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What if God wants you to wait?Most of us know what it’s like to wait for God to change our circumstances. But, whether we’re 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, it’s 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.
|Publisher:||Tyndale House Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)|
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Hope For When God Doesn't Give You What You Want
By Ann Swindell
Tyndale House PublishersCopyright © 2017 Ann Swindell
All rights reserved.
When Waiting Makes You Broken
Her name, I imagine, was Sarah. A good name — the name of the wife of Abraham, the father of her people. Her parents had named her twenty-odd years ago, when she was a tight ball of legs and arms still grabbing at air, grasping at nothing. She had been small and sickly when she was born, and they were not sure if she would make it. So they named her Sarah, hoping that a strong name would make her strong too.
Whether it was the name or the favor of the God her family worshiped, Sarah made it through that uncertain first year to become a healthy, happy little girl. Like other girls in her village, she stayed home with her mother and learned the work of cleaning and cooking and telling stories. Her father made respectable money from his metalworking, and he would arrange for her to marry a godly man when it was time. Her dowry was fair enough to secure an upright husband, and her father's good name was enough to bring suitors when she was only twelve.
She bled for the first time when she was fourteen. At first, it was cause for quiet celebration in the family — she had reached menses; she had attained womanhood. That week her mother explained to her what she could now expect from her body and what that meant for her in terms of ceremonial purity within the larger community. Each month there would be a time when she would have to stay away from communal worship and the homes of other people. But this was not a punishment; it was simply the way with women.
Then her mother smiled and told Sarah about the future that lay ahead of her. Within the year, she might become betrothed, and within another year or two, she would be wed. Could she imagine, her mother whispered, the joy of having her own children in a few years? Perhaps she might have two children — or three, if God blessed her — before she turned twenty.
Sarah marveled that such a small trickle of blood could change everything. She felt excited about her new status — and happy at her mother's happiness, happy at her father's smile of approval. Life transformed in front of her. Now she was a woman. She would be leaving home soon.
But after two weeks, the bleeding had not stopped. Her mother, who had once been so happy over this news, now started to worry herself around the house. Sarah could tell by the way she kneaded the bread every morning — too much, too hard, too long. Their dinner loaves became misshapen and tired looking. When Sarah asked her mother when the bleeding would stop, her mother told her that it should have stopped already. "Only a week at a time," she said. "Seven days at once, not more."
Sarah did not understand what was going on — in her own body or in her mother's mind.
After three weeks, Sarah overheard her mother talking to her father in low tones after they thought the children had fallen asleep. Sarah shared a mat with her younger sister; her older brothers had already left the house, and her younger brother was only five, heavy with sleep. Sarah heard the fear in her mother's voice, and she strained to understand the words.
The whispers were too low to comprehend, but she knew something was wrong — wrong with her.
* * *
The account of the Bleeding Woman is a small story in the Bible, repeated in three of the four Gospels. But it is remarkable in its power and its ability to startle me back to God.
It is the backstory that I daydream about — the life of this woman before her encounter with Christ. To me, that seems to be at least half of the story. The writers of the Gospels note, calmly and evenly, that she had been bleeding for twelve years. But I can't read those lines without wondering about the substance of those days. There was nothing calm or even about those years, I imagine, because not only had she been bleeding for twelve years; she had been waiting for twelve years. And waiting is not a calm and even business.
Most of this woman's story in Scripture focuses on her moment with Jesus — that moment of healing, the inversion of her existence. But she had lived through those twelve years, and she suffered through them in ways that are unknown to us. I find myself drawn to those years — drawn to the marrow of them, drawn to the inside of them, drawn to the hurt that must have lingered in every moment of those 4,380 days. Because who but a bleeding woman can know the pain of life leaving your body every moment of the day? Who but a bleeding woman can know the struggle of waiting for a healing that has proven impossible to find?
I am drawn to those years of hers — those days — because I have had years of waiting of my own. Years of brokenness and longing that stretched past twelve.
My own journey unfolds less dramatically than hers — less obviously, perhaps. But it is still full of shame and hiding, still full of the waiting that threatened to undo me.
Where My Story Begins
Like the Bleeding Woman, I grew up immersed in the things of God. Before I was old enough to talk, let alone know any words, I was baptized into Christianity. Held high in a white gown by a pastor in a gray robe, I was sprinkled with water and invited into the life of the church. Not only did that moment signify my parents' vow to raise me in the faith, but it was the first moment of many in my journey toward Christ. Because, as simple as this sounds, I can never remember a day when I haven't loved God. I have always wanted to know him. I still do.
Everything was spiritual to me; I grew up as a deeply attentive child who wanted to see connections running through every flower, every song, every person. I believed that God's presence could be found anywhere, if only I could open my eyes wide enough to see him. I sang songs to God that I made up in my head. I hummed to him as I discovered bark patterns on curving trees in the backyard, and I danced for him as I bent low to smell the strawberry-sweetness that poured from the lilies of the valley splayed across our lawn.
I prayed with childlike fervor, falling asleep with both dreams and fears while trying to understand the concept of eternity. One night, when I was seven or eight years old, I cried for my mother in the dark, terrified that life would go on and on forever. She held me but couldn't give the answer I wanted, because she couldn't explain the unexplainable — that dizzying notion of infinity.
Still, even with my fears and the many things I couldn't comprehend, I continued to pray every night that I can remember. I made recitations to God of my hopes and my thanks, my desires and my wishes. I whispered into the dark of my bedroom, praying in a hush that I trusted he could hear. I believed he was listening.
But also like the Bleeding Woman, my story with suffering — trivial as it might initially seem — starts when I was young. I was eleven. It was an unassuming beginning, something small and originally unmagnified in my life. I was in the school play in fifth grade — The Pirates of Penzance. In case you've never heard of the comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan, it's a tongue-twisting musical that includes pirates, a group of sisters (of whom I was one), and a hero and heroine who fall in love. A classic romance story — with a pirate twist! I loved the music, loved the eyelet dress I got to wear, loved the heat of the lights on my face, loved the rush of color and sound and storytelling swirling around me.
I had been wearing glasses since third grade, but in fifth grade I asked my parents for contacts. They agreed, and I got fitted for gas permeable contact lenses — a long name for hard contacts. Every morning I tucked the tiny plastic disks over my pupils, feeling them swim and settle onto the centers of my eyes. Every evening I diligently popped them out, cleaned them, and snapped them into my contact case. Click, click.
What happened during those months in fifth grade before The Pirates of Penzance is that I developed a fascination with my eyes — particularly, with my eyelashes and eyebrows. When showtime came, I applied theater makeup, which included mascara. I had never worn makeup before, and adding mascara to my lashes created another layer of captivation with my eyes. I started touching my eyelashes and running the tips of my fingers along them. My eyelashes were long and very full; I had inherited them from my father. They were lovely.
It happened during one performance as I stood in the tiled hallway: I waited for my cue to enter (stage left), and I pulled out my first eyelash. I remember the moment, remember the feeling. It felt good, like the release of a sneeze. It felt like the pop that comes from unscrewing a pressurized jar. It felt like the start of something I didn't understand.
That day I plucked out my first eyelash and, although I didn't know it at the time, started a habit that snowballed into years and years of pulling out my own eyelashes and eyebrows.
It is odd, I know. It is strange.
What started as a passing moment avalanched a deep struggle into my young life. After that, I pulled out eyelashes every day. Every single day.
It felt like a release of tension; it felt like I couldn't stop.
At first, I don't remember my parents noticing that I was pulling out my eyelashes, and later, my eyebrows. I didn't think too much about it either. But soon the bare patches of skin framing my eyes became visibly obvious.
I didn't know what was happening, and my parents seemed to be as mystified as I was. They would tell me to stop playing with my eyelashes, to stop touching them. I would tell myself the same thing. But even though I didn't like what I was doing — even though I hated how it made me look — I found that I couldn't stop. When I felt a little stressed or uncomfortable or slightly anxious — a tendency passed down through my genes — my hands would start floating up to my lash line, ready to pluck out a lash or two. Or three or four.
But I didn't always pull out my lashes just because I leaned toward perfectionism as a child, just because I was prone to low-grade anxiety. Sometimes I tugged on my lash line when I wasn't thinking, wasn't worried, wasn't stressed. I've always been a reader, and I would spend hours on our family room couch, diving into rich worlds on the page, devouring whole books and series over the course of a few days.
The problem? I found that every time I read, the pages of my books were covered with eyelashes. Tiny brown Cs, peppered like unwanted snowflakes across the pages. I cried when I saw them; I didn't know how to stop doing what I didn't want to do. My parents cried with me; they didn't know how to stop me either.
And so they started doing some research. My father, a physician, discovered that what I was struggling with was a real condition, odd as it seemed.
The diagnosis: a medical condition called trichotillomania. It turned out I wasn't the only one with an itching desire to pull out my eyelashes and my eyebrows; it actually had a name. Some people pull hair from their heads or from their arms; I pulled out my eyelashes and brows. Trichotillomania, as we came to find out, is fairly common — it's estimated that up to 4 percent of people across the globe and one percent of Americans (or about 2.5 million people in the United States) live with the condition. But it remains mostly unknown to the general public, and chances are, you've never even heard of it. That's because it is rarely discussed. Why?
Shame. That's why.
How do you explain to someone that you can't stop pulling out your own hair? How do you say that what you feel is like a gravitational pull — although no one is forcing you to do the thing that you hate? How could I explain that in my brain, the urge to pull on — and out — my eyelashes was a low-level earthquake constantly rumbling below the surface?
I couldn't. It was too strange, too weird.
Imagine it for yourself: you aren't pulling out your hair in a dramatic display of biblical despair, as Ezra did when he learned that the people of God were disobeying Yahweh (see Ezra 9:3). You aren't shaving it off as a mourning ritual, as Job did (see Job 1:20). Your hair isn't falling out due to old age or chemotherapy — both socially acceptable reasons for losing hair. You alone are responsible for pulling out your hair, for ruining your own appearance. And as much as you want to stop, you find it to be impossible.
Unlike self-harm, trichotillomania is a medical diagnosis that isn't necessarily based in self-hate — although many sufferers report feelings of low self-esteem due to their condition. The American Journal of Psychiatry defines the condition this way:
Trichotillomania is a poorly understood disorder characterized by repetitive hair pulling that leads to noticeable hair loss, distress, and social or functional impairment. The peak age at onset is 12-13 years, and the disorder is often chronic and difficult to treat. ... In DSM-IV, it is categorized as an impulse control disorder. ... Although rising tension and subsequent pleasure, gratification, or relief are integral to the current diagnostic criteria for trichotillomania, many people with debilitating hair pulling do not endorse these criteria.
So this urge I had to pull out my lashes as a little girl? This inability to stop? It was textbook behavior. But as my father continued to research, he also discovered that according to most sources, trichotillomania is incurable. Medical books told him it was unexplainable. Some of his fellow doctors said it was permanent.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to treat. There is no cure.
Some people with trich start pulling due to trauma, either familial or physical: the divorce of parents, the death of a pet, even a move to a new town. I dealt with none of these things. I had a stable home life, loving parents, and a fun little sister. I struggled for a while with my weight, but other than that, my biggest trauma had been that Peter didn't want to date me in fourth grade. Yes, I was a little on the worrisome and anxious side — I always wanted to do things right, and well. But my onset of trich had no clear medical reason, and now apparently my diagnosis had no clear solution.
I wonder if this is, in some small way, how the Bleeding Woman felt. There was no clear reason for the onset of her bleeding — at least, not that we know about. There was no clear solution for how to treat it or how to fix it. There was no direction at all. Just a physical, shameful, confusing problem that led to days of waiting and then years of waiting — waiting for a cure that never materialized. It would take a miracle for her to be healed.
It would take a miracle for me to be healed too.
The Brokenness We Bear
All of us live with brokenness in our lives. To varying degrees and in various ways, brokenness is more normal than foreign in the human experience. And although I know there were many other ways I was already broken as an eleven-year-old, trichotillomania was the clearest way I started to understand brokenness in myself. Up until that point, I had been a "good girl": I did what I was supposed to do, I finished my homework assignments, I sang loudly in the church choir, I ate my veggies. And I genuinely liked being a good girl — I've always been a rule follower by nature, another soul in a long line of rule followers on both sides of my family. Like my parents and grandparents and great-grandparents before me, I felt secure when I did the right thing. This way of living offered me a sense of internal control.
But with trichotillomania, suddenly I couldn't do what I believed was the right thing. That insatiable compulsion to pull out my eyelashes and eyebrows — and the fact that I kept pulling them out, even when I wanted to stop — made me feel broken. That was the first time I experienced the emotion of knowing my own brokenness. It was also the first time I felt helpless to change my brokenness. Even though I wished and hoped and prayed it would disappear, trich wouldn't leave me alone.
It felt like a blot on my young life, like a red X on what had previously been a perfect test. Up until the age of eleven, if I'd had real brokenness, I'd been able to effectively ignore it or mask it. That Koosh ball I stole from my cousin as a five-year-old? I apologized and never did it again. That mean thing I said to my little sister? I stopped saying it. But when it came to trich, I couldn't stop. I couldn't ever stop. My parents couldn't fix it, and I couldn't fix it. Stuck isn't a strong enough word to explain how I felt. Trapped comes closer. Ultimately, when it came down to it, the only thing I could do was wait — and hope that I might grow out of trichotillomania.
In ways both small and overwhelming, we all know what brokenness feels like. And sometimes our own brokenness — or the brokenness of those we love — seems like too much to bear. Whether it's buying more than we can afford or striking out in anger at the people we love or eating more than we want to or pushing people away when we need them most, we all have places where brokenness is painfully apparent in our own hearts. We all have parts of our lives where we are waiting for things to change.
Excerpted from Still Waiting by Ann Swindell, Stephanie Rische. Copyright © 2017 Ann Swindell. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Author's Note xiii
Introduction: A Woman Acquainted with Waiting xv
Chapter 1 When Waiting Makes You Broken 1
Chapter 2 When Waiting Makes You Weak 19
Chapter 3 When Waiting Costs You Everything 45
Chapter 4 When Waiting Claims Your Identity 67
Chapter 5 When Waiting Feels Offensive 91
Chapter 6 When Waiting Brings You Shame 115
Chapter 7 When Waiting Feels Like Suffering 139
Chapter 8 When Waiting Is Risky 163
Chapter 9 Waiting with Grace 183
Chapter 10 Hope for the Waiting Ones 201
Epilogue The Unexpected Sweetness of Waiting 219
Discussion Questions 235
About the Author 243
What People are Saying About This
We all have to deal with some degree of waiting in our lives. Through a beautiful retelling of the story of the Bleeding Womanas well as honest glimpses into her own storyAnn points us back to Jesus in every stage of the waiting process. Still Waiting reminds readers that the waiting period can provide fertile soil for our roots to run deep, knowing that our hope lies not in our circumstances but rather in the Lord.
The remarkable biblical story of the Bleeding Woman whom Jesus healed is the backdrop for this treasure of a book. Weaving in the intimate details of her own ongoing journey to healing with honesty and insight, Ann Swindell creatively, compassionately, and gently takes us by the hand and leads us to Jesus with astonishing wisdom that can only come from personal experience. Her skillfully written words spoke deeply into my often impatient, questioning heart in seasons of waiting, pointing to life-changing truth and providing encouragement and hope. We come to see each element of the waiting as a gift with an eternal purpose, drawing us closer to the one who sovereignly knows our need.
Life constantly (and painfully) reminds us how hard waiting truly is. In fact, waiting may well be one of the most challenging spiritual tasks that’s set before us. Ann Swindell gently invites us to learn from someone intimately familiar with waiting: the hemorrhaging woman described in Mark 5. As Ann explores, the short glimpse Scripture gives us of this woman’s life and faith is rich fodder for aiding us in our own weakness and waiting, encouraging us to keep reaching out to Jesus in expectant hope.
So few of us know how to wait well. Ann has lived a long wait and found God in it. We need the vulnerabilitylaced with the wisdom God has imparted during her years of waitingthat Ann Swindell offers on these pages. As only a skilled storyteller can do, she invites us to find our own stories within hers and within the narrative of Scripture that is written for us, the waiting ones.
Ann Swindell tells her story of waiting with winsome honesty. Readers who have fought secret battles will recognize her exhausting effort to avoid shame. Anyone who has prayed the same prayer for years will resonate with her struggle to be content in all circumstances while at the same time holding on to the hope of healing. Still Waiting helps the reader not only experience Swindell’s story but lift our gaze from her life and our own to the healing love of Christ.
Ann has taken us through a tender, personal journey that we can all relate to. We understand the ache of shame, and we have our own stories of waiting for relief. With biblical truth and the gentle wisdom of a good friend, Ann tells both the Bleeding Woman’s story and her own, and leads us to our present hope and fullness in Christ as we wait.
In Still Waiting, Ann gives us insight into what to do while we are waiting. Not only what to do, but how to stay attached to the bigger God-story in the midst of our struggles. Ann has not only given us insight and truth but has lived it out in her own life. May this book stir you to love Jesus more and believe that he is able to meet with you, even in the waiting.
Grab a cup of coffee and meet your new best friend. That’s how you’ll feel after reading this expertly crafted book, which is about far more than waiting. It is about how to livehow to take what life is offering at any moment and be whole and at peace. Swindell intimately weaves together painful and touching stories from her own life with Scripture and reflections, and creates a very real space of hope.
In Still Waiting, both Ann’s faith and her struggles are creatively woven together with a biblical story in a way that gives each of us hope for our respective challenges. This is a great reminder of God’s faithfulness in spite of our circumstances.
Still Waiting offers wisdom and hope in an area I have long struggled to overcome: the ability to wait well. Ann lovingly guides us through Scripture and comes alongside us with her own story as we go on a journey to learn what it means to wait in a way that isn’t lazy but provides an open space in our hearts and schedules for God to meet us in the midst of the unknown. And that is always, always, worth the wait.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I initially learned about author Ann Swindell by reading a post she had written for The Gospel Coalition titled, Don't Write Just to Get Published. As a blogger, I could relate to the sentiments expressed in her post and was encouraged by her truthful and intelligent writing. I began following Ann on social media as a result of the blog post and when I found out she was writing a book, I knew I would have to read it. I was ecstatic when she announced that she was accepting applications to be on the launch team for her first book, Still Waiting and I was equally excited when I received an email stating my application had been accepted.In Still Waiting, Ann begins each chapter with a fictional narrative from the perspective of the bleeding woman in Mark 5:25-27. I appreciate that Ann made it clear that these were her thoughts on what life might have been like for the bleeding woman and they were not actual Biblical accounts. Although I learned much about what life would have been like for the bleeding woman from a cultural standpoint, I felt that the book could have been equally as enjoyable without the accounts but as Ann's story unfolded, I recognized her reasons for placing them there. Still Waiting, overall, is Ann's personal account of a struggle she has with trichotillomania (a disorder, which for her, results in obsessively pulling out her eyelashes) and her hope that God would take it away. She shared various lessons she's learned in the waiting and questions that she's challenged her own heart with to make sure that Christ is always first in her life. I love that Ann shared her story without deviating from the truth of the Gospel and unlike many books for Christian women, Still Waiting foregoes the fluff. There is presently a plethora of books for Christian women that are all about being broken, messy, etc. that encourage women to have their focus on themselves rather than Christ. Still Waiting,thankfully, is not such a book. Evidence of this is a few sentences found of page 87 of the book where Ann elaborates on Colossians 2:13-15, "We now have a new identity. We are no longer known by God as broken and sinful. Because Jesus took our shame, our sin, and our brokenness, our true identity is now found in him." Still waiting is chock full of Biblical reminders that I found especially encouraging in my own season waiting when my husband went through unemployment twice this year. Two of my favorite aspects of Still Waiting are Ann's abundant use of Scripture within its context and her willingness to challenge women to consider whether or not their suffering has become idolatrous. One of my favorite quotes from the book is, "If I couldn't have healing, I knew I could still have Christ. He would be enough for me," (p. 112). Still Waiting is a bit lengthy but nonetheless a pleasure to read. If you are in a season of waiting, I highly recommend Ann's book knowing it will be a great encouragement to your heart and soul. I received Still Waiting compliments of Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.
Twenty 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, it’s 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 Ann’s life as she writes Still Waiting: Hope for When God Doesn’t 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 Ann’s 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 Paul’s 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. There’s a misconception in the 21st century church that we can be “#strong” by ourselves, that all weakness is evil, and that healing is God’s will in every situation. It’s a pretty insupportable position in light of Paul’s 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 don’t have.” Even though it is tempting to fixate on lack, whether it is infertility or singleness or a chronic condition, the believer’s 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 Elliot’s wisdom shared in the pages of Still Waiting: “. . . the deepest . . .finish reading: Living Our Days
In Still Waiting, Ann captures so vulnerably & gracefully the beauty of Jesus in the midst of the mess. Her words brought hope & healing to the parts of my soul wounded from waiting. I would highly recommend!
You know why I loved Ann's book so much? Because she wrote it from the position of "still waiting," not "done waiting." Her credibility is real, and I felt she had read pages of my journal as I've long hoped for healing and answered prayers. Though her condition is quite different from mine, there are still elements of her waiting that mirror my own. It was a comfort to be validated in my waiting, but even more so to be pointed to the gospel repeatedly. Ann's approach is so interesting as she tells her version of the story of the Bleeding Woman and what her life might have been like during her 12 years of waiting. Each chapter opens with the continuation of that story, followed by Ann's. However, their stories diverge when the Bleeding Woman is healed but Ann is not. Chapter 9, titled "Waiting With Grace," was my favorite section of the book because she shows how God was always with her in her waiting, which is what I've known to be true myself. I loved this line: "The grace I have received has not been the grace of healing. It has been the grace of his presence." (p.191)
This book is a comfort to all those who have journeyed difficult paths. I have had painful seasons of waiting in my life when I walked through pregnancy loss. I have waited to see if a pregnancy would progress. I have waited as I processed grief after losing a child. I have waited and waited for another child only to lose again. Most recently God fulfilled my desire by giving me a healthy daughter. Though I do not have answers for why sometimes God gives healing and other times he allows us to walk through long seasons of heartbreak, I know that He is good, and Ann's book has been such an encouragement to me. I especially appreciated how she reminds the reader that our faith is rooted in weakness and it is through this brokenness that we draw near to our Savior who is full of empathy. This is a brave and meaningful book.
If you’re struggling how to stay in the unknown, in the unanswered questions, in the upside down ways of your life, and longing for revival, for rest, for love, then Still Waiting by Ann Swindell is a must read. Ann’s continual battle with unmet healing hits home, with God answering prayers in delayed fashion to my deepest hopes. She weaves grace and God’s love beautifully throughout her story and the Bleeding Woman’s. And in her sweet, heartful voice, she encourages us to see this stretch of time as precious, because we learn and experience more of God in this waiting period. It all points to Jesus in real reminders, gentle nudges while also stirring up the human parts of us that yearn for answered prayer. It is wisdom well-won, and we reap the benefit of Ann’s listening and learning with God. So utterly honest and open-hearted, Still Waiting meets women where they are, as they are. It is a message of hope in the midst of disappointment, of unfulfilled dreams, and an invitation to peel off our shame and step closer to touch the skin of Jesus. I cannot recommend this book enough—it hits me in my tender places, assures me that I’m not alone in my fears and insecurities. Ann’s voice allows my heart to say, “Yes, I understand this also. Thank you, for bringing me alongside on this journey.”
Everyone goes through seasons of waiting; waiting for healing, for marriage, for pregnancy, for joy, for the next season of life. Finding faith in the silence of waiting demands unwavering perseverance, yet Ann Swindell provides hope when it is lacking most through her personal story and biblical narrative. This book is easy to read, deeply engaging and entertaining for anyone who has, or currently is, going through a period of waiting. I highly recommend it for all!
This book has been such a gift of grace to me. A close friend recommended it, so I knew it would be good, but I wasn't prepared for it to touch some of the deepest parts of my heart. Ann writes with what I would call "tender boldness." Her words are raw and vulnerable, yet they always circle back around to the truth of who Jesus is. I found myself crying through every single chapter as the reality of my suffering mingled with, for the first time in months, the reality of hope. Through the pages of this book, the Lord started a healing process that I didn't know I needed. Please read this book! Ann's story will leave you encouraged, challenged, and with a greater understanding of a God who heals.
This book is a beautifully crafted tale of waiting and hoping in the Lord. Ann Swindell does an incredible job of inter-twining her story with that of the bleeding women from the New Testament. It is a story that is raw and truthful as well as one that so many women can connect with. Ann is a talented story-teller who captivates the reader with her own tale, while allowing enough room for the reader to connect on their own level. I enjoyed every minute I spent reading these words and sitting in God's truth.
Still Waiting couldn’t have come in a timelier manner! Ann Swindell’s personal account on waiting reminded me that while waiting is uncomfortable, it can also be a gift, as it often brings us closer to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Seeing how God uses authentic relationships as a vessel for healing and comfort, when we are brave enough to risk sharing our struggles with others, ministered to my soul time and time again.
You don’t know why it has come to you, why you do it or why you can’t stop it from happening again and again. You want nothing more than to be rid of it once and for all. To be without this overwhelming life that dictates where you go or who you can be with, let alone share what is happening deep within you with someone else – this would be a gift – to tell someone, to be rid of the guilt and feelings of shame. But no one will understand, or will they? In the sharing of her personal journey, dealing with an incurable condition, years of praying for healing and learning a more important lesson along the way, Ann Swindell parallels her story with the life of the Bleeding Woman from scripture found in the book of Mark. Elaborating with extensive research to bring more to this story than the brief, gracious words we read in scripture about this afflicted woman, we get a glimpse of what her life must have been and read with courageous words the afflicted journey of the author herself. Diagnosed with an obsessive compulsive disorder at a young age, Ann learned to mask her physical evidence, sometimes failing terribly. But what is worse, she learned to mask herself emotionally, hiding her secret from those with whom she was closest. Didn’t God want to heal her? Hadn’t she begged him for this? We know the desperate reaching out of the Bleeding Woman to touch the hem of Jesus’ robe as he walked through town, instantly healed, because of her faith. Yet Ann learns about healing in a different way, letting Jesus reach deep down into her spirit. Both are a lesson in a deeper faith, a faith that indeed, brings healing, physically, emotionally and spiritually. With deep courage and spirit, Ann embraces her story and will propel you to tell yours as well, allowing healing to come in the waiting.
I just finished reading Still Waiting and I could pick it up and read it all over again! The way Ann shares her difficult story of battling trichotillomania along with sharing the story of the Bleeding Woman is so powerful. In each story, you can see yourself there, battling with your own struggles. This book really helped me realize that it's ok to wait, that your healing is coming, even if the answer for healing is a "no." Waiting can sometimes be our highest good! I marked so many pages in this book and I'm glad to have it to look back on when I'm struggling. The writing is beautifully done and it had me hooked right away!
Ann's story in these pages is a breath of fresh air. She keeps her words honest and shares her emotions in a way that brings familiarity to me in my own circumstances. Each chapter made me feel less alone in struggles and insecurities I face. I finished it feeling like we journeyed together. Even if you're not "waiting" for something currently, her words still serve as truths we as humans long to hear. This is a simple, deep, and real read we all need in our lives. No matter your age, season, job title, etc.- there is a hope in these pages you will go back to over and over again. It brings about sweet conversation and inspires vulnerability, making it a wonderful read with friends or in a book club. I cannot recommend this book enough. It is one I know I'll keep returning to in the years to come.
I first connected with Ann Swindell when I signed up for her original Writing with Grace online course and ended up not being able to take the course. I experienced God’s grace and compassion through Ann and have been following her journey through her email newsletter and Instagram. When I found out she had written her first book, Still Waiting, I jumped at the opportunity to join her launch team to receive an advanced copy of the book and share her story of hope. I have purchased a handful of copies to give as gifts. The subtitle, “Hope for when God doesn’t give you what you want,” resonates with me because I have experienced what it is like to wait for God to change my circumstances. I have waited for physical healing, personal breakthrough in ongoing struggles I cannot seem to overcome, and I have waited to see my family members experience hope and healing in their own lives. Ann explores hard questions about why a good, loving God would allow his children to experience pain in the midst of waiting and how we do not have to allow shame to imprison us as we face our weaknesses and failures. She shares how she has held onto hope and has allowed herself to take risks in remaining vulnerable before Jesus and loved ones in the midst of disappointments. Ann fully opens her heart to us as she weaves her compelling story of waiting for healing from an incurable condition with the story of the Bleeding Woman in the bible who waited 12 years to be not only physically healed, but restored to the only community and society she knew. Ann skillfully delves into the possible back-story and inner thoughts and emotions of the Bleeding Woman who is only mentioned briefly in the Gospels. The book is filled with powerful bible scriptures that have brought truth and transformation in Ann’s life. It was easy to immerse myself into Ann’s journey as I read the book. I felt like a friend sitting across from her as she shared her heart with me. I believe her as she writes, “If I couldn’t have healing, I knew I could still have Christ. He would be enough for me.” This book shows us that there is hope available to each one of us no matter what we are going through.
Still Waiting is biblical, gospel-centered and will point you to Jesus over and over again. It is an easy read, yet deep and "meaty". Ann's combination of story telling, examples, and wisdom is captivating. She talks about her condition, but this book is applicable to anyone that finds themselves in a season of waiting. It is intensely practical and a book that I will continue to reference as I struggle in my own season of waiting.
Still Waiting: Hope for When God Doesn't Give You What You Want by Ann Swindell is a wonderful novel about her condition Trichotillomania and walk with God. She parallels her story with that of the Bleeding Woman's from Mark 5. Both of the stories are that of waiting on God's timing. God works in His own ways and doesn't do everything according to our plans and desires. In this book, Ann shares her heart about her struggle with waiting to be healed. There are many stages of waiting she has walked through. Each of these stages has helped her relationship with God grow. Through these pages, we see the two stories unfold and how both women must wait on something that may never come. Ann details her walk with the Lord and how waiting has impacted it. This book is for anyone who has ever had to wait on God's timing and, let's face it, that's basically everyone. God's timing is different from ours and we can find encouragement for our waiting in the pages of this book. The book hits on real, raw points of waiting. It isn't a fabulous process and can be frustrating. But God is there. On every page, Ann turns the reader back to God and reminds them of his goodness and grace. No matter what you're waiting on, pick up this book and see how Ann inspires the reader through her struggles and walk with Christ. I did receive a free copy of this book from Tyndale. All opinions in this review are mine and mine alone.
This book is for anyone who has been in a season of waiting. Essentially, it is a book for everyone because we've all gone through some period of waiting -- waiting for healing, hope, or an opportunity. I especially appreciated Ann's thoughtful research on the Bleeding Woman from Scripture (Mark 5:2-27). We don't know much about the Bleeding Woman but Ann paints a more complete picture for us as she takes the reader back to how life for the woman may have been. I love how Ann weaves this story and her own struggle throughout the book, going through frustration, hopelessness, guilt, shame, and in the end bringing us back to the hope that whatever we struggle with in waiting will be made whole in Jesus one day. Beautifully written with honesty, thoughtfulness, and depth. This is a must read!
Ann is a talented writer who so beautifully intertwined her story of waiting and suffering with the story of The Bleeding Woman from the Bible. Her parallel throughout the book is impeccable and relatable. Ann really gets to the heart of waiting- something we all experience in different areas of our lives and in different seasons, but we are all waiting for something. Ann discusses shame, fear, risk, and hope. I've been so encouraged by her story because I too am in a season of waiting. I've been waiting for 2o plus years for my father to be healed from alcoholism. While our circumstances are different, her story will hit home for anyone in a waiting period. I finished the book feeling hope filled and with a renewed understanding of why we wait and the purpose the Lord has for us in waiting. I felt loved not only by Ann and her willingness to share her story, but I found a renewed love for Christ and from Him. I was reminded of His goodness despite our prayers not being answered the way we would like them to be. I was reminded of Christ's suffering and that He acknowledges and deeply understands our suffering- no matter how big, small, menial, or trivial as determined by the world. He sees that all pain is real and valid and walks with us through our suffering, hand in hand. I am so impressed by Ann's writing ability and her unique approach to sharing her story. I am thankful for her risk of sharing and her vulnerable heart so that others can find hope and not feel alone in their waiting and suffering.
By pairing her own story with the, often mentioned yet rarely studied, story of the bleeding woman, Ann leads us on a familiar journey of waiting - one we’ve all been on at some point and time throughout our own lives. In her refreshing retelling and sharing of intimate details of her own struggle, the Gospel rings true and clear leaving the reader full of the hope and love that only our Savior can provide. This book will go on my shelves as a favorite and as one I will often revisit when seasons of waiting feel un-ending and the comfort of Ann’s words will inevitably bring the peace of Jesus those seasons so desperately require. This book will be a true blessing to anyone who reads it!
If you or someone you know suffers from any form of chronic illness this book is a must read. It's a must have for your library collection. In Still Waiting, Ann Swindell will make you think, make you cry, and give you a sense of hope. Hope for your calm, your journey, and the space that you are in right now. She will lead you through the bible via a story that most people are not familiar with. So, grab a cup of coffee, a blanket, a box of tissues, and curl up in your cozy place and let Ann guide you through a journey like no other.
I read a ton of books, but only finish a handful. Lately, I've found that the books I'm reading are all sounding the same, with redundant messaging. But not with Still Waiting. I finished it in 2 days and I'm not even in a critical season of waiting. Sure we are are all waiting on something, but for me it isn't as serious as a chronic illness, like Ann's, that she opens up so boldly about in her book. The way Ann weaves her story of waiting with that of the bleeding woman in the Bible grabbed my heart and pulled me in. I couldn't wait to get back into the pages of her own personal story, the narrative of the bleeding woman and the truths of God's presence in our waiting. I have personally experienced and could relate to the beauty God reveals to you while you wait and how as Ann says, "He can allow our weaknesses to lead us into a place of waiting where we are solely dependent on HIm." This book is a beautiful message of hope in our broken world, where waiting is inevitable.
We all have experiences seasons of waiting — those times where what we most long for and desire seems just out of our reach. Ann vulnerably and beautifully shares her story of living in the land between what we desire and what we actually have in Still Waiting. As you enter the pages of her story of struggle, you will find your own. And even better than that, you will be invited to see and experience the God of the hopeful, the longing, the dejected, and the suffering.
This book is exactly what I was looking for, and I didn't even know it. The struggle to wait for things you desire, promises you've been told, and prayers to be answered is real! The waiting process can be painful, frustrating and confusing. This book is so helpful because Ann shares those same feelings, but offers the blessings we can find in the waiting process. Blessings that can transform us and help us to know God more. Thank you, Ann, for taking a risk to share your story. Thank you for being open and vulnerable with us. It's a powerful story that can bring healing and a new perspective for all those hurting. Even though we all face different struggles, your story is one many of us can relate to! I highly recommend this book!
This book is an absolute masterpiece, but what I love most is that Ann Swindell would say the masterpiece is all God’s handiwork. This book is a stunning account of her struggle with a chronic condition, her prayer and her waiting, her tastes of God’s grace and power and redemption. I cried my way through each chapter, feeling simultaneously heard, challenged, and loved right where I am. The best way I can describe this book is that it feels like a dear friend is wrapping you in a warm embrace, telling you it’s going to be okay, stroking your hair, and then helping you stand and face the day. I read this book right when I returned to work after maternity leave, still in the midst of a traumatic recovery from childbirth. I soaked up and clung tightly to every word as Ann offered me such hope and healing, pointing me back to Jesus. I will reread this book many more times in my life, and I’m sure I will glean new wisdom each time. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
Every person has an internal struggle and thus they are waiting for healing. It doesn't matter if the struggle is big or small, there is always a need for the struggle to end. This book is a beautiful and true story of Ann Swindell's struggle with Trich and the waiting that she has endured. She also weaves the Bible story of the Bleeding Woman into the quest for healing. These sections were my favorite parts of the book. The bleeding woman is all of us, waiting for healing and being tired in the waiting. Whether you are a Christian or not, this book has hope for those that are waiting. I hope that you will find peace and comfort in this book, just like I did. I received a free copy of this book, however this is my true and honest review.