Our Desert, some final thoughts

The desert can be beautiful.  Water doesn't taste as good when you haven't been desert-thirsty.

As I said before, there were no formulas for us.  There were no 3 or 5 step plans on how to get out of the desert.  I really dislike things like that to be honest.  I also wouldn't say that the desert is behind us, rather now, an important part of us.  It is part of our story, one of the lenses we use to see and understand.

I realize that our desert was nothing compared to what many of you face or have faced.  The loss of a dream sounds silly in the face of other losses.  Yet I think it's important to talk about our stories and not compare our grief.  Sharing our stories is powerful.  I've been amazed at how many messages I have received from some of you since I posted the last two posts on the subject.  So many of you have felt or feel this way.  And to think of how lonely the desert can feel when so many of us walk these dry days, months,  or years.  Wouldn't it be better if we shared our stories? 

I am convinced that waiting has good purposes.  If we never learn how to wait well, with open-handed surrender, we will miss much. period.

Waiting, in a desert season,  is one of the most counter-cultural things, ever.  It will not come easy.

There is health that comes from sticking with something over time - no matter how mundane and dry it might feel.  There is a lack of health that comes with jumping from one "announcement-worthy" thing to the next.  It's the difference between one-night-stand-living instead of commitment, foundation and the beauty-that-only-comes-from faithfulness-over-time-living.

I used to live like glory could only be found in flashy, exciting things - things like plane tickets and new lands and a constant change of scenery.   I was wrong.  And I still love those things.

Finding a church home and treating it as a group of real people to grow with and serve alongside of, no matter the big or little size and whether our personal preference checklist is complete or not, is invaluable.   Shopping for community and for a church home like any other material item is a bit ridiculous and over the top in our country, isn't it?  When there are others who would weep to have their own bible and meet for hours on end in secret and call it church with overwhelming gratitude, it's silly that some talk about church here as if it should be able to be custom-ordered like a Starbucks latte.  

Saying "yes" to a church and intentionally stepping into community and people's lives, whether those people are just like us, or not, is healing.  It has calmed and cooled our spirits.

Blessing others when the opportunity arises, is healing.  Even if it comes in the form of a casserole.   Some of you who know me well know all about my past fear (borderline hatred) of all things casserole...  I have made an unbelievable amount of American casseroles in the last 5 years and I can finally say that I am no longer afraid of them.  

Deciding to fight for justice both locally and globally is better than staying sulky.  I can say that as a true melancholy.  The desert can open your eyes and heart to new adventures.  Say "yes" to one of them!  Noonday Collection was one of these for me.

While our gifts and passions are important and valuable, we must hold them loosely and not forget our first love because our all of our energy is on gripping them.

Experiencing a strong calling or specific gifting being played out, can tempt us to believe that it must be played out in the same specific way for the rest of our lives.  At least, that is what I believed.   I am beginning to understand that there are seasons and rhythms to everything.   I love how Shauna Niequist writes about this on her blog here.  She writes, " Keep in mind that a calling doesn’t have to be for a lifetime—I find it’s helpful to take it season by season. There are some through lines that will absolutely run through your whole life and story, but I think it’s a little overwhelming to think of your overall life-long calling."

In Ecclesiastes it says:  "Cast your bread upon the waters,  for you will find it after many days."  

It takes a lot to cast our dreams, our understanding, our gifts, our stories, and our hearts out onto the water, especially when all we see are the waves, huge and unpredictable, moving our "bread" away.  But if we choose to cast it not just unto the waters, but unto the one who held the waters in the hollow of his hand, the one who loves us more than we can imagine...what might we find after many days?  Will we not find Him, the one who our hearts and dreams and stories long for and are meant to lead to?  No desert can keep us from Him or from His love.  Wait for him,  desert-travelers.  You are not alone.
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