Desert to Desert
Have you ever wandered in the desert, thinking you were on the verge of walking into a lush, enriching place of renewal and peace, only to find another desert? Left feeling wait, be patient, solutions are coming? I fully grasp how you are feeling!
In March of 2019, my desert journey began, hurting from years of withdrawing and shutting down when conflict arose, control was being asserted over me and forcing down deep the emotion that overwhelmed me. My faith journey the previous few years, had been filled with learning and growing, painful yet productive. Working through the layers of damaged soil to the root of behaviors I didn’t understand. Hit the root and was left feeling faithless, without good soil surrounding me. The healing waters had dried up. I was left shifting through emotions, deep overwhelming emotions. I felt alone. God seemed quiet, unavailable. His words unquenching to my thirsty, desperate soul. Longing to be seen and known. Work had been done, however the deeper hard work would be walking through this desert. Each day waking hoping the pain would subside, his words would renew my mind and soul. There were days a taste of his redeeming grace washed over me, only to be overcome by the heat of pain.
This pattern continued through the summer into the fall. In November I physically removed myself from my home, hoping that going to care for my dad in the actual desert would help me escape. As you can probably guess… where I went, there I was. As the holiday’s arrived, I couldn’t avoid, escape or ignore anymore. Tired of allowing my emotions to control me, dictate my actions and impact my relationships. It was time to take a good, hard look at what I had learned from my time of growth. Asking, how did I let it slip away. My identity, which I thought was moist, rich soil would help me get through any desert, instead it was depleted and dry.
The time had come for a critical choice. Do I continue to allow my identity to be defined by my pain and overwhelm, or do I choose to see my identity, through the lens of my Creator, the one who created me in His image. I’d like to say the choice was easy, in a moment it switched and I was healed. I know that moment, I’ve experienced the instant change in 2014 when the darkness overwhelmed me and hope was completely erased. That wasn’t going to be the journey this time. More work needed to be done. Healing needed to happen. Forgiveness extended not only to myself, but to relationships that were broken. Discovering I can only work on my identity, not fix others identity, rights and wrongs along the way. My heart is healing. My soul is being nourished. My mind is renewing. It is a minute by minute choice.
The choice had been made to return home in March. Things would be different, I was different. Working towards healing broken relationships, establishing renewed friendships, hope was on the horizon. Discovering withdrawing and shutting down were acknowledged and being worked on, still being worked on. Thinking I was walking towards a lush, rich place of peace and renewal (Isaiah 41:18). Wait. Came home to quarantine. A new form of desert. Isolated, not by my own doing. Approaching this desert differently. What I learned in the season of growth and the dry, painful desert of the last year, is I’m different. My identity in Jesus is different. Accepting how I was created versus condemning my story. Acknowledging my imperfections, redeeming the broken messages from my past, embracing my work in progress, receiving openly God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Welcome to the desert.
Discovering my passion and purpose. My story is refining, and the time has come time to share what I’ve learned, plus what I’m learning. Redeeming your story matters. Won’t be a perfect story. It will be an authentic, transforming story, your redeeming story.