the hallway

As an aspiring writer, getting the privilege to work for one of the best (and my personal favorite) Christian authors and speakers out there (who may or may not be quoted in this post;) is pretty incredible. The way it came about is one of my favorite stories of how God can sometimes guide you in such a way that you actually feel like you're being pulled. Sideways gravity, if that was a thing. It happened, but is a story I'll save for another day.

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One of my responsibilities at work is to edit her blog posts that go out each week, and I love it. These past several weeks, though, I've noticed that each of her messages are really hitting home with me… so much so that I'm feeling encouraged and fidgety, convicted and comforted, all at the same time.

I mentioned this to her the other day. "Um, I know you're not writing these blog posts specifically for me, but it's starting to feel like you are, so if you could just maybe move on to someone else, that'd be great." We laughed, but she neither confirmed nor denied it. Ha!

But as I read through her readers' comments it made me realize that there are a lot of hurting people out there. Plenty of different causes, but mostly resulting in the same questions. What is the point of enduring hard times? Why does this mountain seem immovable? When are things going to get easier? Why me? Why now?

I started thinking about how I'm handling this current season we're walking through, and how I've handled past difficulties. They've all involved waiting. I hate waiting. Not sure there are many people out there who actually enjoy it, but there have to be plenty who handle it better than I do. And each time I've been "left" (but not really left at all) waiting, I had resolved myself to get through it, and then would praise and thank God for His faithfulness once I was on the other side of it.

Like that time when Brian was on a mission trip in Honduras, and I hadn't heard from him in several days. I was in worst-case scenario mode, thinking something horrible had happened to him. I worried. I barely slept. I was impatient and irritable with the boys. It was awful. And then, in the middle of a pedicure on that third day, my phone rang with an unknown number flashing on the screen. It was him. I burst into tears, scaring the poor nail ladies, so relieved and thankful he was okay. Then I happily praised God the rest of the week until Brian was safely home again. But during the unknown? Nope.

Or that time when we were trying to have a second child. I had endured surgery and several months of difficult treatments, been told that conceiving again might not happen, then found out we were expecting (yay!), only to lose that baby at 7 weeks. I was angry and sad and couldn't understand for a second why God would allow it to happen after all we'd already been through. He knew how much we wanted a big family. He knew our hearts, right? But did I praise Him through it? No. I blamed Him for it. Three months later when we learned we were expecting Hudson, we celebrated… cautiously. I knew God had answered our prayers with a yes, and I was thankful, but not all that repentant for how I acted in the in-between.

So basically…. I've been somewhat of a self-entitled brat. God, give me what I ask for and I'll be happy. I'll shout Your praises far and wide. I guess my thinking was that if He didn't, that I really didn't have much to be thankful for.

"Sometimes God allows us to be shaken, even when using our greatest strengths, so we can stop relying on us and start relying on Him." ~Jennifer Rothschild

Fast-forward to this stage in life. A Christian for 28 years. A minister's wife for over 18 years. Pretty experienced, right? Maybe, but not really. We're always learning, and I've added a new term to my "Christ-follower" vocabulary: the hallway. Yes, I know… "hallway" isn't a new word, but it does have a new meaning for me now.

Sometimes, God's best for us is to hang out in the hallway for awhile. Sometimes our stay is short, sometimes it's long. Often it's much longer than we'd choose if it was up to us. There are doors in the hallway. Typically, closed doors, but sometimes they're cracked open a bit, as details get worked out and the ducks start lining up in their tidy rows. But still, it's a hallway. It's cramped. Probably neglected. Not decorated much or all that comfortable… after all, it's just temporary, right? It may feel dark and lonely.

But it's not. For what I'm learning now is that it's in the hallway where God reveals deeper parts of Him that weren't seen before. That He is a good God who can be trusted completely. A patient God, with our very best in mind. He's safe. He's gentle. He's kind. And He has much to teach us there in that small space. You'll start out feeling shaken, but He'll soon steady you. It's where faith grows stronger. Where praises get louder and more frequent. Where the good things in life begin to show themselves differently… or quite possibly, things are noticed that were previously overlooked. Joy is found in the seemingly small and insignificant things.

That time in the hallway? It won't last forever. One day a door will open. The door will open, the one that God has been busy preparing for you. The one that seemed like it might never open. The one that is His very best for you. And when you walk through it, you'll be more grateful than you ever thought possible for that time in the hallway. For it's in the hallway where we are changed. Made to look more like Him, with a new perspective, a greater understanding.

And all the hurt, the confusion, the questions? You'll see. It'll all come together for your good and His glory.

Praise Him in the hallway. Pray and seek and sing like you never have before. And you'll find that the hallway might not be such a bad place after all.

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