Learning to Wait in Expectation and Preparation — What This Season of Advent Is Teaching Me

Right now we are amidst the season of celebrating advent, a time leading up to Christmas, where we await the birth of Jesus. A lot of Christians celebrate it differently, but for many, it looks like reading the scriptures leading up to his birth. 

What I am realizing this year is that advent is not just about waiting for the arrival of Christ, but a season of expectant waiting and preparation. 

This year, advent sits deeply personal as I await multiple diagnoses of on-going sicknesses I’ve dealt with for years. And if I’m being honest, I’ve been throwing a really great pity party for myself these past few weeks.

I try to put up this front that I’m not phased by the countless tubes of blood, doctor office hangs, and cameras down my throat, but in real honesty, it takes a toll. It’s hard to wait for doctors to decide what seems to be your fate. It’s even more difficult to lay in bed each day, awaiting said results, feeling an impending cloud of doom overhead.

I emphasize that I’m growing through this experiences and every medical trial prior, but it also wears deeply on my body, heart, and mind. I oftentimes feel pressured to be strong and pressured to put my faith in God when in reality, it is staggering.

I find myself questioning “Why me?” day after day, and wishing I could just be pain-free in Heaven forever. I spend hours wondering why God allows suffering to rule over my body, and even more why he allows all the sick children I see while in the hospital be filled with so much pain. 

These questions are deep, and I won’t begin to be able to know the answer to many of them but what I do know is that just like advent, there is a purpose in expectant waiting and preparation. I know that while I may not see a purpose in the pain, or triumph on the distance, it’s in these moments that my faith is tested. Not by God, but by life and the circumstances that surround me.

I don’t make light of these questions, and I don’t make light of pain. It’s embodied my life from the time I was a child and has been one of the biggest struggles in my relationship with God. But what I do know is that in these unfavorable circumstances, how we react, and how we wait upon God, determines so much of our personal success. 

What I’m learning in this season of advent, alongside Bible characters like Mary and Elizabeth, is the idea of waiting on the Lord and what that means.

For so long waiting has felt like a time-warped capsule to me. I’ve spent weeks in bed waiting for my body to heal. I’ve spent months waiting for doctors to help me. I’ve spent years waiting for God to help heal my mental health and strengthen my ability to weather each one of these relapses.

But I don’t think I’ve been waiting in the right way. I won’t be hard on myself here, because I know I have been strong through these years, but I also know where constructive correction is needed.

I think we oftentimes say we are waiting on God, but we fail to take any sort of action. I can say I’m waiting on God to heal my body, but do I really mean that? Do I truly believe he has that sort of power or he would use it on me?

In the season of advent, we don’t just sit still awaiting the celebration of His birth, but we also prepare for it. We don’t only read Bible stories leading up to it, but we read prophesy after prophecy in the Old Testament predicting it, even seeing the entire nation of Israel spend decade after decade wandering the desert, all awaiting the arrival of the king. 

Much like we anticipate the arrival of his birth, we must anticipate the time period we are in as well. 

That means waiting with purpose. That means preparing ourselves in the waiting. That means allowing God to stretch us and mold us into who we need to be. 

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the moment when we feel like God has left us, and I know first hand what this feels like. I have felt this in an ER bed many, many times, and even more so in the confines of my own bedroom. I’ve spent nights wondering where He went and questioning when He is planning to return. But what I fail to recognize in these moments of pain and weakness is that He is still there. 

And furthermore, He is still working. Because even though we might be waiting, He never does. He is working, while we wait, because He controls the time, we do not. 

Maybe your season of waiting looks like infertility, or financial struggles, or the loss of a loved one, or a desired relationship. These seasons look differently, but they hold the same message as advent do — the message of hope.

In 2019, advent season taught me to wait with expectation and in preparation. To expect that God will heal me and prepare for what he has planned for me. 

That might not look the way you think it should, and honestly, it rarely looks the way I think it should, but I would rather have my life in the hands of God than in my own hands. This healing might not take place in the way I imagine, but I can tell you He has healed my heart in unimagined ways this month alone.

At the end of the day, my immune system has taken a lot of things from me. It’s taken health, normalcy, routine, the ability to eat, exercise, even the ability to walk at some points and thrown it all out the window.

But would you be surprised if I told you it left me with new things too?

My autoimmune diseases have taught me gratitude, joy, determination, and discipline. As much as I hate getting sick frequently, it made me truly cherish each healthy day with so much JOY!

I wake up each day simply happy to be able to walk, to eat steel-cut oats, to spend a few minutes outdoors. It might sound silly but I don’t think I would know this level of happiness if I didn’t ever have to deal with such low periods throughout my life.

Pain has made the most mundane routines seem exciting. It might sound silly but its what has made me learn how to truly live, and for that I am thankful.

Waiting in expectation has helped heal my mind, and my heart, and even if I don’t get the answers I want, I know there has been purpose in each and every pain-filled day.

Oof this was long and personal. I hope you are having a healthy holiday season, and remember, wait with expectation.

xx Linds

P.S. Check out either of my latest gift-guides if you come here for more of the wellness things. Here’s one for the cozy girl in your life, and here is my stocking stuffer guide. Enjoy!