by LaDora LaRegina
When is it my turn? I didn’t come to sit here.
In fifth grade, my school held eight grade levels in two classrooms. Boys and girls, grades fifth through twelfth, gathered at the ball field for gym class. Softball wasn’t my sport of choice as a young girl. I dreaded those afternoons. A blouse with a vest, skirt passed my knees, and hosiery with socks and tennis shoes hastened the moisture rolling down my back. And I couldn’t throw, hit, or catch the ball.
“Easy out!” echoed across the field at my turn to bat.
My Papa purchased a softball, glove, and bat to practice with me. I tried. I practiced. I got on base one time.
The torment of waiting. Waiting for my name to be called. Waiting in the outfield. Waiting in the heat. I realized I was thought of little except in dread of those who got me on their team; often chosen by default to the last team who needed a player.
This choosing was like my religion. If I was good, God picked me, but if I wasn’t, He thought little of me. Maybe I was forgotten, or He took me by default because I worked, I performed, and I was good. My thoughts of myself mirrored my perception around me devoid of God’s perspective.
The little church with two aisles overflowed with people. The meetings lasted three hours a night all week long. In my church, no order of service directed the events. The Holy Spirit led the time allotted for the singing, testifying, and preaching. I met Jesus one of the nights on the wooden altar at the age of eleven. Knees buried in the gold carpet; I felt my mother’s arm wrap around me. I told God my wrong actions. I understood forgiveness. God chipped away at my skewed perception through words lyrically stated by King David. He expressed God’s knowledge of me, His making of me, and His thoughts of me. Precious and many are his thoughts about me. More precious than my mother’s love and no one loved me more than my mama. Many more than the grains of sand on a beach and nothing has more in quantity than a beach full of sand. Still, I felt unseen and forgotten when I asked for one something.
I waited for something. Something precious. Something I desired for twenty-one years.
Sunday mornings at church were for sharing stories of God’s goodness. And often someone shared a specific story of blessing. It was meant for encouragement. The words of her story echoed around me. Her face radiated excitement over the child she carried. She waited for this child, uncertain of her future as a parent. Prior to this news, she and I had lunch.
“The doctor isn’t sure what the challenge is,” she said, “I’ve prayed but I don’t know that God will answer as I desire.”
Our hearts ached in unison. Time was the difference. Her time was five years and mine was fifteen.
I was happy for her and sad and disappointed. But encouraged? No.
I wallowed in self-pity.
God, what about me?
I felt forgotten while waiting for my turn. The girl not chosen for the team.
One of my favorite Bible stories is of Hagar alone in the wilderness. As the servant to Sarah, she obeyed her. But when Hagar became pregnant by Abraham at Sarah’s suggestion, Sarah envied her. Hagar ran from harsh treatment. And in her distress, God saw her. God acted in her favor, but gave her a tough assignment. She was to go back to Sarah and submit.
He saw me that Sunday morning. He asked me to submit to my tough assignment of waiting. Waiting required more than my patience. Waiting for God to act on my behalf required learning His perspective on waiting.
As Hagar’s story continues, she obeyed God. She had a son, but things weren’t well between her and Sarah. A few years later, Sarah turned against Hagar. In Abraham’s distress over the circumstance, God told him to send Hagar and Ishmael away. Hagar was not the girl chosen for the team and I imagine she felt forgotten. Yet, God heard their cries in the wilderness and responded. For a second time, God acted in her favor. And for a second time, He reminded her of his intent to make Ishmael a great nation. She waited years for this promise to come to reality.
As Hagar was seen, so was I. As Hagar submitted to the tough task, so have I. As Hagar has wept, so have I. As Hagar waited, so have I. As Hagar feared, so have I.
In my feeling of not being chosen for the team and maybe forgotten, I believed the words of King David once again. I believed I would see God’s goodness in my life. I believed I was seen as Hagar was. I believed my request would be answered. But I submitted to the hard task of waiting. I waited on the Lord.
For a period of six more years, I resembled Lucy in the Charlie Brown comic strip, sitting in a listening booth. Words offered, not in the sarcastic Lucy way, but as comfort to women experiencing the pain of waiting for a child. Most often, when Charlie sought advice from Lucy, he wanted someone to come beside him. He wanted affirmation for his muddled thoughts. He wanted to be told what to do on the hard days when he didn’t know what to do.
The journey to motherhood interrupted by infertility left me wanting someone to understand; someone to come alongside and listen to my muddle thoughts of grief. I became that woman for other women on the same journey.
I listened. I cried. I encouraged. I watched woman after woman bear a child. Sweet joined the bitter as I viewed my assignment in the waiting from God’s perspective. I wasn’t forgotten, it was finally my turn. I became another woman on the team of motherhood.
LaDora LaRegina is an emerging writer from North Texas. She is a wife, mom, and Bible study teacher who seeks to encourage through God’s message in her stories. She studies Creative Writing at Colorado Christian University.