When buzz started to build about The Waiting, I must admit to a preliminary goosebump moment. I knew I had to have this book.
As a reader, who wouldn’t love a true story like this?
As a mom, how could my heartstrings not be tugged?
And as a Christian…
Well, as a Christian was I prepared for the gamut of emotions that would surface—the ones that might cause me to question God’s sovereign will? The ones that might grow me?
I didn’t know the answer to that one, but as I began to read, my heart stirred. Doubts dimmed. My faith grew stronger with every turn of the page.
Clearly, how Minka Disbrow’s life unfolded was not one of happenstance.
Put simply, one might say The Waiting (Tyndale House Publishers) by Cathy LaGrow and Cindy Coloma is a story of loss, longing, and restoration. However, that wouldn’t do Minka and Betty Jane’s (Ruth’s) story full justice. That’s too neat and tied with a bow.
The Waiting is anything but neat—and the “pretty” takes a lifetime.
But often, isn’t that how God’s best works? Beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3) is a trial by fire process. It’s the culmination of heartache and baggage mingled with hope, perseverance, and finally—blessed redemption.
As you read The Waiting, you’ll be tempted to devour Minka’s story quickly. However, you’ll want to have a tissue handy and you may find it necessary at various intervals to take short breaks. This will allow you time to digest the many complexities of a story—and a miracle—almost eight decades in the making.
The Waiting is a breath-catching journey from beginning to end. The writing is seamless and flows easily onto the page.
The author and collaborator do a superb job of connecting the dots and blending past with present, while at the same time, making the reader aware that this is no ordinary story. This is a lifelong trek on a detour-laden path—a path marked by sadness and pain, but one that is shaped and mended by God’s providential hand.
Here’s the set up:
As a young, sixteen-year-old girl, Minka “Minnie” Disbrow is used to hard work.
Laboring on her family’s farm has left little time for the simple pleasures in life and she yearns to do the same things other girls do.
The year is 1928—a year Minka will never forget.
The summer is a hot one and it’s the day of her sewing class picnic. She’s looked forward to wearing a pretty dress and visiting with other girls her own age.
When Minka is assaulted by a stranger in the woods, initially her mind can’t absorb what’s just happened. It’s a different time than the life we know today. The innocence of Minka’s youth is reminiscent of a gentler era. She knows nothing about the facts of life or anything beyond tales of storks dropping off babies.
Too ashamed to tell anyone about her encounter in the woods, Minka’s life goes on. For months, she doesn’t realize she’s pregnant, and she’s shocked when her mother makes the assumption.
Knowing the crushing blow that comes from wagging tongues and idle gossip, Minka’s mother and step-father make the difficult decision to place Minka in a home for unwed mothers—at least temporarily until after the baby is born.
It’s then that Minka does what she believes best for her precious “Betty Jane.” She gives her baby a chance at a better life and places her up for adoption.
This is the most difficult decision Minka has ever made in her life. Over the next many years, Minka never quits thinking about or longing for her little girl.
She writes letter after letter to the beautiful, blue-eyed daughter who forever leaves an imprint on her heart. Somehow, one day, she hopes Betty Jane will read the letters and know how much her biological mother loved her.
Time rolls by. Decades pass. Minka’s life is a semblance of highs and lows. More children come, but still, Minka never forgets and never ceases to pray for her sweet Betty Jane.
One day, well into her golden years now, Minka asks God for a miracle: Might she see Betty Jane just once more before she dies? Minka promises not to interrupt her daughter’s life or cause undue interference. She just wants to see her.
Well, as God often does, He surprises Minka in a way that is nothing short of miraculous.
The many variables and improbabilities are no match for our all-knowing, miracle-making God. Faith triumphs over turmoil.
Wheels are set in motion by Betty Jane’s (Ruth’s) very own son.
Victory is at hand!
As I read the last paragraph of The Waiting, I sensed the enormity of Minka’s story.
I wept at the injustice of it all.
I wept for years lost.
I wept for heartache transformed.
I wept for my renewed faith.
I’ve not quit thinking about this book or the true story within its pages. You won’t be able to either.
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars.
Some additional thoughts:
God’s love knows no bounds. What we write off as impossible, His omnipotence creates a way. And when it appears as if time’s running out… that’s when our Creator shines.
Cathy LaGrow and Cindy Coloma have masterfully crafted a timeless story, breathing life into real characters, but ones authored by God’s own hand.
The Waiting. A must for your summer reading.
The Waiting is Cathy’s debut book. You can connect with her at her blog, Windows and Paper Walls and read more about her here. Cathy is Minka’s granddaughter so this book was very much a labor of love. (Image credit via Cathy LaGrow.)
Cindy collaborated with Cathy and is a contributor for The Waiting. She’s the author of eight novels and two non-fiction books. Connect with Cindy at her website and find out more about her here. (Image credit via Cindy Coloma.)
The Waiting was provided via the publisher for review. I received no monetary payment for this honest review. All opinions are my own.
A test of faith and a trial by fire: The true story of an 80 year miracle-in-the-making.
The true story of love, loss, and heartache redeemed. How this mother never gave up.
When time runs out, that’s when God shines! Read Minka Disbrow’s incredible story.
Has God ever made you wait?
What lesson did you learn?
What part of Minka’s journey inspires you the most?
A privilege to have you stop by!