Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Leaving the Desert: A Year Later

One year ago today, my world fell apart. One year ago today, the Lord started me on a journey that I never wanted to walk.  Saying that this year has not gone exactly as planned would be the understatement of this decade.  I survived.  I never thought I would, but I did.

Throughout this past year I have struggled financially, physically, spiritually, and emotionally.  I have struggled with pride and self-sufficiency.  I have had to ask for help through the midst of tears and breakdowns.

But even in the trials of the year, I would choose walk through it all over again.  I would take the pain of disappointment. I would take tears, the doubt, the insecurity, the confusion.  I would do it all over again.  Why?  Because the Lord met me where I was at.  He met me in the pain.  He showed His character to me in ways I would have never seen.  He took me on a long way around to get me to a place of total dependence.  He brought people in my path I would have never met who challenged me, encouraged me, and walked alongside me.  He provided in ways I could never of imagined.

I have a Bible crush on Moses.  I always have.
I am always encouraged by his story.  He wandered for 80 years total in the desert.  80 years.  Can you even imagine?  I felt like this year of desert wandering has been an eternity.  But the comforting thing has been is that the Lord will never bring something into your life that He will not use.  He did that with Moses.  Those years were spent preparing him for a greater purpose.

Os Hillman writes: 
     "The desert was a place of preparation for one of the greatest assignments give to one man.  Did you hear what I just said?  Yes, the desert was the place of preparation.  Moses was battle-trained in the same environment he would spend another forty year...What kind of assignment is God preparing you for?  Does He have you in a desert of preparation?  Learn the lessons you are there to learn.  You may find you are called to be a deliver, Just like Moses."

Maybe the discovery of our purpose sometimes can only be forged in a year of desert-dwelling.  Maybe all great works are prepared in the time we spend in the desert.  At times I felt like I was forgotten, but this gives me hope.  Something so beautiful happens when we are void of something that we greatly rely on.  All I had left was the Lord, and that was all I needed.

The verse that I have been holding close to my heart this past year has been Psalm 27.  It has been a pillar for me:

"Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice,
And be gracious to me and answer me. 
When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You,
“Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.”
Do not hide Your face from me,
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not abandon me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation!
For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
But the Lord will take me up.

Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a level path
 Because of my foes.
Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries,
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
 Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord."

This year has been a journey.  But I am standing here, a year later with confidence that the Lord used my year of desert-dwelling to prepare me for something greater.  The Lord took me out of vocational ministry and took me on a journey that led me into a passion and career that I am so excited pursuing.  I never thought that the Lord would call me into education.  I had no idea what this last year would bring.  If I had to do it all over again, I would.  I wouldn't change it because I have found a calling that makes me feel alive.  The Lord took me through the desert and brought me to the other side.  He put me on a path I would have not chosen on my own and I am so grateful He did.

I am so thankful that the Lord sees the bigger picture and knows what His children need to truly experience His faithfulness.

I look back on the year and see the outpourings of blessings, the community that surrounded me, and a God who held me in His hand. The desert was worth it. He had to use the deser to make my faith stronger and His presence more real.

I will gladly take the days or years of wandering the desert if it means I come out the other side knowing my Lord in a more real way.