A piece published on The Glorious Table
This Christmas season has been different from every other. Every previous December, I have focused largely on the hope that comes with the birth of Christ. I get excited that the Savior is here and we are headed on an incredible journey toward Easter, when we get to celebrate a victory chant because of the resurrection. Christmas has always been a “look forward” sort of holiday rather than a “look back.” However, the events of the past two years have changed the way I will experience the season forever.
Last Christmas, I sat in our living room staring at a tree that I knew would not be in the same place the following year. Not long before that, my husband was informed that he would not be rehired in his position as a head football coach. No scandal, no drama, just a casualty of the sport culture that befalls many a coach over the course of a career. It meant we had a paycheck for a few months from his teaching salary, but we would be moving, I was sure of it. And so, as with any other challenging time in our lives. we got to praying. But strangely, we heard nothing. Not even “Wait.” There was just—nothing. I have never experienced anything like it.
Thus began the first in a series of silences where we heard nothing. Where do we move, God? Nothing. Who would you have us serve, Lord? Nothing. We drove to schools around the state and prayed about colleges as far away as Maine. You know this paycheck is going to end right, Lord? Nothing. We put our house on the market. Nothing.
In a moment of great relief, my husband finally got a new job. But strangely, the trend of silence continued. Our home did not sell, and we struggled to figure out where we would live in our new town. I drove down every street in our new town in tears, asking out loud, “What are you doing here God?” But God remained silent.
I want to be clear about the difference between silence and waiting. I have waited with the Lord before—many times. Tragedies and difficulty have befallen us just like every other family. In 2015 we almost lost our daughter days after she was born. The looks on the faces of the people in the hospital made it clear. We were in dangerous waters with the infection she had contracted. However, those hours sitting in a hospital chair never felt void of God’s presence. I felt his love during every step of those difficult days despite not knowing my daughter’s fate. He was not distant.
It is a very different thing to wait with the Lord than to wait on him in silence.
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