The changes in my soul did not happen, as I often wished they would, in one fell, dramatic swoop, like the sudden, relieving cool that follows a thunderstorm on a humid, summer day. Instead, they came in fits and starts, like the first signs of spring in Northern Virginia where I live, thawing one day followed by icy winds the next, any sense of progress toward warmth and new life passing, for a long time, largely unnoticed.
But somehow, gradually, as the months passed, I began to soften inside, to trust God a little more, to believe with a tiny part of my heart that He was still real and good, to see small glimpses of His presence in spite of the still unanswered prayers.
God showed up in the friends who walked with me during these months, the friends I called on the bad, desperate days when despair threatened to overwhelm me. In particular, He showed up in Randi and in Becca, two friends who were willing to drop what they were doing on multiple days and come sit with me in my sadness. They cried with me. They prayed with me. They watched while I balled up tissue after sodden tissue and listened while I processed emotion after endless emotion. They empathized where they could and were honest enough to admit when they couldn't. They gently spoke truth to my soul.
God showed up in His word, in the stories of the man born blind (John 9) and of Lazarus (John 11), stories that pointed not only to God's ability to heal what is broken, but also to His redemptive purposes in physical pain and sickness and of His tender heart toward His children in the midst of their suffering.
God showed up in the writing of Paula Rinehart (Better than My Dreams), whose words resonated with my writer's heart and reminded me that I am not the author of my own story, but a character in a greater story, a story that is messy and confusing and scary in the middle, but does have an ending where things will evenutally resolve for good.
God showed up in my times with Him, speaking to my heart with a directness that I only rarely experience. He reminded me that this time of waiting was for my good and spoke to me clearly that at least part of the reason He was asking me to wait was because He wanted me to write and knew that if I didn't prioritize that now, before kids, I certainly wouldn't after.
God showed up in my husband, who often did not understand the depth of my disappointment and who often bore the brunt of my frustration and despair, but who continued to patiently and faithfully love me.
I wish I could say that God showing up in all these ways gave me perfect joy and peace as I continued to wait on Him, but the reality is that it didn't. My trust in Him still often faltered and failed, and there were many days where I failed to trace His goodness in any of my circumstances. And yet, I really do believe that though I am far from arriving at a place of trusting God fully, the process of waiting on Him brought a deepening sense of trust in some previously hardened places in my soul, that in some small but significant ways, springtime finally did come.