If we don’t wait for something, if we get instant gratification, it’s just not as special and we take it for granted. Jeannie Ewing’s book Waiting With Purpose is a perfect Advent companion, but also a good read for any time of year. All of us have waited and longed for something. Whether it’s a spiritual desert we are in, or trying to figure out what we are going to do next, we all wait — but do we wait with a purpose?
Many people try to skip past Advent and go straight to Christmas. I smiled as my son reminded my husband as they set up a nativity scene, “Daddy, it’s not Christmas yet so Jesus doesn’t go on the manger yet.” This was a special tradition from my family, as well as the Advent Calendar, Advent Wreath and encouragement to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation at this time of year. Not only do we get the house ready with decorations and prepare gifts for others and bake cookies, but it’s time to get our hearts ready too. Consider doing something special this Advent and “lean into” the wait. Come Christmas, the wait and anticipation will be worth it.
It is apparent that the author’s time spent waiting has been for good use. Her trials and struggles, and most of all the passing of time, was necessary to bring about such rich insights that are hard to find and understand in our instant gratification society. She shares these insights in a very accessible way. Jeannie’s words of wisdom come off the pages and it almost feels like I could have a conversation with her over coffee, discussing the troubles of my life like I would a good friend.
“He does not rest in a soul that is anxious or fretful. … If God hides or rests in you, it is precisely because you are His beloved and have provided a refuge to Him in your heart …”
It’s hard for me to pick specific words of wisdom from this book, as it so rich with them!
Like a fine wine or good whiskey — sometimes there is no substitute for time and waiting in order to bring about something more rich and wonderful than a human can imagine. Our trials and tribulations are not for naught. God is there, in all of it, and he is able to build a masterpiece when we hand over the steering wheel and have patience on our journey.
While giving examples, such as St. Monica waiting for St Augustine to leave his debauchery, and tapping into the richness of our Catholic history and tradition, Waiting With Purpose would be fully accessible and enlightening to Protestants and others on a spiritual journey to grow closer to God through patience and waiting. The author also speaks about waiting in community vs. waiting on your own and the different types of active and passive waiting.
“In the darkness of the night we await our Bridegroom, like the five wise and five foolish virgins.”
Jeannie Ewing gives an abundance of scriptural references to draw from and applies them to modern life.
Her writing reminds me that, while I fret and worry about the exterior preparations of getting ready for Christmas, the interior preparation to do some spiritual housecleaning is even more important. I may just add reading Jeannie Ewing’s book to my annual Advent preparations.
Visit our Book Notes archive.
Copyright 2017 Meg Herriot
Your purchase of the resources mentioned here through Amazon affiliate links benefits the author of this article.