Waiting for Contentment

I used to always be waiting for something.

Waiting to get married. Waiting and longing to have a child. Waiting to move away from the desert.

We moved to Vegas when my oldest daughter was nine months old. We thought we’d stay a few years and move back home to the Northwest.

Until the year we almost did. As we prayed for God’s will in a job opportunity, Mark and I both realized that we didn’t really want to move away anymore. The desert had become home.

I realized I was living in contentment. I have not found perfection (the months of July and August are really truly awful here) or absolute joy every moment of the day. But somewhere during the days of taking care of three kids and making friends at church and enjoying the January sunshine, I relaxed into this life I have, and stopped longing for the next phase or a different location.

One of the doors to contentment was finding yearly rituals. The seasons feel so different here. Rituals help me to realize what month it is.

On spring break we visit a different coffee shop every day. In the fall I sit on the patio and drink Bosnian coffee and burn incense I discovered at the Greek Festival. At Thanksgiving, we eat a different ethnic food each year.

Every winter, I enjoy the ritual of Advent. It’s not an action–it’s more of an attitude. It’s an awareness that we are all waiting for Jesus. Until he returns, our lives and our world are imperfect.

Advent calls me to depend on God’s faithfulness. Paula Gooder’s book The Meaning is in the Waiting introduced me to the Biblical Advent people I remember every year.

This week I read a book that uses those same people in a particularly vivid way. And yes, they are some of the same people I’ve been writing about! So it was fun to read someone else’s thoughts and applications.

Those Who Wait: Finding God In Disappointment, Doubt, And Delay, by Tanya Marlow

In this book the characters of Advent (Sarah, Isaiah, John the Baptist and Mary) walk and talk and give you a glimpse of their lives and personalities. It’s an Advent pageant between two book covers!

I read the first chapters quickly; they felt like a historical novel. It was a quick read, and I thought, “That was a fun book!” and then I discovered the last chapters. Tanya has given us a lot of research about the culture that each character lived in, and scripture references to really study what the Bible says about them.

I enjoyed this book because it made me really think about what each person experienced–not just their small part in a big story, but their individual journey of faith. It also made me think about whether the imaginative chapters fit my understanding of scripture. (For the most part, yes, they did.) The story of John the Baptist was especially touching, and the Author ended his story with such a sense of victory. It was beautiful!

This is a valuable book for anyone teaching these stories during the Advent and Christmas seasons. It’s also a great book to read on your own, slowly, at home. I will be re-reading it this Advent season, and I know my classes at church will be hearing about it.

Those Who Wait: Finding God In Disappointment, Doubt, And Delay, by Tanya Marlow

This is part of the synchroblog on waiting, to celebrate the release of Those Who Wait: Finding God in Disappointment, Doubt and Delay by Tanya Marlow – out now. See more here and link up to the synchroblog here.

Disclosure: these are affiliate links, so I may receive a small benefit if you click on a link and buy a book.

One thought on “Waiting for Contentment

  1. So true about rituals! I am part of a new church denomination, void of formal liturgy and seasons and I really miss this aspect of doing faith together. I try to sneak them into personal and family life instead…!


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