When Rachel Hollis spoke on the Jesus Calling® podcast she shared one of the hardest seasons of her faith journey. Here is excerpt from her book,
Girl, Wash Your Face, that describes a portion of that difficult time and how we must have faith in God’s perfect timing.
Imagine a little baby taking her first step. She’s joyful and chubby and she’s been balancing in place without holding on to the coffee table for weeks now. Finally, finally, she takes her first coltish stumble from the relative safety of the side table, then wobbles across the perils of the living room rug to grasp the edge of the sofa. She gets there and looks up at you with elation and pride and so much excitement. Now imagine you give her a quick, brittle smile and demand, “Yes, Chloe, that’s fine, but why aren’t you running by now?”
Can you imagine the dismay that baby girl would feel? What kind of parent has that kind of reaction to a child who’s just learning to do something new? And yet . . . and yet we do it to ourselves all the time.
Our own negative self-talk can be more damaging than the emotional abuse heaped on us by a hateful parent. It’s also far more insidious because there’s nobody there to stop it, since we rarely even realize it’s happening.
And for what? Because you thought you’d be partner at your firm by forty? Because you can’t believe how much weight you’ve gained since having kids? Because your sister is already married and you’re not even dating anyone? Because you dropped out of college and didn’t get your degree? And you’re thinking with every passing hour and day and week that it’s too late?
God has perfect timing
You look at your life and the eight things you thought you’d have accomplished by thirty-five and feel depressed. But maybe it’s just that you don’t have enough life experience yet. You’re like the baby who’s balancing in the middle of the room on chubby baby thighs—maybe you have to get your bearings for a while longer.
Or maybe that goal wasn’t ever meant to be yours. Maybe you are destined for something so much cooler, which won’t come until five years down the road. Maybe you have to walk through this space you’re in to be ready for that. Nothing is wasted. Every single moment is preparing you for the next. But whether or not you choose to see this time as something wonderful—the time when God is stretching you and growing you or maybe forging you in fires hotter than you think you can withstand—all of it is growing you for the person you’re becoming, for a future you can’t even imagine.
When I decided to try and get pregnant for the first time, I thought I’d snap my fingers and be expecting the next minute. It took eight months to conceive.
The morning I finally took a test that showed me two pink lines, I ran over to the mirror to look at my face. I kept thinking, I never want to forget how I looked when I found out I would be a mother. I can still see myself in that mirror, wide-eyed and filled with shock and wonder.
Jackson Cage Hollis was born on January 30, 2007, and he is one of the greatest joys in my life. Guys, if I had gotten pregnant at any point during those eight months of trying, I wouldn’t have had Jackson.
God has perfect timing.
Dave and I walked through a long adoption journey. Nearly five years ago we started the process to adopt a little girl from Ethiopia. After mountains of paperwork and nearly a year of filing and preparing and getting fingerprints done for the hundredth time, we were officially vetted and waiting for a match. Two years of waiting later, the adoption program in Ethiopia imploded and we found out that continuing to wait for a match was futile. We had to mourn the loss of the life, and the daughter, we had imagined for ourselves.
We started over. We decided to adopt through foster care in LA County because we recognized that the need was great. During that journey we took in two little girls through foster care, and I sobbed for weeks after they had to leave us. Two months later we got a call about newborn twin girls that would be ours. Unbeknownst to us, their biological father decided he wanted them, and five weeks later the babies I thought were my daughters were taken back.
I wasn’t sure how to think or feel, and I truly didn’t know if I had it in me to try again for adoption. I knew I was letting my fear control me, that the worry about giving my heart away again only to have it stomped on kept me from taking a next step. In the midst of such heartache, it’s hard not to worry. I cried so many tears, thinking, Lord, why would you put this desire on my heart if it wasn’t ever going to come true? And, God, if we try again, you’re not actually sending my heart out to be slaughtered, right? Because this process with court dates and bio parents and doctor visits and trauma and the Department of Child and Family Services—that was already hard enough . . . You’re not going to eviscerate us at the end of this, right? Right?!
Amid these fearful thoughts, I heard him ask me, Do you have faith in my plan or not?
That is what it boils down to: faith. The belief that your life will unfold as it was meant to, even when it unfolds into something painful and difficult to navigate. Do I believe he has a plan? Absolutely. I’ve seen the proof of it too many times to consider anything else. That means I have to hold on to that belief even when the process isn’t simple or easy or safe.
God has perfect timing, and it’s highly possible that by not being where you thought you should be, you will end up exactly where you’re meant to go.
Excerpt permission by Thomas Nelson (February, 2018)