Still Waiting: Hope For When God Doesn’t Give You What You Want, by Ann Swindell
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Tyndale Blog Tours. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
I really liked this book, and found it deeply poignant as someone who has long been impatiently waiting for that which I want out of life, which will make up the intended readers of this book. I would like to begin this book with a couple of comments that could be taken as criticisms but that come from my own point of view as someone both inside and outside of this author’s target audience. First, the author comments throughout the book that she does not find herself attractive, but having seen her photo on the back cover and at least a few while looking up the cover photo, she is obviously an attractive lady and her husband is right to tell her that a lot. Given the author’s immense self-esteem issues, explored in great detail, this author was immensely brave in putting her issues out in public, given the fact that there is always the risk that the reader will not be either sympathetic or understanding. Most will be, I think. The other comment I would like to make is that this book is aimed, like all too many books , at only a female audience. Who is it that figures that books about patience by women would only interest other women? There are plenty of guys for whom God doesn’t give us what we want, or who struggle against frustrations that never seem to end. This is not merely a female phenomenon, it should be remembered.
In terms of its contents, this book weaves two stories together in a comparison/contrast format. One of the stories is that of the woman with a bloodflow whose search for healing after twelve years of bleeding led her to touch Jesus’ hem and delay his entourage heading for Jarius’ home to heal his daughter. The author adds a plausible back story for the suffering faced by this woman and her social isolation, as well as the anemia and lassitude that result for those of us who have pretty frequent blood flows (mine being, sadly, through my nose ). The other story is the author’s own experience over decades of struggle with trichotillomania, which leads her to pick at her eyelashes on a regular basis. As someone of somewhat compulsive habits, I have a great deal of empathy for her. Using these two stories, the author examines what happens when waiting makes us broken and weak, costs us everything, claims our identity, feels offensive, brings us shame, feels like suffering, and is risky. The author encourages the reader to wait with grace, hope for the waiting ones, and find the unexpected and surprising sweetness of waiting, where it can be found. All of this takes a bit more than 200 pages and is written with a great deal of insight and a bittersweet tone.
One thing that separates this book from many other books of its kind is the empathy that is written with. Many books are written from the point of view of after the waiting is finished, and for those who are in the process of one kind of unpleasant experience in some sort of lonely and isolated wilderness, the writing often comes off with a sense of smug satisfaction that the waiting is over and some sort of offense to those who are still waiting. That is not the case here. As the author is still waiting for her own healing and wholeness, she writes with a great deal of compassion for others who happen to be waiting for other reasons . This brings the book to a point where it may not only inform others about the author and the condition she suffers–a condition shared by up to one percent of the population–but it may also be a useful book of encouragement for those men and women impatiently waiting to see what good God has planned in our lives. For many, the wait goes on and on.
 See, for example:
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 See, for example:
“For those who want to be married but have no prospects in sight, the waiting can feel like a burden, like an endless sea they can never swim far enough to cross. As they face the pain of a lack of options, of watching others find a spouse and have children, of feeling like the heavens have shuttered their dreams, the waiting is hurtful, even overwhelming.
For those who feel stuck in their jobs, their lives, their marriages–those who desperately want a change but don’t know where to go or what to do–the waiting wears them down like sandpaper on wood. As they are confronted with a lack of vision, a lack of hope, a lack of clarity from the God they follow, they struggle in the waiting (58).”