“Dearest sister of perseverance and patience, may you find the strength to wait. Whether you are waiting for resolutions to annoying small things, stressful important issues, or the anxiety-laden challenges of life, know that your own personal courage and endurance will carry you through and that God will give you wings to soar above the storm” (Ginnie Mesibov).
I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD (Psalm 27:13-14).
The LORD longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! (Isaiah 30:18)
For those of you who are going through a time of waiting for answers that are delayed for some reason there are guidelines listed below written by someone who God has inspired to help and comfort you. The Bible says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can COMFORT THOSE IN ANY TROUBLE WITH THE COMFORT WE OURSELVES HAVE RECEIVED FROM GOD“ (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
That’s what we see Ginnie Mesibov doing in her book, “Outer Strength, Inner Strength.” In it she gives us some great tips on waiting that she “learned through” as she and her husband went through several times of having to wait for important life-changing answers in their lives.
The following is a “program” she eventually developed that helped get them through the waiting times she and her husband encountered that you could also benefit from as you apply these principles while you are in those “waiting room” periods of life.
As Ginnie said: I called my program, “What to Do While Waiting Instead of Worrying.” Here’s what I tried to do:
• Focus out. It was natural for me to focus inward. Sometimes I was so preoccupied with my problems that I didn’t hear what someone was saying to me. Listening became a conscious effort. I also became distracted when working. Consequently, I forced myself to become absorbed in my job.
• Breathe. Several times a day, I stopped what I was doing and breathed deeply from my diaphragm. I slowly inhaled through my nose to the count of four and exhaled through my mouth to the count of eight. The last four count of breathing out emptied my body of stress.
• Relax. In the evening, I found a comfortable spot and lay on my back. I tightened —and then released —each group of muscles one by one, starting with my facial muscles and working down through my neck, arms, back, stomach, thighs, calves, and ending with my feet. This progressive exercise released any tension from each set of muscles.
• Take it one day at a time. I tried to live in the present and reminded myself that I can get through this day —or this morning —or this moment. Why should I borrow trouble from either the past of the future? I focused on today.
• Increase physical exercise. I increased my morning exercise time by doing a few more limbering stretches. When I went to the gym, I took a brisk walk on the treadmill and made my feet skip for 40 minutes instead of the usual 30.
• Get immersed in a good book. There’s nothing like the loves and hates and the tragedies and triumphs of a revered but flawed heroine to take one’s mind off one’s problems. My favorite novels are filled with gems of wisdom:
“As long as things happen to you, you’ll be all right… You’re strong enough to take them, and you’ll learn … no matter how dreadful things may see … what does happen to you penetrates… It goes into you, and if there are for you to make use of when you’re ready for it” (from: Madeleine L’Engle, The Small Rain).
• Do happy or special things. Fine art nourishes my soul. So, Harold and I went to an exhibit of landscapes and seascapes by nineteenth century artists who were brilliantly skilled at putting the majesty of nature on canvas. It was an exhilarating experience.
• Be positive. I tried to make the best interpretation of my situation. For example, most of my symptoms had stabilized. It wasn’t inevitable that they would increase over time. And, Harold had had arterial surgery before (quadruple bypass) and survived, showing he has good recuperative powers. There was every reason to hope for a good outcome.
• I thanked God every morning for my blessings. I had a loving husband and a delightful dog and everything I needed. As a woman of faith, I was fortified by the promise of the prophet Isaiah: “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint“ (Isaiah 40:31, KJV).
• Don’t put life on hold. I found myself saying, “Let’s not make a date to invite so-and-so to dinner,” or, “Let’s not go here,” or “Let’s not go there,” until we knew my test results or had talked to the doctor. This only made the waiting period more depressing. I decided instead to do what I wanted to do when I could do it.
• Don’t over-schedule. Since I decided not to put my life on hold, I was tempted to frantically do all the things I wanted to do before something terrible happened. Once I was worn to a frazzle, I realized that this wasn’t good either. I now strive for balance.
• Control highs and lows. Five months after my initial MRI, I had a follow-up MRI that revealed no tumor growth. I was elated! But two weeks later, I received another report. “Your brain wave tests are worse. They indicate early tumor growth.” I crashed. I concluded I had to control all my reactions —highs and lows —and strive to be emotionally even. Now, when I receive good news, I am simply grateful; when I receive bad news, I look at the whole picture and realize it isn’t totally grim.
• Try not to be angry. When I crashed, I was angry in addition to being depressed. I yelled at God, “Why do I have this tumor? Take it away.” After continuously sobbing and stomping around the house in a rage for a couple of days, I realized I was wasting a lot of energy. Throwing a fit didn’t help anything. It just made me more furious. So, I try to check my emotions when I start getting mad. As with dealing with bad news, I look at the big picture and see there’s nothing about which to get angry.
• Be aware of self-pity. It’s easy to feel sorry for myself. There are no two words that can get me down in the dumps more than “Why me?” When I first told a relative about my brain tumor, she said from the kindness of her heart, “It’s not fair,” But that’s not an appropriate attitude. It’s not positive and can make me feel like a victim and stimulate the angry feelings I am trying not to have.
• Enjoy nature. Whenever I need a lift, I head for the Jersey shore. I stroll on the beach and take deep breaths of refreshing salt air, carefully stepping over beautifully shaped seashells that grace the sand. I splash in the ocean, or in cooler weather, sit at the surf’s edge and watch the waves gently caress the shoreline and the elegant seagulls with their white breasts and pearl gray feathers glide through the air. God’s creation nourishes my soul.
• Be grateful. If anyone should be grateful, it is me. There are so many people with problems much worse than mine. I am thankful that my Acourstic Neuroma is small and benign. As tumors go, it’s a good one to have.
• Read or sing a song every day. Some of the tunes from musicals are inspiring such as “Climb Every Mountain” from The Sound of Music. We can climb every mountain, and we can forge every stream. I also enjoy the old hymns. A favorite of mine is, “How Firm a Foundation:”
Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, I will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my gracious omnipotent hand.
• Laugh. Man is the only animal who can have a real belly laugh. Laughing is beneficial; it’s good for the lungs, diaphragm, digestion, blood pressure, and immune system. It helps to put a humorous spin on a serious situation. The brain tumor I have is small, so I call it a “tumorette.” I can deal with a tumorette.
• Watch that diet! I really made myself sick during one particularly stressful waiting period, gorging myself with huge amounts of ice cream, pretzels, and cake. Then I became weak because I couldn’t keep anything in my stomach. All that comfort food didn’t help. I ended up finding comfort in Pepto-Bismol and Imodium! That wasn’t smart behavior. The best diet is three square meals a day with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. And go easy on the snacks. I need strength to cope with waiting.
• Research the problem. Researching acoustic neuromas gives me valuable information. Through the Internet, and not from my doctor, I learned that radiation, rather than surgery, is an option I have should I need treatment. Radiation has fewer side effects than surgery. I also learn how other patients deal with their tumors and the treatments they choose.
• Practice objectivity. This is difficult when the tumor is in your own head. But the information I get from researching acoustic neuromas helps me look at my problems more objectively. I am able to look at my situation at a distance, which lessens my emotional involvement and therefore reduces stress.
• Accept life as it comes. I have never accepted negative things very well. I always tended to think, “Bad things should not happen.” Not to me. Not to my husband. Not to my dog. Not to my friends. Not to anybody. They should not happen.” That was not realistic. I finally said to myself, “Ginnie, grow up.” It is a sign of maturity to accept what happens to us. Life is difficult. It’s not easy. Bad things do happen. They happen to everybody. But Romans 8:28 is true: “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.”
The more I accept what comes into my life as being there with God’s permission, the less angry, full of self-pity, and frightened I am and the more peaceful and contended I am during my waiting periods.
• Meditate. I set aside a certain time each day to quiet myself, meditate, and pray. Doing this always calms my soul. One time when I was particularly upset and wondering what was going to happen to me, I thought of one of God’s promises: “I know the plans I have for you… plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future“ (Jeremiah 29:11).
Dear courageous sister, things will —or have already have —come into your life that are hard to bear. Waiting for information or solutions can cause stress. But knowing that God cares for us and promises hope and a future makes our waiting periods tolerable. During these times, we grow. Our confidence in our own strength increases, as does our trust in our Heavenly Father who works all things out for our good.
The above article came from the book, Outer Strength, Inner Strength, written by Ginnie Mesibov, published by Xulon Press. Several years ago, the shocking diagnosis of a brain tumor caused her to look deep inside her soul. There, beside the pain, she found strength, hope and courage. The result of her agonizing but liberating introspection is Outer Strength, Inner Strength: Weekly Messages for Today’s Woman, a collection of 52 essays written as personal letters to today’s woman, in which she urges her reader to recognize and use her God-given strengths and skills.
To read another message by Ginnie or to obtain the book this article came from or to contact Ginnie Mesibov herself, you can go to her web site at outerstrengthinnerstrength.com.
— ALSO —
For another article on the subject of waiting, please read for practical advice:
To read an another article concerning worrying and waiting, written by Kay Arthur, please click onto the Crosswalk.com link below:
And then, please read scriptures on the subject of waiting:
If you have additional tips you can share to help others in this area of marriage, or you want to share requests for prayer and/or ask others for advice, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.
Filed under: Spiritual Matters