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Most of us don't willingly choose to wait. We pick the shortest lines at the grocery store and avoid construction routes whenever possible. These are relatively short holdups, but they point to a deeper truth of what we try to evade on the larger scale of our lives: the anguish and heartache we experience during extended times of waiting when something we have hoped for gets delayed. Because waiting is painful and hard, too often we try to rush through it, seeking to jump ahead to the hoped-for resolution, opportunity, or healing. It's easy to overlook that waiting is an inevitable part of our walk with God.
In Still Waiting, Ann Swindell explores the depths of why God wants us to wait by chronicling her own compelling story of waiting for healing from an incurable condition. She provides a vibrant retelling of the biblical account of the Bleeding Woman, finding parallels with her own journey--and yours.
What is your heart waiting for? Let Ann help you see the promise that is hidden in the ache of waiting and the hope of what God can--and will--do as you wait on him.
Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: Tyndale House
Publication Date: 2017
|Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)|
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Most of us know what its like to wait for God to change our circumstances. But, whether were waiting for physical healing, emotional breakthrough, or better relationships, waiting is something we usually try to avoid. Why? Because waiting is painful and hard. The truth is, its also inevitable.
In Still Waiting, Ann Swindell explores the depths of why God wants us to wait by chronicling her own compelling story of waiting for healing from an incurable condition. She offers a vibrant retelling of the biblical account of the Bleeding Woman that parallels her storyand yours, too.
Let Ann help you see the promise that is hidden in the ache of waiting and the hope of what God canand willdo as you wait on him.
ATaylorAge: 35-44Gender: female3 Stars Out Of 5I'm indecisive . . .June 11, 2017ATaylorAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 4Meets Expectations: 2Being an extremely decisive person, it is uncommon for me to go very long without forming an opinion about somethingparticularly a book. It bothers me loads when this happens. I realized today that, sometimes, worldviews are slightly varied such that I cant fully reject what an author is saying, but I also cant agree with everything the book says. Thats where Ive landed with Still Waiting by Ann Swindell.
I googled Ann to learn a little more about her; she seems like a fabulous gal! I believe that she loves the Lord and His Word. I believe she wants to apply it to her life in the most honest way possible. She has struggled for decades with trichotillomania, which is a mental disorder that involves recurrent, irresistible urges to pull out hair from your scalp, eyebrows or other areas of your body, despite trying to stop. (Mayo Clinic). I can completely understand why she would seek deliverance from this issue, though the reasons are likely different from why I would seek to be rid, once and for all, of Lyme disease. Both circumstances offer their own set of life challenges.
But, out of the gate, I think we are coming from two different angles.
While I suspect the author would agree that God is the great (and only) Heart-Changer, the majority of the book focuses on her desire for two things: relief from the desire to pull (behavioral change) and physical healing. She mentions very early in the book that anxiety was the onset cause of her trichotillomania. Anxiety . . . a heart issue, not a physical issue. (One could argue that a predisposition to anxiety is genetic, which could be true; but I would counter by wondering, if one predisposed to anxiety were removed from the environment containing the pre-exisiting anxiety, would he still struggle with anxiety? Is it nature or nurture that brings anxiety bubbling to the surface?)
I waited and waited for the chapter that told about the authors experience in repenting of this anxiety (with which she continues to struggle) and finding freedom to live within the freedom that comes from that (even if she still pulled). But it never came.
Please dont read that I am judging her heart; thats not my place. I dont know her and cant know what she is thinking and feeling, aside from what I just read. She probably has asked the Lord to relieve her anxiety. But since that one chapter (an important one, in my mind) is missing from this book, I cant fathom giving it to someone who struggles with anxiety and has claimed it as her identity (e.g., I just have an anxious personality.). I wouldnt feel right having someone come away from a book without being encouraged to address the root of the issue. In my experience, when I am anxious it is because I have stopped trusting the Lord for some reason or another. There is no permanent, medical solution for anxiety; but there is a God who is able and trustworthy, and Who commands us not to be anxious.
Again, I think were just coming at this topic from different perspectives. With that issue out of the way, I can say that I did find valuable truths in these pages. It certainly encouraged my heart many times, with regard to waiting. (Were doing a bunch of waiting these days!) I just cant get super excited about this book.
So . . . Im not willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but I recommend reading it less as a self-help book (thats not what it is), but with an eye for the truths about God that will encourage the soul.
I received a complimentary copy of this book.
Michele MorinWarren, MaineAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5A Story of WaitingMay 16, 2017Michele MorinWarren, MaineAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Twenty minutes on ice.
Twenty minutes on my feet.
Then back to the couch and the ice pack and that was how I made it through the early days of mothering. Degenerative disc disease and pregnancy make for some painful and complicated logistics when they converge, but, oddly, its not the pain I remember most. What I remember most clearly is the frustration of being limited and the discipline of resting that was required for healing. The real suffering seemed to be in the waiting.
Anyone with a chronic condition of any type is familiar with the rhythms of hope and despair that go with waiting. Ann Swindell was diagnosed at the age of eleven with trichotillomania, defined by the American Journal of Psychiatry as a poorly understood disorder characterized by repetitive hair pulling that leads to noticeable hair loss, distress, and social or functional impairment. It is inexplicable and incurable, and it remains part of Anns life as she writes Still Waiting: Hope for When God Doesnt Give You What You Want.
Ann lays her own story and struggle alongside the biblical account of the Bleeding Woman in Mark 5. Remember the story? After waiting and bleeding, and consulting experts and spending all her net worth on cures that fell flat for twelve years, this woman came to Jesus, depleted and out of options. She was miraculously healed, and this is where her story and Anns diverge. Nonetheless, Ann feels a special kinship with the Bleeding Woman simply because of the shared brokenness of waiting and of clinging to hope.
Waiting Is Part of the Groaning
Pauls soaring words about hope and redemption in Romans 8 do not bypass the truth that all of creation deals with brokenness in some way and, therefore, we wait. And while we wait because of this general and widespread brokenness, it is also true that we are broken because we are waiting. Underneath all the good that was happening in her growing up years and into young adulthood, Ann struggled with the shame and desperation that centered around a pair of hands that would not stop pulling out eyelashes and eyebrows in spite of resolutions and wearing gloves and goggles and wrapping tape around her fingers.
Theres a misconception in the 21st century church that we can be #strong by ourselves, that all weakness is evil, and that healing is Gods will in every situation. Its a pretty insupportable position in light of Pauls words in II Corinthians 12:9:
And [God] said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
When Waiting Is All You Can Do
From experience, Ann offers principles that allow believers to experience the freedom of waiting well:
Lay down the false notion that you can fix yourself. Waiting well requires a surrender of the illusion of control and self-sufficiency.
Do not create your identity around what you dont have. Even though it is tempting to fixate on lack, whether it is infertility or singleness or a chronic condition, the believers true identity is tied up in Christ who names and claims and loves. Until Ann stopped thinking of herself as damaged goods, she could not share her burden and receive the compassion of others.
Relinquish what God has withheld. I was so happy to find Elisabeth Elliots wisdom shared in the pages of Still Waiting: . . . the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able honestly to pray what He taught His disciples to pray: Thy will be done. (96)
Allow a soft heart to protect you from bitterness. Making the choice to be offended by Gods sovereign will puts us in the judgment seat over God. (105) Ann found that the understanding and kindness of others and the Truth she found in Scripture were key to accepting the will of God in assigning to her this particular trial, this particular chronic condition, this particular set of challenges and temptations to despair.
Scorn shame. As Jesus took the cross, he silenced shame once and for all. By confiding in a few safe people and by embracing the strong truth of Romans 8:1, Ann began to live in light of Gods love and acceptance even in the midst of the daily struggle.
Standing with Those Who Wait
Whenever authors share a unique journey of living with and overcoming obstacles, readers come away with insights that make us more sensitive to the pain of others as well as helpful ways of responding. One of the chief sources of pain in managing a chronic condition is loneliness. That would have been particularly true of the Bleeding Woman in Scripture, but it is clear from her actions that, somehow, she had managed to keep a shred of hope alive that kept her thinking, If I can just get close to Jesus . . . Encouragement to draw near to God will make it easier for those who are waiting to let Him worry about the outcome. Our unconditional acceptance and friendship may be the very thing that makes the presence of God palpable to those who wait.
Those of us who live a following life are characterized by waiting. Although healed spiritually, every believer waits in hope for the gift of full restoration. We serve an on time God not an on demand God and our waiting is best managed through a focused attention on the next step of obedience in the present. As we come alongside those who are dealing with a painful and open-ended season of waiting, may we find grace to understand that our waiting cultivates longing for all that God has in store for us. In the meantime, its o.k. to keep on asking God for the healing our hearts long for as we remind one another that God is trustworthy, even when the answer we receive is, Wait.
This book was provided by Tyndale Momentum, the nonfiction imprint of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Deuce SkunksSpringfield, MOAge: 25-34Gender: Female4 Stars Out Of 5Hope For When You're "Still Waiting" On God To Answer Your PrayersApril 6, 2017Deuce SkunksSpringfield, MOAge: 25-34Gender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Still Waiting: Hope For When God Doesn't Give You What You Want isabout learning to wait with grace (if not patience). Ann Swindell combines her personal journey of praying for healing from an incurable condition with that of the Bleeding Woman found in the New Testament. While Ann's condition is bound to be different from whatever pains and weaknesses you are enduring, her candid openness about such personal issues should compel us all to look upon ourselves, each other, and our relationship with God with more honesty, grace, and compassion.
The underlying presumption Ann makes is that we're all waiting on God to answer a prayer of some kind. And that waiting takes its toll on us. No one likes waiting. And most of us tend to get this idea that our timetable and God's timetable somehow line up; they don't. Sure, some prayers are answered immediately, and others take a few months or years. But what about those prayers that don't get answeredfor decades, or until wesee Christ face-to-face?Yet, most of the time, those prayers seem to beabout the matters that are the most pressing to us. So what do we do? We wait.
Ann reveals and discusses the various experiences that go along with that kind of waiting - brokenness, weakness, high cost, lack of identity, offensiveness, shame, suffering, and risk - while weaving her own expanded version of the Bleeding Woman's story into the narrative so that we can get a better understanding of the sheer desperation that overcamethis womanas she reached for Jesus and his healing.
While there are no definitive solutions waiting for us in this book about waiting, there are discussion questions at the back to help you apply some ofthe lessons in your own journey. Personally, I've spent the last few years praying for healing from an abusive past. I started out feeling broken, then weak for not being able to just "move on" on my own. I've felt extreme levels of shame, and lost my own identity more than once. I've spent hours upon hours crying, praying, and screaming to God begging forHis help to overcome my obstacles. And in the end, I'm still waiting. Just like the Bleeding Woman was. Just like Ann still is. Just like you probably have at some point. It's a long and painful path, but Ann's testimony and vivid story can help shine a little light on the trail and show you that sometimes waiting is the best thing you can do. 4/5 stars.
*Disclaimer: I received a free print copy of this book from Tyndale Blog Network for the purpose of this honest review. All opinions are my own.*
jwhite055 Stars Out Of 5WE ARE ALL WAITING FOR SOMETHING.April 4, 2017jwhite05Quality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5And honestly once were done waiting for one thing, its inevitable that something else will soon pop up for us to be waiting forthats life. Anns words and story can touch and heal all of us in whatever we are waiting for, whether its physical healing, a hard situation, infertility, or any number of other things.
For me, the sign of a good (non-fiction) book is the number of pages that end up dog-eared and marked up; this book delivers. Her writing is beautiful and engaging. She strikes the perfect balance between story writing and information, making every page of this book enjoyable to read.
Suzanne5 Stars Out Of 5Grace meets you in the WaitingApril 4, 2017SuzanneQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Ann's vulnerability births freedom and strength for any woman struggling in shame and silence. She didn't wait to tell her story until she could wrap a pretty bow on it but instead, she remains in the waiting with her readers; remains firmly planted in the unknown with Jesus right beside her. In fact, we have a front-row seat to the inner healing as it unfolds in her life. God is at work in and through Ann and she graciously opens her heart to allow us to enter her journey. Her story provides hope to those who see no end to their suffering, hope to those who feel their prayers are landing on deaf ears, hope to those who have lost faith in our Father's goodness. In Christ's death and resurrection, we have been made whole, regardless of our physical condition or seemingly unanswered prayers. May you live in that reassurance and truth and be so encouraged by Ann's beautiful words.