The Waiting Room
Sunday, December 3 - 1st Sunday of Advent
Ashley Alderman, RPC member since October 1994 and daughter of Dr. Lane Alderman, RPC's Senior Pastor from 1994 to 2015
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. - Lamentations 3:22-23 (NRSV)
I'm a planner. Not only is that actually a part of my current job title, but it's also in my DNA. My grandfather and father were planners of epic proportions (even family vacations came with an itinerary!)... which only makes times of waiting all that much harder for me. Waiting during a period of the unknown is by definition not part of a plan!
I knew something was wrong on Maundy Thursday when the person giving me a ride home from my college in North Carolina pulled into the parking lot where we were supposed to meet my mom, and it was my dad sitting in his car. He should have been at the church for the evening service, but instead we sat in the car in the parking lot, and he told me he had male breast cancer. That conversation started 16 years of waiting in my family.
For anyone who has been through a terminal illness with a family member or friend, it's a complete roller-coaster ride. You get encouraged by a good test result after a new drug is approved... And then you wait to see if it will work or how long until it might stop working. Some new symptoms would occur... And then you wait for the test results to find out if the cancer has spread. The doctor tells you it's time to consider hospice... And then you spend every day trying to cherish your time while waiting for what you know at that point is the inevitable, never knowing what each morning will bring.
Throughout this waiting period, what became abundantly clear is that I was not in control of the timeline. I would never have chosen any of this as the plan. We were following God's plan, and I had to learn to wait. I am still a work in progress on turning over that control of the "itinerary" in my life, but I learned to appreciate my time with my family during the waiting period. We became even closer because we were all in the same boat together, and we learned to lean on each other for support. I also learned to trust in God to get through each day. During these times of waiting, as hard as it is, you have to keep on with your daily activities of school and work and life in general. The absolute only way I found to do this was constantly reminding myself of a meaningful verse to our family - that God is in control of each morning... and of the ultimate itinerary.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your faithfulness and mercy every morning. Even in the times of waiting where we may doubt your plan, help to remind us that you are always in control and with us every step of the way. Amen.
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