Finding Joy in the Journey

Finding Joy in the Journey
September  08,  2017
Hannah Bartl

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  Proverbs 3:5-6

As a children’s director and previous teacher, I have always had a heart for children. I love the way their little minds work, the funny little things they say, and of course their tiny little hands and feet and nose and lips and ears and… you get the idea. I have been blessed beyond words by my two sweet little people, Abby (4) and Sam (10 months). We feel like we have been given these blessings at just exactly the right time, and for just the right purpose, but it hasn’t always felt like just the right time.

We got married pretty young, at just 19 years old, and we still feel like that was the best decision ever… I mean, why wait longer when you’re so sure God has given you the person you need? Right away, we knew we wanted to have a big family. We both LOVE kids and wanted to go ahead and get started on the 3, 4, maybe 5 kids that we knew we wanted. So we went to waiting, and praying, and waiting some more, and praying even harder, and after a while we both felt like our prayers were going unanswered. During this time, I was teaching Kindergarten, loving on all these little people, AND it felt like everyone I knew was starting a family. I remember thinking, “why would God put me in this position teaching children if I’m never going to be able to have my own?” Obviously, you know the happy ending to my story, and when we had Abby, she was clearly the answer to so many of our prayers. But during that time of waiting, God was preparing us to be the parents He wanted us to be. I know that now, and I realized it also while we were waiting to have Sam. During that time of waiting, God also answered many of the prayers we didn’t even know we needed to be praying. Prayers for patience, grace, and empathy which, incidentally, people don’t always want to pray for! I realized that many of the things that I was so fervently praying for HAD to come in the time they came or I wouldn’t have been able to handle them. Adam and I became so much closer in that journey together, we learned how to pray together and for each other, and we found this church and fell in love with it during that time of waiting.

Although at times it was hard to find joy while we were waiting, we have found the joy we were looking for in the faces of our answered prayers. We also feel like because we waited so long, we no longer take for granted the little things either and that gives us even more joy. Not everyone can relate to this exact waiting reference, but anytime in life you are given a period of waiting is a difficult time indeed. We are a people who “want it now” and on OUR schedule, thank you very much. But God is a God who doesn’t give you more than you can handle and that is both a comfort and a tough pill to swallow. I pray for anyone in “waiting,” that patience comes more naturally to you than it did for me, and that you recognize the little blessings and joys along the way!

Hannah Bartl

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