You know I love to read. And you know that I love to share what I'm reading with others. But do you know what's even better than that? Sharing a book written by a friend!
Betsy Childs Howard and I studied together at Beeson Divinity School several years ago. These days, she's an editor at The Gospel Coalition, and she's written the most thoughtful book on practicing faithfulness when dreams are delayed. Her book, Seasons of Waiting, was inspired by her own wait for a spouse. In it, she offers a theological perspective and purpose for various seasons of waiting, whether it be for a spouse, a child, healing, or a home. I found Betsy's words to be both comforting and encouraging, and I think you will too.
I reconnected with Betsy at TGC's women's conference this summer, and she graciously agreed to a little Q&A for you. Because everyone loves a giveaway, and also because I found it so helpful, I'm giving away a free copy of Seasons of Waiting to one lucky reader. Details follow the Q&A with Betsy, at the bottom of this post. But before we get to all of that, here's a little video to give you a taste of what you'll find in the book.
Q & A WITH BETSY CHILDS HOWARD, AUTHOR OF SEASONS OF WAITING
Q: Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? Where did you go to school? What does life look like now?
I’m from Birmingham, AL. I went to Wheaton College. I also earned a Masters of Theology at Beeson Divinity School during the time that I worked there. I now live in New York City where my husband and I are planting a new Anglican church on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Q: Share a bit about your writing journey. When did you first feel the Lord prompting you to the writing life? How did Seasons of Waiting come to be?
I am not someone who writes all the time. I really enjoy writing, but I went many years without writing anything. Several factors converged through personal connections to give me some online writing opportunities, which I took advantage of. This led to a publisher approaching me about writing a book. I was excited and flattered, but I didn’t want to write a book if I didn’t have something that needed to be said. It took me about four months to think and pray about it and decide that all that God had been teaching me about waiting might be something that others could benefit from.
Q: What are the top three things you would share with women who are stuck in a season of waiting?
- Don’t worry about whether you can make it for the rest of your life. Just ask God for what you need to make it through today.
- Remember that, even if your season of waiting ends, you will always be waiting on something. Seek now to draw near to God and learn more about his character. This will benefit you in the future no matter what you are waiting on.
- Keep an eternal perspective. If you are a believer, this life is not your only shot at happiness. That realization helps waiting not feel quite so desperate.
Q: One of your key points is that each of our stories are parables that point to a larger truth. How did this realization affect you in the midst of your waiting?
It made my waiting seem personal rather than wasted time. It helped me feel like God was using my waiting to point me and others to his salvation story. Seeing my wait for a spouse as a parable of the Church waiting for her Bridegroom increased my longing for his return.
Q: How have other women helped and encouraged you in your waiting seasons?
Sometimes it is hard to talk with others about the areas where we feel most vulnerable. We need to do it anyway. Those friends with whom who I’ve shared my deepest desires, who have prayed for me, are those that I’m closest to. And they’ve been able to rejoice with me when God has answered my prayers!
Q: What is the key to finding purpose and joy where you are rather than where you wish to be?
I think that we should seek to find contentment and joy in our relationship with God and seek his purpose for our lives rather than our own. That’s different than being completely content with your circumstances. You might have a terrible job situation—I don’t know that God is calling you to be content with that. But as long as you are in that terrible job situation, you can seek joy in the Lord, seek to be used by him where you are, and believe that he has a good purpose for you there. It doesn’t necessarily show a lack of godly contentment to be honest about the difficulties of whatever season you are in. But we must always seek to draw our deepest strength and joy from our all-sufficient Father. There is no lack in him, so there is no reason for us to lack contentment in him.
Q: How has the gift of hindsight changed the way you view the years you spent waiting for a spouse?
I’m grateful for all the relationships I had during my single years. I’m introverted and a homebody, but loneliness forced me to be more social and throw myself into church life. I’m glad that God used years of singleness to deepen my friendships. I also think that getting married at 34 rather than 24 has helped me view marriage as a gift rather than a reward for going about dating the right way.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add? Please speak freely here.
Singleness ended my wait for marriage, but it began other waits. I’ve been waiting on a baby for what is starting to feel like a long time. We’ve had a lot of waiting to do with the church plant that we are working on. I’m now far from my family and living in a small, rented apartment, so I am experiencing the wait for a home in a way that I didn’t when I lived in my hometown. All of the truth God taught in my in my wait for marriage are applicable now. No wait is wasted if you press into God’s goodness.
Contest closes October 9 at 11:59 pm. Winner will be notified by e-mail within 48 hours of the contest closing. Good luck! Until next time, grace and peace.