answered. I still brushed my teeth. I still got dressed for the day. I still went to work. I didn't feel different, but some really big things had changed.
In the spirit of full disclosure the day our answered prayer found us was a bit different. It was last Tuesday night, and we were at the funeral home in Scottsville, KY, there for Ma's visitation. Tim's grandmother had passed away the weekend before; family and friends gathered together to remember and celebrate a life well lived. That afternoon Tim had been offered the job as an assistant principal at an elementary school in a town not too far from where we live. That evening he accepted it. The juxtaposition of it all does not escape me: As we were saying goodbye to one life, a new life for us was just beginning. The sentimental side of me wants to believe that Ma had something to do with God's timing, that she talked Him into a parting gift, letting her sweet grandson know that as she passed through Heaven's open doors God was opening a few on earth as well.
I've been praying for God to do something wonderful for my husband for a long time. We have both sensed that there was more for him for a while. That he was made for more than the life he was living, that God had given him gifts, insights, abilities that were not being used. That he had passion and excellence within him that needed to be given expression. Tim is a natural born leader. We've been asking relentlessly for years for God to give him a place to lead. And now that door has opened.
Have you ever noticed that God's answers to long held prayers feel as if they've been answered all along? Certainly in putting the question to Him, we wonder if He hears, if we've asked the right way, did we hold our mouth right. But I've noticed the feeling that comes after the answer arrives is so closely akin to recognition. It's as if the answer has always existed as such and just our noticing it has changed. Like walking into a familiar room and saying, "Did someone put that lamp there?" Then you realize it had been there all along.
A part of me feels that way. That this is such a natural step for Tim, that he was made for this experience and that it has been waiting for him, with his name on it for a long time. From the first time I prayed a heartfelt prayer on his behalf, asking, begging, beseeching God to do something wonderful for him, God knew this position was his. And for all those tenuous moments when discouragement and disappointment threatened to eat away at our hearts, God was preparing him for this moment. In those painful times, God was power-packing my husband with everything he would need for such a time . . . as this.
I love seeing Tim walk into this answered prayer with confidence. I wonder if he would have been able to if God had answered us immediately, if He had not withheld the disclosure of the plan until now. Because the truth is that the confidence came with the waiting. Ironic isn't it? The waiting is the very thing that made him the man he is today. One would think that waiting, being told "no" time after time would dry up one's confidence, make one want to give up and give in, to go home and quit dreaming, quit trying. Instead the very opposite happened. I know now that without Tim's waiting there would have been no strength of heart, no depth of understanding, no clarifying of purpose, no purifying of passion, no honing of instinct. It's kind of like cooking. It is the rendering down, the waiting, that intensifies the flavors.
When our third son was born, I named him Jeremiah Allen: Jeremiah, for the verse I had been holding onto for Tim for so long--"For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future with hope" (Jeremiah 29:11); Allen, after Tim whose middle name is the same. I wanted Tim to be able to look at our son and know that God had not forgotten him. That God did indeed have good plans for his life. The thing that has always amazed me about this Bible passage is that God's good plans for us are born while we are in exile, away from the home our hearts are longing for. And it is that very separation that gives us everything we need to walk into the hope God has for us.
I'm so glad, so thankful, that part of our long wait is over. Thank You sweet Lord, for answers that have been there all along. And thank You for revealing them. It helps me hope that my own heart longings will also be answered. It helps me remember that You have plans for me too.