Webster’s Online Dictionary defines desert as: 1) arid land with usually sparse vegetation; an area of water apparently devoid of life 2) a wild uninhabited and uncultivated tract 3) a desolate or forbidding area
It doesn't sound very appealing, does it? And yet, I bet you can relate. I know I can. I have had times in my life where I felt like I was living in a desert, spiritually. My prayer life has been dry. I have been devoid of life. It has been desolate and uninhabited, my world.
I get these emails every day, from a website called www.incourage.com .. Maybe you've heard of it? And they are up-lifting, encouraging, and most days I look forward to that email hitting my inbox. Last week (or sometime) one of these devotionals was about the desert, and she changed my complete perspective. Let me tell you about it.
"If you search for scriptures throughout the book of Exodus you notice that God called His people to: worship me in the desert (Exodus 7:16), journey into the desert (Exodus 3:18), hold a festival to me in the desert (Exodus 5:1). They looked toward the desert, and there was the glory of the LORD appearing in the cloud(Exodus 16:10)."
Rock my world, dear friends at incouragement. I have never put this together. The desert doesn't have to be a dry, desolate place. The Lord LOVES to take situations that seem hopeless, and make them hopeful. He loves to take places that are desolate, and make them fruitful.
"I believe during the “dry times” we learn to seek God daily, ask Him questions, get to know Him more intimately, and remember not to take Him for granted. He stretches our faith muscles, convicts our hearts, challenges our trust and just like every good workout leaves us a little sore. But in the long run, we are fit for the next challenge. We are stronger than when we started. We realize even more how much we need Him in our daily lives, how much He has to offer and how much we count on Him."
And so.. this affected me more than I can tell you. I feel like I am in a desert place right now. (And this is hard for me to admit). And sometimes, I am really sad.
Which is dumb, to be honest. I have been blessed beyond measure, and I know that. My husband is absolutely amazing, supportive, loving, encouraging, etc. I have a beautiful son, and I can't even explain the love I have for him. My husband has a great job as a Captain in the United States Army, which allows me to stay home with our son. We live in a beautiful home, in a beautiful state, with great friends.
And yet, here I am. My whole family lives in the Midwest, a good 20 hour drive from me. Seriously - every aunt, uncle, cousin, grandparent, niece, nephew, etc., all within 2 bordering states. Growing up where I did - with all my relatives all around all the time - was amazing. I loved every minute of it and had big dreams of doing the same for my kids. We ate dinner at my Grandparents every Sunday evening, and I can't tell you what that meant to me. To be surrounded by loving, encouraging people. I wanted the same thing for my future children. I just knew it was to happen.
But God had different plans for me. Plans that are bigger than me. Plans that are to stretch me in ways I never knew I could be. And these plans did not (at least so far, and for what I can tell about the future) include me being comfortable in the midwest. And so this KS homebody, fell in love with a soldier, embraced the army lifestyle, and is on her 3rd state with him in our 3 years of marriage. And I do love every minute of it. I wouldn't trade any of it. And oh boy is that man worth it.
But occasionally - I am reminded that Colton will not be as close to his cousins as I was. He will not know his extended family in the same way that I did - will not feel like his grandparents house was his second home. And lately, this has all hit me pretty hard.
Thankfully, I got that email at the right time. And my whole perspective has changed. I do not have to view the desert as a bad place, fight tooth and nail to get out of it and move into my "oasis." (note: I do not mean this to say I have been fighting to move back to KS, only to say I have been fighting the Lord to bring me out of this place) I can embrace it. I can worship the Lord with all my soul, with all my might, bring glory to His name, while walking through the desert. I can even dance in the desert.
And I will. I will use this time, where I feel distant and weary, to worship Him. To seek His will. To know that being where He wants me to be, will bring more glory to His name, and have a greater Kingdom impact, than being where I want me to be. Or where I feel like being.
I don't know how easy this will be, but I am trying.
Dear friends, are you in the same place? I would love to pray for you. Shoot me an e-mail or leave me a comment.
brad.jessica2009 at gmail dot com