When God Says Wait

by Guest Blogger Olivia Folmar Ard

When I was a child, the saying “slow as Christmas” actually meant something to me. For someone with a single digit age, the twelve months passing from Christmas to Christmas might as well be twelve years. I remember how slowly each day passed as I mentally counted down to the blessed holiday from New Year’s Day, spring break, summer vacation, and Thanksgiving.

Even during the month of December, I found it difficult not to squirm. Moving our little stuffed mouse from one day to the next on the cloth Advent calendar hanging on the door was physically agonizing. I couldn’t wait for Christmas and all the joy that day symbolizes, which in that season of my life meant lots of baked goodies, family get-togethers, and more gifts than I knew what to do with.

As I age, “slow as Christmas” means less and less to me. My life is so busy and filled with activity that by the time I pause to check the date, I am astounded by how much time has passed me by. I’m more likely to say, “Christmas again, already?”

But today I feel a kinship with my younger self, a precocious child who thought she knew much more than she actually did. In the middle of what feels like the hottest summer my native Alabama has experienced in years, there is inside me a groaning, a yearning, an unresolved anticipation for the hope that Christmas brings. Once more, I wait for a child.

When God Says WaitMotherhood has not always been my dream. I’ve always found babies adorable and I loved my little brother and sister, but as the quintessential older child I much preferred the company of my books in the quiet solitude of my room to a room filled with younger children. In high school and college, I went through a period of time when I decidedly did not want children. But when I met the man who is now my beloved husband of three and a half years, I almost immediately changed my mind.

We were eager for children right away, but our financial and living situations were not conducive to bringing new lives into the world. When we bought our first home last November, it was with joy that we officially began what we hoped would be a quick season of trying to conceive. We dreamily imagined spending the Christmas season of 2016 with a brand new baby of our own.

But eight months have now passed. The hope of watching our little son or daughter gaze in wide-eyed wonder at the hope and joy that is Christmas lights this year has long since died out. The time between that rather naïve moment of daydreaming and today is filled with empty plastic jars of prenatal vitamins, worn-out lists of possible baby names, and entirely too much money spent on plastic sticks that spelled out what my heart already knew to be true: not pregnant.

Patience is a virtue, and it is not one I naturally possess. I am the one who will volunteer to do a group project by myself if I feel my group members will slow me down. When I have a great birthday gift for my husband, I can’t wait so I can give it to him on the allotted day—I have to give it to him now. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll pop? Ask someone else. So you can imagine how I have reacted to this relatively short period of waiting and uncertainty.

I will admit, God’s silence on this matter has brought me to anger. It has brought me to tears. And yesterday, when I received yet another confirmation that my womb remains empty, I descended into both. After my husband left for work, I collapsed on my bed and, sobbing, I cried out in despair.

“Do you hear me?” I asked silently, unable even to speak. “Are you listening?”

And—perhaps since this was the first time I have asked Him a direct question—He finally answered me.

It was not an answer I wanted.

It was not yes. It was not no. It was what I least wanted to hear.

“Are you listening to me?” He whispered in my heart, still gentle despite my rage. “I would not have given you a mother’s heart only to deny you the chance to be a mother. Hold on. Trust me. You, like all of my people, simply have to wait.

Growing up, Lent and Advent were foreign to me. I didn’t participate in either until my family joined a United Methodist congregation when I was in the tenth grade. As a teenager, even more impatient than I am now, I didn’t understand these seasons. Why were we expected to go through these periods of fasting and quiet mourning for the promise that has already been fulfilled?

But now, as I think back over the blessings I’ve received in my twenty-five years of life, I am beginning to understand.

After puberty, I waited seven years for my first boyfriend and my first kiss. Both were fulfilled with the man I married. At the time, it seemed like forever. Now, it seems like nothing.

After I graduated college, I waited six months to find a job that would provide good benefits for myself and my new husband. At the time, it seemed like forever. Now, it seems like nothing.

After we married, we waited two and a half years to save up and buy a house. At the time, it seemed like forever. Now, it seems like nothing.

Sarah was an elderly woman before her promised son was born. Noah and his family waited out on the ark for forty days and forty nights. Jacob waited (and worked) for his beloved wife Rachel for fourteen years. The Israelites waited for freedom from slavery for four hundred years, and freedom from the desert for forty more. Caleb waited forty-five years to claim the land God had promised him. Humanity waited for thousands of years for the appearance of our Savior. And now, we spend thousands more as we await His second return.

To our God, waiting is important. I don’t pretend to know why. But what I do know is that I’m in good company, and that the evidence shows that our God is faithful. He upholds His promises when His people are faithful in return. So I will rejoice in this period of waiting, and to paraphrase one of my characters, when I am tempted to fear, I will instead rush headlong into His love. Because no matter how slowly Christmas approaches, it always comes on time.

Olivia Folmer Ard headshot

Olivia Folmar Ard

Olivia Folmar Ard is a secretary, grad student, loving wife, and devoted Christian. Her new adult women’s fiction trilogy The Bennett Series addresses issues facing today’s generation while adhering to timeless moral principles. She and her husband live in central Alabama, where they attend Valleydale Baptist Church.

Connect with Olivia

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OliviaFolmarArd.author

Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest: @oliviadeard

Website and Blog: http://oliviafolmarard.weebly.com/

 

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#5Faves: Book Covers

5 Faves

Five of my favorite book covers in recent memory, in alphabetical order.

–1–

Falling Like Snowflakes

Falling Like Snowflakes by Denise HunterThe snow, the red, that almost kiss. Falling Like Snowflakes by Denise Hunter.

–2–

The Marshall Plan

The Marshall Plan by Olivia Folmar ARdLight and life and an invitation to walk through the door. The Marshall Plan by Olivia Folmar Ard.

–3–

Roland West, Loner

Roland West, LonerThe silhouette amidst the trees captures Roland’s loneliness. Roland West, Loner by Theresa Linden.

–4–

Soulless Creatures

Soulless CreaturesSmart, fun, and bright. Soulless Creatures by Katharine Grubb.

–5–

Unclaimed

Unclaimed by Erin McCole CuppEvocative, mysterious, and futuristic. Unclaimed by Erin McCole Cupp.

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For more Five Favorites The Koala Mom and babyStylista, visit .

Which of these book covers is your favorite?


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Re-Envision Jane Eyre TODAY with Unclaimed

The Unclaimed Virtual Book Tour stops HERE today!

Unclaimed by Erin McCole Cupp
Unclaimed by Erin McCole Cupp

Born not in a past of corsets and bonnets but into a future of cloning and bioterror, could Jane Eyre survive? This Jane is an “unclaimed embryo,” the living mistake of a reproductive rights center–or so her foster family tells her. At age ten she is sold into slavery as a data mule, and she must fight for freedom and identity in a world mired between bioscientific progress and the religions that fear it.

Jane Eyre does not need to be updated.  It needs to be read and re-read and treasured for its timelessness.  But too often, the people of a world obsessed with progress refuse to remember the wisdom of the past.  Sometimes, an author must dress the eighteenth century in futuristic salawar kameez to remind the present day that the human story never changes. Whether in Georgian England or the global community of a technocratic future, there will always be orphans who can teach the rest of us how to love, if we will only take the time to learn.  This is the reason we need books like Unclaimed.”

–  Karen Ullo, author of Jennifer the Damned

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Do the Next Thing God Asks You to Do

by Guest Blogger Billie Jauss

Over my life, which at this point has spanned nearly half a century, I have taken on many roles. I grew up the baby of a large, blended family. At a young age, I knew I wanted to be a nurse and fulfilled that dream when I graduated from college and landed my dream job as a critical care nurse. Then the role as wife and mother took over my full-time gig as a nurse. My hubby is a Major League Baseball coach, so for 29 seasons I have been a baseball wife. However, no role ever confused me as much as the role I find myself entering in my empty nest. A writer. Continue reading

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Seven Quick Takes

7 Quick Takes

Gettysburg Edition

We spent several hours last weekend in Gettysburg. It’s one of my favorite places, so much so that I set my novel Stay With Me there. As many times as we’ve visited, I know I haven’t scratched the surface of the many things to see and do there. A quaint town, steeped in history and tragedy, it’s blanketed in a palpable gravitas that is hard to describe. And yet, it’s also fun. Here are seven of my favorite places to go, things to do if  you visit Gettysburg – and I recommend that you do. Continue reading

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An Open Book

An Open Book CatholicMom

Welcome to the July 2016 edition of An Open Book, hosted both at My Scribbler’s Heart AND CatholicMom.com!


The Art of Work by Jeff GoinsAlmost from the time we began dating in 1993, my husband has been searching for his vocational niche. In the course of his off and on search/discernment of what he should be doing, he’s read a variety of books on the subject. This is one I bought for him last year. I opted to add the audiobook to the discounted ebook, and he’s been going back and forth between the two using Whispersync for Voice. You can see The Art of Work: A Proven Path for Discovering What You Were Meant to Do by Jeff Goins has some pretty impressive Amazon ratings: 4.7 with 566 reviews. As someone who floundered around until absolutely forced to declare a college major, I see the value in this type of book. According to Michael, in some cases it is about finding your life’s calling rather than merely a job. In other cases, it may have specific vocational applications.

No One Wants to Read Your Sh*t by Stephen PressfieldI have a virtual pile of promised reviews and beta reads ahead of me this month, but I’m squeaking in a quick writing-craft read: No One Wants to Read Your Sh*t: Why That Is And What You Can Do About It by Stephen Pressfield. As you may guess from the title, a language warning comes with this one. It’s an easy, engaging read, and I’m taking away some useful pointers on constructing a novel. The author’s The War of Art has been on my to-be-read list for a long time. I even checked it out of the library once, but didn’t get to it. Maybe later this summer.

Sunflowers in a Hurricane by Anne FayeOnce I zip through that book, it’s on to Sunflowers in a Hurricane by Anne Faye. I enjoyed The Rose Ring by the same author, and I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing this inspirational fiction as well. The flowers on the cover alone make me happy, especially since many of the sprouts from the seeds my daughter planted have been eaten by an unknown critter.

Unclaimed by Erin McCole CuppI’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a book I read this spring which releases TODAY: Unclaimed: The Memoirs of Jane E, Friendless Orphan by Erin McCole Cupp. Unclaimed is the first book in a series of three. It’s a sci-fi/steampunk retelling of the classic Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Tonight is the Facebook Book Release Party at 7:30 EDT. I’ll be there! Please stop by and learn more about my friend Erin’s fabulous book. I’ll be posting more about it at My Scribbler’s Heart on next week. Here’s a snippet of my review: “Jane Eyre has long been a favorite of mine, and I enjoyed the first part of this retelling immensely. While appealing to the modern reader’s ear, it remains faithful to the truth of the original, even retaining the charm and tone of Bronte’s voice.”

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy FarmerFor his summer reading assignment, my teenager has chosen to read The House of the Scorpion by Jane Farmer. This is his first foray into dystopian fiction. He read huge chunks of the book on our recent trip across the state, engrossed enough to choose reading over watching a Star Wars LEGO program with the other kids. At least for a while. The book includes some bioethical issues, and we’ve already had some discussions about the morality of human cloning and destroying human embryos and fetuses for their parts.

Trixie Belden by Julie CampbellMy newest avid reader, my soon-to-be third grader, is still traveling through Narnia. She took a break, however, to read The Secret of the Mansion (Trixie Belden Book 1) by Julie Campbell. I had completely forgotten about the fictional Trixie Belden’s existence until I saw it mentioned on Reading Is My Superpower, my favorite book blog. I promptly requested it from the library with the hope my daughter would like it, and she did! She’s participating in the library’s Chewsy Reader summer program for children her age. Each week, they share lunch and discuss what they’re reading. She’s eager to take Trixie along next time. I recall liking young sleuth Trixie more than Nancy Drew, but it’s been so long now, it’s hard to remember. My daughter recommends it for both mystery lovers and horse lovers.

Fox in Socks by Dr. SeussI’ve been exercising my tongue by reading Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss aloud to my littlest children. My youngest yanked it from the library bookshelf and added it to our stack, so home it came. I think  this must be good for my brain or my eye-tongue coordination or something. I certainly hope so, because this endless series of progressively more challenging tongue twisters is taxing on my weary, old, mom brain. I’m not a huge fan of Dr. Seuss, but this one I like quite well despite the torturous oral contortions it demands.


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Faith, Family & Freedom: Fight For Liberty Available Today!

When the sparklers have fizzled, the grill has cooled, and even the lightning bugs have taken to their beds, I have the perfect book for you! The final installment of Theresa Linden’s Liberty Trilogy is available today. You’ll want to start with the first book, Chasing Liberty. (I interviewed Theresa about the book when it was first released.) Now that the series is complete, you can read straight through Testing Liberty and then Fight For Liberty, because, believe me, you’ll want to!

Because it’s a holiday and your concentration may be sapped from fun and sun, I’ll make this simple.

Top 5 Reasons You Should Read the Liberty Series:Fight for Liberty cover

  1. Liberty. She’s strong, brave, and bursting at the seams with heart and integrity. Which makes up for her tendency to be impatient and impulsive.
  2. Dedrick. A gentleman through and through, he’s had his eye on Liberty for a long time. Chivalrous, courageous, and can also kick some butt when the situation warrants.
  3. The Evil Villain. Dr. Supero is the guy you love to hate as he doggedly pursues Liberty. [Insert maniacal laugh.]
  4. Edge of your seat. That’s where you’ll be throughout this fast-paced dystopian series.
  5. American as apple pie. Rather than letting that burst of patriotism dim with the last flickering firework, take a little time to reflect on the foundations of the United States. Good fiction deepens your understanding of concepts and values in a personal way. Let Liberty remind you of the importance of faith, family, and freedom by showing you what a world without them might look like.

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