How Long, Oh Lord?

A light snow falls outside my living room window. This light snow is a simple reminder to slow down especially in the midst of a long North Dakota winter. The truth is that we are not good at waiting in this busy hectic world. In fact, we rush from here to there hoping for the same results. Yet often our waiting leads to more unintentional waiting.

As a single 39 year old, there are many prayers that I am still waiting for God to answer. I still yearn deeply to be a wife and a mother. It is something that I have longed for since I was a little girl. Every day, I find myself continually crying out “How long, oh Lord, will you forget me forever?”

But this past year, I found myself unexpectedly waiting; living in the midst of liminal space—between what was and what is yet to come. During this time, I learned that waiting was forming me and shaping me in new and exciting ways. Little did I know that God would show up like God always does and lead me to a new community of faith where my gifts would be used again to and for his glory.

And so this Advent season, as we journey to the manger and the birth of Emmanuel—Christ with us, I find myself clinging even harder to this time of waiting. A time set apart for each of us to trust in the promises of this precious infant who comes as the light in the midst of the darkness, joy in the midst of sorrow and hope in the midst of despair. This holy child who calls us to trust in the promises of waiting for the Good News to be fulfilled.

Time is a gift from God, a means of worship. I need the church to remind me of reality: time is not a commodity that I control, manage or control. The practice of liturgical time teaches me, day by day, that time is not mine. It does not revolve around me. Time revolves around God—what he has done, what he is doing, and what he will do (Liturgy of the Ordinary, Tish Harrison Warren, p. 108).

Jesus’ birth calls us to pause and worship together as we gather as a community of faith.

Time is indeed not mine or yours. Time is found as the Christ child is born and fulfills the words of the angel spoken to Mary. “You will conceive a child and bear a son. And you shall name him Emmanuel; God with us.” In waiting for this one to come, we learn what it means to truly wait; wait for the one who comes to turn the world upside down and later will die on a cross for our sins. In our waiting, we know that Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead. And the waiting for Emmanuel is a waiting I choose to dwell in; each and every day.

Tara Ulrich

Tara Ulrich

Hello! I’m Tara! I’m a single girl who desires deeply to be a wife and mom.
I am a minister of Word and service; a deacon of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) serving in western ND. I serve at a church as the Director of Home and Family Ministry. Prior to this call, I served at churches in Dilworth MN and Beulah ND.
I am a farmer’s daughter, granddaughter and niece. The prairies of ND are my happy place. It is holy ground!
I also am the daughter of a woman who lives daily with a mental illness. I self-published our story into a book titled “Living as A Daughter: 31 Days of Mental Illness." You can find it here.
Tara Ulrich

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  • Stephanie Thompson

    Tara, this is a beautiful reminder that all things are held in God’s hands. I really appreciate the idea of viewing time as worship. It points us to the One in control. It’s been a blessing to journey with you in your time of waiting and watching the “new thing” unfold.

    • Tara Ulrich

      Thank You! Thank You also for journeying with me in this time of old and new.

  • I get that – waiting on God is the best place and the worst place – sometimes, depending on how much I’m depending. A great reminder that God is outside of time, and yet exploded into our’s just at the right time. (Not married til 35 and thought it would never happen. Let’s be friends. (:) Oh, and my sister “turned” Lutheran when her husbnad went back to his roots and seminary and now he pastors St John’s in Oak Park, Ill. Quite an upheaval that she managed nicely.

    • Tara Ulrich

      Exactly! Let’s be friends indeed.

  • Beautiful, Tara! I’ve been reading “In the Sanctuary of Women” by Jan Richardson. She is reminding me that God works outside of our limited concept of time. It’s not the answer I want right now, but it’s helping me pause, breathe, and find a renewed hope.

    • Tara Ulrich

      Thank You! I need to check this book out.

  • Such gorgeous prose, friend. I love this idea of waiting of sitting with God and waiting. To God be all the glory of your words today. Thank you for stirring a reminder in me. Love you. xx

    • Tara Ulrich

      Thank You, friend! Love you too! xx

  • Susan

    Tara…you have grown so much in the waiting. xo

    • Tara Ulrich

      Thank You!

  • Karrilee Aggett

    What a beautiful post… a gift of words, reminding us that the waiting is never wasted. He is always at work! Love you, my friend! So fun to see you here!