Because having patient endurance certainly isn’t always easy

It’s not always easy to be patient and endure every trial that life throws your way.

Especially in times of travel and in issues involving matters of the heart.

Cue “I’ll Be Ready.”

I recently went to Florida with my parents and my sister for a fun little end-of-summer vacay. It was a nice getaway filled with “wave diving,” Baywatch running, beach walks, soaking up the sun, dinners at 4 p.m. to beat the crowds, lazy movie nights on the couch, and cannonballs galore. It was exactly what my soul needed—rest and relaxation near the ocean with my people.

The day we left to head home to Texas, we had a 9:44 a.m. flight, and my dad likes to be early everywhere, so we left the place we stayed around 6 a.m. We returned the rental car and got to the airport with plenty of time to spare, so we breezed through security and went to sit at our gate.

Little did we know just how long we would be sitting there.

Mine and my sister’s phones both buzzed at the same time, and we looked down to see notifications that our flight was delayed. It was a minor annoyance, but I’ve flown enough to know that it happens sometimes. Looks like we had an extra hour to kill. But then the delays just kept coming. Before we knew it, our flight was going to take off much later than planned—as in FOUR HOURS later. Yes, I do realize that some people have flights delayed much longer or even canceled, but when you’re sitting at an airport hoping with everything in you to get home as soon as possible because you’re so exhausted and ready to be in the comforts of your own place, four hours seem like an actual eternity.

My mom helps make bad situations better.

I felt pretty bad for the airport and airline employees. Disgruntled people tend to take out their frustrations about a situation on those who honestly have no control over that situation—and there were quite a few unhappy individuals who were supposed to be on our flight that day. I think many of them hastily changed flights, because ours ended up being rather empty.

When the plane finally took off a little after 2 p.m., my only option to make it through the flight with complete sanity was to watch a cheesy romcom, so I naturally went with Rebel Wilson’s smash hit Isn’t It Romantic? I’m honestly not sure that I actually liked the movie, but it killed enough time for us to get back to Dallas.

When we all piled into my brother-in-law’s car when he picked us up from the airport, it felt like the moment when you were a little kid and waited all December long for Christmas to roll around, and you struggled to fall asleep on Christmas Eve but then FINALLY woke up to Christmas Day—and the world felt incredibly normal and not as if you’d just waited for what felt like forever to be in that moment.

Both of these precious young women waited patiently for their lobsters, and we get to celebrate KB’s wedding soon.

If we’re being completely honest here, no one really loves waiting (at least I haven’t met anyone who does, but if you do, I’d like to chat). Most of us have our own agendas and plans, and we like things to pan out the way we hope that they will. But that’s not reality. We can’t always control the situations around us, and sometimes we simply have to employ what’s known as patient endurance.

When I first heard that term, it didn’t make a ton of sense to me. If I’m having to endure something, I doubt I’m focusing much on being patient. But the more I reflected on what it really means, the more I wanted it to be something I’m able to practice and hone and model well for others.

A few years ago, I fell pretty hard for a guy who ended up leaving me brokenhearted. Throughout that entire time, I wrote down the Bible verse below on a sticky note and read it to myself at least once every day.

Patient endurance is what you need now so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that He has promised.

And I reminded myself to believe every single word of it.

Just waiting for my lobster like:

I still have to remind myself of this often. It’s easy to get so caught up in everything around me and in the plans I think are best for myself that I forget that He has a much better plan than I do. After all, I had to learn patient endurance for four years of frustrations and seeking for meaning in a career path that wasn’t truly where I was meant to stay—and it led me back to where my heart has been all along.

And I’m currently still patiently enduring (well, I’m certainly trying to master that “patient” part of it) this whole singleness thing and also sometimes wondering if it’s a perpetual endurance I’ll need. Whether I get my Christmas morning/car ride back from the airport (a.k.a. THIS) or not, the patient endurance is still a necessary part of my story so that I keep trying to pursue the Lord’s will in my life. If living by faith means never having a love like Nathan’s and Haley’s (if you weren’t a One Tree Hill fan, that might mean zilch to you), then that’s OK. He’s still good, and I’m still His.

And that’s worth every single struggle and pain patient endurance has ever brought with it.

Because it’s OK to be a virgin

I’m 33 years old, and I’m a virgin.

There, I said it.

I know that sounds like an old age to be that inexperienced, but it’s true, and I’m not ashamed to admit that. And the older I get, the more thankful I am that some of the relationships I wished had happened didn’t actually happen because I’m pretty sure they would have ended quickly, anyway, when the guys I had crushes on realized that I wasn’t going to have sex with them.

Hashtag single and hanging out at a tree

It’s kind of weird being a virgin today, especially as an adult. My purity is something I value and protect, and if I ever actually lasso in a husband, I hope he will appreciate it.

A few years ago, I had a gun pulled on me. In the months of fear that followed, I wasn’t frightened by the fact that someone could have killed me (he easily could have shot me but didn’t) but by the idea that what I think he really wanted to do was rape me.

And, to me, that was scarier than dying.

As you might know, I struggle with kidney stone issues and had to have three surgeries last year. When I experienced my first kidney stone trauma a few years ago (it was actually a month before the gun situation), before the doctor and nurses did the CT scan to know what it was, they thought that my pain had something to do with a possible pregnancy. I kept telling them that there was zero chance that I was pregnant and finally had to say (or probably yell) something along the lines of “unless another messiah is coming, there’s no chance that I’m pregnant!”

They all exchanged some uncomfortable looks and finally stopped doing painful tests that were unnecessary.

A little later, one of the nurses was giving me some pain meds in the IV, and this was our delightful conversation.

Nurse: So, you’re really a virgin?
Me (in too much pain to care about much of anything): Yes, I’m not a liar.
Nurse: It’s just hard to believe—that’s all.
Me: Why?
Nurse: We don’t see many women your age in here who are—or at least not ones who scream it out loud at male doctors.

So I guess I did yell it.

I recently volunteered at the Brave Conference, and I hope the young women who attended know that they’re enough and that it’s OK to wait to have sex.

I know that not every girl or woman is going to make the same decision I’ve made, and I don’t judge anyone for living differently than I do, but I’m going to stick to the promise I made myself so many years ago to wait until I marry the man I was always meant to be with to have sex. And if I never fall in love and make those vows, then I guess I’ll die a virgin, as well.

The other night, I was at a swanky bar with a couple of friends, and some guy I had never seen before in my life came up from behind and hugged me. First of all, NO. Don’t touch me. Then he asked me if I’m a real redhead and told me that there’s only one way to find out. That was his cue to leave. It took a few minutes to get him away from us, but he finally left. If he had stayed any longer, I was probably going to punch him in the face. I’m sure there are still some good guys out there, but it’s moments like those that I’m thankful that I still have something that a guy like him hasn’t taken from me.

I know that we all have different beliefs, and as I said before, I’m not judging anyone for anything, nor do I think that I’m better than anyone for the choices I’ve made. But I do want people to know that it’s OK to wait. It’s OK to live your life differently than others. It’s OK to follow your own path, even if it seems to take you a lot longer to get somewhere.

I’m not sure if it’s my fate in life to be single forever, but I really do hope to fall in love with a man who loves me back and shows me that love as often as he can. I hope to create memories together and support each other’s dreams. I hope to hold hands and dance and laugh until our abs hurt. I hope to know in my heart that he’s the man I’ve been hoping for and is the reason why I had to go through broken hearts and crushed hopes—because he’s the one the Lord has been leading me to all along.

And he will be worth the wait.

Because some things are worth every second of waiting

Remember the days before iTunes when you waited and waited by the stereo for your favorite song to come on the radio, and when it did, it was such a great moment?

Life is a lot like waiting for that song to play.

I can’t say I’ve ever been fond of waiting long periods of time for things to happen. I’m sure there are reasons I could try to cite as blame for this, but the bottom line is that sometimes I’m simply impatient.

Because, like math, waiting is hard.

One thing I’ve learned, though, is that some things truly are worth waiting for because they make your heart feel bliss that you can’t necessarily explain. But it’s not always easy to remember that when you’re in the waiting period.

Cue an actual waiting room.

My sister-in-law went into labor Friday morning, and I left work early that afternoon to go be with my family at the hospital and await the arrival of my precious niece. (Seriously, she is adorable.) We all tried to make predictions of when she would be born, but we were way off—predicting when babies will be born when you have no expertise is like trying to guess what time it’s going to start raining when you don’t even know how to read a radar.

So we did a lot of waiting on Friday. It was the good kind of waiting—the kind for which you know what the outcome will be (like meeting your niece and becoming an aunt), and it’s an exciting time when your heart grows with joy more and more each moment. The impatience is still there, but when what you’ve been waiting for finally happens, you simply don’t care. What you waited for was worth every single second.

I held my niece in my arms, and I remembered nothing about the hours spent wondering when she would finally get here. She was here, and she is beyond beautiful. Olivia Kate is worth every single second of waiting.

Olivia Kate and froyo—worth every second of waiting

The next day, I had to wait again for something else I love dearly: froyo. I stopped at my favorite frozen yogurt place before going to hang out with my niece on her second day of being a little human, and my patience was tested. The place opens at 11, and when I went inside at 11:02 or so, the manager said there was some situation and that it would be a few minutes before they were ready. I asked how long it would be (usually when people say “a few” they don’t actually mean three), and he said it would be at least 10 minutes if I was willing to wait.

Sir, for froyo, I’m willing.

I sat at a table and waited for what seemed like way more than 10 minutes (because the waiting period pretty much always feels like an eternity), and then homeboy finally handed me some sample cups and said everything was ready. This is the best froyo in all of the land, but there was an added bonus: I got a discount for waiting. The manager said that, because of my patience, I could have the employee discount—50 percent off! It’s possible this ever so briefly made me consider working there solely for the discount. That froyo was worth every single second of waiting.

I had no idea I would get that discount, but it sure was a welcomed surprise. There are times when we are waiting but don’t know what exactly we’re waiting for, because the outcome isn’t known. I think that’s one of the most challenging kinds of patience to have—the one when you’re waiting for something that isn’t a complete certainty.

Like love.

Sometimes we have to wait on people who may or may not already be in our lives. We wait with hearts full of questions, and we wait on answers. We wait with hope. We wait with frustration. We wait with emotions we never expected. We wait with pain. We wait with anticipation. We wait with uncertainty. We wait with passion. We wait with fear. We wait with confusion.

But we wait with the belief that whatever (or whomever) we’re waiting for will be worth every single second of waiting.

It’s difficult at times to trust God’s plan, and it’s not easy to hear people tell you to do so over and over again, even if it is the way to go. I try to remind myself of Hebrews 10:36, which starts with, “Patient endurance is what you need now,” because the concept of endurance makes me think of running a race and the feeling you get when you finally cross the finish line. Just like enduring all that comes with racing, we have to endure all that comes with waiting—though that whole “patient” adjective is a true struggle.

I think that, even as adults, it’s challenging to escape from some of our childlike behaviors. Waiting is so difficult when you’re a little kid (think Christmas Eve), and you just want whatever you want to happen to happen when you want it to happen. But that’s not how life works, and I’m not sure we ever get completely used to that. It’s important to learn how to wait, though, when that’s the last thing you want to do.

Because oftentimes whatever you’re waiting for will be worth every single second of that patient endurance.