What’s Giving You Life? In the Waiting


“What is killing you right now?”

Barbara Brown Taylor says we can usually answer that question easily. We know what makes our life harder.

So instead she asks her friends a different, more thought-provoking question: “What is saving your life now?” 

This week, Linda at LindaStoll.net is also asking the latter question.

Three of her long-time blogging friends, including me, are synchroblogging with her about what saved our lives this summer. (See all the links below.)

Here is my answer. I’d love you to hear your answers in the comments.

What’s bringing me life right now?

My oldest daughter Morgan and Fuller had been talking about babies for awhile.

And now they’re expecting their first child early in 2018.

Which, as I mentioned here, means that Jeff and I are going to have our first grandchild (it’s a girl!).

Which also means this: My life is about to change. At least that’s what you other grandparents tell me.

In the Waiting . . . The Past

I’ve been thinking about it a lot this summer during this waiting time. And praying about it.

Jeff and I have been empty-nesters since 2012 (even Kandie our Golden Retriever left last winter to go live with Jenna and Trey).

We’ve stayed out late eating doughnuts. Or we’ve gone to bed at 8:30pm if we’ve wanted to. We’ve spent time on the road for work, for pleasure.

But now a baby?

We couldn’t be more excited. But I realize it’s a time of transition. From the past, with one type of pleasure, to a future with a different kind of joy. I’ve been looking forward to and waiting for this.

In the Waiting . . The Future

God gives us times of waiting to prepare us for what’s next.

And sometimes he gives us a deadline to push us into action.

The time has come to prepare for the future. Time to clean out Morgan’s old room, to empty her closets, to prepare a fresh space for when they come to visit, no longer just the two of them, but the three of them once the baby is here. I want to make room for our little granddaughter.

So we painted the walls. Rearranged the furniture. Cleaned out from under the bed.

But this space-making for a new person isn’t just physical. We want to make not just space in our house, but space in our schedules.

And most importantly, we want to make space in our hearts.

In the Waiting . . . The Present

Jeff and I will soon visit Maine for our anniversary, a new place we’ve never been. We’ll celebrate 25 years of marriage.

But while we’re there, we also want to honor this moment.

We want to mark the now—this transition point during the waiting. We’re leaving a season of “just us” and embarking on the next season with a 3rd generation in our family.

You should see the spare bedroom now. It has less furniture, but more space. It has less grownup things, but more children’s books and stuffed animals.

You can’t see the spare places in our heart. But they’ve expanded, too. Loving the grandbaby is a now thing, not just a future thing. I’ve seen her twice on ultrasound and will see her again there soon.

Changing Seasons

Whatever season of life you are in now, know you won’t stay there forever. Your season will change, too.

And when it’s possible, God will give you a waiting period. A time to transition.

May we use our waiting periods wisely. In them we can prepare to carry out new responsibilities. And clean out space to receive new blessings.

So what’s been saving my life this summer?

Preparing for the joy of what’s next.

* * *

What has saved your life this summer? Another answer for me: I’ve begun a practice saying out loud, “All done!” at the end of every afternoon so I’ll put down my project-of-the-day. I’d love to hear your answers in the comments.

Read the other three posts from sweet, sweet friends and grace-filled bloggers in Linda’s synchroblog, “What Saved My Life This Summer.”

1. Linda


~ * ~

2. Beth


~ * ~

3. June


~ * ~

36 thoughts on “What’s Giving You Life? In the Waiting

  1. Pingback: Why Refueling with Family and Friends Brings Sanity

  2. Linda Stoll

    Dear Lisa … thanks so very much for joining me in this time of reflection! And can I tell you that there’s nothing on earth like grandparenting?!

    What a sweet gift awaits you and your family. I am so very delighted for you …

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Linda! We are so excited. Morgan sent a video tonight of her nursery with a friend’s baby playing in there. It makes it seem so real. Thanks for asking me to share in the synchroblog, friend.

  3. Beth

    What a life-giving and life-exciting season you are entering, Lisa! I have to say that I envy you just a smidge. I can’t wait for the first grandchild to arrive. I know it will eclipse everything else going on in my life when that day arrives, so I totally get your enthusiasm and joy! My hubby and I have been empty-nesters for about a year and a half now and, I agree, it’s fun to have that freedom! But being a grandparent will have me filling up my empty-space with lots of cuddling and babysitting! Congrats to you, sweet friend! A doubly blessed year ahead!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Beth. You caught my feelings exactly. We have definitely enjoyed empty-nest (and will continue to), but this is something altogether different that I know will change us forever. Your turn will come, friend! 🙂

  4. June

    This is so exciting, Lisa! I love how God is moving you through this transition and using the sweetest of gifts to do so! Thank you for sharing the sweetness with us! Huge congrats to you and Jeff on 25 years and you will LOVE Maine!

  5. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Congratulations on the grandchild-to-come!

    What’s killing me? Whoa, Lisa, you teed up that ball perfectly for me, and the answer is…pancreatic cancer.

    And what’s saving my life this summer? The clarity of the fight. There is no compromise, no truce, no room for negotiation. I have to fight back with everything I have, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

    Physically I have to remain active, and stay limber. It’s not easy because every breath hurts, but who ever said life was to be pain-free? Pain is merely weakness being forced from the body,and blood makes the grass grow green.

    Hand in hand with physical fitness goes mental fitness, keeping the mind active and agile through writing and participation in the blogosphere. Can’t really have conversations any more; talking’s too hard.

    Emotionally, I have learned to let go of both hope and regret in the temporal sphere. This day is what I have, and it’s sufficient unto itself.

    And spiritually…well, God’s in control. Always was, always IS, and always will be. He never made a deal that ‘good little Christians’ would live ‘favoured’ lives, like some preachers would have you believe. The Good Christians in Jesus’ day got stoned (the BAD kind!), beheaded, and so on. Would have been a raw deal except for the transcendental payoff.

    Sorry for the lengthy comment!


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I always appreciate your perspective, Andrew. We need to hear you. “This day is what I have, and it’s sufficient unto itself. And spiritually…well, God’s in control. Always was, always IS, and always will be. He never made a deal that ‘good little Christians’ would live ‘favoured’ lives, like some preachers would have you believe.” I so, so agree with you. Praying for your fight and comfort!

  6. Bill (cycleguy)

    Loved hearing about the season of change you are in Lisa. But oh man! What a fantastic season is coming! You know the old adage: “if I knew grandchildren were this much fun I would have had them first”? You will soon find that out. Our grandson will soon be 11 and he is one big bunch of fun. He makes us laugh so hard we sometimes think…well…you know. 🙂 I’m going to have to do this on my blog next week.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Oh, I love hearing these kinds of things, Bill. We are very excited for what’s to come. My only regret is that we won’t live in the same town, but that’s what cars and roads are for, right? 🙂 Making an overnight trip tonight so I’ll get to see Ultrasound #3 tomorrow! As time goes on, I’ll be looking for tips from you seasoned grandparents on how to stay connected despite distance.

  7. Michele Morin

    Our second grandbaby is due in September, and it’s also a girl! So excited, and also apprehensive. This boy-mum is hoping that little girls come with operating instructions.
    Hope that your time here in Maine is just wonderful! Be sure to share lots of details about all you see and do!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      That’s how I would have felt if our grand had been a boy, Michele. 🙂 I would have been just as thrilled, but would have been at a total loss for what to do with a boy! I’m sure you’ll pick up in a flash on how to love on that sweet granddaughter. So excited for you! And praying we have good weather in Maine. We’re really looking forward to seeing your part of the country for the first time.

  8. Debbie Putman

    Grandchildren are a joy that can’t really be described. There is joy in a new way-different than with our children. We are free to just love and give. Have fun, be silly. I keep a “Nana closet.” At first it had board books and baby toys. Now that my grandkids are 16, 14, and 13, it has Uno and Phase 10. Enjoy this new season.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I love the idea of a Nana closet, Debbie. I’ve been clearing out a bedroom closet, but I know that the hall closet is next. It currently has “big kid” games, but we need to restock with baby/toddler toys. 🙂

  9. Brenda

    Congratulations, Lisa!! So excited for you. Beautifully woven post — past, present, and future. 🙂 And, Happy Anniversary to you. We’re about to celebrate our 25th too! What day is yours? Ours is October 17th. We want to go away, but we’re not empty nesters yet. We still have one in high school. Hopeful that we’ll be able to get away for a brief time, though. Hope you enjoy your trip to Maine. ((xoxo))

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Happy Early 25th to you too, Brenda! I hope you’ll be able to get away with your hubby, even if just for a nice dinner. 🙂 Our anniversary is Sept 4. We went to Hawaii for our honeymoon 25 years, and before it was over, we got slammed with Hurricane Iniki. It wiped out the island of Kauai where we were, so we had to stay an extra few days with no electricity, no running water, etc., and got to get seasick together on a boat rescue to the island of Oahu. Lots of good memories from 25 years ago! ha. Hopefully our anniversary trip will be momentous in other ways.

  10. Patricia Krank

    Ahhh, congratulations Lisa on your coming grandbaby! How exciting this must be for you. We still don’t know when that will happen for us.
    What has saved me this summer? It has been a long season of waiting for a family member to come to a place of complete abandon so that God can begin to heal her pain. Far longer than just the summer season. What has saved me is coming to a place myself where I can really turn her over to God and believe that He is sovereign. That, along with reading the Word and journaling what God is speaking to me daily. He is so good to me.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Ooh, that’s a hard thing to do, Patti, relinquishing control. But what a life-giving step for you to take. Such surrender takes great faith! Blessings to you as you continue to pray and wait for your loved one to come home.

  11. Barbara H.

    Waiting on that first grandchild is such a special time! And such fun anticipation until she arrives! I enjoyed hearing about the preparations and space-making.

    I’ve been thinking about your question of what has saved my life this summer. I don’t know if I can condense it down to a single sentence, and it’s nothing new, but it has been such a crazy last month in particular, with fun time, scary times, stressful times. I’ve been seeking to avoid stressing out by seeking to remind myself that God is in control, depending on Him moment by moment, and not obsessing over things I have no control over – all things that can’t be fully learned in a single session but are continuing lifelong lessons.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You have had some intense things going on this summer, Barbara. Hopefully fall will be a lot less eventful! Your ways to avoid stress are great ones though, for any time. And I agree—those are lifelong lessons. I know I have to continue learning them again and again and again.

  12. Jerralea

    Yes! Anticipation can definitely make a season go by quickly. We welcomed gandbaby #3 this summer – I may have already told you this – and life changed again.

    But that is how life is, always changing, always shifting. The new dynamics of another one to love coincided with the homecoming of our military s-i-l and the return of ALL my children for family weekly dinners. So happy! so busy!

  13. Susan Nowell @ My Place to Yours

    So much joy in this post, Lisa! Congratulations on your (soon) 25th anniversary. I hope your trip to Maine is all you envision! As for your granddaughter, your words echoed much of my thoughts 8 years ago when we were expecting our first grandchild. I was so excited, reflective, and hitting deadlines like you are. (I was also nervous that he was a boy, after having only daughters myself, but now he has a brother and boys are THE BEST! Much easier than girls, actually. LOL)

    At our house, this summer (and last winter and spring!) has been spent waiting… and waiting. By now we thought we’d be well into building our dream house, but we’re not. Haven’t even started. Might scrap all the plans and go another route. There is just too much uncertainty and change on our horizon right now, yet God is giving us blessed peace as he reminds us to WAIT on him. What’s saving me right now? Obedience. It’s the only explanation because my nature is to keep moving forward… and yet I’ve been told to wait. I have to believe that God has something better in store tha anything we have yet imagined, and so we’ll keep waiting. How long, oh, Lord? 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I love this testimony to your strong faith, Susan. To have to release your own plans for your dream house and instead shift to a season of waiting is a very hard thing to do. Obedience is sometimes so difficult, but I trust that it will be rewarded in ways bigger than you can even imagine! Thank you for sharing, friend. I always love hearing what’s going on with you. And if I get a boy grandchild next, maybe I won’t stress over it if you guarantee they’re easier than girls. 🙂

  14. BettieG

    Congratulations on your expected Grandbaby! What a joy that will be. We have 7 now, and our lives are so much fuller loving them! This sentence touched me deeply: “You can’t see the spare places in our heart. But they’ve expanded, too.” In this summer of waiting through times with this disease being activated again, I can look back and say that truly the Lord has expanded the spare places in my heart too, as His LOVE has met me again and again. Thank you so much for these beautiful words. Blessings to you and your husband as you celebrate your Anniversary!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      7 grandchildren? What a blessing, Bettie! That’s awesome. I’m sure you’re a very loved woman by them all. I’m sorry your summer has been such a difficult one. 🙁 Our bodies can sometimes feel more like hindrances than helps, but your testimony to discovering God’s love in the hard places encourages me.

  15. Jean Wise

    Congrats on the new baby coming and the anniversary trip. I hope you visit Arcadia national Park. It is one of my favorites. Beautiful. What is giving you life right now is a key question as a spiritual director I ask often. Also a great journaling prompt too.

    So my answer? Summertime. I have really enjoyed sitting on my deck this summer. I often take a short break, 5-10 minutes just to sit, to listen, to watch, to breath. Moments with God and with myself. Priceless. and yes. lifegiving. thanks for helping me realize this Lisa!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      We are hoping to make it to Arcadia National Park so thanks for the encouragement to do so, Jean. I’m hoping we’ll have good weather when we get there. It’s been so dreary and stormy here, but I have NO complaints compared to what Texas is going through. 🙁

      I’m glad you’ve been able to have some wonderful pauses with the Lord this summer. We all need those breathing spaces. I’m in need of some myself at the moment! But nothing is stopping me from getting them other than myself so I will try to follow your lead and at least take short breaks.

  16. floyd

    I’m thrilled for you and Jeff! And love your perspective and excitement. Life changes as God continues His miracle of redemption in us and our families.

    The dog days of summer are heavy it seems. But God is still saving me.

    I’ve learned that changing diapers are a lot like riding a bike…

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I hope you’re right about changing diapers, Floyd. 🙂 Sounds like you’ve been getting to change a few with your grandsons. How precious! I went to Morgan’s last night and she had received boxes and boxes of diapers from her coworkers for a Diapers & Wipes Shower. Looking forward to using a few of those on our sweet little girl when she gets here!

  17. Alice Walters

    Congratulations, Lisa and family! Our three and a half granddaughter naps on the couch as I write this. What a lazy, wonderful day we’ve had. I’m so glad our granddaughters seem to incredibly mix high comfort levels with us and in our home, with palpable excitement every time we see them (at least once a week). This is my prayer for you. Hugs and blessings all around!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Alice. What a lovely picture you paint of your day with your granddaughters. I really look forward to those kinds of times ahead! I just wished we lived close enough that we would be able to see her once a week. 🙁 But at least we’re not TOO far away. I drove to my daughter’s last night so I could be there this morning for another ultrasound. I so much enjoyed getting to see our little girl on the screen again!

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