The Waiting Room
I can vividly remember the last week of my mother’s life. She was diagnosed with cancer and one week later, she was gone. As quickly as it was, I will never forget that last week of her life. And one thing specifically I remember was the waiting room and the waiting by her side…watching…wrestling…and finding God.
The normal question after we get back from each family trip is, “When will Kelly be home?” I love and hate that question. I love that question b/c people are not afraid to ask us…they don’t stop asking us even though it has been a year and a half now. I love that people continue to stick along side of us and don’t forget that one of our son’s is in Haiti and not with us. I love that. But I hate not having a real answer to give. How do you really explain all this wait besides blame it on Haiti or government or paperwork or this and that? So I fumble through my words in hopes to explain the realities but inside there is a wrestling that is often unexplainable.
This waiting room, as I think of it, is a place between joy and pain. The joy of the moments we get to visit Kelly and see him grow, the pain that we are not with him daily to help him thrive. The joy that we see him and hold him, the pain that it is only for a few weeks a year. The joy of running to grab him when we arrive in Haiti, the pain of saying “we will return, son” as we get in our cab and head away from him. The joy of meeting his Haitian mother and hearing of Kelly’s life as an infant, the pain as she and I both cry tears of all the brokenness of this story. The joy of our children talking of their brother and loving him far off, the pain as I place Kelly’s clothes in his drawer without him to wear them. The joy of saying hello as we see him over Skype, the pain as he stares at us and we wonder what he must be thinking. The joy of tucking him in bed at night when we are with him, the pain of him crying in our arms as he struggles to trust our love will never go away.
In our waiting room we ask many questions. Many questions of the process to our agency, the orphanage director, the lawyer, other adoptive parents. But most of our questions come screaming from our heart. I can remember the last 24 hours of my mother’s life. I was pregnant with my daughter Sally and had to leave my mom’s side to go lay down in the waiting room. I lay in my husband’s arms silent. And then the tears came flooding. And my heart screamed out, “WHY??!!!!” “Tell me why she must suffer!!!” My heart knew my God and believed Him, but there is something about suffering and pain that will cause you to ask and want to know more of God. “Who are you really?!” “I know you are doing something, but I can’t see?? What about my mother??!!” “Are you there??” “Do you care?” “Do you exist!?”
In a waiting room when suffering or pain is involved, you panic to know “Is there more than what I see?” I begged my husband to explain to me, what the Bible means when it talks about the gain in suffering. He was wise and let me wrestle in silence after my question and then he answered with grace and truth. If anyone knows about suffering, it is my Lord, Jesus. “Jesus understands better than we do that many times the most effective way for the glory of God to be advanced is through the suffering of His people.” – As author Kelley who wrote, “Wednesdays were pretty normal,” reminded me and my husband in that waiting room with my mom. On May 18, 2008 I got up out of the waiting room and went to my mother and helped her fight with faith until her last breath. I reminded her who her God was. I told her not to be afraid. I assured her that He was who He says He is and will do what He says He will do. And 10 hours later, she met that truth face to face and all of her tears were wiped away. All of her sickness was gone. And I had tasted faith and a greater understanding of my Lord.
So, I find myself again, in a waiting room as we wait for Kelly to come home. It is a place between countries, a place between joy and pain, a place between questions and faith. I have to go to the end of all my fears and questions, because it is there that I find who God really is. He has been faithful to give us grace and faith in Him and what He will do.
Our waiting room is a place were we are becoming. We are being changed. Though I can’t see all things, we are all changing.
Though we are in a waiting room, we still must live. We must go on with school, neighbors, friends and family in this journey of life. But this waiting room makes us see all these things we are living in differently. And I am thankful for that. One day Kelly will come home, and we will enter a new journey. But in the meantime, we are finding who God is. We are experiencing love and generosity from so many people who help us fight in this waiting. In the meantime, we are finding new life.
Today is Kelly Josiah’s 5th birthday. When we met him when he was 3 1/2 years old, I never imagined we would be apart on his 5th birthday. But it is what God had for us. Not because He is not or He can’t. But because He made us and knows what is best. Because He sees all things. He has all power. He is who He says He is. He will do all things right and bring our son home, when it is good for us and for kelly. For now, we will celebrate in the waiting room and live until God sees fit to end that time. And then, the waiting will be over. We will take a deep breath and breathe new life, not because it is over, but because we persevered and God’s grace helped us endure the Waiting Room and bring us to a place were we came face to face with God.
I am married to Michael Stewart. We live in Austin, TX with our 3 children, Wesley-Grant (7 yrs), Sally (6 yrs) and Karis (4 yrs) while waiting on our son, Kelly who is 5 yrs old, to come home from Haiti. We have been in the process of adoption for almost 2 years. We are imperfect people but loved perfectly by a gracious and loving God. Follow our journey on our family blog.